The term antenatal means before birth. It is derived from the Latin words for before, ante, and birth, natalis.
Antenatal care involves regular visits to a doctor or nurse from the third month of pregnancy onwards. The visits become steadily more frequent as the pregnancy progresses. During these visits appropriate blood and ultrasound tests will be ordered when necessary, and the mother’s urine will be tested. Other checks on the mother and baby’s health will also be performed depending on the stage of pregnancy, and may include weight, blood pressure, checking for swollen ankles and feet, checking the size of the uterus, listening for the baby’s heart beat, checking the baby’s position and feeling the baby’s movements. Any questions about the pregnancy and the accompanying bodily changes will also be answered.
Regular antenatal care is essential for the well-being of both mother and baby.