Prenatal Care: A Matter of Life and Death

You’re having a baby — Yay! Congratulations!

In the midst of fawning over baby gear and reading baby books, have you booked your first prenatal appointment yet?

Whether you plan to be a “crunchy” mama, a “silky” mom, or somewhere in the middle (scrunchy), there’s one decision you need to make for the well-being of your baby and your own: Begin prenatal care as early in your pregnancy as possible.

Read on to learn about the importance of prenatal care to a healthy pregnancy.

 

The Importance of Prenatal Care

According to a recent analysis of prenatal care (or lack there of) and its outcomes on both babies and moms, women who don’t have adequate prenatal care risk infant loss at a higher rate. Their babies are more likely to be stillborn or to die of SIDS.

This is true for women who don’t get any prenatal care and also for women who only see an obstetrician in the last few weeks of their pregnancy.

Women who get consistent prenatal care are generally healthier, and they enjoy smoother pregnancies. They also have more resources and support if something goes wrong with their babies during birth or postpartum.

 

What Does Prenatal Care Include?

Prenatal care involves regular appointments with a trusted obstetrician as soon as you become ten weeks pregnant. During that first visit, the doctor checks your cervix, does a general physical, and sometimes performs other obgyn tests.

You are sent for blood work and for your first baby ultrasound.

If all is well, you’ll continue seeing your obgyn monthly, weekly, or biweekly, depending on where you are in your pregnancy. You’ll have other ultrasounds and any genetic testing you desire. Your doctor will also help you make sense of your birthing options, and together, you’ll choose what’s best for your circumstances.

 

What You Miss Without Prenatal Care

Without prenatal care, you won’t know when certain conditions pop up that only affect pregnant women. Several of them, such as preeclampsia, can be deadly to both mom and baby if not treated.

Without proper prenatal care, you may also miss out on vital education about your body and what it needs both before and after the baby is born. For instance, you might not know that your body needs prenatal vitamins with DHA. You might not learn how to prepare for natural childbirth or how to deal with the early challenges of breastfeeding.

Midway through your pregnancy, if you receive adequate prenatal care, you undergo a glucose test to make sure that you don’t have gestational diabetes (elevated blood sugar levels during pregnancy). If you don’t get prenatal care, you don’t have access to this very important test.

 

Need More Tips?

Are you ready to enjoy your beautiful journey through pregnancy?

Now that you understand the importance of prenatal care, you can ensure that both you and your baby get the right kind of support during these next few months. For more lifestyle or health tips about pregnancy, keep an eye out for new content on our blog. Also, feel free to browse our archives for more posts like this.

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