When And Why Do You Need Antenatal Checkups?

Congratulations! You are going to be a mommy. Seeing the urine strip say positive can be a euphoric experience for many. But once the initial surprise or shock or ecstasy is over, pregnancies can be overwhelming. Especially, if it is your first pregnancy, there is some preparation that you need to do. This informed planning is also necessary if you are deciding to start a family. You must be aware of what you are getting yourself into, to ensure a stable physical and mental health. Let’s now talk about antenatal checkups.

Antenatal checkups are crucial for adequate well-being of your baby and you. It is very important to have a doctor who is familiar with your history, keeps a track of your pregnancy and will be available in case of emergency. And this kind of doctor-patient relationship is only built if you are also compliant with your appointments.

First antenatal checkup

The first antenatal checkup must be as soon as you miss your period. Your home pregnancy tests may not be accurate. So, you must visit your doctor. The doctor will take some blood tests to get an idea of your baseline health. He or she will also perform an abdominal ultrasound to ensure the healthy implantation of an embryo (a teeny tiny version of your baby)

In this visit, you must discuss with your doctor the medications you take and the supplements you might require.

Second antenatal checkup

The second antenatal checkup must be between 7-10 weeks. This checkup is important because, after 7 weeks of your pregnancy, the fetus develops a beating heart. This activity confirms the vitality of pregnancy. If the scan at this stage does not show fetal heart activity, give your little one a week’s time. Some babies develop a beating heart a little later.

Schedule of antenatal checkups

After the confirmation that you have an alive fetus in your womb, the ideal schedule for an antenatal checkup is as follows:

  • 1 visit per month till 7th month (28 weeks)
  • 1 visit after every two weeks till the beginning of 9th month (36 weeks)
  • 1 visit every week till the end of pregnancy (36-40 weeks)

These scheduled antenatal checkups are meant to keep a record of your health and your baby’s progress. Any abnormal change or finding can be easily caught on time if you are visiting your OB/GYN regularly. This will result in a healthy, uncomplicated delivery and will also give your baby a better shot at life.

Week 20 antenatal checkup

It is a must to schedule an antenatal checkup in or immediately after your week 20 of pregnancy. The reason being that in this week, major organs of your baby start to form or have developed by now. An ultrasound can pick any congenital abnormalities or syndrome easily.

If an ultrasound is not enough, blood testing at this stage can also help a great deal. Your doctor might need to poke a needle inside your tummy to get your baby’s blood and your baby sac fluid as well to ensure that the mother and the baby are doing fine. This test is known as amniocentesis.

Week 30 antenatal checkup

Week 30 antenatal checkup also holds a special significance. After the 30th week of your pregnancy, the baby’s head is supposed to be facing downwards towards your vagina. The position of the baby’s head can be assessed at this stage by an ultrasound or a per-vaginal examination.

If the baby fails to turn his head down, your doctor will decide how to proceed next. Some doctors prefer to wait a little while to give the baby more time. Some perform a maneuver called ‘External Cephalic Rotation’. In this maneuver, the doctor tries to turn the head down by putting circular pressure on your tummy. If the baby still prefers to stay upright (because of some physical obstruction, which too can be seen on a sonogram!) your doctor then needs to plan an elective cesarean delivery.

Conditions requiring more than recommended antenatal checkups

Your doctor might advise you to visit him or her more often than the schedule we mentioned earlier. This does not mean that he or she is less competent or that he or she is trying to mooch off money out of you. Some health conditions do require an extra number of antenatal visits.

Having a baby after 30

Medical science suggests having a baby before 30 years as it is a healthier option. If you are having a baby after 30, especially near or after your 40s, you need to be extra vigilant. You have increased chances of developing high blood pressures, high blood sugar levels, and early labor.

Your baby is also at a higher risk of developing congenital birth defects. You need more antenatal checkups to catch and manage these problems before they can cause life-long, irreversible damage.

Health conditions that develop during pregnancy or are pre-existing

Some of you will already be suffering from health conditions like diabetes and high blood pressures. Some will develop these conditions during pregnancy. If you are already suffering from such vices, or have a family history or other risk factors, it is a must to have your antenatal checkups more often and more vigilantly. This will help in managing the complications of these diseases.

Rupture of membranes/abnormal bleeding/risk of pre-term labor

If you feel a gush of fluid being discharged from your vagina or there is abnormal bleeding, this might mean your baby is on the way to the world a little earlier. If any of such signs occur, or if you have a previous history or family history of pre-term labor, you need an antenatal checkup to asses the condition of the baby.

Based on this checkup, your doctor will decide if your pregnancy should continue or if you need to terminate it or get an operation to deliver the baby.

In conclusion, at least 10-12 antenatal checkups are necessary to track your baby’s health, not to forget yours as well! You should keep a record of all such visits and they should be available with you. Your doctor can tweak your visits tailored to your specific needs.

Things To Do Before Pregnancy – Important Checklist For Mothers-To-Be!

Does passing by every other newborn makes you want to have your own baby? Do you feel that it is the right time in your life to start or expand your family? Are you thinking of getting pregnant and looking for things to do before pregnancy? Well, look no more because this article contains authentic information on pre-pregnancy preparations. We vow to guide you throughout your pregnancy symptoms until your delivery. Happy reading!

What are some important things to do before pregnancy?

While there are many aspects of your life that are going to be affected by your pregnancy. And making certain changes in them will become inevitable once you conceive. While researching things to do before pregnancy, look for the following:

Your emotional health

Bringing a baby into your life is life-changing in so many ways. The first thing that you should consider before getting pregnant is your mental health. A sound mind will nurture a sound and healthy kid. Analyze if you are ready for a baby or not? Can you handle the stress and responsibilities that come with a child?

Synchronization with your partner

One of the most important things to do before pregnancy involves talking with your partner. It is you two who are the real stakeholders. Make sure that both of you want this baby and that you are on the same page.

So sit down and have a thorough conversation with your spouse. It will make you more confident about the pregnancy.

Sorting your financial aspect is an important thing to do before pregnancy

This issue is perhaps one of the most important aspects to cover. Go over your bank statement. Discuss your financial situation with your spouse. Detail your expenditures and see if you have enough money to raise a child.

Also Read: All Newly Married Women Should Discuss This With Their Partners

Working on your physical health is an important thing to do before pregnancy

It is your body that will eventually nest the baby for a period of nine months. Make sure that your body is up for it. Go and see a doctor. Get yourself thoroughly examined. Check your weight, BMI, blood count, lipid profile, hormonal checkup, and any other test that your doctor approves of.

Things to do before pregnancy and things not to do

Now that you have decided to get pregnant after considering the above-mentioned aspects, you need to prepare your body. There are certain things to do before pregnancy and some things that you must definitely avoid.

Here are some things that you must do

While there are many things to do before pregnancy, getting the following things done will give you a good and smooth head start.

  • Know when you’re ovulating
  • Sex on a regular basis
  • A preconception visit
  • Regular exercise
  • Eat healthily
  • Get rid of birth control
  • Genetic testing
  • Folic acid supplements

Know when you’re ovulating

Keep a record of your ovulatory cycle. Day 12th-14th of your menstrual cycle (day one is the first day of your period) is when you ovulate and are most fertile. Try to track your days and have sex in this duration. This increases the chance of conception by many folds.

Keep having sex on a regular basis

The only way you can get pregnant is when the sperm fertilizes your egg. Having sex frequently increases the chances of fertilization by eighty-five percent. Try to think of fun creative ideas to keep yourself and your partner interested and in the mood for sex.

Also Read: Masturbation During Pregnancy

Schedule a preconception visit

One of the most important things to do before pregnancy is to schedule a visit with your gynecologist. No one can guide you throughout this process better than your doctor. Discuss your fears with your doctor and learn more about pregnancy.

Also Read: When And Why Do You Need Antenatal Checkups?

Exercise regularly

Exercising regularly makes your body stronger and gives you a sense of control over your body. While things are going to get haywire within your body once you get pregnant, exercising regularly is one of the smartest things to do before pregnancy.

Get rid of birth control

Immediately get off from any sort of birth control you are currently on. If you have any patch or device implanted inside your body, get it removed by discussing it with your doctor.

Here are some things you must avoid

The don’ts are just as important and must steer clear of. The following items must not be included in your list of things to do before pregnancy.

  • Caffeine, smoking, and alcohol
  • Too much stress
  • Catching an infection
  • Vitamin A supplements

Caffeine, smoking, and alcohol

We know this already sounds bad but you are not supposed to have coffee. And we know that you are sad. But hey! You will have to give up something for your little one.

Smoking cigarettes is very bad for your health as well as your baby’s. Many cancer-causing chemicals are present in cigarette smoke and can really harm your baby.

Drinking alcohol is a big NO-NO. Even before getting pregnant, alcohol intake can cause serious damage to your baby. This can cause a condition called Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

Also Read: 10 Things To Avoid In Pregnancy

Too much stress

Stress is one of the leading causes of infertility in the world. While you are trying to conceive, put every negative thought out of your mind. Negative energy is bad for you and your baby. Staying stress-free must be somewhere up in your list of things to do before pregnancy.

Catching an infection

Getting an infection is the last thing you want right now. Even after the infection is cured, some germs stay in your body and get reactivated once you’re pregnant. These infections can cause abnormalities in your baby. One such example is of TORCHeS infections which prove really bad later on.

Also Read: Coronavirus In Pregnant Women – Symptoms And Precautions

Vitamin A supplements

This might be a tricky one for you guys. Vitamin A is usually taken in the form of supplements by women of childbearing age for the treatment of acne. Extensive research has proven this vitamin to be cancerous for the babies.

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