All women need care and attention during
pregnancy. This care is usually called
prenatal or antenatal care. Prenatal care
helps pregnant women be healthier
and have fewer problems in birth.
Prenatal care should come from the
woman herself, from her family and
the community, and from a midwife
or someone else who is experienced
in helping pregnant women.
In some places, midwives only care for women when they are in
labor or giving birth, not during pregnancy. This may be because
most of the time, people only go to a healer or doctor when they are
sick or if something is wrong. Pregnancy is usually normal and
healthy, so people may not think that prenatal care is important. But
most midwives know that women who have good care during
pregnancy are more likely to have safer births and healthier babies.
Care in pregnancy has 2 purposes:
1. Observing and listening to the pregnant woman
by checking her body for healthy signs and warning
signs and by asking her about problems or listening
to her questions.
2. Teaching a woman how to have a healthier
pregnancy (for example, how to eat a healthy diet
and how to avoid harmful things).