Prenatal care, also known as antenatal care, is a type of preventive healthcare.
It is provided in the form of medical checkups, consisting of recommendations on managing a healthy lifestyle and the provision of medical information such as maternal physiological changes in pregnancy, biological changes, and prenatal nutrition including prenatal vitamins, which prevents potential health problems throughout the course of the pregnancy and promotes the mother and child’s health alike. The availability of routine prenatal care, including prenatal screening and diagnosis, has played a part in reducing the frequency of maternal death, miscarriages, birth defects, low birth weight, neonatal infections and other preventable health problems.
Traditional prenatal care in high-income countries generally consists of:
- monthly visits during the first two trimesters (from the 1st week to the 28th week)
- fortnightly visits from the 28th week to the 36th week of pregnancy
- weekly visits after 36th week to the delivery, from the 38th week to the 42nd week
- Assessment of parental needs and family dynamics