Prenatal/antenatal/pregnancy care is the act of having a healthy lifestyle while lady is pregnant. Pregnancy care includes making good choices in lifestyle such as food, sleep, exercise, supplements of iron and calcium and going to the doctor for regular visits. The pregnant lady is more likely to have a healthy birth if she maintains a healthy pregnancy.
As soon as lady misses her monthly period, we advice to do check up by gynaecologist. During first visit we take detailed history of the lady in terms of date of first day of her last period, present symptoms, any medication she is on, any illness /surgery in the past etc. We record her height, weight, blood pressure and do the check up. We calculate her expected date of delivery, and prescribe supplements. If the lady is in her first three months of her pregnancy generally folic acid supplements are given, later on we give iron and calcium supplements. Apart from this we advice, medication for various elements which lady complaints of such as cold, cough, fever, vomiting, acidity etc.
We advice few blood tests and urine test. The purpose of all the blood test is to detect and treat any abnormality so that the lady will have healthy baby after delivery. These tests include blood group, hemogram to know hemoglobin/white blood cells levels, blood sugar levels, urine analysis to rule out urine infection tests to rule out few infections like HIV, hepatitis, syphilis(if pregnant lady is having any of these infections , it may infect baby which is growing inside her uterus also) We also get serial ultrasound check ups to know growth of the baby.
First ultrasound is generally advised three to four weeks after missed period or at the time of first check up. This ultrasound confirms growth of the baby and tells us about due date of delivery also. Second ultrasound we advice around 12-14 weeks of pregnancy and it is called as NT Scan. The sonologist specially sees skin thickness of back of the neck, bone of the nose of the developing fetus and some blood vessel of the developing fetus. These are few markers suggestive of abnormal growth/brain development of the baby.
Third ultrasound examination is done around 18 to 20 weeks of pregnancy ( around 4th to 5th month) and is known as the anomaly scan. This scan is done to see physical development of the fetus. The sonologist do detailed scan in which development of every organ of the body of the fetus is noted. This is an important scan to check baby s physical make up.
Here after many doctors advice sonography scans at 28-30 weeks of pregnancy and just before delivery. If any deviation is found in baby’s growth then additional sonography scans may be asked for.
Certain blood tests such as dual markers triple/ quadruple markers are also done at specific period to know the chances of some genetic abnormalities in the baby. If the pregnant lady suffers some illness during course of the pregnancy, some additional tests may be performed necessary for the diagnosis and treatment.
Antenatal or pregnancy care is very important.
Many pregnant ladies are concerned about weight gain in pregnancy. It is different for everyone, but most women should gain about 10 to 15 kg. Somebody may have even more weight gain. In such cases we ask them to restrict salt intake and not to worry. If lady is underweight when she gets pregnant, she may need to gain more. If she is overweight, she may need to gain less before attempting pregnancy.
Eating a balanced diet is one of the best things one can do for herself and her baby. Pregnant lady can eat non-veg food. Egg, in any form can be eaten frequently. We advice non-veg food in moderation twice or thrice in a week provided it is well cooked less spicy and less oily. One should have salad along with non-veg food Non-veg food, that is not fully cooked can put you at risk for an infection of intestines
Pregnant lady can eat all Fruit and vegetables. Wash all produce before eating it. Keep cutting boards and dishes clean. Pomegranate, apple, banana, all dry fruits, are more important in fruits. We advice to have more green leafy vegetables, beet root, carrot in vegetables as these vegetables are rich in iron.
We advice, to have milk and milk products regularly. Milk and milk products are rich in calcium. They will provide calcium to pregnant lady and her growing child. It’s always better not to drink unpasteurized milk or eat unpasteurized milk products. These may have bacteria that can cause infections. A pregnant lady can drink tea or coffee during pregnancy but it is advised not to drink more than 1 or 2 cups of coffee or other drinks with caffeine each day.
Pregnant lady is having restriction on taking medicines as some medicines can affect growing fetus, may cause birth defects. Pregnant lady should consult her doctor before starting any medicine like pain killers, and over-the-counter medicines.
Many pregnant ladies are working women. They have to balance their home, workplace, travelling while they are pregnant. How late a lady can work in pregnancy varies for each person. Natures of the job and work environment play a big role. For instance, radiation, lead and other materials, such as copper and mercury, can be harmful to your baby, it is better to quit such job as long as lady is pregnant/ trying for pregnancy. If job is active, lady may not be able to work as late. Desk jobs are not thought to cause harm to your baby. However, lady should not rest a computer on your stomach or uterus.
Overall health of the pregnant lady also plays a part in how late she can work. If pregnant lady is at risk of certain issues or preterm labor, she may be on bed rest.
Unless pregnant lady is having issues during pregnancy, she should get regular exercise. Exercise promotes a healthy lifestyle and can help ease discomfort. Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise each day.
Some women say exercising while you are pregnant makes labor and delivery easier. Walking and swimming are great choices. If you were not active before pregnancy, start slowly. Listen to your body and do not overdo it. Drink plenty of water to prevent overheating or dehydration. It is best to avoid exercises that may cause you to fall.. You also should avoid contact sports, such as soccer or basketball. If you were active before pregnancy, it is probably safe to continue.
Following are some warning symptoms with exercise, such as, blurred vision, dizziness, chest pain, stomach pain. If any of these symptoms occur, Stop excising and contact doctor.
It is safe to have sex while lady is pregnant. However, we advise to avoid it during first three months and last one month of pregnancy. Some women’s level of interest in sex changes when they are pregnant. As pregnancy grows, one may need to try different positions, such as lying on side or being on top. Husband has to avoid deep penetration and preferably it’s advisable to use condom.
Nausea or vomiting may strike anytime during the day or night. Try eating frequent, small meals. Avoid foods that are oily, spicy or acidic and outside food. Some women are more nauseous when their stomach is empty. Keep some sweets, besan laddu, dry toast etc nearby to prevent an empty stomach. Morning sickness usually settles after first 3 months. Effective medications are now available to control nausea and vomiting. The symptoms are not controlled even after medicine one has to think about other causes for it and do check up for the same.Tiredness
Fatigue is very common during pregnancy. Try to get enough rest or take a nap if possible. Pregnant lady may feel tied if her hemoglobin level is less. We advice, to take proper iron supplements to maintain hemoglobin levels.Leg cramps
Being active can help reduce leg cramps. Stretch the calf of your leg by flexing your foot toward your knee.Constipation
Drink plenty of fluids. Eat foods with lots of fiber, such as fruits, vegetables, and cereals. Do not take laxatives without talking to your doctor first. Stool softeners may be safer than laxatives.Hemorrhoids
Try to avoid becoming constipated. Do not strain during bowel movements. Clean yourself well after a bowel movement. Take warm soaks (sitz baths) if necessary.Urinating more often
You may need to urinate more often when you are pregnant. Changing hormones can be a factor. As your baby grows, they will put pressure on your bladder.Varicose veins
Avoid clothing that fits tightly around your waist or legs. Rest and put your feet up as much as you can. Avoid sitting or standing still for long periods. Ask your doctor about support or compression hose. These can help prevent or ease varicose veins.Moodiness
Your hormones are on a roller coaster ride during pregnancy. Plus, your whole life is changing. Don’t be too hard on yourself.Heartburn
Eat frequent, small meals. Avoid spicy, oily or acidic foods. Do not lie down right after eating. Antacids can be taken after consulting doctor.Fungal infections
The amount of discharge from your vagina can increase during pregnancy. Fungal infections, which can cause discharge, are common as well. Consult your doctor if you see any unusual discharge or if it smells.Bleeding gums
Brush and floss regularly, and see your dentist for cleanings. Do not avoid dental visits because you are pregnant. tell your dentist you’re pregnant.Stuffy nose
Changes in the levels of the female hormone estrogen can cause a stuffy nose. You may also have nosebleeds.Edema (retaining fluid)
Rest with your legs up as much as you can, take a pillow underneath your legs while sleeping. Lie on your left side while sleeping. This position helps blood flow from your legs back to your heart better. Do not use diuretics (water pills).Skin changes
Stretch marks appear as red marks on your skin. Lotion with shea butter can help keep your skin moist and reduce itchy, dry skin. Stretch marks cannot be avoided. They do often fade after pregnancy.
You may have other skin changes. These can include darkening of the skin on your face or around your nipples. Some women get a dark line below their belly button. Try to stay out of the sun or use sunscreen to help lessen these marks. Most marks will fade after pregnancy.
There are several things you should avoid while you are pregnant. Take notice to follow this list of warnings.Fungal infections
The amount of discharge from your vagina can increase during pregnancy. Fungal infections, which can cause discharge, are common as well. Consult your doctor if you see any unusual discharge or if it smells.
Things to consider:
There are several things you should avoid while you are pregnant. Take notice to follow this list of warnings.
When to see a doctor
Call your doctor if you have: