The Importance of Prenatal Care for Mothers-to-be

Infant, Pregnancy, Women's Health, Women's Health & Pregnancy Steward Health Care

Think that you may be pregnant, or know someone who may be? If so, it’s important for all moms-to-be to visit a health care provider as soon as possible to begin prenatal care for themselves and their baby. Prenatal care is the groundwork done by an expecting mother and her health care provider to help maintain a healthy pregnancy to help promote a healthy birth.

Prenatal care visits throughout pregnancy include a physical exam, weight checks, blood tests and imaging tests, such as ultrasound exams. These visits will help mom and providers develop the best care plan during pregnancy. The tests and exams completed help screen for normal growth or for abnormalities that could affect the baby’s health, including gestational diabetes, anemia, or preeclampsia.

Also, prenatal care involves:

  • Following health care provider’s instructions. OB-GYN’s, nurse midwives and nurses are entrusted with a woman’s care during pregnancy and work together with the common goal of helping her deliver a healthy baby. It is important to understand why your provider makes certain recommendations – this includes keeping all appointments, lab work and tests. If you are not sure, ask.
  • Maintaining proper nutrition. Eating properly can be the biggest struggle for expecting moms. Access to healthy food, changes in appetite and suffering from “morning sickness” can make it difficult for mom to get enough nutrients for optimal health. A nutritionist can help moms understand how to get the vitamins, minerals, and nutrition both she and her baby need.
  • Not smoking, drinking alcohol or doing drugs. This may seem obvious, but addictions are a very real part of our society and can cause serious fetal damage, including low birth weight, premature labor, or babies born with addictions. Telling your provider about any medications you’re taking, use of nicotine, alcohol or other substances will allow your doctor to create a plan for treatment and support. Even dietary supplements or herbal remedies should be discussed, as many may be harmful to the fetus.
  • Attending childbirth classes. These classes cover what to expect during pregnancy and delivery. Participants have the opportunity to ask questions about pain management, labor choices, among many other topics. Tips to prepare for those first weeks with baby are also covered. Every mom has concerns that are unique to her pregnancy and childbirth educators are trained to provide answers and resources for each situation.

Following these tips can help ensure a safe and healthy pregnancy.

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