The Importance of Prenatal Care During Your Pregnancy

As I write this, I’m overcome by the fact that January was supposed to be the month our first baby was born. But like many of life’s events, things didn’t happen quite like we expected. 

Our little boy came 10 weeks early, and continues to grow stronger in the hospital. These weeks have not been easy, but I am thankful and happy to be a new mom, and I am so appreciative of the wonderful nurses and doctors who have taken care of us. I hope my own experience may serve as a timely reminder of the importance of seeing your doctor regularly during your pregnancy.
In my case, things happened very quickly around my 29th week of pregnancy. I saw my obstetrician for a regular check-up and discovered, without any symptoms or warnings I may have noticed, I had become preeclamptic. I was admitted to the hospital and closely monitored for five days. Within a period of 12 hours on the sixth day, my situation became too dangerous for me not to deliver. Later, I discovered that mine was the type of severe preeclampsia that often may have devastating outcomes for mom and baby. Luckily, it can be caught early.
If you are pregnant now or planning to have a child in the future, I cannot stress enough the importance of regular OB visits. If you experience any unusual symptoms like headache, blurred vision, stomach pain, or swelling, discuss them with your OB and listen to his or her advice. I have treated countless children born prematurely that go on to be perfectly healthy. Likewise, I have seen many children born at full term that developed problems previously unforeseen. OBs know what to watch for in both mom and baby throughout the pregnancy. If you have any concerns, or if something simply does not feel right, be comfortable enough with your OB to discuss it.
There are several routine exams and tests doctors run during a pregnancy, and occasionally extra testing is done if a mom is known to be at higher risk. I know appointments can sometimes mean long waits, but bring a book and anticipate your visit taking a while – it is worth it. There are many great OB/GYN physicians in our area, so be sure to start seeing one of them from the very beginning of your pregnancy.
Eat well, stay active, talk to your doctor before traveling, and don’t hesitate to ask questions. Enjoy your pregnancy and remember to celebrate your new baby’s arrival! It is so important to recognize that each little baby is a miracle, and it is unbelievable to think about every little moment that goes into this new life being created. Knowing how fragile that process is will help soon-to-be moms, and their little ones, stay strong and healthy.

Jennifer Adair M.D.

Jennifer Adair, M.D., was born and raised in Mobile. She graduated from Davidson High School in 2002 and received her Bachelor of Science in Chemistry at The University of Alabama in 2006. She completed her medical training at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, and pediatric residency at the University of Nevada College of Medicine – Las Vegas and the University of South Alabama. She joined Children’s Medical Group in July 2013 and currently practices at their Airport office. Jennifer and her husband, Cory, reside in Mobile with their dogs, Fitz and Barkley.