Why Prenatal Care Matters
You may be wondering if you really need prenatal care—especially if your family has no history of problems during pregnancy. Yes.
Or you may be wondering if you can wait until month six or seven to get prenatal care. No.
Prenatal care officially begins when you start thinking about getting pregnant. There are many steps you can take before you get pregnant and in your first trimester to help ensure a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.
Babies whose mothers do not get prenatal care are five times more likely to die than babies born to mothers who get care. If they don’t die, their chances of having a low birth weight, which can lead to health problems, are tripled, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services.
You should see an obstetrician or other prenatal provider as soon as you get pregnant. If you do not have any health conditions that put you at risk of problems, you’ll see your provider for a prenatal care visit about once a month from weeks four through 28, then twice a month through week 36, and then weekly until your baby is born.
Your obstetrician or prenatal care provider will check your health and the growth of the baby throughout your pregnancy to ensure that there are no problems. You also will be tested at various times for conditions that can occur during pregnancy, such as gestational diabetes or preeclampsia. Learn more about prenatal care and tests.