Beauty Fitness and Dermatology

Antenatal care and Pregnancy - ABC Antenatal care

Antenatal care (prenatal care), a series of checkups, at a hospitals and at a doctor's sugery, design to monitor the physical and mental health of a pregnant woman and the development of her baby. In addition, the expectant mother (and father ) recieve information and advice about pregnany, labor, childbirth and care of the newborn infant.

The checks are generally done once a month up to 28 weeks of pregnancy, once a fortnight up to 36 weeks, and are carried out every week for the last month. At the first visit, personal details and family medical history are obtained, and also the date of the last menstrual period, state of health at this stage in pregnancy and the estimated date of delivery. All this information, along with examination and test results, is recorded on file and on a cooperation card. Many of the details are in an abbreviated form and can be explained by medical advisers. Ideally, the cooperation card should accompany the woman at all times in case of emergency.

Various routine tests are carried out including height and shoe size and weight. Les may be checked for varicose veins, ankles and hands may be looked at for the swelling and puffiness that results from oedema. The breasts are usually examined with the condition of the nipples being noted and the heart, lungs, eyes, hair, nails and teeth may be checked as a guide to general health.

Urine Tests may be carried out to detect urinary or kidney infections, or, if sugar, protein or ketones are present, to detect diabetes or kidney problems. Blood Pressure is monitored, and a Blood Test may be taken to disclose Rhesus Blood Group, Hemoglobin and Alpha-Fetoprotein level, and the presence of antibodies to German Measles or AIDS. Blood may be tested to detect Syphilis, Sickle-Cell Anaemia and Thalassaemia. The abdomen is examined to determine the size of the foetus, its position and the height of the top of the uterus (particularly valuable after the 32nd week).

Fetal heart beat is checked, and an internal examination is usually carried out to confirm the pregnancy and check that the cervix is closed. The size of the pelvis is assessed, and a Cervical Smear Test may be carried out. Several other tests are also utilized, some as routine and others to determine if there are specific problems with the foetus. Ultrasound scanning is now routine in all pregnancies to check the progress of the baby and is usually carried out at an early stage. It is also used in Amniocentesis testing, which may be done during the 14th-18th week of pregnancy. Other tests include Choronic Villus Sampling, Umbilical Vein Sampling and Fetoscopy. Together the routine and special tests all work to ensure the health of the mother and her baby.

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