Women

Your 40-week Journey : Who will Handle My Care? A guide to prenatal care (part 2)

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- How to have natural miscarriage
- Foods That Cause Miscarriage
- Signs Proving You Have Boy Pregnancy

Blood tests How these contribute to your prenatal care

You will be offered several blood tests during pregnancy and the results provide vital information that may affect your pregnancy and help your caregivers to plan your care.

At your first appointment, you will be offered blood tests to check for the following:

These are usually taken at the same time, so you won't need a separate blood sample for each!

  • Anemia (low iron levels).

  • Your blood group.

  • Your Rhesus status.

  • Hepatitis B.

  • Rubella (German measles) and varicella immunity.

  • HIV and syphilis.

Preparing for visits Getting ready for your prenatal appointments

Knowing what to expect at your prenatal appointments and having the necessary information at hand will mean the allotted time is used efficiently.

At your first prenatal appointment, your midwife is gathering as much information about you as possible to build a picture of your health and consider the most appropriate type of care for you. Make sure you have the date of your last menstrual period, as well as the dates of any previous pregnancies, including ones that ended in miscarriage. You will also need information on your family's medical history and your partner's medical history, including any inherited abnormalities, so check before the appointment if you are unsure about anything. Read any information sent by the doctor or midwife and make a list of any questions so that you don't forget them.

Rhesus negative

Each person's blood carries a rhesus factor (Rh-factor), which is positive or negative. Problems arise if a Rh-negative woman carries a Rh-positive baby who has inherited the status from the father. If the mother's blood comes into contact with the baby's blood during pregnancy or delivery, she may produce antibodies against the baby. This does not usually affect a first baby, but may cause problems in subsequent pregnancies when a mother's antibodies attack the cells of another Rh-positive baby.

First pregnancy:

At delivery, the mother may be exposed to her baby's blood. The baby's and mother's blood mix and she develops antibodies against the baby.

Subsequent pregnancy:

Anti-D antibodies attack the next baby's blood and can cause heart trouble and anemia. Rh-negative women are given anti-D injections to combat this.

Obstetric terms Understanding your chart

The information in your chart should be open to you and will be sent to the hospital regularly during your pregnancy. If you decide to transfer care or move, you can take a copy to your new doctor. Some common abbreviations and terms:

  • BP Blood pressure.

  • Hgb Hemoglobin levels (iron).

  • Primagravida A woman in her first pregnancy.

  • Multipara A woman who has had previous babies.

  • FHR Fetal heart rate.

  • Fm Fetal movement.

  • LMPLast menstrual period.

  • EDD/EDC Estimated date of delivery/confinement.

  • Ceph Cephalic, baby head down.

  • Vx Vertex, baby head down.

  • Br Breech (baby is head up).

  • OA or OP Baby is presenting face up or face down.

  • FH Fundal height, an estimation of fetal growth.

  • EFW Estimated fetal weight.

NOTE

The meaning of “midwife” is “with woman.” As you get to know your midwives, you will also find out more about your body and baby

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