Ante Natal care
Pregnancy is a condition in which outmost attention and care is required. Also known as prenatal care, this is the care given during the gestational period. Care is provided through a series of appointments with a gynecologist and obstetrician. This consultation shall help in comprehending the health status of the baby and mother.
It is appropriate to start the care as early as possible. The first consultation with the doctor is extremely important. During this visit, detailed information is provided about the following:
- Vitamin D supplements & folic acid.
- Antenatal/Prenatal screening tests.
- Impact of lifestyle factors like excessive alcohol consumption, smoking etc.
- Diet, nutrition and food hygiene.
During this visit, the doctor enquires about previous pregnancy and health issues. It is very vital to inform the doctor about the following:
- Any infections or complications that have occurred during the previous delivery such as premature birth or pre-eclampsia.
- Any serious health complications such as high blood pressure, diabetes etc.
- If any family member had fetal abnormalities or spina bifida.
- History of inherited disorders like cystic fibrosis or sickle cell disease.
The next consultation is usually scheduled during the 8th-12th week of pregnancy. An ultra-sound scan is normally done in this appointment. The physical examination and the scan results shall give the following important information:
- Fetal development. Growth of baby is roughly calculated by measuring the distance between pelvic bone & top of the womb.
- Diet and nutrition.
- Information on exercises like pelvic floor exercises, general exercises etc.
- Screening test information.
An important component of physical examination is queries. These queries shall concern about:
- First 1st day of the last period encountered.
- General health condition.
- Previous pregnancy issues like miscarriages etc.
The other important components of the physical examination are:
- Analysis & evaluation of medical history.
- Monitoring the mother’s blood pressure, weight and height.
- Fetal heart rate monitoring using Doppler studies.
- Pelvic examination.
- Urine and blood tests of the mother.
Ultrasound scan: Obstetric ultrasound has been employed for over 35 years for monitoring pregnancy. The test is commonly performed by the 20th week. Ultrasounds are used for the following:
- Checking for multiple babies.
- Development of fetal body parts.
- Assessment of possible risks.
- Checking any malformation of the fetus.
- Determining whether there is any sort of retardation in the intrauterine growth.
Ultrasound may also be required when an abnormality is diagnosed in the subsequent weeks.
- During 7 weeks: To determine if the pregnancy is molar or ectopic.
- During 13-14th week: To check for any possibility of Down syndrome.
- During 18 weeks: general examination and evaluation of fetal development.
- During 34 weeks: For the verification of placental position and evaluation of fetal size.