In the United States, more than three-quarters of women who give birth initiate prenatal care in the first trimester of their pregnancy, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Only 4.6% begin in the third trimester, and just 1.6% aren’t able to or opt not to receive prenatal care at all.
Prenatal care helps you and your baby stay healthy during pregnancy and increases your chances for a healthy delivery. That’s why expert OB/GYNs Daniel McDyer, MD, FACOG, and Julian Stephen Suhrer, MD recommend prenatal care for all of their pregnant patients. They also recommend optimizing your health as soon as you decide you want to get pregnant.
At our two convenient Florida Woman Care of Jacksonville offices, in Jacksonville, Florida, we provide the prenatal services and guidance you need. Why is prenatal care so important? Keep reading to discover some of the benefits.
Prenatal care reduces low birth weight risk
Low birth weight is associated with a plethora of risks that affect your baby’s development. A baby’s birth weight is considered low if they’re born at less than five pounds, eight ounces. Although some babies with low birth weight are healthy, they’re more likely to have problems such as:
- Trouble eating
- Increased risk for infections
- Trouble gaining weight
- Other health problems
Our OB/GYNs help ensure that your baby is born at a normal weight by monitoring your own weight gain during your pregnancy. We also guide you to make lifestyle changes that help your baby grow normally, including eating a whole foods diet, taking supplements such as folic acid, exercising regularly, and quitting cigarettes, alcohol, and/or any recreational drugs.
Part of your prenatal care also includes identifying and either resolving or managing any underlying health issues you may have, including infections.
Prenatal care reduces the risk of premature birth
One of the main causes of low birth weight is premature birth, which is when a baby is born after just 37 weeks or less of gestation. You’re more likely to have a premature birth if you gave birth prematurely before, if you have health problems, or if you smoke or use drugs.
By helping you become as healthy as possible, we help your baby be born at the right time, too. In addition to giving you nutritional counseling, we monitor your health with monthly visits. We also monitor the baby’s progress with tests and ultrasounds to be sure they’re developing normally.
Prenatal care nips problems in the bud
Although most pregnancies and deliveries are uneventful (that’s a good thing!), if a problem does arise, it’s important to identify it as soon as possible so that you and your baby get the treatment you need. If you have a history of genetic diseases in your family, we may test for those. We can also test for other conditions that could affect your baby’s health.
Prenatal care also reduces the risk of complications during pregnancy and after birth, such as:
- Gestational diabetes
- Urinary tract infections
- Neural tube defects
- Fetal alcohol syndrome
For optimal prenatal care, come to Florida Woman Care of Jacksonville about once a month during weeks 4-28 of your pregnancy, twice a month during weeks 28-36, and then once a week until you give birth. If you’re older than 35 or have other risk factors, we may recommend more frequent visits.
If you’re pregnant or hoping to become pregnant soon, contact the nearest Florida Woman Care of Jacksonville office about prenatal care today. Call or book an appointment online.