Pregnancy is the golden phase of womanhood. The arrival of your own little bundle fills one with tremendous joy and exuberance. Amidst all the happiness there are a few things that you should keep in mind in order to remain healthy during pregnancy.
Prenatal care is defined as the care that a pregnant woman receives at the hands of a midwife or doctor. This forms an important phase of pregnancy because it ensures that both the mother and the developing baby remain healthy. The three basic steps are: it should be early, should be regular and should be under the guidance of a midwife of a doctor. Regular antenatal checkups, pregnancy counselling, information about the pregnancy-associated issues such as morning sickness, nausea, vertigo, etc are covered in prenatal care. Any health problem also gets diagnosed in time and can be treated accordingly.
Having a healthy new born is the dream and desire of every expectant woman. If you are pregnant it is normal to have an array of questions in your mind, for instance what to eat and what not to, how should be my sleep pattern or how can I have a healthy baby? Prenatal care givers can help you with such questions.
Healthy pregnancy is mandatory for a healthy birth. Proper prenatal care multiplies your chances of having a healthy baby.
- During pregnancy increase your daily folic acid intake to 400 to 800 micrograms.
- Get immunized as per your schedule.
- Keep your blood pressure and sugar levels within normal limits.
- Seek help from your obstetrician and make a diet chart. Eat accordingly.
- To avoid morning sickness and nausea eat dry carbohydrates (glucose biscuits) in the morning.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Wear loose and comfortable cotton clothes.
- Have frequent small meals throughout the day.
- Eat a lot of fresh fruit and green vegetables.
- Chew your food properly to avoid heartburn.
- Light exercises are a good way both to keep fit and to be active.
- Sleep for 8-10 hours a day.
- Include a lot of fibre in your diet.
- Avoid X-rays, and if need be, let your practitioner know that you are pregnant.
- Be informed, read books and meditate to keep yourself relaxed.
- Say no to alcohol and tobacco; do not smoke and also abstain from passive smoking.
- Say no to spicy, oily and greasy foods.
- Do not lie immediately after eating. Lie after an hour after taking food.
- Stay away from stress, and try not to take things to your heart.
- Refrain from taking work related pressures, be calm and composed.
Importance of Prenatal Care-
Thorough general physical examination, regular imaging tests and blood tests are done for all expectant mothers. This is vital from the point of view that it can:
Mitigate the threat of pregnancy complications-Proper and adequate diet, light physical exercises and evading exposure to harmful substances like lead, etc. promotes healthy pregnancy and obviously a healthy baby. Blood pressure and blood sugar levels are regularly checked so any unwanted rise can be easily controlled at the initial stage. This can save the mother from fatal complications such as preeclampsia and eclampsia.
Lower the risk of newborn’s complications-Pregnant women should not take tobacco or alcohol because it jeopardizes the health of the mother and the baby. The inebriating alcohol can result in fetal alcohol spectrum disorders while tobacco can cause Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
Common Disturbing Conditions during pregnancy
Here are few common annoying conditions encountered during pregnancy-
- Morning sickness
- Nausea and vomiting
- Pain in lower back and abdomen
Your prenatal caregiver will tell you about some of the alarming signs:
- Sudden weight gain
- Swelling of ankle, feet and face
- Sudden severe headache lasting for two-three hours and not getting better even with medication
- Blurred vision, spots before your eyes
- Sudden fainting
- Burning or pain while urination
- Excessive thirst
- Excessive foul vaginal discharge
- Vaginal spotting or bleeding
If you experience any of the above mentioned signs, contact your doctor immediately.
Usually the first prenatal visit is the longest because it includes complete and thorough general physical examination of the pregnant mother. The caregiver collects all the information about your family history, past illnesses, menstrual history, etc. Your spouse’s medical history is also noted. Besides this your blood pressure, height, weight, pulse rate and respiratory rate are also recorded.
Prenatal Visit Schedule-
The usual schedule of prenatal visits for women aged between 18 to 35 years is as follows-
- From the first to seventh month of pregnancy you should visit your pre natal caregiver every four to six weeks.
- In the eighth month of pregnancy get prenatal checkups done every two or three weeks.
- In the ninth month visit your doctor every week.
In a nutshell prenatal care is the medical care especially for pregnant ladies. It is very important as it ensures proper health and wellness of both the mother as well as the baby. Prenatal testing and regular checkups are covered in prenatal care and should be started as soon as the pregnancy is confirmed.
Happy Pregnancy and A Splendid Motherhood!