One very important thing to do during pregnancy is to have consistent and scheduled prenatal check-ups to make sure that the health of both the mother and the baby are monitored and well taken care of. As soon as a woman suspects that she is pregnant, she should right away call a health care provider to set up appointments to confirm the pregnancy and/or to find out when to come in for prenatal care appointments. She should keep all health care appointments during pregnancy as many obstetricians recommend even if she is feeling fine.
So why is it important for a pregnant woman to have prenatal check-ups? During prenatal check-ups, the woman's OB/GYN (obstetrician/gynecologist), aside from confirming pregnancy, can assess the woman's health status, project the expected date of delivery date, and give advise on nutrition, exercise, sexual activity, and many other aspects of keeping fit and healthy during pregnancy. Also, an early detection can allow the proper medical facilities to be present at the time of birth to allow the baby full access to the needed help.
What usually happens in a prenatal visit is the doctor may measure the fundal height, which is actually the height of the uterus, to see how much your baby has grown. Rh-incompatibility is one of the common problems of pregnancy, so blood testing for Rh-compatibility is performed. If the woman has Rh-negative blood and the fetus is Rh-positive, the fetus may be at risk for some serious health problems. Early medical evaluation and treatment can help prevent problems with the current and future pregnancies.
During prenatal check-up, the pregnant woman also gets to listen to the baby's heart beat using a Doppler device or a special stethoscope depending on the age of the fetus.
According to the Department of Health, urine test is also necessary to check for sugar and protein as signs of diabetes and kidney change. A Pap test may be done to detect changes in the cervix that could be forerunners to cancer. Monitoring of sugar and protein is done during subsequent visits and it requires collection of more urine samples. Measuring blood pressure, measuring weight to make sure the expectant mother is gaining enough, and checking the size and position of the uterus and fetus are also done on the succeeding prenatal visits. The doctor can also perform various tests to check the fetus for birth defects.
To make sure that both the mother and the fetus's health are kept intact, it is best that prenatal check-ups are done throughout the pregnancy.