Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Health Care and Pre-Natal Care

Taking care of baby when they are in the mother's womb is a vital way to make sure you have a healthy child. Doing all you can to protect your infant pre-birth is in your best interest and for the child. Knowing what to do to promote a healthy child is critical when it comes to pre-natal care, especially during the days when you and your baby are most vulnerable. To find a great OB-GYN is only part of what you as a newly expectant mother needs to learn as your baby grows inside the womb. Prenatal care can help keep you and your baby healthy. Babies of mothers who do not get prenatal care are three times more likely to have a low birth weight and five times more likely to die than those born to mothers who do get care, according to WomensHealth.gov.

Doctors can spot health problems early when they see mothers regularly, according to Womens Health. This allows doctors to treat them early. Early treatment can cure many problems and prevent others. Doctors also can talk to pregnant women about things they can do to give their unborn babies a healthy start to life. You should start taking care of yourself before you start trying to get pregnant. This is called preconception health. It means knowing how health conditions and risk factors could affect you or your unborn baby if you become pregnant. For example, some foods, habits, and medicines can harm your baby — even before he or she is conceived. Some health problems also can affect pregnancy. Talk to your doctor before pregnancy to learn what you can do to prepare your body. Women should prepare for pregnancy before becoming sexually active. Ideally, women should give themselves at least 3 months to prepare before getting pregnant. The five most important things you can do before becoming pregnant are:

1.Take 400 micrograms (400 mcg or 0.4 mg) of folic acid every day for at least 3 months before getting pregnant to lower your risk of some birth defects of the brain and spine. You can get folic acid from some foods. But it's hard to get all the folic acid you need from foods alone. Taking a vitamin with folic acid is the best and easiest way to be sure you're getting enough.

2.Stop smoking and drinking alcohol. Ask your doctor for help.

3.If you have a medical condition, be sure it is under control. Some conditions include asthma, diabetes, depression, high blood pressure, obesity, thyroid disease, or epilepsy. Be sure your vaccinations are up to date.

4.Talk to your doctor about any over-the-counter and prescription medicines you are using. These include dietary or herbal supplements. Some medicines are not safe during pregnancy. At the same time, stopping medicines you need also can be harmful.

5.Avoid contact with toxic substances or materials at work and at home that could be harmful. Stay away from chemicals and cat or rodent feces.

Prenatal development is divided into three trimesters. During the first two months the developing human is referred to as an embryo. The embryo has three layers from which all body organs develop. During the second trimester the developing human is referred to as a fetus. During the third trimester, the individual is a baby which if born prematurely could survive with extra support. Premature births prior to the third trimester are less likely to survive, even with extraordinary medical care in a neonatal intensive care unit, according to ChildDevelopmentInfo.com. More detailed information about what happens in each trimester can be found at this site: http://www.childdevelopmentinfo.com/development/prenataldevelopment.shtml.
Every parent-to-be hopes for a healthy baby, but it can be hard not to worry: What if the baby has a serious or untreatable health problem? What would I do? Is there anything I can do to prevent problems? Concerns like these are completely natural, according to KidsHealth.org. Fortunately, though, a wide array of tests for pregnant women can help to reassure them and keep them informed throughout their pregnancies. Prenatal tests can help identify health problems that could endanger both you and your unborn child, some of which are treatable. However, these tests do have limitations. As an expectant parent, it's important to educate yourself about them and to think about what you would do if a health problem is detected in either you or your baby.

Why are prenatal tests performed? Prenatal tests can identify several different things:
•treatable health problems in the mother that can affect the baby's health.
•characteristics of the baby, including size, sex, age, and placement in the uterus.
•the chance that a baby has certain congenital, genetic, or chromosomal problems.
•certain types of fetal abnormalities, including some heart problems.
The last two items on this list may seem the same, but there's a key difference. Some prenatal tests are screening tests and only reveal the possibility of a problem. Other prenatal tests are diagnostic, which means they can determine — with a fair degree of certainty — whether a fetus has a specific problem. In the interest of making the more specific determination, the screening test may be followed by a diagnostic test, according to Kids Health. More details about prenatal tests can be found at this site: http://kidshealth.org/parent/system/medical/prenatal_tests.html .

The objective of prenatal care is to monitor the health of the pregnant mother and fetus. It is important to visit the doctor as soon as you suspect you are pregnant. At each visit the doctor will examine you. This examination includes: monitoring weight gain or loss, blood pressure, circumference of the abdomen, position of the fetus and fetal heartbeat. Such variables are going to be closely followed during the course of your pregnancy. Other tests your doctor may recommend are: Ultrasound and Fetal Heart Rate Monitoring. Your doctor may schedule your visits monthly during the first two trimesters (from week one to week 28 of pregnancy), every two weeks from 28 to week 36 of pregnancy and weekly after week 36 (until the day of delivery that could be between week 38 and 40 weeks). More information about what to expect when women become pregnant can be found at this site: http://www.makewayforbaby.com/prenatalcare.htm .

Proper pre-natal care is very important to the health of the baby and the mother. All precautions should be made to enhance the overall health of both Mom and Baby. Find a very good doctor and good health coverage, if at all possible before becoming pregnant, and don't skimp on any measures when it comes to getting ready for your new bundle of joy. Remember, when the newborn looks up at you and coos her/his first sound, you'll be glad you followed directions.

Until next time. Let me know what you think. 

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