Once pregnancy is confirmed, the 'mom-to-be' should immediately make an appointment with an Ob/Gyn. The first visit should be within six weeks of the last menstrual period. The most important reason for this is to confirm that the pregnancy is intrauterine, that is within the uterine cavity. Sometimes the pregnancy occurs in one of the two tubes, called ectopic pregnancy and if not diagnosed in time can lead to rupture of the tube with torrential bleeding in the abdomen. This is a life threatening condition. Incidence of ectopic pregnancy is India is 4 per thousand pregnancies.
Apart from this, in the first visit the doctor will calculate the due date of delivery, look for risk factors, collect information of both the families for any chronic illness or genetic conditions etc. The blood and urine tests will be advised, dos and donts will be stated, diet, exercise and yoga etc will be discussed. Stress management is also important during pregnancy, so the doctor advises to pursue a hobby during this period. Hobby helps to overcome the mood swings which is very common during pregnancy. The woman should open up and ask whatever query she has. In the following nine months she slowly develops a bond with her doctor and that helps in the process of delivery of the baby.
How frequently should the antenatal checkups be done? Well the 'mom-to-be' should have monthly checkups for the first seven months, then biweekly for the next month and lastly she should visit the doctor weekly in the ninth month till her delivery.
How does one know that the pregnancy is doing well?
1. The screening tests done by the Ob/Gyn are normal.
2. Nausea, vomiting and exhaustion in early pregnancy are good sign.
3. There is breast pain, the boobs hurt during early pregnancy and areola becomes dark.
4. There is regular weight gain around 800 grams to 1 kg per month.
5. The baby kicks inside the womb and these movements are felt by the pregnant woman from fifth month onwards.
These symptoms and signs reassure the woman that her baby inside her is doing well.
We will keep discussing different topics of interest of our readers in this column.
DR. SHOBHASMITA BORTHAKUR
SENIOR MEDICAL OFFICER (O&G)
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