Why Is Prenatal Care So Important?

Prenatal care is the medical care you get throughout your pregnancy. Why is it important? Getting proper prenatal care is the best way to ensure that you give birth to a healthy baby and that you stay healthy throughout your pregnancy.

The Office of Women’s Health reports that mothers who don’t receive prenatal care are three times more likely to give birth to a low birth weight baby and five more times likely to die than those who do receive prenatal care. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that almost 1,000 women die as a result of pregnancy complications every year.

Early and regular prenatal care helps prevent pregnancy complications and increases your chances of having a safe delivery and a healthy baby. As soon as you learn that you’re pregnant, call us at the Center for Women’s Health to make an appointment with OB/GYN Sharon Breit, MD.

What to Expect at the First Prenatal Visit

Prenatal visits include tests and general information about what you should and shouldn’t do or eat to stay healthy and prevent problems. The first visit is often the longest because Dr. Breit needs to review your medical history and your partner’s medical history and ask or answer questions.

Dr. Breit or another member of our staff also:

Our entire staff does everything they can to make your feel comfortable and at ease during your first prenatal visit.

How Often You Should Schedule Prenatal Visits

Most women see their doctor about every four weeks. If you have issues or complications, you may need more frequent prenatal visits. As your pregnancy progresses, you should increase your prenatal visits to about every two weeks.

At each visit, we take your blood pressure, test your urine, and record your weight. You also get to hear your baby’s heartbeat. After 20 weeks, we measure your abdomen and check the height of your uterus at every visit.

We can also answer any questions or concerns at each visit and offer advice on how to handle common pregnancy symptoms such as morning sickness, heartburn, bleeding gums, and constipation.

Prenatal Care Tests

Part of prenatal care is getting certain tests at different stages in your pregnancy to ensure a healthy baby or to alert you to any potential complications or health issues. The tests you get or are offered depend on your age, family or personal health history, ethnic background, and results of other tests. Some of these tests include:

Amniocentesis

This test is offered at 14 to 20 weeks to detect certain birth defects such as Down syndrome and spina bifida.

Biophysical profile

This test is conducted in the third trimester to determine if the baby should be delivered early.

Chorionic villus sampling (CVS)

This test is offered in the first trimester, between 10 and 13 weeks into your pregnancy, to detect chromosomal defects or genetic disorders.

Cell-free fetal DNA

This new noninvasive test is offered to women with high-risk pregnancies and can be given as early as 10 weeks. It tests for certain chromosomal abnormalities.

Pregnant? Congratulations! Call the Center for Women’s Health in Wichita, Kansas, or make an appointment online for your first prenatal care visit.

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