HealthCareMagic is now Ask A Doctor - 24x7 |

Care before and during pregnancy

  • Prenatal care during pregnancy needs special attention both by the doctor and the pregnant mother. There is more that is offered both to the mother and the growing baby. The prenatal care starts even from the time before the female gets pregnant. The modifications that are needed to make by the female are mentioned. It can include diet, supplements, vaccinations, life style changes and behavioral concepts.

    What are to be done before you want to become pregnant ?

    Stop any kind of contraception that is regularly used.

    Folic acid supplements three months before planning pregnancy a dose of 400 micrograms a day and continue till 12- 14 weeks of pregnancy period.

    Vaccinations are to be taken that cause problems to the developing baby like Chicken pox and Rubella.

    Healthy diet and regular physical activity as advised.

    Stop smoking and drinking alcohol.

    Check the medications if any, with the doctor before you plan for.

    Antenatal schedules to be followed by a pregnant female :

  • A typical antenatal care schedule for a low-risk woman with a normally progressing pregnancy is:

    1. Weeks 4 to 28: 1 visit per month(every 4 weeks).
    2. Weeks 28 to 36: 2 visits per month (every 2 to 3 weeks) .
    3. Weeks 36 to birth: 1 visit per week.

  • But in case of abnormal pregnancy and high risk pregnancy like gestational diabetes, eclampsia, Rh negative pregnancy etc you need more visits as per advice by the doctor.

    What happens in the first antenatal visit to a doctor after the pregnancy is confirmed?

    The first visit has an important part of explaining the normal pregnancy, the changes that occur both in you and your growing fetus, the problems that are commonly seen, the diet to be taken, physical activity and vaccinations if any. The doctor shall put following questions:

    1. Ask you about your health, your partner's health and the health of your close family members. Medical problems you have.
    2. The date of your last menstrual period .
    3. Birth control methods .
    4. History of abortions and/or miscarriages .
    5. Hospitalizations .
    6. Medications you are taking, or are allergic to .
    7. Your family's medical history.
    8. Don't worry if you don't know all the answers.
    9. Identify medical problems.
    10. Discuss with you any medications you are taking.
    11. Do a physical exam and a pelvic (internal) exam.
    12. Weigh you.
    13. Check your blood pressure.
    14. Check a urine sample for infection.
    15. Do some blood tests to check for hemoglobin and see if you have had infections. You will be asked if you want a test for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Don't be worried as it is always wise to get it done.
    16. Do a pap smear to check for cervical cancer and other tests for vaginal infections.
    17. Figure out your due date: an estimate of the day your baby will be born. Most babies are born within two weeks (before or after) their due date. You should keep in mind the due date .
    18. Make sure you're taking a prenatal vitamin with folic acid.

    • Normally the total period of pregnancy is around 40 weeks. It can occur anytime after 37 completed weeks to 42 completed weeks. It is overdue after 42 weeks and see the doctor immediately. It is calculated by simple method from the last menstrual period you had (if you have regular 28 day cycles). Just add 40 weeks from your last day of regular menstrual period. You can use the EDD calculator on our home page.

      What in the follow up visits ?

      1. Weight gain, Blood pressure and addressing the common problems along with physical examination.
      2. Usually doctors would like to do an Ultra sound to confirm the dates at 10 weeks.
      3. If he finds anything abnormal or there is significant family history. He will order the tests accordingly.
      4. Vaccinations for tetanus are optimal in developing countries.
      5. Urine test to check for infections at 24 to 30 weeks.
      6. Check for Gestational diabetes at 24 to 28 weeks.

    • Register for antenatal classes if available in your locality.

    Related Links :