Having a baby should be a joyous experience. However, there are some health complications that can arise during pregnancy. That's why it's important for pregnant women to receive adequate medical care when they are expecting a baby. Here are five facts that expectant parents should know about prenatal care:
1. Different types of health care practitioners can offer prenatal care
Prenatal care refers to the ongoing care given to pregnant women in the months leading up to childbirth. Different types of health care practitioners can provide prenatal care to women. Gynecologists, obstetricians, nurse practitioners, and midwives can all offer prenatal care. The type of provider you should see will depend on your birthing goals, overall health, and your doctors' availabilities.
2. Prenatal care is for the health of mothers and babies
Prenatal care serves two purposes. First and foremost, it safeguards the health of pregnant women. It also allows doctors to ensure that unborn babies remain healthy during their time in the womb. Routine checkups throughout pregnancy can allow doctors to catch potential problems as soon as possible so they can be treated. Common conditions like gestational diabetes and breech positioning can be caught and treated through prenatal care.
3. Women should seek prenatal care as soon as possible
Ideally, women should seek prenatal care as soon as possible. Women can start prenatal care as soon as they start trying to conceive. If you don't want this type of preemptive care, you should at least schedule an appointment with your gynecologist or midwife as soon as you find out that you're pregnant. Early care can ensure that you receive adequate nutrients throughout your entire pregnancy, which can help you prevent some birth defects.
4. Prenatal care will grow more intensive as a woman's due date approaches
Initially, you will see your prenatal care provider for checkups on a monthly basis. As your due date approaches, these doctor's appointments will grow more frequent. Weekly prenatal checkups will be necessary toward the end of your pregnancy. Increasingly frequent doctor's appointments allow your doctor to monitor your pregnancy's development so they can decide to induce labor or place you on bed rest if necessary.
5. Some prenatal care providers also provide labor and delivery services
Many prenatal care providers also oversee women's labor and deliveries. Having the same health care provider throughout your pregnancy can be comforting in its familiarity. If you feel strongly about continuity of care, you should seek a prenatal care provider who can also attend your child's birth.