Antenatal Care (ANC)

Antenatal Care (ANC)

ANC provides necessary services to the mother and fetus. Its purpose is manifold: to maintain the mother in the best possible state of health, so that she may in turn give birth to a healthy child; to recognize abnormalities and complications at an early stage; and to educate the mother in the birthing process and the duties of motherhood, dispelling unwarranted anxieties and fears concerning pregnancy and labor.

In the absence of ANC the incidence of perinatal baby loss is five times greater. This is accomplished by simply recognizing high-risk patients, conducting routine screening to detect diseases (Rhesus disease, anemia, hypertension, diabetes, etc.) and over- or under-sized babies, and preventing premature labor.

The first visit usually entails diagnosing the pregnancy, taking the patient’s history, obtaining laboratory samples (for blood group – Rh., CBC, blood sugar, urine analysis, and VDRL), and examinations – both clinical and ultrasound. Further visits are monthly until 28 weeks, then every two weeks till 36 weeks, then weekly till full term at 40 weeks.

In the last trimester (between 28-40 weeks) attention is focused on the exact age of the baby (in case induction of labor is necessary); the well being of the baby (to identify intrauterine growth retardation); and, finally, the mechanics, methods, and timing of delivery are thoroughly assessed and discussed.