The importance of prenatal care and regular check-ups

The importance of prenatal care and regular check-ups

Prenatal care is one of the most important factors to keep in mind during the time someone is pregnant. It is a significant part of healthy pregnancy development, it helps stay up to date on the changes the body is going through and also ensures the baby will be perfectly fine and will have a full-term evolution.


What does prenatal care mean, and why does it matter?

Prenatal care supports a healthy pregnancy and therefore a healthy baby. The labor process isn’t an easy one, even if so many women have gone through it. Thankfully, with today’s science, we can make sure that everything goes well, and that the child and the mother are completely safe during the pregnancy months.

 It is essential to go and participate in regular check-ups, to keep a close relationship with your healthcare provider, and to never skip routine examinations. Even if you feel there are no problems with you or your baby, the medical check-ups are a must, because that is the only way to be completely certain both of you are safe, and can also prevent little obstacles that might arise along the full-time pregnancy period.

What does the first prenatal check-up look like?

Usually, the first check-up takes longer than the following because your doctor will ask a lot of questions related to your health, and also a lot of tests will be made to acknowledge your current health situation.

Your health provider will run a general health check, as well as urine, blood, and blood pressure tests, and will check your pelvic organs, such as the womb and the pelvis to ensure everything is in good shape and can safely sustain a new life. You might get some prenatal vitamin prescriptions and also a vaccine, such as a flu shot. An ultrasound will also be made to check the development and age of your baby.

How frequently do you have to do medical check-ups?

The more often, the better. If you encounter complications or problems with the evolution of your pregnancy, your healthcare provider might want to see you more frequently. The check-ups usually start at 4 weeks into the pregnancy.

Recommended check-ups:

  • In between weeks 4 to 28 of pregnancy-once a month
  • In between weeks 28 to 36 of pregnancy-twice a month
  • In between weeks 36 to 41 of pregnancy-once a week

It is always advisable to bring a loved one to your medical check-ups to support and aid you in everything you might need.

Where to go for regular check-ups?

Even though most women might choose to go to an obstetrician or gynecologist, you have to know that is not the only option, and you can visit several types of health providers to participate and guide you throughout your pregnancy period. You can choose to visit:

  • A family doctor, or family physician: usually they know all your medical history, and are up-to-date with all your family’s medical history as well. A lot of women choose this option because of the familiarity they have with this particular kind of practitioner.
  • A certified nurse/midwife (CNM). They are educated and trained nurses, who are able and have the experience of working with pregnant women of all ages.
  • A family nurse practitioner: comes to aid with pregnancy problems, and has training and education regarding pregnant women and the development of pregnancies. They also are aware of your family member's medical history.

It is very important that your medical provider is licensed and certified in order to legally practice and give medical services to you while you are having your pregnancy. You need to make sure you are in the right hands and that you and your baby are being well taken care of. Through family and friends' recommendations, you can find the medical provider that best suits your needs.

It is also helpful to consider if the medical clinic you’re about to go to for regular check-ups is location-friendly, especially if you are going to visit it very often during your pregnancy period, and a while after you have given birth. A location that is closer to your residence would be ideal.

What should your health provider be aware of?

It is essential to talk to your physician or medical provider about all of your current health issues or concerns because, unfortunately, they might affect the baby or the pregnancy itself. Make sure to specify things such as:

  • The medication you might take: over-the-counter pills, prescribed medicines, herbal products, or vitamins.
  • Your stress levels: the stress you feel might have repercussions on the baby’s development
  • Current health conditions: such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or depression.
  • Drinking alcohol, smoking or drug use: it is a known fact that any of these activities are harming the baby, and might cause serious pregnancy problems, as well as afterward complications. It is for the best if they can be avoided at all costs during your pregnancy.
  • Pregnancy history: your doctor or nurse needs to know if you have been pregnant, how many pregnancies you’ve had before, and pregnancy complications or miscarriages.


What happens at the last prenatal check-up?

The last prenatal check-up is usually the shortest. Your health provider will want to know how you feel with all the changes your body has been through and will check your blood pressure and your weight, and possibly run some urine tests as well. This is the moment when you will be able to listen to your baby’s heartbeat since the fetus will be almost fully formed by this time. They will do a pelvic exam, measure your belly, and check for your baby’s well-being.

Taking care of yourself and your baby while having your pregnancy is fundamental, and doing regular check-ups is an important part of ensuring that you are not encountering any problems along the way, or if you do, you have the ability and the best medical support to overcome anything that might arise when you are creating a new life, when you are bringing another person into the world.

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