Prenatal care is the care you receive from your midwife during pregnancy. During prenatal care visits, your midwife will make sure you and the developing fetus are healthy and strong. These meetings are your chance to monitor your pregnancy’s progress, learn how to manage the discomforts of pregnancy, have any testing done you may need, learn about warning signs, and ask any questions.
The first prenatal care visit is generally the longest. You will be asked questions about your medical history, your partner’s, and your family’s. A complete physical exam is done. Your midwife will measure your height, weight, blood pressure, breathing, and pulse. You will discuss your diet, lifestyle, and habits then, sometimes suggestions are made that may help ensure a healthy pregnancy. One of the most significant things a woman can do is take folic acid every day to prevent birth defects.
Many pregnant women have questions about diet, exercise, and other lifestyle changes. Prenatal care visits are the perfect opportunity to discuss concerns with your midwife.
Many women choose to make lifestyle changes before they become pregnant. Eating a healthy diet consisting of lean proteins, fresh vegetables, and fruits with limited sugar and processed foods is valuable along with hydration and regular exercise. If you smoke, drink, or do drugs, quitting those activities, is important.
If you have a healthy, “low-risk” pregnancy you can expect the following prenatal care visits: every four to six week through the seventh month of pregnancy; every two to three weeks until the eight months; then every week from 36 weeks to birth.
Your midwife will monitor your pregnancy by testing your urine, checking your weight, blood pressure and swelling in the face, hands or feet. Your midwife will also examine the fundus to check the position of the fetus and measure the growth of uterus. Lastly, the midwife will listen to the fetal heartbeat.
Other assessments that are conducted include a prenatal panel, first and second-trimester screening, glucose screening and a Group B Streptococcus (GBS) swap. The prenatal panel is done early in pregnancy along with the first and second trimester screening. The glucose screening test is conducted between 24 and 28 to assess for gestational diabetes. GBS is a bacterium that can be carried in the genital, urinary, digestive and respiratory tract. The bacteria are normally found in 25% of all healthy adult women. The GBS swab is performed, between 35 and 37 weeks, by inserting a swab in the vagina and rectum. For more information, contact Raquel at http://www.BlissfulMidwifery.com.