Prenatal Care Laguna Beach

Every woman should know what to expect when she’s expecting.  Regular prenatal and postnatal care is highly recommended for all women during pregnancy and after the birth of their child.  Think of it has preventative pregnancy care.  Pregnancy care consists of prenatal, which is before birth, and postnatal care which is after delivery.  Prenatal and postnatal care allows physicians and midwives to perform regular check-ups and prevent potential problems throughout a pregnancy and after delivery.    It’s also important because both mother and child benefit from a physician’s recommendations and guidance for a healthy lifestyle and the proper treatment throughout the pre-pregnancy, pregnancy and birthing process.

Prenatal Care

With prenatal care, women receive medical information about the biological changes their body will go through, prenatal nutrition, prenatal vitamins and information about maternal physiological changes during pregnancy.  The awareness of the importance of prenatal care has played a significant role in the reduction of miscarriages, maternal death rates, birth defects and low birth weight as well as other preventable health conditions.

Regular prenatal care is comprised of a monthly visit during the first two trimesters or from week 1 to week 28.  From week 28 to week 36, a pregnant woman can expect physician visits to increase to every two weeks.  During and after week 36 until delivery, a mother can expect weekly visits.  With every prenatal visit, there is an assessment by the physician of the continued family dynamic and any parental needs.

Prenatal Examinations

At the very first prenatal care visit, a pregnant women is classified as either normal or high risk.  Both a prenatal diagnosis and a prenatal screening are scheduled.  These tests determine whether the fetus or embryo has a condition or disease before it is born.  Prenatal care gives obstetricians and midwives the ability to observe the mother’s health and prenatal development through a series of regular examinations.

Here’s what a regular prenatal check-up or physical examination involves:

  • A thorough recording of a mother’s health and medical history
  • A check for blood pressure
  • Identify mother’s height and weight
  • A pelvic exam
  • Blood and urine tests for the expectant mother
  • Doppler fetal heart rate exam

Obstetric Ultrasounds

Ultrasounds are considered safe and have been conducted by obstetricians and other health professionals for nearly 35 years.  Generally, ultrasounds are ordered according to the following schedule or if an obstetrician suspects an abnormality:

  • 7 weeks to confirm the pregnancy and determine due date
  • 13 to 14 weeks to evaluate the possibility of Down Syndrome
  • 20 weeks or second trimester
  • 34 weeks to evaluate fetus size and verify the position of the placenta

All pregnant women and their unborn children, regardless of their social and socioeconomic backgrounds, greatly benefit from regular prenatal care.  It’s a great way to give both you and your unborn baby the care they need.

Postnatal Care

The postnatal care period lasts approximately six to eight weeks after delivery.  During this period a mother goes through emotional and physical changes while trying to take care of her newborn.  Postnatal care for mothers means getting the proper nutrition, rest and the right vaginal care.

Get Enough Rest

New mothers need their strength to keep up with the demands of a newborn, and rest is one way to rebuild strength.  To avoid becoming exhausted, it’s important the mothers do the following:

  • Sleep whenever the baby sleeps
  • Keep the baby’s crib next to your bed so that night feeding are easier
  • Allow bottle feedings by someone other than the mother so that the new mother can catch up on sleep.

Eat Right

Receiving the proper nutrition during the postnatal care period is crucial in view of the changes a mother’s body goes through during pregnancy and labor.  Baby weight gained during pregnancy is to make sure there is enough nutrition for your baby during breastfeeding.  But it’s still important to get enough nutrition after delivery by eating as healthfully as possible.

Both obstetricians and pediatricians recommend that mothers continue to eat whenever they feel hungry after delivery.  Mothers should avoid high-fat foods and snacks, focus on eating a balance of protein, carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables and drink plenty of fluids.

Vaginal Care

Part of the postnatal care experience is making time for vaginal care.  Moms may experience any of the following:

  • Vaginal soreness if there was a tear during delivery,
  • Urination problems, including pain or a frequent urge to urinate,
  • Discharge that includes small blood clots, and
  • Contractions which can occur during the first few days of delivery.

A scheduled appointment with your physician six weeks after delivery is recommended to discuss symptoms and to receive treatment.  Also, mothers should abstain from sexual intercourse for six weeks after delivery so that the vagina has time to heal.