Is it your first time to the Antenatal ??? Don’t worry we got you covered

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An exciting thing that covers the stress and boredom of antenatal visits is that you are embarking on a quest to have a regular check up your new baby and, to stay healthy and also to make sure your baby is going to be on a smooth path during delivery. The purpose of attending antenatal is a great opportunity that can assist you identify any risk posed on the health of both mother and fetus.

Understand that when you accept to attend antenatal your side bonus is you get to save some money if you have a generous, understanding or supportive husband/ partner. Don’t ever feel sad that you are alone in the journey, whether a man is present or absent, know that there are so many sisters out there who will give millions to be in your place. Embrace yourself even for a child you are carrying out of wedlock. No one is ever alone in this journey, so keep that in mind. Just lean on the available shoulder that has been given to you. This could be a sibling, a parent or a friend, hang tightly unto that shoulder because it will provide strength for you as the pregnancy grows and becomes tougher along the way.

If you are feeling lonely, do not burden your heart or thoughts. Trust me when I tell you that everything is going to be fine. You will know immediately the baby starts moving in you, you will appreciate why the baby choose you and see how special you are in this big world of ours.     Antenatal period, I will say is the time you get to save money received for your trips to the hospital. Please am not encouraging you to dupe your other halves for riches but am asking you to minimize wasting money, and avoid unnecessary purchasing. Am only asking you to make sure that as you are getting money which will not be audited make sure to save enough since you have a new baby coming along and it’s expensive and quite hard taking care of a new baby, you need enough resources and money to may it much better for you.

Understand that you will need a minimum of four (4) maternity dresses beautifully sown, or already made maternity dresses that is not fitting or revealing. For those who work in the offices you can also sow nice materials that is loose enough to make you feel comfortable. You will need a bag, a nice slip-on or sandals or flat shoes. you may feel tired  dressing up some days, so these antenatal dresses is going to be helping you appear wonderful and perfect looking during any occasion be it school, church, or work. It is not advisable wearing heels as an expectant mother, you may end up losing your balance and this will be dangerous to the health of both mother and child, so avoid heels at all cost if you can. Your hygienic nature and cleanliness will show and be tested as well during each visit, be comfortable beneath and outside so you do not stress yourself.  Make sure to buy nicely but clean undergarments because your stomach will be examined and abdomen examined during each antenatal visit. You do not want a total stranger looking angrily at you or have a whole perception about your cleanliness, you are better off wearing a neat pant and have your genitals neatly shaved. Your midwife as a monitoring routine checks for fetal length from the end of your upper lady flower to the top of your stomach, it is more proper to be neat down there.

Visiting antenatal for the first time can be very intimidating, annoying and nervous mixed together in one cup. It can also be full of nostalgia and happiness. Antenatal visits can be very stressful for an expectant mother depending on the hospital or health facility you choose or visit. Be prepared that the first appointment with your midwife can take a whole day so be prepared to get a notice of absence from work or a permission from persons you may be obligated to . If you work and will need to be on work that same day, then kindly seek assistance from your husband or partner to accompany you. When you go with your partner you will be exempted from queuing, so the whole process will become fast for you.

You have to understand that due to how crucial pregnancy can be your first appointment will be on a Monday, so a day to Monday you must get you antenatal bag ready and dress set for the appointment day. Antenatal visits in Ghana has a slight taste of competition. There are women who just got married and are fully dressed showing off their wedding bands, there is also another section of women who are also single ladies but appear in expensive clothes, bags and shoes coupled with expensive jewelries exhibiting traits of their independence, so you may have to step up your game to look extremely nice but decent for the day.

Dressing  shabbily, or rakishly will make you feel intimidated by other  pregnant women at the health facility as their judgment eye tend to follow you to and fro the whole time, this also includes the nurses and midwives who are even  supposed  to provide you health care. Another section of women you will see are those who just appear unperturbed with their looks, they come with messy hair and rumpled clothes, take note that pregnancy is not a disease so you don’t have to make how you are feeling overshadow your beauty or essence as a graceful woman. Don’t make pregnancy as an excuse to look ragged, remember that there are huge changes coming to happen to your body so you better put it together nicely and save your husband or partner from being distracted by another woman. You will also be saving yourself from low self-esteem and building up on yourself love. You should be able to style your hair nicely and add some jewelry or accessories to complement your dressing. Look superb, nice and lovely but do not overdo it because if you do, you may feel uncomfortable by the number of eyes following your every movement.

Your antenatal bag preferably or safer should be just one throughout the entire journey. It is wise or safer choosing a big spacious handbag that will be able to contain all you intend to keep in your antenatal bag. This saves you from misplacing important documents, vital information or paper works that comes helpful and needful to you in this pregnancy. The bag must always hold your hospital card, an insurance cover (if you have one), a bottle of water, snacks, handkerchief, a mini container (for women who spit), hand sanitizers, gum, a diary and pen, handkerchief and enough money to cater for the appointment and expenses you will incur during the visit.

You have to be very early at the hospital or health facility chosen, you must know that there are other pregnant women who are in a hurry themselves and would like to get healthcare as yourself.  As a new expectant mother eat heavily in the morning  but eat to your hearts satisfaction because the day will be full of numerous activities that will wear you out  and if you are not patient you shall be exhausted or slightly angered depending on your hormonal respond to actions of some health workers or fellow pregnant women.

You are generally booked or accepted in the antenatal unit, as you confirm the pregnancy by showing that at least one is 3 months pregnant, to which it is  required that an abdominal scan be presented to show the fetus in the womb. Take note that the scan presented must be recently taken, a week or days prior to the visit. It is appropriate to have a recent scan since it helps your midwife or doctor explain the whole new growth happening in your womb better. Do not worry or panic if you have not yet taken the scan, the midwife will request one for you on the first visit.

It takes a lot of patience to sit through a visit, so gather some that day.  First get a hospital card of the health facility upon reaching there and explain to the clerk at the registry that you are coming for antennal for the first time. You will be directed to the antenatal unit and your information will be logged unto that system. You may be allowed to add your health insurance card to activate your card. There is a way cheaper way of reducing cost during antenatal. Your insurance card together with your scan will enable you get an insurance cover that will foot some of the antenatal expenses and even cover both mother and baby for at least three months after delivery but this can only be done at the Health Insurance Office.

Move straight to the antenatal section right after activating your card, and then to the help desk at that unit, inform the personnel that it is your first day visiting so you need an antenatal book. You will be required to buy this book depending on the facility, so do not assume the nurses are trying to outwit you. Note that this maternal and child health records book is a very important tool to your survival and safe delivery , you may want to keep it well and neat at all times and have it on you every time.

Your book will be given a room number, the room number given you informs you of the midwife that will be attending to you. It Is not changeable, one midwife or medical officer will see you through the entire pregnancy, unless it becomes necessary to change due to absence or unavailability of your midwife. This book also becomes useful for any future pregnancy, when your child is unwell or when the child is about schooling. In some cases it is required in filling documents for traveling.

The nurses at the help desk will first check your vitals and  also take all your records, be ready to be truthful about every detail because pregnancy is that delicate and withholding vital information is harmful to your own health and the baby as well. Some of the information though a bit uncomfortable may include questions like whether you have terminated  pregnancy before, honesty at this point is important because it help your midwife and Medical officer give you the needed care and attention. Your antenatal books also has a section reserved for post-natal care and record keeping for your baby’s growth and development. Usually referred to as weighing book by most of us.

Your next step is to sit and wait as resource personnel educate you on sensitive issues that you may need to know as an expectant mother. Each appointment day has its own topic to be treated, so do not be embarrassed asking questions when you do not understand anything. Some of the topics to be treated include nutrition, exercise, financial management, preparing for the new baby etc. Immediately the talk ends, pay rapt attention so you are able to hear your name being called out by the midwife. This may vary depending on the health facility but generally this is the same routine observed at the government hospitals and some private healthcare centers.

Upon reaching your midwife she will require your hospital card and insurance cover card (if you have one, if not she will direct you as to how to get one).  She will take all your vitals from blood pressure to height, weight and check your urine for infections as well. After that you may be laid down on an examination bed where she will check to hear the fetal heart beat and measure its growth. So this is where your neat underwear or carefully shaven genital becomes a plus to you. Imagine wearing just anything you will be embarrassed or ashamed of yourself.

A lab form will be given to you for you to have necessary laboratory tests done and brought during the next visit. Kindly remind her of the lab request paper before you leave her room or office space. This is extremely necessary and essential in knowing the state of your health and strength. It will help reveal if you can fully carry the baby and also check for underlying bloodstream problems to help them get you medication on time to save both mother and child.

Your midwife will check on how you are feeling and ask your concerns for your expectations of the pregnancy. She will answer every question throbbing your mind so it is best asking everything you wish to know about the pregnancy to clear doubts and myths concerning pregnancy from your mind. Do well to mention exactly what you feel, and what you may be going through and mention anything you are experiencing. This helps so much, so that in the situation when something is not right it may be identified at this early stage and corrected immediately to prevent an impeding danger. When it cannot be corrected the needed help, attention or treatment that you need will be arraigned for you.

Drugs will be prescribed for you to receive at the pharmacy. And a new date for your next visit will be recorded in your antenatal book.  If you are having issues or complications with the pregnancy you will be immediately referred to see a Medical officer immediately. There’s no need to panic because they explain your condition better and open you up to all the available options or solutions to you condition. Be happy and stay motivated that you have completed the day well and good. You will not take shots today so smile well.

Attending your visits very early and punctual enable you to even receive gifts and freebies from the health facility or midwifes, as well as other organizations offering humanitarian support to expectant mothers. So cheer up as antenatal is not entirely stressful and boring, just know that you are trying to deliver a healthy baby and also be alive to enjoy the fruits of your labour. Congratulations to your incoming bundle of joy, hurray!!!

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