Katy obstetrician explains the importance of prenatal care
Prenatal care should begin as soon as you suspect that you’re pregnant. Simply stated, the earlier you start caring for yourself, the healthier you and your child will be. The importance of prenatal care cannot be overstated, as your Katy obstetrician explains.
The benefits of prenatal care
- Have a healthy baby – You want the best for your child, even before he or she is born. You might be decorating the nursery and already planning a college fund, but the most important thing you can do to ensure a good life ahead is seek medical care. Preventive care can help avoid problems, while early diagnosis and treatment can mitigate the risk if problems do develop. How much difference does regular prenatal care make? According to the US Office of Women’s Health, infant death is five times less likely and a low-birthweight baby is three times less likely if the mother receives prenatal care.
- Keep mommy healthy too – The majority of pregnancies are trouble free, but if something goes wrong your baby isn’t the only one in danger. The changes in, and demands on, a woman’s body during this time are tremendous. Your obstetrician will help you avoid injury and optimize your own health, as well as diagnosing and managing any conditions such as diabetes that may develop.
- Get answers to your questions – Pregnancy can be one of the most exciting, and sometimes frightening, events in a woman’s life. Is this supplement safe? How much exercise should you get? Is this symptom normal at this stage? Questions abound, especially for first time moms. However, every pregnancy is different, so even women with multiple children find themselves in unknown territory.
- Know what’s happening – During prenatal exams, your obstetrician will measure your baby bump, check the fetal heart rate, and more. This information, along with ultrasound images and other indicators are used to track your baby’s development.
- Be prepared –What are your pain medication preferences? Who do you want in the delivery room? Are you going to breastfeed? These are just a few of the many decisions you will need to make as you create a birth plan. Your obstetrician will explain what to expect during labor and delivery, and what you need to decide in advance.
What does the first prenatal visit include
During the first visit, your obstetrician will confirm the diagnosis of pregnancy, and run some routine tests to identify any risk factors. This includes a cervical exam, pap smear, bloodwork, cervical cultures, and a general physical examination. Ultrasound scans and other diagnostics may also be performed at this time if needed.
In addition to testing, your obstetrician will inquire about your medical history, previous pregnancies, date of your last menstrual period, and any symptoms you might be experiencing. An important part of this visit is advice and discussion, especially if you haven’t seen us for preconception care. We will discuss nutrition, supplements, medication, exercise, and other steps you can take to promote a healthy pregnancy.
When you first learn that you are pregnant, your mind goes a million directions. It can be easy to forget important questions or information. In order to make the most of your prenatal visit, it is a good idea to make a list. Include any questions about your eating habits, ability to work, medical concerns, the birthing process or anything else. Similarly, bring something (a device or old-fashioned pen and paper) to make notes during the appointment. Of course, we are here for you throughout your pregnancy and beyond, so you can always call. However, these steps can help you make the most of your appointment and get off to a good start.
Ongoing pre-natal care
After the initial visit, you will need to see your obstetrician regularly to ensure that your pregnancy is progressing normally. The treatment schedule may vary, especially for women with high-risk pregnancies, which must be monitored closely. However, in most cases the prenatal care schedule includes:
- First appointment – As soon as possible
- Subsequent appointments during the first trimester – Monthly
- During the second trimester – Bi-weekly
- During the third trimester – Weekly
- At any time – Don’t take chances; call us if you have unexpected symptoms or anything else concerning
If you are pregnant or planning a family, please call Jenkins Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Medicine at 855 346 8610 to schedule an appointment.