The first Antenatal Care visit sets the stage for the journey towards a healthy delivery.
Enoch Murunga, a clinical officer at SVG Healthcare at Muthaiga in Nairobi, says these visits enable examinations to ensure that all is well with the expectant mother and the foetus.
In case there is a need for specialised care, the healthcare provider will discuss and develop a plan with the expectant mother.
So, what exactly happens during these visits?
Monitoring progress of the baby and mother
Blood pressure, weight, and urine tests are carried out to check for any infections or conditions such as diabetes in pregnancy.
Abdominal palpation is also carried out (to check if the size of the abdomen corresponds with the gestation) and how the baby is lying.
An ultrasound scan is part of the monitoring.
The expectant mother is educated on minor and major disorders in a pregnancy.
She is also equipped with knowledge on how to identify them and what action to take.
Labour and delivery
The pregnant woman is made aware of what to expect during labour and delivery and also what to watch out for during pregnancy.
NB: Labour pains can start at any gestation of pregnancy and, therefore, urgent action MUST be taken.
Care of the baby and mother after delivery
The expectant mother is also educated on how to take care of her little one as well as herself after delivery.
She is also taught about treatment of minor infections.
Planning for delivery
Murunga advises that when choosing the hospital one intends to deliver at, one should consider accessibility, cost, availability of other support services in case of emergencies (operating theatre, blood, and newborn care unit)
One should also plan for emergencies; where to go, who will accompany the expectant mother and also the mode of transportation.
NOTE: It is important for the husband/ partner as much as possible to accompany the expectant woman during ANC visits to be able to give maximum support.
This also enables him to ask questions and get clarifications of any issues and better understand pregnancy.