Antenatal care for pregnant women, also known as Prenatal care, is a type of preventive healthcare service.
Its purpose is to prevent or identify and treat conditions that may threaten the health of the fetus/newborn and/or the mother and to help a woman approach pregnancy and birth as positive experiences.
Antenatal classes help the pregnant woman (and her spouse) through pregnancy, labour, birth and early motherhood. These classes are informative, fun and boost the confidences of this mums-to-be.
A regular antenatal care routine will include blood tests and ultrasound scans. These tests are designed to check for anything that may cause a problem during your pregnancy or after the birth.
Many pregnant women always ask ‘When can I start to attend antenatal care? The earlier you start your antenatal check-ups the better and ensure you visit a doctor even if you get to confirm you are pregnant via home pregnancy test.
Antenatal care is so important because it is one major way of reducing maternal mortality rate as well other pregnancy complications, of any nation especially ours-Nigeria.
Nigeria-814 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.) (Source: CIA World Factbook – This page was last updated on January 20, 2018).
This ranks Nigeria as the 4th country with the worst maternal mortality rate globally ahead of Sierra Leone, Central African Republic and Chad!!.
This is another major reason why pregnant women should make their Antenatal care/clinic appointments important during pregnancy.
Below are some benefits of Antenatal care for pregnant women
- Maintenance of health of mother during pregnancy.
- Promote physical, mental and social well being of mother and child.
- Ensure delivery of a full term healthy baby.
- Early detection of high-risk cases and minimize risks by taking appropriate management.
- Prevent development of complications through health education, adequate nutrition, exercise, vitamin intake and appropriate medical and pharmaceutical intervention.
- Screening for conditions and diseases such as anaemia, STIs, HIV infection, mental health problems, and domestic violence.
- Teach the mother about child care, nutrition, sanitation and hygiene.
- Decrease maternal and infant mortality and morbidity.
- Remove the stress and worries of the mother regarding the delivery process.
- Provide safe delivery for mother and educate mother about the physiology of pregnancy and labour by demonstrations, charts and diagrams so that fear is removed and physiology improved.
- Advice family planning and motive the couple about the need for family planning.
- Predict possible problems during pregnancy and provide an appropriate treatment.
- Provide information on pregnancy and birth and discuss with the couple about the place, time and mode of the delivery provisionally and care of the newborn.
- Ensure continued medical surveillance and prophylaxis.
- Advice the mother about breastfeeding, postnatal care and immunization.
- Advice and support to the women and her family for developing healthy home behaviours.
What is your experience with the antenatal clinic? share in the comment section below