The importance of prenatal care
GEHA | July 18, 2022
Prenatal care is essential health care to receive while pregnant. This can help keep you and your baby safe and healthy as well as prevent complications. Newborns whose mothers had no prenatal care are three times more likely to have a low birth weight and five times more likely to die than those born to mothers who had early prenatal care.
It is important to schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as you learn you are pregnant. In fact, your first prenatal visit should be completed in your first trimester.
Prenatal care will include:
- Prenatal Care Help and Resources
- Screening for potential problems
- Opportunity to learn what to expect during labor and delivery
- Education regarding the connection between nutrition, lifestyle and pregnancy outcome
High risk pregnancies
It is crucial for women with high-risk pregnancies to seek prenatal care. High-risk pregnancies are pregnancies with a greater chance of complications.
These factors may increase the risks of problems during pregnancy:
- If you are of a very young age or over the age of 35
- If you are overweight or underweight
- If you have had problems in previous pregnancies
- If you are pregnant with multiples such as twins or triplets
- If you have current or past health conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, HIV and autoimmune disorders
The importance of early care
Early prenatal care allows doctors to detect and correct developing problems before they affect the baby. It also significantly reduces the risk of low birthweight and infant mortality.
Low birthweight can lead to the following consequences:
- Congenital anomalies
- Respiratory tract problems
- Neurodevelopmental handicaps
Be sure to schedule a prenatal appointment with your doctor early in your pregnancy. GEHA members who complete a first trimester visit may be eligible for Health Rewards. Continue to have regular appointments for the rest of your pregnancy. These appointments will reduce the risk of complications for you and your baby. This could potentially save you or your baby’s life.
GEHA offers a free maternity resource packet filled with information about pregnancy, prenatal care and your maternity benefits. Click here to order yours today.
To read more about prenatal care and health, please view the links below:
- “Prenatal Care: Having Healthy Babies.” www.nicbi.nlm.gov, National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, 1990
- Prenatal care for you and your baby
- Prenatal and infant care benefits for GEHA members
- Prenatal care resources
“Prenatal Care: Having Healthy Babies.” www.nicbi.nlm.gov, National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, 1990
“What is prenatal care and why is it important?” www.nichd.nih.gov, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, 31 January 2017.
“Prenatal Care.” Womenshealth.gov, Office on Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 14 March 2018.
“The importance of Prenatal Care.” www.pbmchealth.org, Peconic Bay Medical Center, 10 May 2019
Disclaimer: This information contained herein is for informational and educational purposes only. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice and if you have questions regarding a medical condition, regimen, or treatment you should always seek the advice of a qualified health care provider. Never disregard or delay seeking medical advice from a qualified medical professional because of information you have read herein.