Components of Prenatal Care
Prenatal care is the healthcare women receive while carrying a baby. It’s a process that keeps you healthy during delivery, ensuring your baby comes to the world with equal health. Here are some tips you can keep in mind for healthy prenatal care.
Benefits of Early Prenatal Care
Women who think they might be pregnant would visit their primary care provider. Starting early helps ensure the following:
- Reducing the risk of complications before and during the pregnancy.
- Limiting the risk to the baby during and after the pregnancy.
For example, you might be taking medications that infants cannot handle. The baby also eats anything you eat, so early prenatal care is an excellent avenue for patient education.
Common Tests and Procedures During Prenatal Care
Part of prenatal healthcare includes a series of tests and procedures. Here’s a short list of what you will likely go through:
- Blood pressure checks. Regular checks here are meant to check for preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy). Preeclampsia usually happens after the 20th week.
- Blood tests for both you and your partner. This tests for conditions like anemia, STDs, cystic fibrosis, and blood types. These tests can also check for possible genetic disorders. This is usually part of your first-trimester screening.
- Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS). A diagnostic check of the placenta to see if your baby has a genetic condition.
- Saliva tests. These tests (alongside blood tests) check for more genetic conditions, like Down Syndrome.
- Ultrasounds. Soundwaves check that the baby is in the right shape and position. The ultrasound typically comes as a part of your first-trimester check. Further ultrasounds might happen if genetic defects are found during blood or saliva tests.
- Urine tests. These tests are one to check for kidney or bladder infections. They might also find protein in your urine, a sign of preeclampsia.
Exercise During Pregnancy: What is Safe and Recommended
Exercise during pregnancy can help improve your physical condition, limit backaches, and improve your energy levels. Here are some tips:
- Avoid doing exercises where you might fall, such as jumping and high-intensity workouts.
- Don’t do anything with jarring movements (like contact sports).
- Avoid exercising in hot and humid environments.
- Wear loose, comfortable clothes and a supportive bra
- Don’t exercise within one hour of eating.
- Work on a flat surface.
- Use a yoga mat so you can avoid slipping.
- Get up slowly to avoid dizziness and lightheadedness.
Floor exercises are usually best for pregnant people, as they avoid most of the greatest risks on this list.
Nutrition During Pregnancy: Why a Balanced Diet is Essential for Both Mom and Baby
A big part of pregnancy wellness is eating healthy. Here are some tips you can use to keep a healthy diet:
- Above all: keep a balanced diet that you are comfortable with.
- Ask your doctor about taking prenatal supplements.
- Maintain healthy protein sources like lean meat, beans, and fish (around six ounces)
- Eat whole grains like wheat bread, wheat pasta, and brown rice (about seven ounces)
- Stick to low-fat milk sources and Greek yogurt (three cups)
- Include green, leafy vegetables in your diet (about three cups)
- Try to include about two cups of fruit, like oranges, apples, and bananas (one or two cups)
Consult your healthcare professional for dietary recommendations based on your needs. Each human body is different.
Managing Stress During Pregnancy: Tips for a Healthy Mind and Body
For the best prenatal outcomes, you need to reduce stress. A small amount of stress will happen, but you can take steps to reduce it. Here are some suggestions:
- Get a good night’s sleep as often as you can.
- Follow our other tips (above) on eating well and exercising.
- Practice patient education to understand what’s coming (especially during labor).
- Plan for the future to limit financial worries.
- Talk to your partner, friends, and family about your mental help to help process it.
- Get a massage and treat yourself.
- Practice mindfulness to think about how things make you feel.
Focusing on caring for yourself and your new baby should be your priority.
Why is Prenatal Care Important?
Prenatal care is a partnership between you and your trusted medical team. This collaboration gives you peace of mind through the process, helping you every step of the way. With proper care, you can keep yourself and your new baby healthy.