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Prenatal care is the health care you get while you are pregnant. It includes your checkups and prenatal testing. Prenatal care can help keep you and your baby healthy. It lets your health care provider spot health problems early. Early treatment can cure many problems and prevent others.
Your doctor or midwife will give you a schedule for your prenatal visits. If you are over 35 years old or your pregnancy is high risk because of health problems like diabetes or high blood pressure, your doctor or midwife will probably want to see you more often. You can also expect to see your health care provider more often as your due date gets closer. (Source: U.S. National Library of Medicine)
As a result, prenatal care is much more than just monitoring the mother’s diet and weight. Monitoring the health of the mother throughout the pregnancy is also critical. Potential health issues for mothers such as diabetes (which can develop during pregnancy), insufficient weight gain, and high blood pressure, if ignored or untreated, can be harmful to the fetus and need to be continuously evaluated.
Along with watching the mother’s health, prenatal care is equally concerned with keeping a close watch over the health and development of the unborn baby. With proper prenatal care, healthcare providers can directly monitor the baby’s well-being by listening to the fetal heartbeat, checking the size and positioning of the uterus and fetus, and testing for various abnormalities.
Some conditions, if detected prenatally, can even be treated before the baby is born. In other instances, early detection can allow for the proper medical personnel and resources to be present at the time of birth to provide the baby will full access to the care it needs.
The benefits of prenatal care to health and well-being of both mother and baby are numerous. Therefore it’s recommended that prenatal care begin when the pregnancy is first discovered, with most women beginning their care in the first trimester of pregnancy.
If you have any questions or concerns about the need or benefits of prenatal care, speak with your healthcare provider. (Source: Banner Health)
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