Active Health: When it Comes to Antenatal Health, Start Early

This week’s Active Health dug deep into Antenatal Health. Gynaecologist and IVF Specialist, Dr. Rekha Rajendra Kumar outlined the regimen of check-ups that a person should follow during pregnancy.

“Antenatal check-ups are very important but unfortunately, many people still believe that one needs to visit a doctor only after the first three months of the pregnancy have elapsed. On the contrary, it is crucial that one visit a doctor as soon as there has been a missed period or the pregnancy has been confirmed by a home kit. There is also this common belief that if one goes to a doctor right at the start of a pregnancy, then one may be forced to consume medicines in the early stages, which is undesirable. But, instead, people should keep in mind that any adverse situation must be addressed sooner rather than later – like, early-stage bleeding, which can cause miscarriage if left untreated. Avoiding medical help can lead to repeated incidences of miscarriage.”

In the 9 months of pregnancy, a person must visit a doctor regularly – monthly check-ups in the first 7 months, bi-monthly visits in the 8th month, and weekly check-ups in the 9th month. For persons who have thyroid and sugar-related conditions, a more specific regimen of check-ups may be recommended.

During the initial check-up, the first day of the last period will be noted to calculate the exact status of the pregnancy. Other notations will include details of weight gain or loss, blood pressure, history of any medical issues during pregnancies before the current one, changes noticed in the body like swelling of legs, and more.

While careful check-ups are essential, repeated visits to a doctor for every small thing is unnecessary. Morning sickness, general nausea, headaches, lethargy, lack of sleep, excessive hunger, lack of appetite, mild pain in the stomach area are all common symptoms and need not alarm a person if experienced in mild degrees. “Pregnancy conditions differ from person to person. The best thing to do is to keep a note of the symptoms and follow-up with the doctor during a visit. Do not panic, and remain informed.”

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