What is Antenatal Checkup?
Antenatal Checkup or Antenatal Care is the regular health checkups for women during pregnancy. These routine health checkups are needed to keep a check on the growth of the fetus and find out potential problems that could come up during pregnancies so that they can be treated in time. This benefits the whole family.
Why are Antenatal Checkups needed?
The check ups are needed for a healthy pregnancy. The doctors not only monitor the growth of the fetus but also provide guidance on medical care needed. Information is also shared on the lifestyle changes that are expected to be made, vitamins and other nutritional needs that the expected mother needs. Recommendations are made for diet changes, physical routine and some mothers might also need some psychological guidance especially on their first time.
This information and recommendations are important. They play an important role in managing pregnancy by finding out prenatal birth defects, weight issues in child, level of amniotic fluid, infections, miscarriages, issues of blood flow from mother to the baby and all other conditions related to pregnancy.
How is Antenatal Checkup done?
The Antenatal Checkup examinations and routine depend upon the time or pregnancy trimester. A proper file is required to be made for each pregnancy and each and every report and diagnosis must be recorded. The goal of these checkups is to monitor growth and find out any complication beforehand so that it can be treated in time.
Following are few regular examinations that are done apart from the physical examinations by the gynecologist:
- Urine tests
- Blood tests
- Weight check
- Blood pressure check
- Pelvic examination when needed
- Fetal heart rate monitoring
The doctor also asks about the general daily routine issues that women might be facing during pregnancy. Informing the doctor about them help the doctors recommend medications or change in diet or other physical activities/routine.
How frequently are Antenatal Checkups done?
A routine checkup schedule file is maintained and provided at the first visit.
Starting from monthly, these checkups should be made daily as the end trimester reaches. This could also depend upon case to case.
Some women might need weekly checkups from the very start. Few complications also need the pregnant women to get admitted to the nursing centers and monitored. Premature bleeding is one such symptom.
What vaccinations are given during Antenatal Checkups?
The two most common vaccinations that are given during pregnancy are Flu and TT.
Apart from these vaccinations some women might need other injections or vaccinations depending up on their conditions. There are also other vaccines that must be avoided during pregnancy.
A gynecologist is the best to suggest the options.
What all symptoms should be talked about apart from routine checkup?
Different women experience different symptoms at different period of time during pregnancy. In general all those symptoms that are making life uncomfortable must be talked about to the doctor. These symptoms might or might not need any treatment. Sometimes, just reassurance is sufficient. Women who are going through their pregnancy for the very first time might need more counselling than the other women.
Vomiting, loss of appetite, hormonal issues, mood swings, swelling in some body parts, itching over body, excessive sweating or shivers, low backache, white discharge, hair loss, breathlessness are some symptoms that most of the women experience.
Symptoms that need immediate attention are fever, vaginal bleeding, excess vomiting, pain in the abdomen, watery discharge from vagina, no or less fetal movement, abnormal swelling in the body, high blood pressure, inability to urinate or too less urination, fits and unconsciousness.
Having a happy pregnancy
Having a happy pregnancy requires the women to be healthy throughout the term. A good gynecologist who understands all the pregnancy issues is important to have.
Dr Leena Patil, MBBS, MS – Obstetrics & Gynaecology has over 10 years of experience in fields like High-Risk Pregnancy Care, Basic newborn care, Miscarriage, Infertility Evaluation / Treatment, Tubectomy/Tubal Ligation, Menstrual disorders and Gynaec Problems and more.