Remember your first reaction when you learned you were pregnant? The fear amidst the joy? The ‘what next’ questions?
Well, it must have been a draining feeling followed by a bunch of advice from self-proclaimed experts.
It is vital for first-time pregnant women and pregnant women to attend antenatal care as early as possible.
Due to vast misleading pregnancy bits of advice in society, this article major on first-time mothers-to-be so they may learn the importance of attending prenatal care early enough.
The health of the first-time mother and the baby is monitored throughout the pregnancy.
You must be wondering when the right time is to start your first antenatal visit. Well, 6–8 weeks after you learn you’re pregnant or four weeks after you miss your monthly periods if you have a regular cycle is a good time to visit an antenatal care provider.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING ANTENATAL VISITS?
Several tests, examinations, investigations are done. Immunizations are also administered in the visits.
- Vital signs
- Pulse rate
- Respiration rate
- Weight and height to calculate your BMI
- Tests include;
- Blood sugar levels
- HIV/AIDS- test is done when you consent.
Importance of urinalysis test
A healthcare worker will provide you with a container to put your midstream urine for the test. The antenatal caregiver will then conduct a urinalysis to determine if there are any bacterial infections, assess infections of the bladder or the kidney, and check if you’re dehydrated to determine if you have diabetes by screening for sugar levels.
Most antenatal caregivers conduct a urinalysis on every visit to ensure that the to-be mother and the baby stay healthy for the entire term of the pregnancy.
Apart from the urinalysis, other vital questions are asked on your first antenatal care visit. Such questions include:
The above questions form a base that gives the antenatal caregiver a starting point on the care and advice.
- Dietary Advice
Amidst the crazy cravings, it is complicated and confusing for a first-time mum to figure out what to eat and what not to eat.
⦁ Last Menstruation Period (LMP) — this is used in calculating your Expected Date of Delivery (EDD)
⦁ Is this your first pregnancy?
⦁ Are there any family history of chronic diseases such as diabetes?
⦁ Do you react to any drugs?
⦁ Have you ever had a miscarriage?
Poor feeding and overfeeding may lead to a birth of an unhealthy baby or an overweight baby, respectively. Both extremes are followed by critical health complications to both the mother and the baby.
During pregnancy, the primary source of the baby’s nourishment is what the pregnant woman eats and drinks.
For a pregnant woman, Folic acid, Calcium, and iron are of great benefits to both the woman and the baby.
It may prove challenging to find Folic acid in food nutrients; worry not because it is given as a daily dosage tablet.
Iron, Calcium, and proteins can be found in plants and animal nutrients. A nutritionist will provide you with the necessary method to follow in your diet and guide you throughout your term.
A deficiency of these elements may lead to Anemia, a weak- pregnant woman who eventually bears a poorly developed, underweight, and malnourished baby.
- Advice on keeping fit
Keeping fit is vital for any pregnant woman. Exercise enhances the smooth flow of blood to the fetus and the pregnant woman. However, not all exercises are suitable for a pregnant woman. Each stage requires regular exercise, either minimally or not exercise at all, following the nature of your pregnancy. There are limits to be set when exercising because some extent may lead to a miscarriage. No one is in a better position to guide you on how you should exercise than your antenatal caregiver.
- Psychological preparedness
Every new thing in your body affects your psychology. A baby growing inside your uterus is foreign to your body. If not handled with care and love, a first-time pregnancy may lead to trauma during pregnancy or after birth.
An antenatal caregiver walks with you throughout your pregnancy term to end with love and with the proper medication, guidance, and advice that you need to enable you to carry a full-term pregnancy.
A pregnant woman is very volatile and is prone to contracting infections quickly. Most infections come as a result of neglect of personal hygiene and environmental hygiene. Most first to be mums may not observe top-notch personal hygiene during the pregnancy without professional advice from the best.
There are very many benefits of antenatal care. A first-time pregnant mother must consider visiting an antenatal care provider so they can get professional help. What is of treasure to any pregnant woman is carrying a healthy pregnancy to full term and giving birth to a healthy bouncing baby.
Essential supplements and immunization are administered during prenatal care visits. Neglecting Antenatal care may lead to pre-term birth, miscarriage, or complications during birth.