Before the big game, and athlete practices. Thespians rehearse months before the opening night. Students prepare for a whole semester before their final exams.
Why should you be any less prepared when it comes to your health?
The importance of prenatal care during pregnancy is huge. From eating certain foods, taking prenatal vitamins, and having regular checkups, prenatal care exists to ensure the least complications for both the mother and the fetus through the entire nine months leading up to the birth.
Be responsible for your health and the bodily developments of your and your fetus by knowing the importance of prenatal care and talking to your doctor as soon as you suspect or confirm you are pregnant.
Both the words “pregnant” and prenatal come from the same Latin root words, from pre- (“before”) + (g)natus (“birth/before giving birth”). The first known use of the word “prenatal was in 1826.
What is Prenatal Care?
Prenatal care is simply the health care a woman receives before giving birth.
This is more than just a few doctor’s visits and an ultrasound or two. Prenatal care aims not only to observe gestational development to look for any risks or complications, it also seeks to improve the overall health and wellness of the mother, this directly influencing the health and development of the fetus.
Some of the goals of prenatal care include:
- Lowering the risk of any pregnancy complication
This is achieved by regular, moderate exercise, a well-balanced diet, avoiding consuming or being around harmful substances, and maintaining good control on any preexisting health conditions, such as diabetes or low blood pressure.
- Lowering the risk of complications for the fetus and future infant
This is achieved by not consuming substances like tobacco or alcohol during pregnancy. Alcohol, when consumed during pregnancy, has been proven to cause a variety of disorders, both physical and intellectual, which could range from abnormal physical features, heart problems, or mental disabilities. Tobacco has been proven and increases the risk for S.I.D.S. in infants.
- Taking prenatal vitamins to ensure proper nutrients for the woman and developing fetus
Prenatal vitamins are important to ensure that both the woman and the fetus get the proper nutrients they need during the pregnancy. The main substance in a lot of prenatal vitamins is folic acid, which is found in many foods and can lower the risk for neural tube defects by as large a number as 70%.
- Make sure the woman isn’t taking medication that is unsafe during pregnancy
Certain medications, either prescribed or otherwise, can be harmful to the woman a fetus during pregnancy. This included many dietary and herbal supplements as well as some acne treatments.
Why do I need prenatal care?
Prenatal care is not only beneficial to you while you’re pregnant, but it helps improve the health and wellness of you and your fetus that will hopefully have positive effects in the long run and after birth.
The importance of prenatal care is rooted in its efforts to ensure your safety by watching for risks and doing everything possible to increase your health and reduce the risk of serious complications both during the pregnancy and the birth.
Prenatal care can help keep you and your baby healthy. Babies of mothers who do not get prenatal care are three times more likely to have a low birth weight and five times more likely to die than those born to mothers who do get care. –U.S. Office of Women’s Health
How Often Should I Have Appointments?
Don’t leave your health and the health of your fetus up to chance.
Meet with your doctor regularly or go to a pregnancy clinic as soon as you suspect you might be pregnant. According to WebMD on prenatal care, these are the average number of prenatal appointments you should have during your pregnancy:
- Weeks 4 to 28: 1 prenatal visit a month
- Weeks 28 to 36: 1 prenatal visit every 2 weeks
- Weeks 36 to 40: 1 prenatal visit every week
Women with serious pre-existing medical conditions or high-risk pregnancy will need to have more appointments than typical of prenatal care.
Never undervalue the importance of prenatal care and talk to your doctor or prenatal health care specialist to make a plan and schedule your check-ups.
No woman should have to go through an unplanned pregnancy alone.
Here at White Rose Women’s Center, our experienced staff is committed to explaining all of your available pregnancy options and help you make the choice that’s best for you.
White Rose is proud to offer women a FREE pregnancy test (and give you the results as you wait) as well as FREE and confidential counseling.
Some other services which White Rose Women’s Center provides:
- FREE ultrasound for qualified clients
- Information on abortion procedures
- Referrals for prenatal care
- Clinic referrals
- Post-abortion guidance
- Adoption referrals
- And more!