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Three Benefits of Early Prenatal Care

A pregnant female patient sits on an exam table talking to a male provider standing next to her in an exam room.

This article has been medically reviewed and approved by Dr. Elsharkawy.

Over 3 million births occur in the United States each year.

With a vital need to care for both mother and baby following conception, early prenatal care is the best way to ensure you experience a healthy pregnancy and delivery.

The health of a mother and baby during the prenatal stage of parenting becomes increasingly important to ensure that healthy development, proper lifestyle habits, and overall risk and complication reduction are all assessed, monitored, and cared for.

Having a healthy, monitored pregnancy is the best way to promote a healthy birth.

Let’s discuss the importance and benefits of early prenatal care.

First, what is prenatal care?

Prenatal care is an umbrella term that refers to all the health care you receive during pregnancy.

Each prenatal doctor’s visit has the same goal– to help keep you and your unborn child healthy throughout all stages of pregnancy.

Prenatal care includes regular visits with your OB-GYN to check your health and monitor the fetus.

These visits may include

  • a general review of the overall health and wellness of the pregnant mother
  • blood and urine testing
  • blood pressure assessment
  • heart rate monitoring
  • vaginal or abdominal ultrasounds
  • high-risk assessment due to preexisting health conditions or pregnancy-induced conditions such as gestational diabetes
  • mentoring to ensure a healthy diet and lifestyle are followed throughout the length of pregnancy
  • a review of any concerns that the mother may have

When should I have my first prenatal care visit?

We recommend beginning pregnancy-specific visits with a women’s health expert before conception for the best prepregnancy planning.

If that is not possible, you should schedule your first prenatal visit as soon as you find out that you’re pregnant.

How often do prenatal care visits occur?

The short answer is that it depends on various factors, including how far along you are in your pregnancy and whether or not you are at high risk for complications.

The standard prenatal care schedule for mothers aged 18 to 35 years old with no preexisting conditions or increased risk of complications usually follows this type of visit plan:

  • Every 4 to 6 weeks for the first 32 weeks
  • Every 2 to 3 weeks from 32 weeks to 37 weeks
  • Every week from 37 weeks until delivery.

Three Benefits of Early Prenatal Care

Although prenatal visits may seem like a standard doctor’s trip, there are various benefits to these essential checkups.

Three of the most beneficial reasons to stick to a standard prenatal visit schedule are:

1.  You learn about your pregnancy and develop a personalized plan.

Prenatal visits are great for confirming your pregnancy and gestational age, but they are also beneficial to talk through your questions and concerns and receive expert advice on various pregnancy risks, scenarios and fetal development.

2.  You can effectively assess your risk of complications.

Regular screening and monitoring of the mother and baby are the best way to reduce your risk of complications from preexisting and pregnancy-induced conditions such as gestational diabetes. Screening for congenital abnormalities occurs between weeks 15 and 19 of pregnancy, allowing doctors to assess the mother’s risk, along with the health and risks of the baby.

3.  You get to keep track of fetal development.

Throughout pregnancy, fetal development changes by the minute. Staying up-to-date on how well your baby is growing and developing is key to mitigating and planning for any complications or conditions that may arise. Regular monitoring also helps to ensure your baby is growing and thriving in the womb.

Comprehensive women’s health through all life stages

Whether you’re currently pregnant, hoping to conceive or simply curious about the importance of prenatal care, our expert women’s health teams at PVHC are here to guide you through every step of prepregnancy, prenatal and postnatal care standards.

Visit us today to begin your prenatal care journey and ensure the best possible results throughout pregnancy for you and your baby.