Prenatal care refers to the regular medical care recommended for all pregnant women. Prenatal care is known as preventative care with the goal being to help women have a safe and healthy pregnancy while also treating and preventing health problems throughout the course of the pregnancy. Women who do not receive prenatal care are three times more likely to give birth to a low-weight baby, and they are five times more likely to lose their baby during pregnancy or birth.
Prenatal visits are scheduled as monthly visits for the first two trimesters, every other week from weeks 28-36, and weekly after 36 weeks until delivery. During these visits mothers are educated on important health issues for themselves and their unborn child. Routine prenatal care has played a significant role in reducing maternal death rates, miscarriages, birth defects, low birth weight, and other preventable health problems.
Routine prenatal visits allow doctors to spot health problems. Extensive blood work, a PAP smear, and ultrasounds are performed at early prenatal appointments. These tests give doctors a guideline for how to treat the mother and unborn child throughout the pregnancy. Early treatment can cure many health problems and prevent others. Prenatal care is important for all pregnant women – whether they are pregnant for the first time or the fifth. All pregnancies are different, and preventative health care is extremely important.
Choosing an obstetrician for your prenatal care is an important choice. It is always a good start to ask for recommendations from your primary physician as well referrals from relatives or friends. Your health and the health of your baby are the priority of an obstetrician. Partnering with a respected OB can promote a healthy pregnancy for you and your baby.
Posted on behalf of Carlos Alarcon, M.D., Marietta OB-GYN Affiliates, P.A.