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The miracle of birth requires effort and proper care to ensure that both the mother and the child retain optimum health. A very important facet of that care begins with pregnancy. Antenatal or prenatal care refers to the care given during pregnancy by trained health professionals. It aims to optimize maternal and fetal health, offering maternal and fetal screening, and to improve women’s experience of pregnancy and birth, preparing them for motherhood whatever their risk status. It also makes medical and social interventions available when necessary. The antenatal treatment has helped to reduce various health risks connected to pregnancy, reducing children’s death, and improving maternal health. As such, it is vital to acquire antenatal care to ensure the health of both the mother and the child.

Antenatal care is healthcare given to pregnant women throughout pregnancy until the child’s birth. It aims to detect the problems that already exist and the problems that might occur during pregnancy that would affect the pregnant women and/or her unborn child. As such, antenatal treatment should be sought out from the moment pregnancy has been confirmed. The healthcare rendered during this period involves routine screening tests, diagnostic procedures and prophylactic treatments. According to the identified problems and risk factors, it could also involve additional care.

Another important part of prenatal care is the educational aspects. The health care provider provides the expecting mother with information regarding her pregnancy. This involves diet recommendations and exercises to keep both the mother and child as healthy as possible.

Regular visits to the doctor are essential to monitoring the baby as it develops and to ensure that no problems arise. In case of problems, early detection aids in resolving the issue easier. One part of prenatal care involves lab tests. Lab tests are part of the routine care given during pregnancy. These tests involve blood and urine tests and sometimes sample tissue from the vagina, cervix, or rectum are collected for testing. These tests help to detect conditions that could increase the risk of complications during pregnancy for the mother and the developing baby. Many of the problems detected by these tests can be treated during pregnancy, so regular checkups are vital to ensure proper that both the mother and child are as healthy as can be. Ultrasounds are also routinely done to monitor fetal development. The blood pressure of the pregnant woman is also monitored during prenatal care.

Some of the routine lab tests that an expectant mother would go through during early pregnancy include:

• Complete blood count (CBC) - this tests the number of blood cells, the red blood cell count, the white blood count, and the platelet count.

• Blood type- this test for what kind of blood types, such as type A or type B

• Rh factor- the Rh factor is a protein that can be found on the surface of the red blood cells. Rh-positive is when it is present and Rh-negative is when this protein is absent. It is important to know which one it is because if a woman is Rh-negative and her fetus is Rh-negative, the woman’s body can produce antibodies against the fetus’s Rh factor- which might cause issues during pregnancy.

• Urinalysis- this tests the mother’s urine to see if she has urinary tract disease, urinary tract infection (UTI). It also measures glucose, which could indicate diabetes mellitus. The protein levels are also measured, which is compared to the levels later in pregnancy. This is important as high protein levels could signal preeclampsia, a serious complication that might occur later in pregnancy or after birth.

• Urine culture- this test is done to check whether the other has bacteria in her urine, which could be a sign of a urinary tract infection (UTI). Antibiotics are used to treat in case of infection.

During the early part of pregnancy, pregnant women are also commonly tested for specific diseases and infections such as:

• Rubella

• Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C

• Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

• Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

• Tuberculosis (TB)

It is vital to ensure that the mother-to-be gets competent antenatal care so that both the mother and child can be as healthy as possible. At Naseem al Rabeeh, we have a team of experts ready to provide expert care that is also friendly. We provide care that is comprehensive and comfortable. Our gynecology doctors are highly-skilled and aided with state-of-the-art equipment. If you are more comfortable with Arabic, we also have highly-qualified female Arab gynecologists to provide you with the best care. Head over to our clinic to get started on your journey of motherhood.

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