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  4.  – Why is prenatal care so important?

Why is prenatal care so important?

As an Oregon expectant mom, your health and that of your growing baby should be your primary concern. To ensure that both of you stay as healthy as possible, you need to see your OB/GYN as early as possible in your pregnancy and continue to visit him or her frequently while you are pregnant. The Office of Women’s Health points out that if you fail to get this vital prenatal care, your baby is three times more likely to have a low birth weight. More alarming still, (s)he has a five times higher risk of dying.

In terms of precisely how often you should see your doctor while pregnant, (s)he likely will give you an appointment schedule during your first visit. In general, experts recommend the following schedule:

  • Once a month between week four and week 28 of your pregnancy
  • Twice a month between week 28 and week 36
  • Once a week between week 36 and the date of your baby’s delivery

What you can expect

The first time you visit your doctor after becoming pregnant, (s)he likely will take your complete medical history, including asking you about any diseases or conditions that you or your family members currently have or had in the past. (S)he also will ask you about your prior pregnancies, if any, and any difficulties that you or that baby encountered. (S)he likewise will record your height and weight and take your blood pressure, as well as obtaining both a blood and a urine sample from you so the lab can check them for any potential problems.

Be sure to fully disclose to your doctor any and all diseases or conditions that run in your family. In addition, do not be afraid or hesitant to ask him or her any and all questions you may have regarding your pregnancy and how you can best ensure that it is and remains a healthy one.

During subsequent visits, your doctor will monitor both your progress and that of your developing baby. (S)he also will continue to check your weight and blood pressure, as well as measuring your abdominal growth and checking on your baby’s heart rate. Depending on your age, ethnicity, family health history and many other factors, (s)he may recommend other tests or procedures, such as a sonogram so you and (s)he can both determine your baby’s sex and see how (s)he is developing.

Getting the prenatal care you and your baby need is the best thing you can do for both of you. While this information is not legal advice, it can help you understand the vital importance of prenatal care.