Antenatal care is the care you receive from healthcare professionals during your pregnancy. You'll be offered a series of appointments with an obstetrician. They will check that you and your baby are well, give you useful information to help you have a healthy pregnancy (including healthy eating and exercise advice) and answer any questions you may have.
Your first visit
Your first visit with your obstetrician is the appointment when you tell them that you're pregnant. At this first visit, you will be given information about:
- folic acid and vitamin D supplements
- nutrition, diet and food hygiene
- lifestyle factors that may affect your health or the health of your baby, such as smoking, recreational drug use and drinking alcohol
- antenatal screening for infectious diseases and screening for Down's syndrome.
Doctor will ask whether you have had any previous health or pregnancy issues, such as complications in pregnancy. It's important to tell your doctor if:
- you've had any complications or infections in a previous pregnancy or delivery, such as pre-eclampsia or premature birth
- you're being treated for a chronic disease, such as diabetes or high blood pressure
- you or anyone in your family have previously had a baby with an abnormality, such as spina bifida
- You know that you are a genetic carrier for an inherited condition such as sickle cell or thalassaemia.
- You have had fertility treatment .
Doctor will inform you about when you are supposed to undergo an Ultrasound examination. Two Important USG are NT scan between to 12 to 13 completed weeks of pregnancy and Anomaly scan between 17 to 19 weeks of pregnancy. Similarly two important blood test which play a role in screening for risk of congenital anomalies are DUAL marker and QUADRAPLE marker which are done between 11 to 13 weeks and 16 to 17 weeks respectively
Later antenatal visits
From around 24 weeks, your antenatal appointments will usually become more frequent. However, if your pregnancy is uncomplicated and you are in good health, you may not be seen as often as someone who needs to be more closely monitored. You can also ask questions or talk about anything that's worrying you. You will be given information about:
- your birth plan
- preparing for labour and birth
- how to tell if you're in active labour
- Induction of labour if your baby is overdue (after your expected date of delivery)
- Feeding your baby
- vitamin K (which is given to prevent bleeding caused by vitamin K deficiency in your baby)
- screening tests for newborn babies
- looking after yourself and your new baby