What You Should Know About the Antenatal Appointments
Care for your pregnancy begins immediately when it is confirmed. You need to see your family doctor, general practitioner or midwife as soon as possible to make a schedule for all the appointments that will be necessary before the birth of the baby. These are what we refer to as antenatal care.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
- They help your doctor or midwife advise you on what to do so that both you and your baby stay healthy. This may revolve around exercise, diet and stress management.
- It helps the doctor identify any threats or potential risks that may endanger you and your baby. These are not always obvious, and you will need to attend the appointment even when you are feeling okay.
- It gives you an opportunity to clarify anything that you don’t understand in your pregnancy. Such include the opportunities to learn about what to expect and how to take care of your baby after pregnancy.
- It helps create awareness. The doctor will advise on what to look out for so that you can tell when anything starts to go wrong.
- It is beneficial to your partner. He too needs to understand the role he plays in ensuring that the pregnancy carries out successfully.
WHO WILL I SEE AT THE APPOINTMENTS?
This will depend on where you prefer to give birth. Most women see a general practitioner first before deciding on a midwife or obstetrician.
If you want to deliver the baby at a public hospital, you will be shown to a doctor who specializes in pregnancy and deliveries. Other hospitals have midwives for this case.
Birth centers and private hospitals also have midwives, but most of the latter have obstetricians. If you are planning to do it at home then you may have to hire a certified midwife.
Antenatal care for every woman is different, depending on several factors such as health, stage of pregnancy, medical history and risks that both mum and child may be facing.
Generally, there are usually some scans, checks, and tests that will be performed to establish:
- When the baby will be born
- A birth plan
- A plan for dieting and exercise
- The mental health of the mother
- A plan B for the birth
- Whether the physical environment is conducive for the development of the baby.
- Whether the baby’s movements, belly size, etc. are by the usual standards.
HOW MANY APPOINTMENTS WILL I ATTEND?
That will depend on individual factors. First-time mothers often attend more than those who have given birth before. The plan will be formulated and handed to you during the first appointment.
The number will also depend on whether you are experiencing any difficulties or problems that may require more attention from the doctor. For instance, a woman who has had a history of miscarriages will need close care and supervision.
The number of appointments can also increase if your pregnancy is taking a rough path. It will require more tests to be done to identify the problem and try to solve it.