The importance of prenatal checkups

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Kenyan pregnant women have been advised not to ignore prenatal checkups because they help to ensure healthy pregnancies and safe childbirth.

“The check ups are very important,” said Dr. J Wainyoike Gichuhi, a consultant obstetrician and gynecologist. “They help in the early detection and appropriate treatment of any unsafe events of pregnancy, to tell the expected day of delivery, check for any diseases such as H.I.V, syphilis and the blood sugar of the mother.

“They also help reduce pregnancy complications and the infant’s risk for complications, determine the Rhesus factor of the child, if the mother is anemic, her blood pressure and if she needs any medication such as folic acid or iron supplements.”

The prenatal checkups usually start as early as four weeks into the pregnancy and continue until the seven month. “The mother needs to come in after every four weeks until she is seven months pregnant. At 16 weeks, the doctor can tell if the child has any abnormalities and if detected they can prescribe medicine.”

From seven months, the mother is required to visit her doctor every two weeks, during the checkups, the doctor can determine if it will be an early birth or it will be full term. At the 36th week, depending on the baby’s and mother’s condition, the doctor makes a decision on whether she will give birth naturally or through a cesarean.

“The position of the baby in the womb and the blood level of the mother, among other factors are some of the conditions are considered before determining the type of birth the mother is to undergo,” said Dr Wanyoike. “Women are advised to go through a caesarean birth if the child or mother’s lives are I n danger but if the mother and baby are healthy, a natural birth is the best option.”

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