FAQs Antenatal care clinics, definition, visits, services, meaning, booklet

Frequently asked questions on antenatal care (ANC)

What is an antenatal care clinic?

Antenatal clinics are specialized care clinic where doctors and other health professionals offer health advice, treatment and all other aspects of care to expectant mothers and their unborn child on appointment or walk in basis. Some of the service offered at antenatal clinics include: Screening, diagnosis and treatment of health conditions such as diabetes in pregnancy, high blood pressure in pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B and syphilis. Expectant mothers also get to be educated on danger signs to look out for during their pregnancy, their expected date of delivery, making a birth plan, planning for emergencies, nutritional advice and pregnancy nutritional supplements.

When should you start attending antenatal care clinic?

As soon as you realize that you are expectant. Ideally, your first visit should occur within the first 12 weeks of your pregnancy. Don not wait for the baby bump to be visible to start ANC, as by the time your expectant state is visible, your pregnancy is well on the way – often four to five months (16 to 20 weeks) in. By then, your baby’s eyes are beginning to work, they have a strong heart, can suck their thumb and their body organs and systems are continuing to grow and develop. Therefore, scheduling your first antenatal care clinic early has many benefits for you and your unborn child. Not only will you get started on care early e.g., get malaria prophylaxis, get nutritional supplements to help your baby grow healthy and strong, your doctor may also be able to catch early anything that may be amiss and together you should be able to come up with a health plan for a safe pregnancy with good outcomes.

How many times should you go for antenatal care?

For good care during pregnancy for the health of the mother and development of the unborn baby, a mother should have at least four ANC visits during her pregnancy. The first one should be timed not later than 8 to 12 weeks pregnancy, the second ANC visit should be at and Quick thoughts on what an ideal antenatal schedule is 24 -26 weeks, the third at 32 weeks and the fourth visit at 36-38 weeks. This schedule where a package of life saving health services are offered at each visit is recommended for healthy women with no underlying medical problems. For women with health problems a more intensive schedule is ideal. The number of visits in such cases is determined by the doctor in consultation with the mother and considering the health status of the mother, type of medical problem at hand, recommendations from medical evidence and the needs, wants and preferences of the patient. For example, eight ANC visits are recommended for expectant mothers who are HIV positive to ensure management of the disease in the mother and prevention of transmission

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