Looking back on my two pregnancies, I feel fortunate to have had such great prenatal care, especially since I developed gestational diabetes the second time around. Through early detection, I was able to get the education and counseling I needed to maintain a healthy pregnancy and carry my daughter to full term.
In a new BeWell Q&A, Daychin Campbell, childbirth educator and coordinator at the Stanford Center for Continuing Medical Education in the School of Medicine, highlights the importance of prenatal care and its significance in helping women reduce the risk of premature births and other pregnancy-related complications, such as diabetes and preeclampsia. As noted in the piece, one in eight babies in the U.S. is born prematurely, and premature birth is the leading cause of newborn death and long-term disability.
Campbell points out there have been many great advances in prenatal care over the last several decades:
When receiving prenatal care, pregnant mothers can get advice and information on nutrition and exercise for a healthy pregnancy, control pre-existing conditions or pregnancy-related conditions that can complicate pregnancy, and make sure that the baby is growing and developing appropriately. Pregnant women/couples should feel that they can ask their healthcare provider any questions during these visits. Parents-to-be, especially first-timers, should know that no question or concern is stupid or unreasonable. I was pregnant with my daughter 32 years ago and I can’t recall anything special I did other than a glucose test to check for gestational diabetes and giving up coffee. By contrast, today there are numerous tests and procedures about which women/couples may have questions!
She also says there are many available resources for expectant mothers, but women often don’t know they exist:
I also believe that pregnant women often need support during pregnancy, but perhaps don’t even know where to find it. Taking a prenatal yoga or other exercise class during pregnancy is a great way to meet other pregnant women, plus it can help with handling stress and preparing for labor. For those women with depression or anxiety during pregnancy (either brought on by pregnancy or a woman’s pre-pregnancy clinical condition), there are options for finding help. Locally, there is El Camino Hospital’s Maternal Outreach Mood Services program, as well as Pregnancy as Postpartum Moods and Challenges weekly group at Blossom Birth in Palo Alto.
Previously: Researchers develop new method for predicting preterm labor, New research center aims to understand premature birth, Device designed to better detect preterm labor, Are women getting the message about the benefits of exercise during pregnancy?, Could exercise before and during early pregnancy lower risk of pre-eclampsia? and Expectant dads could benefit from support, attention
Photo by Daquella manera