What is Pregnancy Care?

Dr Foram Bhuta

Dr Foram Bhuta

BDS (Bachelor of Dental Surgery), 10 years of experience

November 2, 2021 Womens Health 415 Views

English हिन्दी Bengali

What is the meaning of Pregnancy Care?

Pregnancy care is a term used for prenatal (before birth) and postpartum (after birth) healthcare for expecting mothers.

Pregnancy care includes the various treatments and procedures performed for ensuring a healthy and smooth pre-pregnancy, pregnancy, labor, and delivery for the mother and the child.

In this article, we will be talking in detail about pregnancy care-

  • What is Prenatal Care?
  • What are the advantages of good Prenatal Pregnancy Care?
  • What should be done during Prenatal Pregnancy Care?
  • When should you visit your doctor for Prenatal Pregnancy Care?
  • What does a doctor check during prenatal visits?
  • What are the various diagnostic tests recommended during Prenatal Pregnancy Care?
  • When to call your doctor?
  • What is Postpartum Care?
  • What should be done during Postnatal Care?

What is Prenatal Care?

Prenatal care is the care taken before the birth of a baby. Good prenatal care includes good health habits and nutrition before and during pregnancy.

Good prenatal care helps the baby to grow and develop and keeps the mother and the child healthy. 

Ideally, a woman should talk to her healthcare provider before she starts trying to get pregnant.

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What are the advantages of good Prenatal Pregnancy Care?

Good prenatal care has the following advantages:

  • Decreases risks during pregnancy
  • Increases the chances of a healthy and safe delivery
  • Regular prenatal visits help the gynecologist in monitoring the pregnancy 
  • Prenatal check-ups help in the identification of any complications or problems in the early stages

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  • Helps in the proper growth and development of the baby

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What should be done during Prenatal Pregnancy Care?

Prenatal care ideally starts three months before a woman begins trying to conceive. 

Some of the healthy habits one should follow during prenatal care include:

  • Quit smoking
  • Avoid consumption of alcohol
  • Take folic acid (Vitamin B) supplements daily (400 to 800 micrograms dosage, as recommended by the doctor)

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  • Limit the intake of caffeine
  • Avoid exposure to chemicals and other toxic substances
  • Talk to your doctor about any medications, supplements, or over-the-counter drugs that you may be taking

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When should you visit your doctor for Prenatal Pregnancy Care?

A woman should visit her gynecologist at least three months before she starts to try to get pregnant. 

Once she becomes pregnant, she needs to schedule regular appointments with her healthcare doctor during each stage of her pregnancy. The schedule of visits that involve seeing the doctor includes:

  • Every month in the first six months of pregnancy
  • Every two weeks in the seventh and eighth months of pregnancy
  • Every week during the ninth month of pregnancy

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In case of high-risk pregnancy or complicated pregnancy, the doctor may advise more frequent prenatal visits.

The doctor checks for the health of the mother and the baby during these visits and also conducts a few tests.

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What does a doctor check during prenatal visits?

The prenatal visits to the doctor include:

  • Monitoring the blood pressure of the woman
  • Measuring the weight gain
  • Monitoring the heart rate of the baby
  • Monitoring the growth of the baby

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  • Talking to the expecting mother about her diet and exercise regime
  • Prescribing folic acid and iron supplements
  • Taking routine blood tests and other screening tests

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What are the various diagnostic tests recommended during Prenatal Pregnancy Care?

The doctor may perform a few diagnostic tests during the prenatal care visits, to see how the baby is developing, and check if there are any problems associated with the pregnancy. These tests are:

  • Blood tests: Initially, a blood test is done to check for the hormone HCG, which confirms pregnancy. Later in pregnancy, blood tests help in checking the blood group of the mother. It also helps to check for any underlying illness, and anemia (low red blood cell count).
  • Ultrasound: Sound waves are used to create images of the growing baby using ultrasound. It helps to check the growth and development of the baby and helps in establishing a due date.
  • Glucose test: It is a test done to check for gestational (pregnancy) diabetes.
  • Fetal echocardiography: It is a test done to check the heart of the baby.

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  • Amniocentesis: This is a test done to check for any genetic problems and birth defects.

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  • Nuchal translucency test: It is a test done to check any problems with the baby’s genes.
  • Tests to check for sexually transmitted diseases

When to call your doctor?

If you are pregnant or think that you may be pregnant you should contact your doctor in the following cases:

  • Exposure to chemicals or unusual pollutants
  • Exposure to radiation
  • Exposure to a sexually transmitted infection

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  • Presence of a pre-existing medical condition like diabetes, high blood pressure, or thyroid disorders, and you are taking medications for the same

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  • Fever or chills
  • Painful urination
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Physical trauma or injury
  • Emotional trauma
  • In case the water breaks (membrane ruptures)
  • The baby’s movement reduces or stops in the last half of pregnancy

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What is Postpartum Care?

Postpartum care or after birth care lasts for six to eight weeks after the birth of the baby.

This is a crucial period for the mother, who undergoes several emotional and physical changes while learning how to take care of the newborn baby.

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What should be done during Postnatal Care?

  • In case of vaginal delivery, the mother and the baby are usually allowed to go home from the hospital 1 to 2 days after the delivery.
  • In case of a cesarean delivery (C-section), the mother and the baby are generally discharged after 2 to 3 days stay in the hospital.
  • The following care should be taken post-delivery:

Getting enough rest: 

  • It is important for new mothers to get enough rest post-delivery to rebuild their strength. 
  • This can be done by sleeping when the baby sleeps, keeping the baby’s crib near the mother’s bed to make night-time feedings easier for the mother and the baby, and let someone else feed the baby with a bottle while you rest.

Eating well: 

  • Eating a healthy and well-balanced diet, drinking plenty of fluids, and avoiding high-fat food are important in the postpartum period because of the changes in the body that occur during pregnancy and labor. 
  • It is also important for breastfeeding mothers to get enough nutrition for themselves and the baby.

Vaginal care:

  • It is common to have vaginal soreness, urination problems, vaginal discharge, and vaginal contractions during the first few days after delivery.
  • A postpartum check-up with your doctor approximately six weeks after delivery should allow you to discuss the various symptoms that you are experiencing, and receive appropriate treatment for the same.
  • It is advised to avoid sexual intercourse for four to six weeks after delivery so that the vagina has proper time for healing.

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We hope we have answered all your questions about pregnancy care through this article.

If you want more information and treatment about pregnancy care, then contact the Gynecologist without any delay.

We aim to provide you with information through this article. We do not recommend any medicine or treatment to anyone. Only a doctor can give you the best advice and correct treatment plan. 

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