The Importance of Prenatal Care
Vitamin regimens, doctor’s visits, and self-care, oh my! Some women regard prenatal care as a nuisance, but it’s one of the most beneficial ways you can keep yourself and your baby healthy during pregnancy. Poor prenatal care can affect mood and energy levels at its best and cause serious health problems or death at its worst. Here’s what you need to know:
What’s Prenatal Care?
Prenatal care includes all preventative health measures taken before giving birth. This often includes taking recommended prenatal vitamins, going to monthly checkups, receiving routine screenings, and attending classes. Your doctor can effectively address numerous conditions early on if you adhere to his or her recommendations. Women who do not receive prenatal care during pregnancy put themselves and their babies at serious risk.
Undiagnosed preeclampsia can lead to the deaths of mothers and fetuses if not addressed. Failing to take proper vitamins, such as folic acid, can increase the risk of infant neural defects. Only a licensed physician can identify risk factors and symptoms and provide you with an effective plan for prenatal care.
When Should I Start Prenatal Care?
Ideally, every woman would begin prenatal care before she finds out she’s pregnant. Before pregnancy, a physician can help a woman and her partner identify risk factors and make necessary lifestyle changes before they conceive (i.e., ceasing alcohol, cigarette, and drug use). After pregnancy, a physician may recommend a particular daily health regimen and schedule intermittent visits for testing and check-ups. Each pregnancy is different, which is why reaching out to a health care professional is so important. Every woman has unique body chemistry and may need special care during pregnancy.
If you have not reached out to a physician for prenatal care early in your pregnancy, go as soon as possible. While earlier is better, it’s never too late to start protecting yourself and your child with preventative care. You also need prenatal care for each child you carry. Don’t assume that your second or third pregnancy will be the same as your first.
Basic Prenatal Health
For otherwise healthy women, your doctor will suggest taking a prenatal vitamin with folic acid (at least 400 micrograms) every day. You may need to stop taking certain medications or change your medication regimen. Get a flu shot, and always tell every health care provider, including your pharmacist, that you’re pregnant.
If you’re pregnant or thinking of conceiving, reach out to our team to schedule a prenatal appointment.