If you have recently found out you are pregnant then it is a wonderful, exciting time. However, it can also seem a little overwhelming to begin with as there are lots of things to think about. A big part of a healthy pregnancy for you and your unborn child is the antenatal process. You may have heard of this but not be quite sure what is involved. Don’t worry – it is not as scary as it sounds and is certainly nothing to be afraid of.
What is antenatal care and why do antenatal checks matter?
Put simply, antenatal care is all about making sure you and your baby are healthy all the way through your pregnancy. It is the process of getting the information and support you need to feel confident and ready for the eventual birthing process. Antenatal health checks are a vital part of this care as they allow you to make sure your health and your baby’s is as it should be. They will not only give you peace of mind that all is on track but allow you advance warning of any issues that need to be dealt with quickly.
Which antenatal checks are the most widely used?
There are lots of health checks that you can have when pregnant. The below are some of the most common to keep everyone healthy:
- Baby scans – one of the antenatal checks that all parents enjoy having is the baby scan. These are done at various times in your pregnancy and you even get a picture of your precious unborn child in the womb. These checks help to make sure the baby is lying in the correct position and allows the doctor to see if the fetus is developing as expected.
- General blood tests – another very common antenatal check that all pregnant woman undergo regularly are blood tests. These can be done via at home testing kits, at your local family doctor’s or at the hospital. They are done to check for hemoglobin levels in your blood that indicate whether you are anemic. Your blood tests will also show up any infection that you might have when pregnant and any blood disorders that could be present.
- Screening for specific illnesses – all mothers to be are offered the chance to be screened to check for specific illnesses like Down’s Syndrome in their baby. While you do not have to have this done, many choose to do so.
- Blood pressure – another very widely used antenatal check when pregnant is to take your blood pressure. Having high or low blood pressure is dangerous for you and your unborn child. In particular, a condition caused by high blood pressure called Pre-Eclampsia is checked for as it can be potentially fatal for your baby.
- Prolactin test – one test that many women choose to have done is a Prolactin test. It enables you to check the levels of this important hormone in your blood when pregnant. Normal Prolactin levels are also needed to breastfeed so many pregnant mothers have this tested for, so that any issues can be dealt with.
- Folate test – as noted above, anemia is a condition that can affect some women when pregnant. A common cause can be the lack of Folic Acid in your body which is what this test checks for. If you get tested for this and find that you don’t have enough then it would be worth seeing your doctor to see if he or she recommends taking a Folic Acid supplement.
Lab tests online a great idea
One great way to keep on top of your antenatal health is via lab testing kits that you can order online. These are easy to use and can help you test for specific problems that you may be worried about or need to keep an eye on. This then means that you can seek professional medical help with any results they show that may need dealing with. You can simply order online and get the testing kit sent to your home address. Many pregnant women choose to order lab tests online in this way to look after their own health and that of their unborn child.
Antenatal checks make sense
If you are expecting your very own little bundle of joy, then enjoy your pregnancy as much as you can. It is such a special time that you must make the most of it. Getting the right antenatal care is a big part of this, Hopefully, our brief guide to the most common checks around will make it all a bit easier to navigate.