Antenatal Care – Necessity For Pregnancy!!!

Antenatal care also known as Pre-natal care is a type of preventive healthcare service that is directed at mother and unborn child. The main goal is providing regular check-ups that allows doctors or midwives to treat and prevent potential health problems that may arise throughout
the course of the pregnancy while promoting healthy lifestyles that benefit both mother and child.
Antenatal check-ups encompass not only screening and diagnosis but also receiving medical information about maternal physiological changes in pregnancy, biological changes, and prenatal nutrition. Management and healthy lifestyle changes are also highly recommended. The rate of antenatal complications like: miscarriages, neonatal infections, birth defects and even death of mother and child have been drastically reduced due to availability of routine antenatal check-ups. Due to the high importance of antenatal care the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that all pregnant women should receive four antenatal visits to spot and treat problems and give immunisations. Lack of adherence to the recommended check-up routines, and lack of facilities in few countries have resulted in loss of life of pregnant women. WHO reported that in 2015 around 830 women died every day from problems in pregnancy and child birth. Only five of the women who died lived in high income countries, the rest of the women lived in low income countries. Proper antenatal care affects all women of various social backgrounds
and should be improved and made readily available.
There are many ways of changing health systems to help women access antenatal care such as: Creating new health policies that care directly for mother and child, educating health workers and re-organization of health services. Community interventions like: media campaigns, informative-education-communication interventions, financial incentives. While availability of such services has considerable personal health and social benefits, socioeconomic
problems prevent its universal adoption in both developing and developed nations.
Traditional Antenatal care generally consists of:
• Monthly visits during the first two trimesters (from week 1–28)
• Fortnightly visits from 28th week to 36th week of pregnancy
• Weekly visits after 36th week until delivery (delivery at week 38–42)
• Assessment of parental needs and family dynamic
Ante-natal examinations
The main purpose of this examination is to classify or place the pregnant women into a category of either a high risk or normal risk pregnancy. This can be done at the initial antenatal care visit with the aid of a special booking checklist; the pregnant women become classified into either normal risk or high risk. This examination also helps the attending physician or healthcare personal to gather relevant information on the patient including important background information about their pregnancy for example their medical history, growth charts and any scan reports.
Antenatal diagnosis and screening is also conducted to asserting the condition of the fetus or embryo before it is born, testing for diseases is also included. The main job of Obstetricians and midwives are to monitor mother’s health and prenatal development
during pregnancy through series of regular check-ups.
Physical examinations generally consist of:
• Collection of medical history
• Checking blood pressure
of the mother
• Mother’s height and weight
• Pelvic exam
• Doppler fetal heart rate monitoring
• Blood and urine tests of the mother
• Discussion and counseling
with caregiver
Ultrasound
Obstetric ultrasounds can be used to monitoring pregnancy and are most commonly performed during the second trimester at approximately
week 20.
Ultrasounds are considered relatively safe are used to:
• Check for multiple fetuses
• Assess possible risks to the mother (eg, miscarriage, blighted ovum, ectopic pregnancy, or a molar pregnancy condition)
• Check for fetal malformation (eg, cleft palate, clenched fists)
• Determine if an intrauterine growth retardation condition
exists
• Note the development of fetal body parts (eg, heart, brain, liver, stomach, skull, other bones)
• Check the amniotic fluid and umbilical cord for possible
problems
• Determine due date (based on measurements and relative
developmental progress).