Getting good pre-natal care is part of having a healthy pregnancy. With routine visits, your doctor or midwife can recognize early signs of preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, anemia, or other potential problems and start to address them. You have the opportunity to talk to a health care professional about how to take care of yourself and your baby. Care during pregnancy also is also great preparation for one of the most challenging experiences of your life, childbirth. Make the most out of your visits by taking an active role in your well-being.
A typical pre-natal visit with your doctor may involve a urine sample, a blood pressure reading, and perhaps other routine tests such as blood testing, or a pelvic exam. Your weight is monitored throughout pregnancy to make sure you are gaining a healthy amount of weight. Your abdomen may be measured and the fetal heart rate is checked. A visit with a midwife will involve less testing, and plenty of time for those important questions, so make sure to ask them! Before each appointment, prepare a list of questions mentally or on paper. This is your opportunity to get as much valuable information as you can from an individual with years of education and experience. What nutrients should you be including in your diet? What are the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids for pregnant women? What types of exercise are safe during each trimester? Which herbal teas can relieve morning sickness safely? Bring up specific problems that you may be experiencing, such as anxiety or back pain, and talk with your doctor about solutions.
For the best experience, use all the resources that are available to you. Talk to your doctor or midwife about breastfeeding and childbirth classes that are offered at your hospital or birthing center. Try out a pre-natal yoga class to learn breathing techniques and strengthening exercises, that are beneficial during pregnancy, and spend time with other pregnant women. Read books about pregnancy, and talk to other women about their experiences, and pick up any tips that they may want to share. There is so much to learn, and so much that can assist you along the way.
Take the time to investigate your options. Find a caregiver that you are comfortable with, as you are going to be spending a lot of time with her over the next several months! If you are interested in a more nurturing medical experience, then you may enjoy seeing a midwife. According to the American Pregnancy Association, midwives focus on the psychological and social well-being of the mother instead of just on their physical health. If routine testing and giving birth in a hospital sounds like a secure option, then look for a doctor that meets your needs.
Pre-natal care is meant to provide you and your baby with a safe, healthy experience during pregnancy and childbirth. Take control of it! Learn as much as you can. Use your resources and choose the caregiver that is right for you.