Antenatal care is a type of preventive healthcare with the goal of providing regular check-ups that allow doctors or midwives to treat and prevent potential health problems throughout the course of the pregnancy while promoting healthy lifestyles that benefit both mother and child. During check-ups, women will receive medical information over maternal physiological changes in pregnancy, biological changes, and Antenatal nutrition including Antenatal vitamins. Recommendations on management and healthy lifestyle changes are also made during regular check-ups. The availability of routine Antenatal care has played a part in reducing maternal death rates and miscarriages as well as birth defects, low birth weight, and other preventable health problems.
Traditional Antenatal care generally consists of:
- monthly visits during the first two trimeters (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
At the initial antenatal care visit and with the aid of a special booking checklist the pregnant women become classified into either normal risk or high risk.
Antenatal diagnosis or Antenatal screening (note that “Antenatal Diagnosis” and “Antenatal Screening” refer to two different types of tests) is testing for diseases or conditions in a fetus or embryo before it is born. Obsteticians and midwives have the ability to monitor mother’s health and Antenatal development during pregnancy through series of regular check-ups.
Physical examinations generally consist of:
- Collection of (mother’s) medical history
- Checking (mother’s) blood pressure
- (Mother’s) height and weight
- Pelvic exam
- Doppler fetal heart rate monitoring
- (Mother’s) blood and urine tests
- Discussion with caregiver
Ultrasound Obstetric ultrasounds are most commonly performed during the second trimester at approximately week 20. Ultrasounds are considered relatively safe and have been used for over 35 years for monitoring pregnancy. Among other things, ultrasounds are used to:
- Diagnose pregnancy (uncommon)
- Check for multiple fetuses
- Assess possible risks to the mother (e.g., miscarriage, blighted ovum, ectopic pregnancy, or a molar pregnancy condition)
- Check for fetal malformation (e.g., club foot, spina bifida, cleft palate, clenched fists)
- Determine if an intrauterine growth retardation condition exists
- Note the development of fetal body parts (e.g., 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)
Generally an ultrasound is ordered whenever an abnormality is suspected or along a specified schedule.
Our Antenatal Clinic holds on Fridays. The Maternity/Gynecological Section Handles normal delveries, Caecerean Section, Fibroid Surgeries etc.