Antenatal care is the care we get from health
professionals during pregnancy with a range of checks and tests being used to
ensure that the baby is growing correctly and developing in the right way. It
sometimes called pregnancy care or maternity care. This is the care you receive
while you’re pregnant. If you’re expecting your first child you will have up to
10 antenatal checks. The main aim of the antenatal care is to help the mother
deliver healthy baby.

·     
Weight
and height checks: when pregnant, a woman will undergo a number of tests to
assess her weight and height. Height and weight are used to calculate your body
mass index (BMI) and the new mother is told be careful with their diet. Their
weight will be recorded at every antenatal appointment. Weight gain should be
steady ( the average weight gained during pregnancy is 12-15kg). Small women
under 5 feet will be more carefully monitored in case the pelvis is too narrow
for the baby to be delivered virginally.

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·     
Urine
tests: urine is tested at every antenatal appointment for a number of things
including protein, albumin and sugar. Sugar is occasionally present in the
urine 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.

 

·     
Blood
pressure tests: mother’s blood pressure will be checked at every antenatal
visit. 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 the
pregnancy than at other times. Pregnant woman should avoid stress as much as
possible while will put pressure on their unborn baby.

 

·     
Blood
tests: 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 is
healthy. Blood samples are taken and screened for- HIV, syphilis and hepatitis
b. this is usually offered when you are around 8-12 weeks of pregnant. These
tests are done to protect mother’s health and reduce any risk of passing the
infection to the baby. Hemoglobin levels are checked regularly to exclude
anemia. 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 any
genetic or chromosomal condition. This is typically done between 15 and 20
weeks 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 of
conditions in a fetus such as Down’s syndrome, spina bifida, and sickle cell
anaemia.

 

·     
Scans:
All pregnant women are done with two-ultrasound scan one at around 8 to 14
weeks of pregnancy. This is called dating scan and it is done to check how many
weeks pregnant you are and when is the due date (EDD), expecting more than one
baby, is baby growing in the right place and the baby’s development. The other
is done at around 18 to 21 weeks of pregnancy. This is called anomaly scan and
is done to check that there are no physical abnormalities.

 

·     
Injections/vaccinations
mother may need:  some vaccines
such as the inactivated seasonal flu vaccine (influenza) and whooping vaccine
are recommended during the pregnancy to protect the health of baby and the
mother.

 

·     
GTT:
It’s glucose tolerance test diagnosis diabetes in pregnancy by checking how
well your body regulates your blood sugar level. Gestational diabetes GD is a
common pregnancy complication. It affects one in six pregnant women. Although
GD is common testing for it is not routine. This test is done usually between
24 weeks and 28 weeks of pregnancy.

 

·     
Measuring
the mother’s bump: Baby bump will be beginning to form when it reaches around
16 weeks of pregnancy. The size of the baby is measured by physical examination
of your uterine size and growth at your antenatal appointments. And is
basically checked with the measuring tape.

 

Discussion of birth plan: birth plan is a record of what would like to
happen during labour and after the birth. Discussing a birth plan with midwife
will give you the chance to ask questions and find out more about what happens
during labour

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