Prenatal care is the health care a woman receives during pregnancy. It involves monitoring and managing health issues, which may develop. Prenatal care is important in order to reduce incidences of miscarriage, low birth weight and improve maternal and infant outcomes.
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To provide the best care for a pregnant women and her unborn child, and to get the new mom-to-be ready for delivering a baby, a whole series of visits are scheduled.
During prenatal care visits, the health of the baby and the mother will be evaluated to identify risks, monitor growth, and treat complications. Tests such as ultrasound and amniocentesis may be done early on, as well as medical exams, blood tests and fetal heart rate monitoring; but prenatal care also includes guidance during pregnancy on items like weight gain, nutrition, and exercise.
Prenatal care can reduce pregnancy complications for both the mother and baby, such as high blood pressure, low birth weight and premature delivery.