Motherhood is one of the best gifts any woman could receive. There are many responsibilities that come with motherhood. Not only do you have to be looking out for your own health, but you have to make sure you are taking good care of the little one inside you. One of the easiest and most effective ways to do this is with prenatal care.
What is Prenatal Care?
The health care you receive throughout your pregnancy is known as prenatal care. In order to take care of yourself and your baby, it is important to practice early prenatal care and regular prenatal care. If a mother does not get prenatal care, the baby is three times more likely to have a low birth weight and five times more likely to die than those born to mothers who do get prenatal care.
Many women may not think they need to visit the doctor regularly throughout the pregnancy because it is not their first pregnancy. However, every pregnancy is different – just like all of your children are different! If you are visiting the doctor regularly, the doctor is more likely to find health problems early on. Thus, being able to provide treatments sooner than later.
How Often Should I Visit?
The timeline for prenatal care visits may depend on your current health or your doctor, nurse, or midwife. The normal schedule for those ages 18-35 is:
- Every 4 to 6 weeks for the first 32 weeks
- Every 2 to 3 weeks for the 32nd – 37th weeks
- Every week from the 37th week until time of delivery
What Are the Benefits?
Prenatal checkups ensure that the pregnancy is going along as planned, but there are also other ways you can benefit from these regular checkups.
Reduced Risk of Pregnancy Complications
Things happen to us when we least expect them to. This is why it is important to make safety a priority during your pregnancy. Regular checkups may seem like a waste of time, but it is time well spent if it helps to ensure a healthy and safe pregnancy. Prenatal care can help doctors find various diseases or disorders, like anemia, gestational diabetes, as and more. It is crucial to detect these early, so proper treatment can take place.
Learn About the Baby’s Growth and Development
You won’t be able to see what your baby is doing or how he or she is doing, but your doctor will be able to help you with that! The speed of the baby’s growth can tell a lot about their physical development. Ultrasounds and measurements will be able to help you learn about your baby’s growth.
Receive Nutritional Information
During a pregnancy, it is important to remember you are not just feeding yourself – you are also feeding your baby. It is essential to get all the nutrients needed for the both of you to stay healthy throughout the entire pregnancy.
The doctor will be able to tell you what you should be eating and what you should avoid. You may have heard people say you need to eat for two people, but don’t take it literally. It is recommended to consume around 300 extra calories each day to provide the necessary food and vitamins to you and the baby. If you are having twins or triplets, it is very likely you will have to consume more than this. Make sure to ask your doctor for advice before starting any health plan or diet during your pregnancy.
Take the Appropriate Tests
The OBGYN may recommend certain tests depending on your age, medical history, and family history. For example, during the second trimester, the doctor may decide to do an amniocentesis. This is a test that can check for genetic abnormalities in the baby, like Down Syndrome. Some other tests may also be recommended if you are receiving regular prenatal care.
Learn More About the Labor and Delivery Process
Not everyone has to go through the same delivery process. Some women choose to do an at-home-birth, some may choose to have a water-birth, others may choose to avoid epidurals, and the list goes on. You and your partner have the opportunity to decide your plan of action for the labor and delivery. Your doctor can discuss the various procedures, various scenarios, and any questions or concerns you may have.
Institute for Women’s Health in San Antonio, Texas
If you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, visit any of the OBGYNs at the Institute for Women’s Health. We have over 30 qualified OBGYNs across 7 locations around San Antonio. Pregnancy is an important time in your life, and you shouldn’t have to go through it in the dark. Our doctors will give you the peace of mind to ensure you and your baby’s health. Call (210) 349-6626 to book an appointment today.