All You Should Know About Antenatal Care

Antenatal care is also known as prenatal care. It is care given to the pregnant woman during the pregnancy till the day she delivers. Pregnancy lasts for about 38-40 weeks. We calculate the pregnancy from the first day of the last menstrual cycle for 40 weeks.

Dr Anu Sidana Created on 29th Dec, 20

 

Pregnancy is a most beautiful experience in any woman’s life, may it be her first pregnancy or second. Every pregnancy is important for a woman. Continue reading to know more about Antenatal Care for Healthy Pregnancy.

 

What is Antenatal Care?

Antenatal care is also known as prenatal care. It is care given to the pregnant woman during the pregnancy till the day she delivers. 

Pregnancy lasts for about 38-40 weeks. We calculate the pregnancy from the first day of the last menstrual cycle for 40 weeks.

 

Division of Trimesters:

First trimester lands from the first week of pregnancy to 12 weeks. The second trimester from 13 weeks of pregnancy to 28 weeks. The third trimester from 28 weeks to 40 weeks. There are a lot of significant changes in the woman’s body due to the hormones. 

 

Indications of pregnancy:

A missed period might be an indication that the woman is pregnant. Immediately after a missed period, you can do a regular pregnancy test at home, or you can consult your gynecologist in Ashok Vihar, Gurgaon, and get a pregnancy test in a nearby hospital. 

 

What should you do if the test result is positive?

Once the test is positive, you must go for an ultrasound scan at five to six weeks of pregnancy.

An ultrasound is done to observe the fetal heartbeat to check whether there is a live pregnancy or not.

 

What to expect at the first visit?

After consulting the doctor in the first visit, you need to give you proper medical history, including health issues, medications, menstrual cycles, any previous deliveries, any history of prior abortions, or any other health issues during the past pregnancies.

 

Why should a pregnant woman take folic acid tablets?

Once a woman is planning for or after confirmation of pregnancy, it is better to start folic acid medication even before planning the pregnancy. Taking a folic acid tablet minimum of three months before pregnancy prevents any congenital disabilities in the baby. 

It would be great to do some lifestyle modifications like stop drinking alcohol, avoid smoking, and follow a healthy diet.

 

What are the diagnostic tests other than ultrasound?

After the ultrasound, you need to go through some tests like your blood grouping, thyroid test, and viral markers to rule out infections like HIV.

All these tests are to be done in the first trimester of pregnancy. Your gynecologist will examine all these tests and will suggest dietary changes for a successful pregnancy.

  • Ultrasound Scan in Second Trimester:

In 11 to 14 weeks of pregnancy, your doctor will do an ultrasound to know if the baby has any disorder like Down Syndrome, etc.

  • Physical Changes in Second Trimester:

The second trimester of pregnancy stands from 13 weeks to 28 weeks. The lower abdomen keeps on increasing as it has to accommodate the growing uterus. Your breast size increases, and there is pigmentation around the nipples.

  • Diagnostic Tests and Vaccination in Second Trimester:

In the second trimester, you should do a Quadruple marker test. From 18 weeks to 22 weeks, an ultrasound scan known as a TIFFA scan has to be done to see any abnormalities in the baby. 

Vaccinations that are essential during pregnancy is a Flu vaccine that has to be taken up to 12 weeks till delivery. 

  • The occurrence of Stretch Marks:

There is an appearance of stretch marks. You can use creams to prevent stretch marks. So nearing term, that is, after 36 weeks, anytime you can land in labor. 

 

How many visits should one make to the antenatal clinic?

The frequency of antenatal visits is like in the first to 28 weeks; you need to go for a regular check-up once a month.

After 28 weeks, every 15 days up to 36 weeks, and after 36 weeks, you need to go for weekly visits.

  • Time to Feel the Baby Movements:

Your doctor will check your weight, blood pressure, and the growth of the baby. After 20 weeks, only you will be able to know the fetal movements. When you’re at home, you can check the activities of the baby. If you feel there is any decrease in heart units, you have to consult your doctor.

 

Which diet should you follow in pregnancy?

The diet during pregnancy is the most important thing. Try to take nutritious food which has a lot of vitamins, minerals. Avoid high sugar, high fatty foods. Eat more amount of fruits and vegetables in your diet, which have a lot of antioxidants. Keep yourself hydrated by drinking lots of water, coconut water, and juices.

 

What are the signs, symptoms, or health problems during pregnancy?

  • Nausea and Vomiting:

In the first trimester, the most common symptoms that patient face is nausea and vomiting. An excess amount of vomiting could be because of Hyperthyroidism. So simple lifestyle modifications like eating small, regular meals and avoiding eating heavy meals will help with this sickness.

  • Constipation:

Due to the hormonal changes, you may feel lazy, mood swings, pain in your breasts, and sleepy in the first trimester. One most common complaint during pregnancy is constipation. You can avoid it by having regular physical activity and taking lots of amounts of fluids. 

  • Swelling:

Body swelling and oedema in the legs is common in pregnancy. Don’t sit or stand for a longer duration.

  • Acidity and Heartburn:

Acidity and heartburn are one of the common complaints during pregnancy. It is better to avoid spicy or outside food. Try to move around for a while after having food. Don’t lie down immediately after taking food. 

If you have any other problems like the cold, fever, you should consult your gynaecologist. Don’t take any medicines on your own.

Consult your gynaecologist if you see some liquid coming out from the vagina or have increasing abdominal pain.