The word “Prenatal” means “before birth” which refers to the time period of care during pregnancy.
When a woman first realizes that she is pregnant, we suggest she call or text Sac Valley Women’s Health to book her first visit. Our staff can provide a medical grade pregnancy test and then start the patient on her way to getting prenatal care with a local provider.
During the first and second trimester, appointments with the prenatal care provider are usually scheduled every four weeks. As the pregnancy progresses, the appointments will be scheduled approximately every three weeks until the last month when visits become weekly. In some instances, this schedule may be adjusted based on either maternal or fetal indicators.
A mother may ask, “Why do I need prenatal care? I’m young and healthy. I do not have any medical issues. I do not take any medications and I’ve already had two babies. This is not a big deal; I’ve got this!”
Here are just some of the reasons why prenatal care is so important:
- gestational diabetes (high blood sugar) first shows up in pregnancy, blood sugars are checked and addressed accordingly
- blood type is determined, just in case a transfusion is needed
- hypertension (high blood pressure) might present itself, and if so it will be treated accordingly
- anemia (low red blood cells), checked and treated. The treatment is effective for both the mother and the baby.
- the baby’s skull vs the birth canal measurements are taken to determine if a vaginal delivery is possible, or a C-section is
- intrauterine demise (a fetal death after the 20th week of gestation) , an indication for removal of the products of conception
- ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy outside of the uterus) , if found will be addressed accordingly
- placenta previa (when the placenta covers the mother’s cervix) , a possible indication for a planned C-section
- breech presentation (the way the baby is positioned immediately prior to delivery that presents difficulties for delivery), and if determined to be a higher risk, may require a C-section
Good prenatal care includes a thorough medical history and physical to be taken along with laboratory testing and ultrasound studies to provide valuable information. Those results help the medical professional to provide a comprehensive medical management plan that is essential for a healthy pregnancy benefitting both the mother and the baby.
Contact Sac Valley Women’s Health and we will start to help you navigate this journey.