Question for Betty.

What are the hazards during prenatal period?

Betty's Answer.

Dear Reader,

Some of the issues to address in early pregnancy would be:

1.  Prenatal care:  The major goal of prenatal care is to ensure the birth of a healthy baby with minimal risk for the mother.  To achieve this objective it is important to have an early, accurate estimation of the gestational age of the fetus.

2.  Early prenatal visits may also include screening for thyroid dysfunction, Rhesus type and antibody screen, hemoglobin, Rubella immunity testing, cervical cytology, urinary infection testing, Syphilis, Hepatitis B and C, Chlamydia, HIV, Down syndrome screening, gonorrhea, Varicella immunity, Herpes simplex virus, tuberculosis, and toxoplasmosis and blood pressure screening.

3. Substance use: maternal alcohol consumption, smoking (or second hand smoke), or use of illicit drugs can be harmful to the fetus.

4. Use of medications:  All pregnant women should contact their health care provider before taking any drugs such as prescription, over the counter or herbal remedies.

5. Infection precautions:  Some infections are potentially harmful in pregnancy and interventions should be taken to minimize the risk.  In general, pregnant women should avoid contact with people with febrile illnesses that could be contagious. Influenza vaccination is recommended for women who will be pregnant during the influenza season.

6. Vitamins:  A standard prenatal multivitamin with iron satisfies the daily requirements of most pregnant women.  Folate supplements to prevent neural tube defects are recommended prior to conception and throughout the first trimester.

7.  Work:  A woman with an uncomplicated pregnancy who is employed where there are not greater potential hazards than those encountered in routine daily life may continue to work without interruption until onset of labor.  Physically demanding jobs should be evaluated if the woman is at higher risk of preterm delivery.

8. Seat belts:  pregnant women should continue wearing three-point seat belts during pregnancy.  The lap belt is place across the hips and below the uterus; the shoulder belt goes between the breasts and lateral to the uterus.
This is just a short list of considerations during pregnancy.  It is important to connect with a health care provider for individual assessment and care, as early in your pregnancy as possible.  Ideally this would be before you even achieve pregnancy.