Antenatal Care & Delivery
Getting good care before, during, and after your pregnancy is very important. It can help your baby grow and develop and keep you both healthy. It is the best way to be sure your little one gets a head start on a healthy life.
Prenatal care ideally starts at least three months before you begin trying to conceive. 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, and any over-the-counter or prescription drugs that you take
- avoiding all contact with toxic substances and chemicals at home or work that could be harmful
Once you become pregnant, you’ll need to schedule regular healthcare appointments throughout each stage of your pregnancy.
A schedule of visits may involve seeing your doctor:
- every month in the first six months you are pregnant
- every two weeks in the seventh and eighth months you are pregnant
- every week during your ninth month of pregnancy During these visits, your doctor will check your health and the health of your baby.
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
If your pregnancy is considered high risk because of your age or health conditions, you may require more frequent visits and special care.
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.