Routine Prenatal Care

In most Western countries, women attend between 7 and 11 prenatal visits, although recent data suggest that a reduced number of antenatal visits could be introduced into clinical practice without adverse effect to the mother and child (Carr-oli et al., 2001). Obstetric care provided by obstetricians, family physicians, and midwives has been found to be equally effective; however, patients were slightly more satisfied by the care provided by midwives and family physicians (Villar et al., 2004). Prenatal care services typically include screening and treatment for medical conditions and identification and interventions for behavioral risk factors associated with poor birth outcomes (e.g., smoking, poor nutrition).

One of the most important goals of prenatal care is recognizing which women have high-risk pregnancies and triaging these women to appropriate care (Kontopoulos and Vintz-ileos, 2004). It is important to identify the women at risk for adverse outcomes and refer them to appropriate specialty care. Adequate prenatal care has been shown to increase the chances that a woman has a healthy pregnancy and baby.

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