Pregnancy care involves regular visits with your antenatal provider. They may perform a pregnancy test to see how far along you are.
As part of your routine checkup, they’ll ask about your health, medications and any risky habits like smoking or using drugs.
Preconception health care
Preconception health care entails actions and habits taken prior to becoming pregnant, such as nutrition, exercise and avoiding substances or behaviors which could compromise birth outcomes or contribute to unintended pregnancies.
Family physicians, through their regular clinical visits, can uniquely provide preconception education to their patients. They can cover topics such as emphasizing the importance of women taking adequate amounts of folic acid supplements, implementing smoking cessation programs, and promoting the use of long-acting reversible contraception.
Prepregnancy care can also assist in identifying and mitigating potential medical, psychosocial and environmental threats to female and male reproductive health as well as future pregnancies. Such risks could arise from chronic health conditions like diabetes or hypertension as well as lifestyle choices like substance abuse. Interventions must be carefully tailored so as not to stigmatize those already burdened by other forms of disadvantage.
To create effective strategies, we must tailor these efforts to the unique circumstances and needs of individual families, with a focus on family-centered care and the inclusion of men as active partners in preconception health. Additionally, when designing preconception health strategies, we must consider Canadian women and their families as individuals.
Prenatal care can play a vital role in helping ensure women experience a healthy pregnancy. Infants born to mothers who do not seek prenatal care are three times more likely to have low birth weight and complications during birth such as malnutrition and death. Prenatal care involves regular visits with health providers – usually doctors or nurses – as well as tests and counseling that could prevent problems during gestation.
Women expecting should seek prenatal care as soon as possible, ideally within their first trimester or 12 weeks of gestation. At their first prenatal appointment, a health care provider will review a pregnant woman’s medical history, perform an exam and check blood pressure and urine samples taken during this visit as well as listening for baby’s heartbeat.
Early visits can assist in detecting and managing illnesses or conditions that increase the risk of complications during gestation, such as hypertension, infections and gestational diabetes. They may also detect genetic disorders within fetal tissues.
Prenatal care services vary across countries. In some nations, public health nurses and midwives in maternal and child health centers or women’s clinics provide these services, while in others, family practitioners take on this role. It has been found that group prenatal care offers many advantages over individual prenatal care providers. These advantages include reducing inducible labor, increasing birth weight for both term and preterm infants, improving breastfeeding initiation and continuation rates, lowering emergency department visits during third trimester care, and raising awareness about healthy pregnancy behaviors such as diet, exercise, and smoking cessation.
Pregnancy alters a woman’s body in profound ways, with long-term consequences continuing long after giving birth.
At these visits, your doctor can check for any complications during labor and delivery that could have happened during your labor and delivery experience. Heavy bleeding postpartum could indicate retained placenta or uterine atony; anemia and high blood pressure could be related to complications from pregnancy as well. You’ll also be asked whether you plan to become pregnant again shortly as well as your birth control preferences.
Discuss your emotions with your physician to better manage postpartum depression symptoms, which are common after giving birth. While such emotions may seem normal at the time, postpartum depression requires treatment and should never be ignored.
Make sure that family and friends help during the postpartum period, especially if you have older children. They can keep an eye on your newborn while you go to postpartum appointments (also referred to as postnatal visits or exams). Check your insurance provider coverage to be certain.
Starting early can help both mother and baby stay healthy throughout their pregnancies. From eating right and attending appointments with healthcare teams to staying connected with friends and family – taking good care can ensure a better outcome!
Your pregnancy care depends on your health, risks of complications, and where you live. Antenatal appointments could include midwives, hospital doctors, GPs or obstetricians among others; you could choose from giving birth at home, a community-based birth center or hospital depending on what best meets your preferences and location.
UNM Health offers prenatal care through its CenteringPregnancy group model. This program integrates clinical care with extensive educational components for maximum participation from women and partners during gestation. Please click on the image to learn more about this form of pregnancy care.