Why is check up important during pregnancy? Many health centres, hospitals and sometimes midwives encourage pregnant women to come for regular parental (before birth) check-ups and to talk about their health needs.
If you are pregnant and have the chance to go for these check-ups, you will learn so many things to help you prevent problems and have a healthier baby.
It is a good idea to visit health centre once a month for the first six (6) months of pregnancy, twice a month during seven and eight months, and once a week during the last month.
However, below are some important things prenatal care should cover:
Why Is Check Up Important During Pregnancy?
Sharing Of Information
During check-ups, mothers explain themselves well about their problems and needs. Mothers can also discuss how many pregnancies they want and had already, when they had their last baby, and any problems they may had during pregnancy or childbirth.
Midwives are required to advice mothers about ways they can help themselves and their baby to be healthy, including:
- Eating right, eat enough energy foods, and also foods rich in protein, vitamins, iron, and calcium.
- Good hygiene
- The importance of not smoking, not drinking alcoholic drinks and not using dangerous drugs.
- Getting enough exercise and rest.
- Tetanus vaccination to prevent tetanus in the newborn. (Given at the 6th, 7th, 8th month if first time. If she has been vaccinated against tetanus before, give one booster during the 7th month).
During check-ups, nutritional status of the mother is also assessed to know whether the mother is well nourished or anaemic.
If anaemic, ways of eating better are discussed and she will be advised to get iron pills – preferably with folic acid and vitamin C. She will also be advised on how to handle morning sickness and heartburn.
She will be weighed on each visit to check the rate at which she is gaining weight. Normally she should gain 8 to 10 kilograms during the nine (9) months of pregnancy and if she stops gaining weight, this is a bad sign.
A sudden weight gain in the last months is a danger sign too. During check-ups, scales are made available for the pregnant women in order to know and judge if they are gaining weight. In the absence of scales, physical assessment can be done by how they look.
Check-ups help mothers to be exposed especially on minor issues and they will be guided on how to handle and solve it when such arises.
Signs Of Danger And Special Risk
The check-ups allow the mother’s pulse to be examined during each visit. This will let the physician or midwives know what is normal for her in case she has problems later (for example shock from toxemia or severe bleeding).The following danger signs are watched out for:
- Sudden weight gain
- Swelling of hands and face
- Marked increase in blood pressure
- Severe anemia
- Any bleeding
Some midwives may have paper “dip sticks” or other methods for measuring the protein and sugar in the urine as high protein may be a sign of toxemia (A potentially dangerous pregnancy complication characterised by high blood pressure) while high sugar is a sign of diabetes.
If any of the danger signs appear, the woman is advised to get medical help as soon as possible. Also check for signs of special risk are been carried and if any, the mother is advised to deliver in a good hospital.
Growth And Position Of The Baby In The Womb
The mother’s womb is been feel each time she visits health centres for check-ups and she will be taught how to do it herself. To feel the baby’s position in the womb is very important.
If the baby’s position appears to be lying sideways, the mother should go to a doctor before labour begins, because an operation may be needed.
Also, if the womb seems too big or grows too fast, it may have more water in it than normal. If so, you may find it more difficult to feel the baby inside.
Too much water in the womb means greater risk of severe bleeding during childbirth and may mean the baby is deformed.
Baby’s Heart Beat
Check-ups help midwives to listen for the baby’s heartbeat and check for movement. This is done with the help of fetoscope.
This is to know whether the baby’s heartbeat is below normal, normal or above normal. From 120 to 160 per minute is normal. If less than 120, something is wrong.
NOTE: If the baby’s heartbeat is heard loudest below the navel in the last month, the baby is head down and will probably be born head first while if the heartbeat is heard loudest above the navel, her head is probably up. It may be a breech birth.
Preparing The Mother For Labour
As the birth approaches, useful information are been passed on to the pregnant mother. If she has other children, she will be asked how long labour lasted and if she had any problems.
The midwife (midwives) will talk with her about ways to make the birth easier and less painful. They may want to have her practice deep, slow breathing, so that she can do this during the contractions of labour.
They will also explain to her that relaxing during contractions and resting between them will save her strength, reduce pain, and speed labour.
Why is check up important during pregnancy? Drop your comment……..