Good prenatal care is essential

Tips for parents / Dr. Juan Estrada, Medical Director Sanitas

Good prenatal care is essential

Prenatal care during pregnancy is very important. For your baby's sake and yours, it's important to take especially good care of yourself during your pregnancy.
Follow the basics: eating a healthy diet, getting enough rest, not smoking, drinking alcohol or taking drugs and schedule your first prenatal care checkup as soon as you find out you are pregnant to make sure you’re healthy and you can find out your due date.
Go to all your prenatal care checkups, even if you’re feeling fine. You will get blood and urine tests during most of your visits and a blood pressure check at every visit. Your doctor may recommend certain vaccinations or prenatal tests at your checkups. Prenatal tests make sure your baby is healthy and they include ultrasound and if indicated amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling. Your doctor also asks you about your family health history to see if certain medical conditions run in your family. Always tell your doctor how you’re feeling and ask lots of questions so you know what’s happening throughout your pregnancy.

Why is prenatal care important?

Prenatal care allows you to achieve good maternal health, normal development of the fetus, and to promote optimal labor and childbirth conditions.  This way, maternal complications during pregnancy will decrease, as well as newborn complications such as low birth weight and other neonatal diseases.

Prenatal care seeks to provide education to improve the quality of life of the expectant couple, and that of the expected child. This process involves prenatal care, childbirth, and newborn care.

Prenatal care should start at the time you learn you are pregnant, ideally you should be evaluated well before the 14th week of pregnancy to assess the health of the pregnant woman, determine the risk of pregnancy on the basis of a complete medical history, and take the appropriate actions to achieve a successful pregnancy.

Warning signs to watch out for during your pregnancy

It is of the utmost importance that you know the warning signs that can occur during pregnancy. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, immediately go to urgent care.

  • Excessive weight gain (more than two kilograms in one week).
  • Swelling or edema in your feet, hands, or face.
  • Altered vision (blurred vision, spots).
  • A decrease in the amount of urine.
  • Burning during urination or foul-smelling urine.
  • Uncontrollable vomiting.
  • Severe and persistent headache.
  • Intense pain in your esophagus or stomach.
  • Decrease in- or absence of fetal movements.
  • Vaginal bleeding.
  • Vaginal discharge.
  • Sudden and painful uterine contractions before week 36.
  • Vaginal discharge that has a bad odor and is pruriginous (itches), or more vaginal discharge than normal.
  • Fever.
  • If your agreed delivery date has arrived, and labor has not started yet.