Prenatal care and examination
As soon as the menstrual delay occurs, most women take a pharmacy pregnancy test to verify the possibility of pregnancy. With the positive result comes a flood of emotions, expectations, anxiety, and all this must be followed very closely by doctors, after all, a baby is on the way! To ensure the health of both mother and baby, it is necessary to start a routine monitoring of pregnancy known as PRE-NATAL.
But, what are the demands and exams that moms need to do to ensure a better pregnancy?
The Ministry of Health recommends that the pregnant woman visit the doctor at least six times until delivery, but most obstetricians choose to see their patients more often, a true health marathon that fills the nine months of pregnancy.
The frequency of appointments with the obstetrician begins with one per month, if all goes well, and becomes fortnightly from the eighth month.
When starting the prenatal, the first exam that is requested is the blood test, to verify possible infections, diseases, anemia, antibodies, sugar levels, hormone dosage, thyroid and antibodies among other factors, and to verify the blood type and the RH factor that, in case it is negative, it is necessary to take some measures at the time of birth.
It is in the blood test that the presence or absence of antibodies to diseases that can affect the baby’s development such as: rubella, toxoplasmosis, cytomegalovirus.
Together with the blood test, the urine and feces test complement the patient’s health picture and show possible infections or loss of proteins, anemia, parasites in the intestine, finally, a general diagnosis of the mother that can detect any problem so that she starts treatment as soon as possible.
Between the 5th and 8th week of pregnancy the main exam that the obstetrician will ask for is the “transvaginal ultrasound”. After the first ultrasound the parents will learn how to count the pregnancy for weeks and possibly know which is the PPD – Probable Date of Birth (40 weeks of pregnancy), which is calculated from the “record” of their last menstruation. The images will show the embryo and the gestational sac, still shapeless, the embryo looks just like a little ball.
Between the 11th and the 14th week of gestation the “Nuchal translucency ultrasonography” is the exam that can detect or not the Down Syndrome among other anomalies. This exam is done by measuring the nape of the future baby and the presence or absence of the nasal bone that can indicate a chromosomal alteration.
In this exam it is verified the frequency of heartbeats that can give doctors signs of possible heart problems. If everything is okay in this exam, it will not be necessary to request complementary exams.
The next ultrasound is the morphological, that is, it checks the formation of the baby’s organs. It takes place between the 20th and 22nd week of pregnancy and in most cases it is possible to visualize the sex of the baby and the papal can start the layette! If the ultrasound device has 3D technology, you can see some of the baby’s face.
When the pregnancy arrives between 24th and 28th week, the obstetrician requests a diabetes exam to check if the patient has developed gestational diabetes, a disease that requires special care during pregnancy until delivery. The exam is known as the glycemic tolerance curve or oral glucose tolerance test. In the laboratory, the pregnant woman drinks a glass of glucose and then undergoes some blood draws for analysis.
Between the 34th and 37th week of pregnancy a test is done to detect the presence of beta-hemolytic streptococcus by means of a sample of vaginal secretion and another of the rectum to trace an eventual infection caused by the group B streptococcus bacteria, which can be passed to the baby during the birth and provoke until the death of the newborn. The treatment, for positive cases, consists in the administration of antibiotics for the pregnant woman on the day of birth.
During this period, the obstetrician asks for another ultrasound, called third trimester ultrasound, which follows the size, weight and position of the fetus. He also evaluates the maturity of the placenta and the amount of amniotic fluid.
It can be performed with Doppler technology, a resource that facilitates the detection of problems in pregnancy. The number of ultrasounds in the last trimester of pregnancy depends on the needs of each patient and the particular choices of the doctor, so this examination can be done more than once. Mothers with special conditions have a few more exams in this long marathon of care during pregnancy!