Antenatal care was initially introduced in 1913 to reduce and prevent adverse events for both mother and baby. This is done by screening pregnant women for any evident risks, monitor the progress of pregnancy, to provide information and counseling.
Some of the aims of the antenatal care include:
- Maintain or improve the pregnant woman’s health.
- Detect any physical or psychological problems arising during pregnancy and treat as appropriate.
- Detect and treat any abnormalities or complications associated with pregnancy.
- Provide opportunity for the mother to discuss any related issues regarding her pregnancy, baby and labour. This would not only improve the doctor-patient relationship but also dispel any myths or unnecessary concern, opportunity to provide accurate information and reassurance.
- On going assessment of the baby.
- Discussion and preparation for childbirth.
In Malaysia, antenatal care are provided by a GP, an obstetrician or a trained midwife whom could either be in a government or private health clinic and hospital. Occasionally, the antenatal check up is a combination of care between the above mentioned health care providers.
In summary, antenatal care was designed for you and your baby’s best interest in mind! All pregnant women need to have an early and continuous antenatal care regardless of their age or whether this is the first or your fifth pregnancy. Antenatal care has been shown to improve the pregnancy outcome so remember to book yours as soon as possible.