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Prenatal Care Should Be Planned Before Conception

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Granted, most women who are pregnant didn't plan to be at the time. They suddenly realize the friendly monthly visitor didn't come by and it is time to go to the doctor. Many under 18 and a few over, tend to be in denial about the possibility of pregnancy and do little or nothing about it which could result in trouble for the mother and child.

Ideally, you should have your body ready in case you end up pregnant. If you are sexually active, you are at risk of becoming pregnant, even if you use birth control. By being prepared you will increase your odds of a healthy pregnancy, child birth, and healthy infant. Although you do the best possible and follow all the rules, it does not guarantee nothing will go wrong, but it can be easier to spot and correct when things go wrong with prenatal care and pre-conception care.

If you are trying to have a baby or are sexually active and want a child, you should avoid, even before you conceive, drugs, smoking and alcohol. You should try to start a balanced diet so your body will not be lacking vital elements of iron, calcium and folic acid which are essential for the growth of a developing embryo and fetus. You should make sure medical conditions are under control such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and epilepsy because they can spiral out of control during pregnancy. If you are taking medication, you should also look into what they could do to your unborn child and seek alternative medications before you get pregnant, just in case. Also, it is very important that you are immunized before conception, especially for German measles.

Once it is confirmed that you are pregnant, seek the care of an obstetrician as soon as possible. If money is a factor, seek out any government form of insurance that will help you. You need to see someone to keep tabs on you on a monthly basis to make sure all is well. In most cases, nothing much happens at the doctor visits except a routine physical that takes a few minutes with a bit of blood work and urine samples. You hear nothing for a month and then go back and do it again. A cynical person may think this is a scam to get money out of a woman by scaring her into prenatal care, but this is not the case. While most pregnancies have no problems, there are many that seem to have no problems on the surface that can quickly become life threatening emergencies if not detected in time. Your lab work may reveal you or the fetus are in danger and need help long before a critical situation occurs and many times can be corrected.

Aside from the importance of prenatal care, you must also plan on several places where you can deliver your baby in case something happens where you are not close to your first choice. You should also plan on different methods of childbirth. Sometimes if you plan on a natural childbirth something can happen that requires an emergency c-section. If that happens, you also have to plan on a longer stay in the hospital, extra expenses, longer recovery, and potential stay for the newborn in the neonatal ICU. If your unborn is not developing well, born early, or you have trouble in your last month of pregnancy, you should plan on looking for a hospital with a good neonatal ICU which could mean the difference between life and death for your child. If you have a plan for a birth at home or a birthing unit, you also need to plan on a hospital as a back up plan in case something goes wrong. Think of the worst that can go wrong and plan ahead, but don't dwell too much on it since your odds of the worst happening are not great.

What you are in power to do during your pregnancy is to take care of yourself. Don't drink, smoke or do drugs. Eat a balanced diet and eat for the sake of your growing child. Remember, when eating for two it does not mean eating for two grown adults. A fetus does need extra calories, but not as much as an adult. Add an extra 300 calories if you are not active and 500 if you are very active. Drink plenty of fluids. Get moderate, appropriate exercise and don't overdo it. Get lots of rest since that won't happen when the baby is born. Don't stand or sit too long. Don't lie on your back in late pregnancy. Be kind to your body. Know your limits. Don't be a hero, if you are hurting or think something is wrong, voice your concern and don't be stoic.

The most effective form of prenatal care is done when you work as a team with your doctor. Follow through with your appointments and recommendations. You do your part and the doctor does their part and your chances for a healthy baby are much better.