You’ve just found out you are pregnant. What now? Changing to a healthier lifestyle is not enough. There are a lot of things that can go wrong during pregnancy, even if you follow all the rules. It is important that you visit your doctor or clinic for regular check-ups. This will make sure your baby is growing as he should, and you do not have, or are not at risk of certain pregnancy-related conditions.
During your pregnancy, you will need to have various screening test done. These will be done through ultrasounds and blood tests. The doctor will check for abnormalities during the ultrasound, such as Spina Bifida, and make sure your baby is growing properly. The blood tests will check for HIV, certain STDs, your Rh status, and the likelihood your baby might have a chromosomal disorder, such as Down syndrome. Your doctor will also be able to advise you about which prenatal vitamins to take. For example, an increase in folic acid intake is crucial right from the start of your pregnancy, to lower chances of certain birth defects, and an increase in calcium uptake becomes important in your third trimester, as your baby’s bones begin to develop in earnest.
Some women develop temporary diabetes during pregnancy. This can be very dangerous for both the mother and child, unless you are aware of it. If you do develop diabetes, your doctor will be able to advise you about it. Some women are also prone to high-blood pressure during pregnancy. This can also be dangerous for a pregnancy, unless treated.
Ideally, you should go for monthly check-ups from your second trimester of pregnancy (after three months) and as often as every two weeks in your last two months of pregnancy. The doctor will monitor your blood-pressure, your weight, and your baby’s size and general well-being.
Going for regular check-ups will minimise the chances of something unexpected happening to you or your baby during pregnancy. It will also give you peace of mind knowing that everything is developing as it should. Make going for regular check-ups a priority when you are pregnant – you owe it to yourself and your baby.