Prenatal Care: The Importance Of Prenatal Education

Published on 02/12/21

Prenatal care is relevant for all pregnancies, whether it be your first baby or third. Preparing for a healthy delivery and healthy baby can be easy with the right prenatal care education. 

It is vital for you and your baby’s health. Prenatal care includes scheduled visits with a physician or midwife. This can help your healthcare provider tailor your care to your pregnancy and reduce future medical complications. If you’re not currently seeing a healthcare provider, whether it be a family primary care physician, midwife, or OB-GYN, talk to your family, friends and coworkers for recommendations. 

Prenatal care also includes visits that help women take steps toward a healthy pregnancy before pregnancy.

Your healthcare provider can help you learn how to promote a healthy pregnancy all the way to the delivery of your baby by taking a few steps preconception:

  • Increase intake of folic acid to 400 micrograms per day. 
  • Avoid drinking alcohol, caffeine, smoking, and using drugs.
  • Double check immunizations are valid.
  • Control any current or possible medical conditions
  • Develop a plan 
  • Learn about you and your partner’s family history
  • Maintaining a current and healthy pregnancy weight 
  • Ensure all help for mental health issues like anxiety or depression.

Even after delivery, it’s important to continuously follow up with your healthcare provider. Not just for the baby’s health, but for your own recovery – physically and emotionally.

Education 

Prenatal education is extremely important, especially for first-time parents. Taking up prenatal classes provides information about birth, breastfeeding, pregnancy, and the transition into parenthood. These classes can help in communicating with your doctor, the choices you have for birth. They also spark questions you may want to discuss with your doctor, partner, and even hospital staff.

Finding the Right Classes for You

We live in the information age. Finding the right classes help narrow the focus on what you may consider a priority during your pregnancy. Whether it be the labor and delivery or the baby care and breastfeeding, finding the right classes to cater to your interests will help you get the clarification you need. This can help you understand anything you don’t up until that point. 

Even more of a benefit is the opportunity to talk to an educator and other couples on the same journey. This is a great place for conversation where you can share tips and practical information. It’s also a great place for general information. For more specific questions, talk to your healthcare provider for details. 

What You Can Expect

The couples you will find in childbirth classes are from all walks of life, may be different in ages, different professions, cultures, education, and ideas of what their pregnancy and birth may look like. You should note, when looking for an educator, make sure they are unbiased in every prenatal option. This way they can provide you with all the resources and information that will allow you to make informed decisions about your labor, birthing, and parenting style. 

You normally can find birthing classes through local hospitals and birthing centers. You can find classes that follow specific methods and others that review labor techniques. Prior to booking a class, you may want to read about the different methods beforehand and feel out what might appeal to you more. This way deciding on and signing up for classes will be a little easier to decipher. Make sure to sign up several months before your due date. Classes have been known to fill up quickly. Also, ensure the instructor is thoroughly qualified. 

Most women tend to pick classes that include the person who will be there to support them during labor. This could be a good friend, your partner, or sibling. Otherwise known as the labor coach. Your instructor will give you both strategies to work through, signs of labor, stages of labor, and positioning for labor and birth. Even more important, ways to control labor pains and practices to help you stay relaxed and in control of your delivery. You will then practice these strategies in class to help get you ready for when the day arrives. 

This prenatal and childbirth educator isn’t there for medical advice but to help you:

  • Help in class discussions
  • Introduces ways your partner can help mom during labor
  • Provides information about the labor and birthing process
  • Helps everyone learn how to communicate with each other and make decisions about labor and birth.

Finding A Healthcare Provider

One of the most, if not the most important thing you need to do is decide on a doctor. Not just for you but for you and your baby’s development and birth. Post-delivery, your baby will need frequent checkups. This could be for vaccines or any ailment like sickness they may encounter. Make sure to look for doctors that care for babies that include – pediatricians and family physicians. 

You may find that there are some nurses with special training that can help care for your new baby called pediatric nurse practitioners. You may find that a lot of medical offices have both nurse practitioners and regular doctors on their staff.

Here are some ways to help you choose a doctor for your baby:

  • Use DoctorFinder on the American Medical Association website
  • Find how long they trained and been in practice. 
  • Check with your insurance company for the list of doctor your plan covers
  • Find out who else would be seeing you or your child if the doctor is out
  • Find out office hours and how they deal with emergencies or concerns after office hours
  • Request interview for the doctors you are considering
  • Get recommendations from other patients

If you choose a doctor that is staffed at the hospital where you deliver, your chosen doctor will see the baby after delivery. If not, the pediatrician on staff at the hospital should be seeing your baby after the birth. Then you can schedule a visit a few days later with your chosen baby’s doctor after birth. Make sure to keep all medical records before leaving the hospital for you and your doctor. 

Make Sure To See Your Doctor

Make sure to talk to your doctor about preconception health care before deciding to get pregnant. Talking to your doctor can help you design a custom plan for all your preconception needs and give you time to discuss any health history, medical conditions, etc., that could affect your pregnancy in the long term.
If it’s not your first pregnancy, your doctor will want to discuss any previous pregnancy problems, medicines you are currently taking, vaccination that might be needed, and all the steps you can or need to take to have a healthy pregnancy and prevent certain birth defects. 

If you have not discussed any of these topics with your doctor, make sure to ask about everything. Make a checklist of talking points and get all the information you need to have a healthy pregnancy. 

Make sure to discuss:

Current medical conditions. This could be anything from autoimmune diseases, thyroid disease, sexually transmitted infections, chronic problems, and hypertension. 

Your Current Lifestyle. If you smoke, drink, or use drugs, work around a toxic environment and substances, live in a stressful or abusive situation. Your doctor can help you find support, treatment, and counseling to overcome anything that will affect the pregnancy and development of your baby’s life. 

Medication. Certain medications can cause serious birth defects during pregnancy. These can be anything from dietary, to herbal, and some prescription over-the-counter medications. Make sure to discuss anything you might be taking, with your doctor before becoming pregnant. This way your doctor can make sure you’re only taking what is necessary and not harmful to your pregnancy. 

When it comes to certain drugs like opioids, even prescribed, could be misused. Or may illicit opioids such as heroin or may use opioids as part of assisted treatment for a disorder. If a woman is planning to become pregnant, she should talk to her healthcare provider. There are instances where a woman would need to take opioids to manage pain or treat a disorder. This would be an instance where creating a treatment plan with your doctor as well as other health conditions before conceiving can help a woman have a higher chance of a healthy pregnancy. 

Vaccinations. There are some vaccinations that are recommended before pregnancy, during, or after delivery. Certain vaccinations help keep you and your baby healthy; avoiding lifelong problems.

Call Rosh MFM In NYC For All Your Prenatal Care Needs

There’s nothing more important than prenatal care to protect the health of you and your baby throughout your pregnancy.

The team at Rosh Maternal & Fetal Medicine provide medical checkups, screening tests, and educational and emotional support as you journey through pregnancy. Their doctors are also experts in high-risk pregnancies and genetic testing. If you have any questions about prenatal care, call their office in the Midtown East area of New York City, or schedule an appointment online.

Talk to our team by phone or book an appointment online to get started. Call one of our six convenient NYC locations or schedule a video consultation online today about IUD for birth control. They’ve helped thousands of women. Come visit your NYC OBGYN.