Abdominal Examination For Obstetric Patients

Antenatal Care: Benefits, when to start

Antenatal care is essential for everyone, would-be mother and her Baby. Regardless of how many pregnancies you might have had in the past and how many babies you currently have, antenatal care is a MUST.

This is because the conditions you had in your last pregnancy might not be the same ones you will have in your next pregnancy. Hence, booking your antenatal care at a healthcare facility closest to you is important to ensure better care and outcomes for you and your Baby.

What to know about Antenatal Care

  1. Antenatal care should start IMMEDIATELY after you discover that you are pregnant. That is, as soon as you did your pregnancy test, it was Positive (not 3 or 4 months after).
  2. Good antenatal care should have at least eight visits. This is just a guide; your visits can depend more on your pregnancy’s overall health and condition.
  3. When newly registered for antenatal, you must be seen at least 1 or 2 weeks after your first visit to review your test results, blood group, genotype, HIV status, etc.
  4. The early scan must be done immediately to check if the pregnancy is viable, its location, and the number of babies.
  5. Most pregnant women are seen once in 4 weeks till 6 to 7 months, then once in two weeks up to 8+ months, and once a week till delivery.

What to do In Case of Anomaly detected on Ultrasound Scan.

‘Doctor, the scan says our baby is not normal.’ This is one of the most painful experiences for any intending parent.

What to do if SCAN shows the Baby has abnormalities

  1. Take a deep breath
  2. Take results to tertiary hospitals
  3. Seek 2nd/3rd opinion
  4. Ask them to use pictures to explain better and show you how it looks in real life. (google it)
  5. Ask what can be done in pregnancy/immediately after birth and if it is compatible with life.
  6. Both partners should try to ask questions within their families; it may be inherited.
  7. Do not blame/neglect yourself; continue to attend antenatally
  8. Try and do all requested tests in the pregnancy to help identify the cause.
  9. Talk to someone about it; family, good friends, therapist, or psychologist to help process & make decisions if need be

Remember to take Folic acid even before you get pregnant, and healthier, you can prevent some of these abnormalities from happening again.

Why every woman must attend Antenatal Care

    • It helps to discover possible complications that can affect the health of the mother and Baby early enough and take necessary precautions.
    • It brings together mothers and helps to provide support, advice, reassurance, and important education about the pregnancy and the Baby to the woman and her family;
    • Routine health screening, Multivitamins, and necessary vaccinations (e.g., tetanus) are given during Antenatal care to prevent possible complications.
Abdominal Examination For Obstetric Patients
Abdominal Examination For Obstetric Patients

Benefits of Antenatal Care (ANC)

Detection of medical conditions coexisting with pregnancy: Routine screening done during Antenatal care helps to detect common medical conditions like Diabetes, Fibroids, Hypertension, Sickle cell disease, Anaemia, etc., and also helps prevent pregnancy complications & adverse outcomes for both mother & child.

This is because many of these conditions are discovered in routine pregnancy tests, especially those of hypertension that can lead to Pre-Eclampsia and subsequent maternal and fetal deaths.

Testing & detection of Infections: during antenatal care, screening is done for several infections that can be transmitted from mother to child. It can affect the child in the womb, leading to several congenital disabilities and disabilities. Examples of infections are; HIV, Herpes, Chlamydia, Syphilis, Gonorrhea, etc.
These can be detected and treated (where possible) to prevent or reduce the risk of transmission from the mother to her unborn Baby.

Immunization: during antenatal care, mothers receive vaccination against tetanus to protect themselves and their babies.

Rhesus Screening: Also, during routine antenatal screening, rhesus-negative mothers who are not previously aware of their status are screened, and if having a rhesus-positive child with risks of rhesus incompatibility, they are given the rhesus immunoglobulin D (rhogam D), to prevent them from being stimulated and developing antibodies against their babies.
This is given to them twice. One at around 28 weeks of pregnancy and the second as early as possible, within the first 72 hours after delivery.

Ultrasound: during antenatal care, an ultrasound can help to access;

  • the number of babies the woman has (if single, twin, triplets, etc.), and the age of the pregnancy. This assessment is done using the first-trimester ultrasound.
  • Also, check for the presence of Anomalies using 2nd-trimester ultrasound.

Routine medication: during antenatal care, women receive important medications that would help protect them and their unborn babies, such as;

  • folic acid & vitamin supplements.
  • Antimalarial prophylaxis and possible mosquito nets
  • prophylaxis against Eclampsia for high-risk persons.
  • Prophylaxis against preterm labour for high-risk mothers.

To all mothers, as soon as you are pregnant, go & book your antenatal care, became early booking has been noted to have the best outcome for both mother and child. This would ensure that you are screened, Scanned, and tested early. Always attend antenatal visits, complain about where they are, and ask questions about any bothering subject.

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