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What is Prenatal Care?

  • 4.8 (5 Votes)

Prenatal care or antenatal care involves regular care, testing and consultation with your Gynecologist throughout the pregnancy months. This makes sure that both the mother and the baby remain healthy during the entire nine-month period.

Prenatal Care is an essential part of the pregnancy care.  It is one of the crucial steps, which determine the success of the pregnancy of a woman for the period of nine months till the baby is born. Doctors recommend that one must consider the prenatal care seriously in a proper manner.  You need to have a clear understanding of the different aspects of the prenatal care in pregnancy. Some of these include the importance and frequency of the prenatal appointments. Diet during pregnancy also plays a bigger role in the healthy development of the baby inside the womb.

Importance of Prenatal Care

A pregnant lady must focus on caring herself as well as her baby in a proper manner. This ensures that the health of the to-be-mother and the child is safeguarded in the required way. A pregnant lady can discuss the pregnancy symptoms and other experiences with her gynecologist openly. This ensures she is keeping transparency regarding any changes or discomfort in the body. Pregnant ladies must ensure that the prenatal care sessions are taken on a regular basis with the gynecologist or midwife. Your gynecologist ensures that you follow a nutritional diet and do not face any nutritional deficiency at the time of your pregnancy. With routine checkups you get a clear idea of the health of your baby, which ensures that the baby’s development is up to the mark.

When to Commence Prenatal Care Appointments?

There is an increasing awareness regarding the importance of prenatal care appointments in recent times. It is recommended that pregnant ladies should consult their gynecologists once then they get to know that they are pregnant. In this way, the respective pregnant ladies can ensure a professional monitoring on themselves during the entire pregnancy tenure.

prenatal care

Frequency of Prenatal Care Visits

The frequency of the prenatal care visits depends on the duration of the pregnancy and health of the to-be-mother. Number of visits varies depending upon the health conditions of the pregnant lady. The doctor decides the frequency of the prenatal care visits. This will ensure that you do not miss any of the required appointments during your pregnancy period.

  • In the first 7 months, pregnant ladies are asked to visit after every 4-6 weeks. This ensures that in the first trimester, the pregnant lady can follow the instructions of the doctor and practice accordingly. Know growth of fetus at 12 week pregnancy.
  • In the 8th month, the doctor reduces the gap between the appointments and asks the pregnant woman to meet after every 2 weeks. This helps in closely monitoring the condition of the pregnant lady and that of the child in the mother’s womb.
  • In the last predicted month of the pregnancy,the gynecologist recommends the pregnant ladies to come for the prenatal care appointment once every week until the time of the delivery. During the last prenatal care appointments, you will get to know the type of labor and the approximate delivery date. This will help you to stay updated and prepared for the delivery type and procedure.

What Happens During Prenatal Care Visit?

In the first prenatal care visit, a thorough checkup of the pregnant lady is carried out at the gynecology centre, hospital or clinic. This visit also includes several types of tests.

  • Measuring height, weight, BMI.
  • Pelvic examination
  • Pap test
  • Tests for checking sexually transmitted diseases like Chlamydia, gonorrhea, HIV as well as syphilis.

Role of the Family during Pregnancy

The family of the pregnant lady plays a crucial role in the proper care of her during nine months of pregnancy. Partners or to-be-fathers need to provide a peaceful and happy environment to the pregnant ladies. In this way, the pregnant ladies can stay happy which will eventually provide a healthy environment for the development of the child in the mother’s womb.Family members need to make sure that the pregnant ladies are not exposed to any negative entertainment media.

Family during pregnancy

Diet during pregnancy

A healthy diet is an important part of successful prenatal care during the pregnancy period. It is essential to follow a diet routine during your pregnancy and follow it properly even after the birth of the child.

Here are some of the foods, which you need to eat properly if you want to have a healthy pregnancy and give birth to a healthy child.  

1- Dairy products like milk, Greek yogurt and cheese. This helps to increase the calcium intake and benefits to a great extent for the pregnant lady and baby too.

2- Legumes are highly recommended to the pregnant ladies due to the presence of the high percentage of the presence of fiber, iron, protein and calcium.

3- Fishes like salmons are preferred for pregnant ladies to provide the required levels of omega-3 acids and Vitamin D. If you are a vegetarian lady, then you can consult your gynecologist and opt for the omega-3 supplements on a regular basis. If you are a non-vegetarian then you can also choose for eggs on a regular basis.

4- Leafy vegetables like broccoli, spinach, and kale are one of the staple components of the diet of a pregnant lady. This ensures that the pregnant lady consumes vitamins like Vitamin C, K, A as well as calcium, potassium, and iron on a regular basis.

Types of Prenatal Caregivers

In the modern times, there are caregivers who are responsible for providing the required guidance and timely treatments to the pregnant ladies from time to time throughout the pregnancy tenure.

1- Gynecologist: This is one of the preferred types of prenatal caregivers. A doctor who is a gynecologist is responsible for taking care of the pregnant ladies and the babies throughout the pregnancy period.

2- Family Practice Physician: Family Practice Physicians are responsible for treating pregnant ladies. They successfully pursue and pass advanced training in the field of gynecology and obstetrics. These caregivers usually carry out delivery procedures in a big clinical set-up or hospital.

Family practice physician

3- Certified Nurse or Midwife: At times, when an individual is unable to find access to a gynecologist or family practice physician, the role of midwife or certified nurse comes into the picture. Certified nurse or midwife provides the required services to the pregnant ladies. The midwife counsels the pregnant ladies well and keeps them motivated during the pregnancy tenure. In this way, pregnant ladies can receive the required motivation from time to time until the birth of the baby.

Tests during Prenatal Care Period

1- Ultrasound: It is performed at 18-20 weeks of pregnancy. It is useful to check the development of the child, which ensures that the child’s growth is progressing at the desired levels. Also, the number of fetuses is diagnosed with the help of the ultrasound.  Twin or multiple pregnancies can be ruled out at this stage. Some doctors also prefer ultrasounds in the first trimester to identify any chromosomal abnormality if present. Ultrasound is also done to monitor fetal heart rate.

2- Amniocentesis: It is usually recommended for the pregnant ladies above the age of 35 years of age. It is performed between the time periods of 16 to 21 weeks. It helps to determine any chromosomal defect in the babies in mother’s womb.

3- Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS): It helps in diagnosing the chromosomal abnormalities like Down syndrome, sickle cell anemia and cystic fibrosis in the growing babies.

In this way, prenatal care has proved to be of great benefit for the pregnant ladies. There are various aspects of the prenatal care during the pregnancies, which need to be focused and implemented with care without any negligence.

Explore more to know the difference between implantation bleeding and periods. Also, learn how to calculate pregnancy due date.

Dr. Sheetal Pandey Tejwani

About The Author

Gynecologic Surgeon, Laparoscopic Surgeon Dr. Sheetal Pandey Tejwani

Dr. Sheetal Pandey Tejwani is an Infertility Specialist, Gynecologic Surgeon and Obstetrician, located in Mumbai and having an experience of almost a decade. Her alma mater is B J MEDICAL COLLEGE in Pune from where she completed her MBBS and MS in Obstetrics and Gynaecology in 2007 and 2009, respectively. In the following year, she pursued her DNB in Obstetrics and Gynecology. She received her Post Doctoral Fellowship in Reproductive Medicine from Krishna IVF Vizag and Nadkarni IVF Centre, Surat in 2013. She is the member of 3 different associations i.e. Indian Society of Assisted Reproduction (ISAR), Indian Medical Association (IMA), and Association of Medical Consultants. Her area of expertise includes Tubectomy/Tubal Ligation, Hysterectomy (Abdominal/Vaginal), Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), Caesarean Section and In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF). She is a consultant in Veda Fertility And Urology Care, Mira Road and is a visiting consultant in Wockhardt Hospital, Mira Road, Mumbai. You can get the contact details of Dr. Sheetal Pandey Tejwani at


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Sandhya Shah

I can't imagine my pregnancy without Dr. Tejwani. She took care of me very well during my prenatal care. Many thanks to her.

Sept. 15, 2018, 2:45 p.m. 5.0


Subadra Chand

The most accurate points are mentioned in the article which a woman requires during her pregnancy. Must read article!

Sept. 10, 2018, 12:01 p.m. 4.5


Kayla Williams

Quite a satisfying piece of writing. Covered various aspects of prenatal care. Liked the in-depth analysis of different needs and phases. Good job!

June 4, 2018, 5:02 p.m. 5.0


Janvi Chetan

Women require various injections during their pregnancy. So, prenatal care helps expecting women to track all of their required needs.

May 6, 2018, 5:41 p.m. 5.0


Madhulika Dharmarajji Zoting

I will visit my gyne soon.

May 6, 2018, 3:16 p.m. 4.5

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