Prenatal care is the care received at the hands of a qualified healthcare provider while the patient is pregnant. During prenatal care visits, the health care provider is there to make sure everything is going well with their patient and that the developing fetus is healthy and strong. These regular checkups are a chance to learn how to manage the discomforts of pregnancy, have any testing that is needed, learn warning signs, and ask any questions they may have. Beginning prenatal care as soon learning of the pregnancy is highly recommended.
The first visit to the physician for a prenatal care visit will usually last longer than the rest, as it is very thorough. The doctor will ask questions about medical history, about the partner's medical history, and the family's medical history. The health care provider may take this opportunity to discuss lifestyle and habits and to advise on certain changes that may help to ensure a healthy pregnancy. There will also be a complete physical exam. During this exam, the health care provider will measure height, weight, blood pressure, breathing, and pulse. Other tests can include:
If the patient is 18 to 35 years old and healthy, they should plan to have prenatal care visits:
If it is a high-risk pregnancy, the health care provider may ask the patient to come in for prenatal care more often.
During follow-up care, the health care provider will check that the pregnancy is progressing well.