Pregnancy care consists of prenatal (before birth) and postnatal (after birth) healthcare
Prenatal care helps decrease risks during pregnancy and increases the chance of a safe and healthy delivery.
It involves treatments and trainings to ensure a healthy pre pregnancy, pregnancy, and labour and delivery for mom and baby.
Some healthy habits to follow during this period include:
- quitting smoking and drinking alcohol
- taking folic acid supplements daily (400 to 800 micrograms)
- talking to your doctor about your medical conditions, dietary supplements
- avoiding all contact with toxic substances and chemicals at home or work that could be harmful
During Pregnancy -schedule of visits involve:
- every 4 or 6 weeks for the first 32 weeks
- every 2 or 3 weeks for the 32nd -37th weeks
- every week from the 37th week until delivery
Visits may include:
- taking routine tests and screenings, such as a blood test to check for anaemia, HIV, and your blood type
- monitoring your blood pressure
- measuring your weight gain
- monitoring the baby’s growth and heart rate
- talking about special diet and exercise
Later visits may also include checking the baby’s position and noting changes in your body as you prepare for birth.
Your doctor may also offer special classes at different stages of your pregnancy.
These classes will:
- discuss what to expect when you are pregnant
- prepare you for the birth
- teach you basic skills for caring for your baby
If your pregnancy is considered high risk because of your age or health conditions, you may require more frequent visits and special care. You may also need to see a doctor who works with high-risk pregnancies.
While most attention to pregnancy care focuses on the nine months of pregnancy, postpartum care is important, too. The postpartum period lasts six to eight weeks, beginning right after the baby is born.
During this period, the mother goes through many physical and emotional changes while learning to care for her newborn. Postpartum care involves getting proper rest, nutrition, and vaginal care.
Rest is crucial for new mothers who need to rebuild their strength. To avoid getting too tired as a new mother, you may need to:
- sleep when your baby sleeps
- keep your bed near your baby’s crib to make night feedings easier
- allow someone else to feed the baby with a bottle while you sleep
Getting proper nutrition in the postnatal period is crucial because of the changes body goes through during pregnancy and labour.
The weight that you gained during pregnancy helps make sure you have enough nutrition for breast-feeding. However, you need to continue to eat a healthy diet after delivery.
- avoid high-fat snacks
- focus on eating low-fat foods that balance protein, carbohydrates, and fruits and vegetables
- drink plenty of fluids
Schedule checkups with your doctor about six weeks after delivery to discuss symptoms and receive proper treatment. You should abstain from sexual intercourse for four to six weeks after delivery so that your vagina has proper time to heal.