PRENATAL CARE DURING PREGNANCY
The prenatal period is a preparatory time for the mother to prepare herself both
physically and psychologically. It is a time of immense anxiety, excitement, and
learning. The best way to ensure the health of both the expectant mother and her infant
is through early and attentive prenatal care. Close supervision will allow health care
professionals to identify and possibly treat maternal disorders that may have been
preexistent or developed during the pregnancy. This lesson will include what occurs
during the prenatal visits.
TERMS AND DEFINITIONS
a. Abortion. Termination of pregnancy before the fetus is viable and capable of
b. Conjugate. An important diameter of the pelvis, measured from the center of
the promontory of the sacrum to the back of the symphysis pubis.
c. Ischial Spines. Two relatively sharp, bony projections protruding into the
pelvic outlet from the ischial bone that form the lower lateral border of the pelvis. They
are used when determining the progress of the fetus down the birth canal.
d. Ischial Tuberosities. A major bony, sitting support; important in measuring a
transverse diameter of the pelvis.
e. Miscarriage. Spontaneous abortion; lay term usually referring specifically to
the loss of the fetus between the fourth month and viability.
f. Placenta Abruptio. Premature separation of a normally, implanted placenta.
g. Placenta Previa. A placenta that is implanted in the lower uterine segment
so that it adjoins or covers the internal os of the cervix.
h. Term Pregnancy. A gestation of 38 to 42 weeks.
i. Toxoplasmosis. A congenital disease characterized by lesions of the central
nervous system which may lead to blindness, brain defects, and death.
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.