Antenatal care means the care needed for women at the beginning of, and during pregnancy. It is an essential part of pregnancy management. Regular and proper prenatal care helps to detect complications early and provide the required treatments. Prenatal care is extremely important for the mother and the baby.
Here, we’ve put together the most basic prenatal care best practices that every pregnant woman should receive. Both the mother-to-be and their family members should ensure that they follow prenatal and antenatal care best practices and take responsibility for the pregnancy management.
Management of common symptoms of pregnancy
Pregnant women may feel a lot of common symptoms. While these problems are nothing to worry about, they need to be taken care of as these simple things could turn into complications. Hence, it’s best to manage them as soon as women start experiencing them.
Morning sickness: Most women feel nausea and vomiting–commonly referred to as morning sickness. Although it may feel uncomfortable, it is a symptom that is easy to manage. Women could try eating small and more frequent meals or have drinks such as ginger water or chamomile tea to manage nausea and vomiting. However, if it gets too troublesome, women must consult their doctor/gynaecologist.
Fatigue: Pregnancy causes a lot of hormonal changes, which causes fatigue. It’s not a symptom to be worried about as long as you’re taking proper diet and rest. You should ensure you get enough sleep, take naps, relax, and find a comfortable sleeping position. However, if you constantly feel like you lack energy, you should consult your doctor.
Constipation: Another symptom caused by hormonal changes is experiencing contractions and constipation. As levels of progesterone rise during pregnancy, it causes contractions in the intestine, which may cause constipation. The common solutions to this problem are staying hydrated and increasing fiber in the diet.
Round ligament pain: As the baby grows, the uterus of the mother expands. The uterus has ligaments on either side and as these ligaments stretch due to the growth of the belly, it can cause a sharp pain. It is known as round ligament pain and occurs during walking or exercising. To reduce this pain, women must engage in yoga and stretching exercises.
Heartburn: Heartburn is a common problem among pregnant women and is often caused due to indigestion or because of the growing baby causing pressure to the stomach. The best remedies to reduce heartburn are to stay upright after eating and stay hydrated with water, fruits, and vegetables. Pregnant women should avoid acidic foods and have small meals throughout the day.
Contractions: One of the most common symptoms, especially towards the end of the pregnancy, these contractions are known as false labor or Braxton Hicks Contractions. They are referred to as false labor. The best solution to tackle these contractions is to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated.
Clinical examination of the mother-to-be
Every woman’s health condition would be different and hence, each pregnant woman might need a different set of clinical tests when she is pregnant. However, there are some basic tests that should be performed on all pregnant women. Some of them are nutrition, blood pressure, weight and weight gain pattern as pregnancy progresses, uterine size, cervical check, and the heart rate of the mother and the fetus, among other checks.
Screening for fetal anomalies
Screening for fetal anomalies is one of the routine checks for pregnant women. An anomaly scan is an ultrasound scan that aims to look at the fetus closely. This scan tries to detect any physical abnormalities in the baby.
From the management of common pregnancy symptoms to clinical checks for the fetus and the mother – women need extra care during pregnancy. It is the responsibility of the pregnant woman, her family members, partner, friends, and everyone around to support them and provide them with care.