Magazine article Ebony

The Importance of Prenatal Care

Magazine article Ebony

The Importance of Prenatal Care

Article excerpt

Expecting a baby? Congratulations! Pregnancy and preparing for the birth of a baby is a happy time, and during the next nine crucial months, it is imperative that the new mom-to-be seek regular prenatal care.

African-American women especially must make healthy choices and begin medical care early in the pregnancy. Prenatal care is defined simply as medical care during pregnancy that includes assessing a mother's risk factors, and monitoring the mother's health and the baby's health.

Black women of all economic levels lose more babies and have more low-birth-weight babies than White women, experts say. Black women also tend to have more pregnancy problems and complications than other races. According to one study, Black women are three times more likely than White women to die during pregnancy and twice as many Black babies die in infancy. Researchers are now studying why pregnancy and infant health differ by race, despite widespread efforts to address this persistent problem. But most studies indicate that early prenatal care is a consistent key to a positive pregnancy.

"The single most important thing you can do to increase the chance that you will have a healthy baby is to get early and regular prenatal care;' says prominent obstetrician/gynecologist Dr. Hilda Hutcherson in her book, Having Your Baby, A Guide for African American Women, written with Margaret Williams.

Standard prenatal care in an uncomplicated pregnancy generally means seeing a health care provider once a month for the first 28 weeks; then every two to three weeks until 36 weeks; and then weekly until delivery, according to the guidelines of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. …

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