What is antenatal care?
Traditionally involves a number of routine visits for assessment. We provide clinical assessment of mother and unborn baby during pregnancy, for the purpose of obtaining the best possible outcome for the mother and child. This is achieved by screening and assessments using a combination of methods, including biochemical, haematological and ultrasound. Efforts are made to maintain maternal physical and mental wellbeing, prevent preterm delivery, to anticipate difficulties and complications at delivery, to ensure the birth of a live and healthy baby, and to assist the couple in preparation for parenting
What happens during antenatal care visits?
The antenatal care you get throughout your pregnancy depends on many factors:
- Your past obstetric, medical and surgical histories
- Your current state of health and welfare of your baby
- Your stage of pregnancy or gestational age
- Your current antenatal record and problems you may be experiencing
There will be a number of checks, scans, tests and discussions such as:
- When the baby is due, what trimester you are in and what this means for you and your baby
- Finding out about your medical history, general health and how any previous pregnancies were
- Discussing any medication you are taking
- Ensuring you are up to date with cervical screening
- Ensuring that your mental health is good and supporting you if you have depression or anxiety
- Checking your blood pressure, weight and testing your urine
- Conducting screening blood tests
- Providing advice on healthy eating and lifestyle changes
- Feeling and measuring your tummy, and listening to the baby’s heartbeat
- Asking you about your home environment, work and what support you have. If you are experiencing family violence, this is a good opportunity for you to discuss it
- Checking about any physical symptoms that may be bothering you
Running through your birth plan with you
- Discussing backup plans in case of emergency
- Finding out about antenatal classes
- Advice about taking your baby home, feeding them and other care
An ultrasound scan or sonar is a medical investigation that uses high-frequency sound waves to capture live images from the inside of your body. It’s also known as sonography.
The technology allows your doctor to see problems with organs, vessels, and tissues without having to make an incision; and unlike other imaging techniques, ultrasound uses no radiation. It is for this reason, it’s the preferred method for viewing a developing foetus during pregnancy.
What are some common uses of ultrasound in pregnancy?
Ultrasound is a useful procedure in pregnancy as it helps your doctor to:
- Establish the presence of a living embryo/foetus
- Establish the location of early pregnancy to exclude an ectopic pregnancy
- Confirm the viability of the foetus
- Estimate the age of the pregnancy
- Diagnose congenital abnormalities of the foetus
- Evaluate the and the presentation of the foetus inside the uterus
- Evaluate the position of the placenta
- Determine if there are multiple pregnancies
- Determine the amount of amniotic fluid around the baby
- Check for opening or shortening of the cervix
- Assess foetal growth
- Assess foetal weight
- Assess foetal well-being