Antenatal care is the care we get from healthprofessionals during pregnancy with a range of checks and tests being used toensure that the baby is growing correctly and developing in the right way. Itsometimes called pregnancy care or maternity care. This is the care you receivewhile you’re pregnant. If you’re expecting your first child you will have up to10 antenatal checks.
The main aim of the antenatal care is to help the motherdeliver healthy baby.· Weightand height checks: when pregnant, a woman will undergo a number of tests toassess her weight and height. Height and weight are used to calculate your bodymass index (BMI) and the new mother is told be careful with their diet. Theirweight will be recorded at every antenatal appointment. Weight gain should besteady ( the average weight gained during pregnancy is 12-15kg). Small womenunder 5 feet will be more carefully monitored in case the pelvis is too narrowfor the baby to be delivered virginally.
· Urinetests: urine is tested at every antenatal appointment for a number of thingsincluding protein, albumin and sugar. Sugar is occasionally present in theurine during pregnancy, but if it persists may be an early sign of diabetes.Protein (albumen) traces may indicate an infection and may need to be treated. · Bloodpressure tests: mother’s blood pressure will be checked at every antenatalvisit. A rise in blood pressure later in pregnancy could be a sign of pre-eclampsia.
It is very common to be blood pressure lower in middle of thepregnancy than at other times. Pregnant woman should avoid stress as much aspossible while will put pressure on their unborn baby. · Bloodtests: blood tests are very common when pregnant as a part of antenatal care.All the tests are done to make pregnancy safer and to check that the baby ishealthy. Blood samples are taken and screened for- HIV, syphilis and hepatitisb. this is usually offered when you are around 8-12 weeks of pregnant. Thesetests are done to protect mother’s health and reduce any risk of passing theinfection to the baby.
Hemoglobin levels are checked regularly to excludeanemia. Blood tests will also be done to determine the blood type of the mum,which is vital information in case of transfusion. · Amniocentesis:amniocentesis is a test done during pregnancy to check if the baby has anygenetic or chromosomal condition.
This is typically done between 15 and 20weeks of pregnancy and requires a needle to extract a sample of amniotic fluid,which is used to test for abnormalities. The test can detect a number ofconditions in a fetus such as Down’s syndrome, spina bifida, and sickle cellanaemia. · Scans:All pregnant women are done with two-ultrasound scan one at around 8 to 14weeks of pregnancy. This is called dating scan and it is done to check how manyweeks pregnant you are and when is the due date (EDD), expecting more than onebaby, is baby growing in the right place and the baby’s development. The otheris done at around 18 to 21 weeks of pregnancy. This is called anomaly scan andis done to check that there are no physical abnormalities.
· Injections/vaccinationsmother may need: some vaccinessuch as the inactivated seasonal flu vaccine (influenza) and whooping vaccineare recommended during the pregnancy to protect the health of baby and themother. · GTT:It’s glucose tolerance test diagnosis diabetes in pregnancy by checking howwell your body regulates your blood sugar level. Gestational diabetes GD is acommon pregnancy complication. It affects one in six pregnant women. AlthoughGD is common testing for it is not routine. This test is done usually between24 weeks and 28 weeks of pregnancy.
· Measuringthe mother’s bump: Baby bump will be beginning to form when it reaches around16 weeks of pregnancy. The size of the baby is measured by physical examinationof your uterine size and growth at your antenatal appointments. And isbasically checked with the measuring tape. Discussion of birth plan: birth plan is a record of what would like tohappen during labour and after the birth. Discussing a birth plan with midwifewill give you the chance to ask questions and find out more about what happensduring labour