The importance of prenatal care in Nigeria to pregnant mums cannot be underestimated. It begins with the doctor telling you to eat and avoid eating certain foods, consuming vitamins, and coming to the hospital for regular check-up.
The sole aim of these check-ups is to ensure that there are no complications for both foetus and mother throughout the nine months until month.
So, you will be a responsible parent by knowing your bodily developments as your foetus grows within you. The first step will be to talk to your doctors as soon as you suspect that you are pregnant.
10 Importance of prenatal care in Nigeria
Prenatal care is a very critical part of healthy pregnancy, baby and labour. How? Because throughout your pregnancy, prenatal check-ups are used to make sure that you and your baby/babies are fine and growing as you should.
Also, it gives room for you to ask your midwife/OB.GYN questions where not cleared and the relationship built with these people will help put you more at ease as you go into labour. A good prenatally care will also make you feel more comfortable with your changing body.
Some of the goals of prenatal care include:
Lowering the risk of any pregnancy complication
Complications are reduced and eradicated through regular, moderate exercise and a well-balanced diet, avoiding inhaling, consuming or being near harmful things, and taking good care of existing health conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
Lowering the risk of complications for the foetus, mother-to-be and future infant
This is achieved through avoidance of harmful substances like tobacco, its by-products and other narcotics. Alcohol consumption during pregnancy has proven to cause lots of physical and mental disorders, which could vary from mental disabilities, abnormal physical features and heart problems.
Consumption of prenatal vitamins to provide the woman and developing foetus with proper nutrients
Vitamins for prenatal women is very crucial to ensure both the foetus and woman get the necessary nutrients they need during the pregnancy stage. The main composition of prenatal vitamins is folic acids, which is generally present in lots of foods and can reduce the risk for neural tube defects by as large a number as 70%.
Ensure you are not taking medication that is unsafe during pregnancy
Not every medication is helpful during the belle period. In fact, there are certain medications that can hurt a woman’s foetus during pregnancy. Some herbal supplements and dietary as well as acne treatments has shown to abort and harm women.
Your health really does depend on it
“Your health” translates to you and your unborn child. A woman who does not go for prenatal care is five times more likely to die and three times more likely to have a low birth weight when compared to potential mothers who do. Plus, your prenatal visits will easily diagnose any potential health concerns that will affect you or your child.
Some health conditions that can be detected during this period include but not limited to: anemia, gestational diabetes or pre-eclampsia- which is easily treated when diagnosed early.
Get Precise and Current nutritional information
It is very common for pregnant women to have cravings for healthy foods or unhealthy ones. However, because your body chemicals are changing, your diet might have to go through series of changes to meet the nutrients your developing baby needs.
Your doctor will give you very precise information about your recommended dietary intake for the period of nine month including foods to avoid. Some of the usual foods we eat like meat, pizza, and hot dogs might have to be sidelined.
Your diet may have to go through some changes in order to meet the nutritional needs of your baby. I hear myths or rumours like “Pregnancy means you will have to eat for two “, this is untrue. In fact, for a single baby you only need about 300 extra calories per day. All discussed information-and more- will be provided at your prenatal appointments.
Keep Record of the development of your baby
Your baby’s growth is an indicator of how well he, she or they are doing inside of you. During your appointments, your doctor will measure your belly from sternum to the top of your public bone. This measurements will help her to see how your baby is developing and growing.
Of course, the 21st century will assist you with that as well. Ultra sounds- now available in 3-D will be strategically timed to verify your baby’s development and gender.
Schedule appropriate testing
Depending on your family history, medical history, and age, your midwife/GYN/OB might recommend certain tests for you. For instance, amniocentesis is a test that is done during the second trimester. It is used to check for genetics abnormalities like Down Syndrome, detect potential uterine or already occurring Uterine infection, check baby’s lung maturity/heath etc.
Other forms of tests may be recommended as well but will only be made available if you’re getting regular prenatal care from a certified OB/GYN or midwife.
Learn More on labour and delivery
Your delivery plan should be created by your spouse and you. But, the plan will be totally dependent on the information you have about labour and delivery procedures. Your prenatal visits give you the chance to talk about the risks and advantage of every treatment or intervention available to you.
What is Prenatal Care?
Prenatal care is simply the health care a woman receives from the moment fertilization occurs to the period she gives birth.
Now, this is more than a few doctors’ visits and a 3D scanning or two. Prenatal care observes developments of the gestation period for complications or risks and improves the overall health and wellness of the mother as this directly influences the development and health of the foetus.
Why do I need prenatal care?
Prenatal care is very good for you while you are pregnant and even after delivery. It makes sure that you and your baby are safe and sound.
The importance of prenatal care must not be overlooked as it ensures your (mother) safety by watching out for risks and doing everything possible to increase your health and reduce the risk of serious complications both during and after the pregnancy.
Prenatal care also helps keep you and your baby healthy and looking good. Babies of mama’s who do not get prenatal care are three times more likely to have a low birth weight and five times more likely to die than those whose mothers do.
How Often Should I Have Appointments?
Don’t complicate your health or leave your child’s health to chance.
Regularly meet up with your doctor or go to a pregnancy clinic as soon as you suspect that you might be pregnant. According to WebMD post on prenatal care visits, the highlighted weeks are the average number of times you should go see a doctor during your pregnancy:
- Weeks 4 to 28: 1 prenatal visit a month
- Weeks 28 to 36: 1 prenatal visit every 2 weeks
- Weeks 36 to 40: 1 prenatal visit every week
Conclusion on the importance of Prenatal Care
Mothers who have a high-risk pregnancy or serious pre-existing medical conditions will need to have more doctor visits than the usual typical prenatal care visits.
No woman deserves to go through an unplanned pregnancy alone. This is why the importance of prenatal care cannot and should not be undervalued. Talk to your prenatal health care specialist or doctor to make a plan and schedule your regular check-ups.
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