Pregnancy care or Prenatal care, also known as antenatal care, is a type of preventive healthcare. Its goal is to provide regular check-ups that allow doctors or midwives to treat and prevent potential health problems throughout the course of the pregnancy and to promote healthy lifestyles that benefit both mother and child. During check-ups, pregnant women receive medical information over maternal physiological changes in pregnancy, biological changes, and prenatal nutrition including prenatal vitamins. Recommendations on management and healthy lifestyle changes are also made during regular check-ups. 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.
The WHO recommends that pregnant women should all receive four antenatal visits to spot and treat problems and give immunisations. Although antenatal care is important to improve the health of both mother and baby, many women do not receive four visits.
Coming soon: resources about pregnancy care and a directory of prenatal care specialists and facilities in South Africa