Antenatal Care in Pregnancy

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Kunle Emmanuel
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Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2012 5:02 pm
Location: Lagos

Antenatal Care in Pregnancy

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ANC, What, When and Why in Pregnancy

What is ANC

This is a SPECIAL care given to all confirmed pregnant women. It is the routine health check and control of presumed healthy pregnant women without symptoms (screening), with aim of diagnosing any ongoing diseases or complications that might arise from the ongoing pregnancy. During ANC, pregnant women with/ without symptoms are provided information about lifestyle, pregnancy and delivery.

When should ANC start? At what month is the right time to start antenatal?

• This can vary depending on your location, but globally, it is advised, you start as early as possible. Matter of fact, the earlier you start attending antenatal check-ups the better. The World Health Organization recommends that pregnant women should commence ante natal visit at the second missed period.
• So, I will personally say, as soon as you confirm you are clinically pregnant with ultrasound, start. It is better to start early, than to start late!
• The globally accepted schedule is as follows.:
• Start as soon as possible and then attend antenatal check-ups once a month until 28 weeks.
• After, 28 weeks, attend twice a month until you are 36 weeks pregnant.
• After 36 weeks, and during the last 4 weeks of your pregnancy you should go every week.
FYI, this can vary depending on your location and hospital. Women with high risk pregnancy will start EARLY!
• In this WHO recommends, a total of four visits which are made for uncomplicated pregnancies. This is however flexible, it can be more or less depending on the status/ health of the pregnancy. The arrangement is usually flexible.

So, why ANC?

During your first visit, which is called booking visit, you will be subjected to series of investigations, this will generally vary from one region of the world to another based upon the most prevalent health conditions that constitute risk to the pregnant women and the baby.

Investigations During ANC

These will include:

1. Urine test for sugar and proteins.

2. Blood test for blood group, genotype, HIV screen, screen for syphilis, and screen for hepatitis B.

3. An obstetric ultrasound scan done to confirm the wellbeing of the baby. The early ultrasound scan apart from confirmation of the pregnancy is very useful for accurate dating of the pregnancy. Late scan is not, as accurate.


Vaccines Needed in Pregnancy, Any recommended number?

This is once again dependent on your location/ region of the world. There are no fixed numbers. They are given on need basis.
1. Tetanus toxoid immunization is also given to the pregnant women
2. You should get the Tdap vaccine (to prevent, specifically whooping cough/ pertussis)
3. Flu vaccine
4. Hepatitis B
5. Some women may need other vaccines before, during, or after they become pregnant. For example, if you have a history of chronic liver disease, your doctor may recommend the hepatitis A vaccine.
6. If you work in a lab, or if you are traveling to a country where you may be exposed to meningococcal disease, your doctor may recommend the meningococcal vaccine.

WHO Declarations

Good care during pregnancy is important for the health of the mother and the development of the unborn baby. Pregnancy is a crucial time to promote healthy behaviors and parenting skills. Good ANC links the woman and her family with the formal health system, increases the chance of using a skilled attendant at birth and contributes to good health through the life cycle. Inadequate care during this time breaks a critical link in the continuum of care, and effects both women and babies:
Thank you


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