Antenatal Care Assignment Help
What is Antenatal Care?
Antenatal care is the care given to pregnant women by healthcare providers. Antenatal care is also known as maternity care or pregnancy care. Antenatal care is given by a doctor who’s specialized in pregnancy and birth also known as an obstetrician or sometimes a midwife.
Pregnant women should start their antenatal care clinic as soon as they know they are pregnant. Antenatal care is the care given to pregnant women to ensure they and their unborn babies are well.
During antenatal care appointments, the doctor or midwife will check the health of the mother and their unborn baby, discuss suitable choices of care during pregnancy, labor, and birth. In addition, the doctor will give information to help the mother have a healthy pregnancy and answer any questions the mother may have.
Through antenatal care, the health of the mother and the baby is protected. Antenatal care is a form of preventive care. During antenatal clinics, skilled health personnel educate mothers on understanding warning signs during pregnancy and birth, healthy behaviors, and give emotional, social, and psychological support.
Antenatal care is important as it helps mothers to access immunization against tetanus, micronutrient supplementation, and treatment for hypertension to avoid eclampsia. Through antenatal care, HIV testing and medications are given to prevent the transmission of the virus to the baby.
Pregnant women in areas with high cases of malaria are offered medications and mosquito nets treated with insecticide to protect them from malaria which is a deadly disease. access to antenatal care helps women to get important health services that are crucial to their health and that of their children.
according to World Health Organization, mothers are advised to attend a minimum of 8 antenatal appointments to reduce the rate of perinatal mortality. In addition, by attending these 8 antenatal appointments mothers can experience improved care.
However, a lot of women are yet to meet this recommendation. some can only attend 4 appointments which were previously recommended. Women who receive only 4 antenatal appointments are more than those who receive 8 appointments.
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What is the aim of Antenatal Care?
The main purpose of antenatal care is to ensure the pregnancy is safe for the mother and that no harm may stop the baby from developing into a healthy baby. Antenatal care appointments give doctors room to offer health education to mothers and their relationship partners.
Aims of antenatal care are achieved by:
- being problem-oriented
- providing health education
- following a definite plan and schedule
- identifying potential risk factors and complications
- identifying risk factors from previous obstetric history
- screening for health conditions that are likely to affect mother and fetus
Importance of Antenatal Care
Here are some of the reasons why antenatal care is important:
- best nutrition – the best nutrition is important for both the mother and baby during pregnancy. Likewise, some foods should be avoided such as unpasteurized cheese or milk, raw fish, or undercooked eggs that contain enzymes and proteins that could be dangerous for the unborn baby.
Doctors can also prescribe minerals and vitamins that are needed for the healthy growth of the baby. Supplements such as folic acid, iron, calcium, fish oil, and multivitamins are very important for mothers.
- screening – during antenatal care visits, both the mother and baby are screened for potential health conditions that are likely to affect pregnancy. For instance, the mother’s blood pressure and sugar levels should be monitored because they are likely to complicate the pregnancy and may increase the risk of premature birth. High blood pressure is known to cause pre-eclampsia which can cause the death of the mother or baby.
- keep track of development – doctors keep track of the development of the baby during antenatal care visits. In addition, the doctor will recommend the mother to have an ultrasound scan to determine the size, condition and the surrounding of the fetus to ensure the baby grows as expected.
- schedule testing – during pregnancy, testing is very important. depending on the assessments made, doctors will order tests. Laboratory tests may help diagnose conditions such as diabetes, Hepatitis B, HIV, and other sexually transmitted infections. Tests also help to determine if it is safe for the mother to have a normal delivery or if there is a need for the doctor to request a C-section.
- appropriate immunization – several vaccines are safe during pregnancy. For example, the tetanus toxoid vaccine is administered to protect mother and baby during delivery. Pregnant women are also given flu shots since they are more likely to become sick.
- antenatal classes – prenatal classes can be recommended for pregnant mothers and their partners, especially those having their first baby. This helps them to prepare and cope with pregnancy and delivery and prepare them for parenthood. Antenatal care visits can also serve as learning avenues to teach mothers about breastfeeding and caring for the newborn.
- Health education – antenatal care period is a time for the doctor or midwife to educate the mother on the heath to empower them. Mothers are taught the importance and benefits of breastfeeding, the importance of safeguarding their health during pregnancy, and how to care for a newborn properly. Antenatal visits increase as the mother approaches the third trimester. This is to allow healthcare providers to have enough time to educate mothers on what to do and how to cope with pregnancy.
Starting Antenatal Care
It is very easy to start antenatal care visits once you discover you are pregnant. It is important to start antenatal care as soon as possible to have a healthy pregnancy. Thalassemia and sickle cell anemia should be done before the mother is 10 weeks pregnant.
A midwife or Obstetrician should be involved in one’s pregnancy especially if the mother has special needs. It is important to let the doctor know if one has special requirements for either antenatal or labor.
For first-time mothers, it is recommended that they attend up to 10 antenatal appointments. Those who had a baby before will need to attend 7 antenatal care appointments. However, those who develop medical conditions may have to attend more visits.
In the beginning, mothers are given written information about the number of appointments they will need to attend and when they will be. If possible, it is important to discuss your antenatal schedule with your doctor. In case you are not able to attend an appointment, talk to your doctor to reschedule it.
Antenatal care appointments can take place at a hospital, at home, at a children’s center, and during a GP surgery. Pregnancy scans are done at the hospital. Antenatal care appointments should be done where one feels comfortable and safe to discuss matters such as sexual abuse, drug problems, health problems, sexual or domestic abuse.
To get the best pregnancy care, the doctor or midwife will ask the following questions:
- your health
- any previous miscarriages and pregnancies
- the date of the first day of your last period
- any previous illnesses and operations you have had
- how you are feeling and if you have been depressed
- whether your family has a history of twins
- your job, your partner’s job, and what kind of accommodation you live in to assess the circumstances that may affect your pregnancy.
- the ethnic origins of you and your partner to find out whether your baby may be at risk of inherited conditions.
During antenatal care visits, mothers can discuss with their doctor in case they need extra support or if they are vulnerable probably due to female genital mutilation or domestic violence.
Importance of Antenatal Care Appointments after 24 weeks
Antenatal care appointments are more frequent after 24 weeks. Mothers with complications and health conditions are seen more frequently than those without because they need to be monitored closely.
later antenatal care appointments involve:
- checking blood pressure and urine
- feeling the tummy to check the position of the baby
- listening to the heartbeat of the baby
- measuring the uterus to check the growth of the baby
During these visits, mothers are informed about;
- preparation for labor and birth
- making birth plan
- feeding the baby
- “baby blues” and postnatal depression
- screening tests for newborn babies
- looking after themselves and their baby
- how to tell if they are inactive labor
- vitamin K
- induction of labor if the baby is overdue
Antenatal care is the care given to pregnant women by healthcare providers. It is important for pregnant women to receive antenatal care to ensure they are okay as well as their unborn child.
Antenatal care helps protect the health of the mother and that of the unborn baby to ensure safe pregnancy and delivery.