You may place your health, and the health of your unborn baby at risk if you fail to receive prenatal care during this special time. It's certainly possible to have a baby without it, but regular prenatal care is the best thing you can do for the two of you.
Babies are five times more likely to die, and three times more
likely to have low birth weight, when moms don't get prenatal care. Those grim
numbers are from a 2012 report from the United States Department of Health and
Human Services. Prenatal visits permit a doctor to treat an expectant mother's
existing problems and prevent new problems.
Some women have pre-existing health conditions, such as
diabetes, asthma and heart problems, that can affect their pregnancy. A doctor
can design a treatment plan that decreases health risks. For example, a doctor
may modify or stop medications that can harm the developing baby, particularly
during the first trimester.
High-risk pregnancies carry a greater risk for problems. For
moms who skip prenatal care, the risk for a negative outcome increases when the
problem remains untreated. Any woman who gets pregnant after 35 has a high-risk
pregnancy. So does any woman with a chronic health condition, who is pregnant
with more than one fetus, or at risk for preterm labor. Prenatal care means a
doctor has time to recommend a specialist.
Managing Mental Health
For women who struggle with mental health disorders such as
anxiety and depression, pregnancy may present a new dilemma. Some women find
those symptoms appear and even worsen during pregnancy. Without prenatal care,
moms-to-be don’t get a treatment plan that manages their symptoms effectively
and safely. If you currently take medication, your doctor can determine whether
a modification in your treatment plan is needed.