Prenatal care should begin the minute a woman finds out she is pregnant. If a woman has had trouble conceiving in the past and she is under a doctor’s care for infertility or other reproductive issues, then prenatal care will begin when the doctor begins to treat the woman and help her prepare for pregnancy. Prenatal care focuses on keeping the mother healthy so that her body can offer the unborn child the nutrients it needs to grow and develop while still in utero. The use of prenatal vitamins is prescribed to make sure the fetus gets everything it needs no matter what type of diet the mother may choose.
During a normal pregnancy, most doctors recommend seeing an expectant mother at least once a month for the first seven to eight months. After about 7 1/2 months, the doctor may ask to have the mother visit every two weeks. When the due date is within a week’s time, the doctor may want to see the mother every week until labor begins. If the pregnancy is high risk, the doctor may ask for bi-weekly visits as early as the fourth or fifth month, depending on how serious the situation is. During the last few visits, the doctor may check the cervix to see if it has started to dilate.
Prenatal care is extremely important because it ensures the health of both the mother and the child. Prenatal care ensures that the mother gets the nutrients she needs as well as offering nutritional support to the fetus. Measurements are taken during each prenatal care visit to determine if the child is on point when it comes to reaching physical, developmental milestones during growth. It also gives the doctor the opportunity to help the mother if, for some reason, she begins to encounter problems, such as gestational diabetes or hypertension.
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