Before the baby arrives, take the prenatal care! November 23, 2017 Womens Health 10411 Views
Priscilla made her way up the rickety steps of her maternal home at a Chawl in Girgaum, (known to be in central Mumbai as the middle-class residence) slowly as sweat trickled down her face. Her heavy frame and diabetes added to her discomfort. But she plodded on, nevertheless in dogged determination to check on her younger sister who was going to have her firstborn, soon. Priscilla herself had been in a difficult time during pregnancy and she did not want her sister to go through the same horrors discovering at the last minute about gestational diabetes or undetected thyroid. She recalled, still shrinking in terror with the thought – what she had been through – not only did the thyroid wreak havoc with her, but the massive possibility of it creating complications for her Amelia, during childbirth, and all those repercussions…
She cannot and would not let her sister suffer the same fate.
An Appointment with A Gynecologist
So she browsed through all sorts of hereditary ailments over the net and made a list of diseases that ran in their family, before consulting a gynecologist who was known to be meticulous and particular about every single detail. Both sisters painstakingly went through every single detail from being slightly overweight to foods that caused them allergy, the medication that they had taken over the counter etc.
Cut to the gynecologist ‘s clinic in a plush part of the city that never sleeps.
When this gynecologist being thorough, and systematically ticking off various health parameters in her checklist, was examining Sunidhi during a prenatal care checkup, she asked her husband, “Where’s the lemonade?” Her husband, stunned, said under his breath, “What lemonade?” But the gynecologist wouldn’t let go of a caretaker so easily. Hawk-like she swooped down upon him.
She spoke to him sternly. “Mr. Ahire, you seem to be clueless that your wife has low blood pressure. Can you notice she’s sweating even in this air-conditioned cabin? This is one of the signs. Please see to it that she carries a bottle of water with a pinch of sugar and salt, everywhere with her. No going out in the sun without it, or she may faint. I hope I am clear.”
Turning to Sunidhi, she added, “Your iron intake isn’t sufficient. Long work hours should not affect your health. Certainly not when you have a baby to think of. Every morning pack yourself fresh fruits and a salad but ensure that you wash everything with filtered water, preferably warm. Also, keep dry fruits to snack on and try to avoid pastries. Er, do you have a sweet tooth? In that case, you could use honey but don’t munch on biscuits.”
A prenatal checkup is an important part of prenatal care and isn’t just about maintaining a dietary chart and incorporating appropriate and adequate exercise, rest, me-time, bonding moments in the routine of a mom-to-be, but is essential to pre-empt what could go wrong and take necessary precautions. Prenatal care is more than this. It is an entire programme that involves a visit to perhaps an endocrinologist, neurologist, urologist etc along with guarding against the development of diabetes, which if not checked and treated in time could lead to a miscarriage. They also monitor fetal health So what then does a prenatal checkup consist of?
Blood tests: In the very first visit, these are required to factor in and screen:
- Rh factor
- Immunity to Rubella or German Measles and Hepatitis
Urine tests: These are vital to check sugar and protein as they provide vital clues for diabetes and kidney changes.
Pap smear: This is vital as it can flag off the occurrence of cancerous cells in the cervix.
In addition to these, doctors also conduct procedures and tests to measure and monitor the condition of the baby.
- Fetal heartbeat
- Fetal defects and abnormalities
- Size and position of uterus and fetus
In many Indian families, orthodox in-laws feel that you should not take sonographies every month or should not do it more than once a week in the last trimester as you can end up harming the child’s brain. This is like a superstitious belief: erroneous and harmful.
You should follow the schedule the gynecologist gave you as they can detect many conditions prenatally. And another case of unawareness as it, unfortunately, happened for Priscilla, can be averted.
For more information on prenatal care, visit your nearest gynecologist today.