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As soon as a woman discovers she is pregnant, she should establish a schedule of prenatal care with her physician for the entire duration of the pregnancy. For normal pregnancies without significant complications, prenatal exams are usually scheduled as follows:
This schedule may vary depending on your personal medical condition and your physician's preference. Additional prenatal care may be necessary if there are any preexisting medical conditions (i.e., diabetes) present in the mother and/or if complications arise while carrying the baby to term.
Prenatal care can be provided by various medical professionals, including the following:
Obstetricians (and other physicians who specialize in maternal-fetal medicine, reproductive endocrinology, and/or infertility) are certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Almost 2,000 obstetricians are certified annually.
The goal of prenatal care is not only to provide the best care for the pregnant woman and the unborn child, but also to prepare the mother-to-be for the delivery of a healthy baby. During prenatal visits, tests are performed on both the mother and the baby to assess any potential risks, to treat any maternal or fetal complications, and to monitor the growth and development of the fetus. In addition, counseling and guidance are provided regarding various aspects of pregnancy, including weight gain, exercise, nutrition, and overall health. A typical prenatal visit may include any/all of the following:
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Online Resources of Pregnancy & Childbirth
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