Things You Should Know About Pregnancy and Antenatal Care

Early Signs of Pregnancy

Apart from a missed or light period, you will notice a few other early symptoms of pregnancy. If you know what to expect, you will be better prepared to handle them.

  • Breast tenderness: Your breasts may feel tender and heavy. By six weeks, your breasts would have increased in size.
  • Morning sickness: Although termed morning sickness, you can actually feel queasy at any time of the day. About 50% of women feel nauseous or vomit during the 6-12 weeks of pregnancy.
  • Bladder discomfort: You may urinate more frequently both during the day and night as your bladder fills up quickly during these early weeks.
  • Change in tastes: You develop a strange metallic taste in your mouth and you may dislike certain foods and drinks including coffee, tea, alcohol, liver, and meat.

Choosing Doctor

Appointments with your doctor start out on monthly basis, slowly moving on to fortnightly and then weekly in the latter part of pregnancy. So, when selecting a doctor, distance becomes a consideration. It is wise to choose a doctor near your home or workplace. Besides reducing the hassle of traveling, you will feel more confident nearing birth if your hospital is within easy reach.

Your doctor should also be someone you feel comfortable with, as he or she will become an important figure during your pregnancy – caring for your health, monitoring your baby’s progress, answering your questions, and allaying your fears. Some mothers prefer female doctors. Friends and relatives would gladly give you recommendations.

Antenatal Classes

Antenatal classes are especially helpful for first-time parents. They generally cover pregnancy, birth, and how to look after your newborn. Breathing and relaxation techniques that help to reduce pain during labor will also be taught. Fathers are encouraged to attend in order to be more supportive during birth. These short courses enable you to share your experience and feelings with other mothers, often fostering warm friendships in the process. If you are interested in these classes, check with your hospital or maternity clinic.

To give your baby a healthy start in life, begin your antenatal visits as early as possible. This enables your doctor to detect any problems and treat them early. During your first visit, your doctor will gather some information from you pertaining to:

  • Previous pregnancies and deliveries
  • Illness and allergies that you are suffering from
  • Medication that you are taking
  • Family history of genetic diseases, high blood pressure or diabetes

Your first visit will also be longer. Your urine and blood pressure will be checked. You will be weighed and measured and a blood sample will be taken to determine:

  • Your blood group
  • whether you are Rhesus positive or negative
  • immunity to rubella
  • anemia
  • syphilis
  • HIV

In addition, your doctor will conduct a general examination of your heart, breasts, and abdomen. During subsequent visits, your weight, urine, blood pressure, and size of the uterus will continue to be monitored. Your doctor would also like to know when you first feel your baby moving.

Ultrasound scan

Besides the above routine tests, your doctor may carry out an ultrasound scan on you. This scan reveals the baby’s position, growth rate, any abnormalities, presence of twins, and position of the placenta. You will be thrilled to see your baby on the screen for the first time. If you wish, you may request a print of the scan.

Other antenatal tests

Depending on individual needs, other tests may be necessary. For older mothers ( 35 years and above), amniocentesis may be recommended to detect chromosomal abnormalities, especially Down’s syndrome. However, this test carries a risk of miscarriage. For more details, talk to your doctor.

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2 thoughts on “Things You Should Know About Pregnancy and Antenatal Care”

  1. Pureheart Clinic is where I had my antenatal care, they offer top notch service. The nurses are friendly and knowledgeable, environment is serene and very beautiful. Thanks to them, my baby is here.
    I rate them five stars.

  2. This is so enlightening. Mrs Ipaye knows her onions! She helped me through the 1st weeks of being a 1st time mum. My baby refused sucking which was exasperating and she did her magic. She also helped me come out of my postnatal depression. She is God’s sent. Always jovial and always always ready to help! Even till now that my baby is a Toddler, her whatzap group for mothers has been soo helpful in soo many ways. God bless you Mrs Ipaye!!!!

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