6.1 Principles of Prenatal Care

a. Definition. Antepartal or prenatal care refers to the medical and nursing supervision and care given to the pregnant patient during the period between conception and the onset of labor.

b. Objectives of Prenatal Care. During the initial visit, the objectives are directed toward confirming a diagnosis of pregnancy and beginning the process of data collection to act as a basis for ongoing prenatal care. These objectives include:

(1) Prevention of complication.
(2) Modification of those complications that may develop.
(3) Support of the patient's goal to carry the infant to term and deliver a healthy baby.
(4) Education of the mother-to-be and her family for the parenting role.
(5) Inclusion of the family as a whole in the concept of "family-centered maternity care."

c. Health Care Professionals. Health care professionals involved in the administration of the prenatal care includes:

(1) Physicians. They are primarily involved in diagnosing normal and abnormal conditions associated with the childbearing cycle.
(2) Nursing personnel. Nursing personnel includes the nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, registered nurses, and licensed practical nurses. Nursing personnel serves as teachers, counselors, and resource personnel. They have the responsibility to develop and implement nursing care plans.
(3) Others. Other health care personnel that are involved in prenatal care are:
(a) Dietitians.
(b) Laboratory technicians.
(c) Social services.
(d) Occupational therapists.
(e) Similar support personnel.

d. Choice of Health Care Professionals. The pregnant patient is responsible to choose the type of individual she prefers to consult for prenatal supervision and care. She may choose a private obstetrician, family practice physician, clinic with no control over which physician provides the care, or a nurse midwife. The primary concern is whether the individual she chooses meets her goals, desires, and expectations.

e. Early Care. Early, competent care is essential for the patient to avoid unnecessary risks to herself and her fetus.


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