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What is Antenatal Care and its benefits?

  • 4.8 (6 Votes)
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Antenatal care or prenatal care is the preventive care, which a woman receives during her pregnancy to ensure the good health of the baby. Antenatal care prepares the woman for the childbirth, helps to diagnose any complications during pregnancy and promotes physical and mental wellness of the expecting mother.

Antenatal care is the type of preventive care, which a pregnant woman receives from the obstetrician or gynecologist. It is also known as pregnancy care or maternity care. Antenatal care is an essential part of pregnancy care and it should be started as soon as you find you are pregnant. At every stage of pregnancy, right care and advice are required as having a healthy pregnancy is the key to promote healthy birth.

Antenatal care is required by every woman whether they have high-risk pregnancy or not. Antenatal care is done so that both the mother and child are healthy and safe during pregnancy. A pregnant woman requires proper guidance during pregnancy regarding her diet, nutrition, supplements and medical care. If she finds something unusual then she should visit an obstetrician immediately.

When to start antenatal care?

Antenatal care should be started as soon as a woman comes to know that she is pregnant. This ensures that the pregnant woman’s health can be taken care of in the best possible manner.

antenatal care

Need for antenatal care

You must be thinking why does a pregnant woman need antenatal care during pregnancy. Let’s go through the below-mentioned points to know more about the importance of antenatal care.

  • To maintain the health of the pregnant woman
  • For physical and mental wellness of the child who is about to take birth
  • To prepare the pregnant lady for delivery
  • Time to time screening to monitor the growth of the baby inside the uterus
  • To ensure safe delivery of the baby
  • To educate and prepare the mother for the next phase in her life
  • For personal motivation and advice for family planning

Benefits of antenatal care

Antenatal care has many benefits, which encourages good health of both the mother and the child. Some of the additional benefits of antenatal care are summarized below:

  • Antenatal care can prevent complications. “A small minority of pregnant women develops complications such as hypertension and diabetes. Early diagnosis means they can be properly monitored and treated.
  • Antenatal care provides the explanation of the importance of proper nutrition during pregnancy and breastfeeding to expecting moms.
  • Antenatal classes will help expecting parents to gain insight and get fact based information on pregnancy, birthing options, breastfeeding and caring of a newborn baby so that they can make informed choices.
  • Antenatal care also gives partners an opportunity to understand the whole process of pregnancy, birth and early parenting.

Antenatal Care elements

The necessary or essential elements of antenatal care include:

  • Detection of any complications in the pregnant woman or her expected child
  • Management of pregnancy-related complications
  • Treatment of primary or concurrent illness
  • Diagnosis of conditions and diseases such as anemia, STDs, HIV infection, mental health problems and stress
  • Preventive measures, including tetanus toxic immunization, de-worming, iron and folic acid supplementation, intermittent preventive treatment of malaria in pregnancy
  • Advice and support to the woman and her family for developing healthy home behaviors
  • Birth and emergency preparedness plan to increase awareness of maternal and newborn health needs
  • Importance of self-care during pregnancy and the postnatal period including the need of social support during pregnancy
  • Encourage healthy behaviors in the home, including healthy lifestyle and diet, safety and injury prevention, and support or care in the home
  • Support care-seeking behavior, including recognition of danger signs for the woman and the newborn as well as transport and funding plans in case of emergencies
  • Help the pregnant woman and her partner prepare emotionally and physically for the birth and care of their baby, particularly preparing for early/ exclusive breastfeeding and essential newborn care
  • Promote postnatal family planning/birth spacing

antenatal care

Antenatal Classes

Antenatal Class is the greatest way to prepare a pregnant woman for the birth of a baby and it is also the way whereby you would get the tips on how to look after the baby. 

Before you go to the antenatal class you need to know what happens there and what is being taught there.

  • You will be taught as what happens when you are in labor pain.
  • Various pain relief processes will be taught to you whereby you will get to learn managing minor pains yourself.
  • Exercises you should do while you are pregnant and after pregnancy.
  • You will get to share your feelings about pregnancy and your journey to pregnancy.
  • Caring and feeding the baby after birth.
  • You will also get connected to other pregnant women in your circle.

The classes will help you get confident about pregnancy so that it will help you during the delivery as well as post pregnancy. Also, you will get more ideas about various complications you might get and how to deal with them.

Are you looking for some expert advice before getting pregnant? If yes, then read our blog exclusively on Useful Tips Before Getting Pregnant

Importance of antenatal care

Good care during pregnancy is the need of a mother because pregnancy is a crucial time for a woman. After you get to know about your pregnancy, get in touch with the doctor and start with the recommended antenatal care regime. This will help the mother and the growing baby to receive the required nutrition and have the desired level of good health.One should never neglect any kind of sickness that occurs to a woman during pregnancy. The necessity of the problem free delivery and health issues for both the mother and the expected baby makes antenatal care important. An individual can keep an eye on the movement of the baby and a lot more to ensure her pregnancy is going in the right direction.

Time to time antenatal care appointments should be arranged with your consulting doctor.

Preventing problems for mothers and babies depend on high-quality care before and during pregnancy, childbirth, and the post period. It also depends on the support available to the pregnant women particularly when complications occur. The goal of the antenatal care is to prepare the woman for the birth and parenthood as well as prevent, detect, alleviate, or manage the three types of health problems during pregnancy that affect mothers and babies which includes

Antenatal care has reached to more than two-thirds of pregnant women worldwide. Antenatal care has become the need of the time because of rising complications during pregnancy. Multiple individuals or the families rely on antenatal care to deliver their child.

However, an imbalance exists, for young, rural, poor, and less educated women as they may not be benefited from antenatal care services or may drop out because of financial barriers. Efforts to strengthen antenatal care should be focused on universal coverage by addressing financial and cultural barriers to reach vulnerable groups, and provide a quality improvement to increase women satisfaction and reduce pregnancy-related problems. Antenatal care needs to reach a large number of women and communities with effective clinical and health promotion interventions so that every section of society can take advantage of antenatal care.

If you want to learn more about pregnancy-related information, then make sure to stay tuned to our fertility and pregnancy blog. You can also read about different infertility treatments at Elawoman.com.

Dr. Rachna Verma

About The Author

Infertility Specialist, Endocrinologist Dr. Rachna Verma
Delhi

Dr. Rachna Verma is a gynecologist and obstetrician presently specializing in Infertility management, IUI, IVF, Hormonal Disturbance Management. Dr. Rachna has completed MBBS from SP Medical College, Bikaner in 1992 and DGO from RNT Medical College in 1996. Then, Dr. Rachna pursued DNB in Obstetrics and Gynecology and MNAMS in Obstetrics and Gynecology from Sir Gangaram Hospital in 1999 and 2000 respectively. She is also a member of National Academy of Medical Sciences. Presently, Dr. Rachna is practicing at Gynae and Imaging Point and Fortis Flt Lt Rajan Dhall Hospital, Delhi. For more information, visit elawoman.com

SOURCES AND REFERENCES:

  1. Calorie intake for pregnant women pregnant woman, Elawoman - 2017
  2. What is prenatal care? pregnancy care, Elawoman - 2018
  3. What are the functions of uterus? uterus, Elawoman - 2017
  4. 10 simple pregnancy tips to help you have a normal delivery safe delivery, Elawoman - 2017
  5. How to know due date of pregnancy and pregnancy weeks? fact based information on pregnancy, Elawoman - 2017
  6. Embryo development stages process of pregnancy, Elawoman - 2017
  7. How stress affects pregnancy stress, Elawoman - 2017
  8. Which are the most fertile days to plan pregnancy pregnancy, Elawoman - 2017
  9. Widal test before trying to conceive family planning, Elawoman - 2017
  10. Exercise during pregnancy for normal delivery Exercises, Elawoman - 2018

6 Comments

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Ashima Singh

I strongly agree with the article. Antenatal care does help a lot and it helped me too during my pregnancy.

Oct. 13, 2018, 4:30 p.m. 5.0

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Hanshika Nene

I am pregnant and I think antenatal care will be helpful for me too. Please suggest some best clinics for antenatal care.

Oct. 7, 2018, 9:58 p.m. 5.0

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Fatima Khan

Pregnancy can bring in lots of responsibility in few seconds and antenatal care can help in lots of women to handle this. Good share!

Sept. 23, 2018, 7:45 a.m. 4.5

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Kalika Tallka

During my Antenatal classes, they made me experience my delivery and taught us to sit as well as to push. The class experience was really helpful during my delivery.

Sept. 9, 2018, 5:20 p.m. 4.5

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Janki Gupta

After reading this article, I think every woman should undergo antenatal care to ensure baby as well as expecting mother good health.

Sept. 1, 2018, 1:16 p.m. 5.0

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Suresh Kosuri

Aug. 31, 2018, 3:09 p.m. 4.5

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