Regularly seeing your doctor during pregnancy is very important for both your health and the health of your child. Once your pregnancy has been confirmed by your doctor, he or she will begin scheduling your for regular checkups to ensure your pregnancy is progressing normally.
According to statistics, babies whose mothers do not attend regular checkups during pregnancy are three times as likely to be born with a low birth weight and are five times as likely to die during pregnancy, labor, and delivery, or soon after birth.
With this in mind, we will explore some of the reasons prenatal visits are important for your unborn child.
Helping Detect Early Warning Signs
Your doctor will probably do all of the following during prenatal visits. These practices help detect potentially harmful abnormalities and keep your growing baby healthy:
- A pelvic exam- A pelvic exam after pregnancy is detected will help a doctor to detect any abnormalities in both the uterus and cervix. Any such abnormalities could interfere with the development of the fetus or the delivery of the baby and could potentially lead to a miscarriage.
- Urine and blood tests- Urine and blood tests are often given throughout pregnancy. They detect problems such as bacterial infections, abnormally high sugar levels in the blood, protein levels that might put mothers at risk of preeclampsia, iron levels, the presence of infectious diseases, and iron levels.
- Ultrasounds- Ultrasounds are also typically conducted regularly throughout pregnancy and can help determine the baby’s position in the uterus. Certain positions could make delivery more complicated. Ultrasounds can also detect the sex of the baby during pregnancy. They can check for developmental problems and can determine if a mother is pregnant with more than one child.
- Checking your weight- While weight gain is to be expected during pregnancy, it should be under control. Excessive weight gain could lead to gestational diabetes, and this could cause complications for both mother and child. Typically a woman will gain 25 to 30 pounds during pregnancy. However, this varies widely between women. Your doctor can give you some insights into how much weight gain is right for you.
- Recommending a folic acid supplement- Pregnant women should take a folic acid supplement during pregnancy. Folic acid can help prevent a wide variety of developmental problems in the brain and spinal cord of a growing fetus. Ideally, women begin taking folic acid even before they are pregnant to minimize risks.
- Discussing your condition and diet- Prenatal doctor visits can help you get important advice from your doctor on your diet and habits. Taking in the right nutrients is important to ensuring the proper development of your child. Being able to ask questions regarding diet to your doctor will allow you to rest assured that you are doing everything you can to benefit the health of your child.
During your pregnancy, you will ideally develop a close relationship with your doctor and come to depend on his or her for support and advice. You’ll be seeing a lot of your doctor during pregnancy, so it’s important that you choose a physician who is easy to communicate with and who you trust, like Dr Gilbert Webb at Mercy Hospital.
It’s important that you feel comfortable with your doctor, because you need to ask questions and freely provide information pertinent to your health and your child’s health.