Antenatal care is the medical and other such care that a woman receives while she's pregnant. This care is vital, as it can reduce the risk of complications, ensure that any problems that might arise during pregnancy are addressed immediately, and also help a woman know what to expect during her pregnancy. Note a few questions many women have about such care and what it includes, and be sure to discuss any concerns you have with your doctor.
What is a midwife?
A midwife is a person who assists a woman during pregnancy, during labour and delivery, and even for some time right after the baby is born. The midwife is not the same as a doctor, as a midwife doesn't usually have a medical degree. However, a midwife should have proper training in medical care and in all aspects of labour and delivery, so he or she can give advice on how to best care for yourself during pregnancy. A midwife will also explain what to expect during each stage of development, and can assist you through labour so that you are as comfortable as possible.
How soon should antenatal care begin?
A woman should begin receiving antenatal care as soon as she knows she's pregnant; this will allow a doctor to monitor her condition and note changes she may need to make in her diet, such as cutting out caffeine, alcohol, and the like, and changes she may need to make to her lifestyle, such as stopping smoking and getting enough sleep and rest. A doctor may also want to prescribe vitamins and other supplements that can ensure a healthy foetus, and also ensure the mother's health as the pregnancy progresses. If a woman is trying to become pregnant, she may even want to receive care before conception, to ensure she is as healthy as possible once she does conceive.
What should you tell your doctor during antenatal care?
Your doctor will usually have a list of questions to ask about your condition, but you should always mention any such conditions that are not brought up, and even conditions that run in your family, such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and the like. He or she can then check for those conditions in particular and note if they develop during pregnancy, and how to treat them. While symptoms like vaginal bleeding and swollen limbs are not unusual during pregnancy, note these to your doctor as well so you can be monitored for potential complications. This will ensure a healthy and comfortable pregnancy and delivery.
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