Antenatal care is a vital aspect of healthcare for expectant mothers in Nigeria. It is essential to ensure that both the mother and the developing fetus are healthy throughout the pregnancy.
Proper antenatal care can help to detect and manage any potential complications early, thereby reducing the risk of complications during delivery and promoting a healthy outcome for both mother and baby.
This guide provides an overview of what to expect during antenatal care in Nigeria. You will find the answers to questions like what is involved in an antenatal visit in Nigeria? Where can you do your antenatal in Nigeria? How much is the cost of antenatal in Nigeria?
What is Antenatal?
Antenatal care is the medical supervision and care given to women during pregnancy. It aims to promote the health and well-being of both the mother and the unborn child.
Antenatal care includes regular checkups with healthcare providers, laboratory tests, ultrasounds, and health education on topics such as nutrition, exercise, and childbirth preparation.
What are the Benefits of Antenatal Care?
Antenatal visits are an essential part of prenatal care that every pregnant woman should attend. These visits provide numerous benefits for both the mother and the baby. Here are some of the benefits of antenatal visits:
1. Early detection and treatment of medical conditions
Antenatal visits allow healthcare providers to screen for and detect medical conditions that can be addressed early in pregnancy. This includes anaemia, gestational diabetes, and hypertension, among others. Early detection and treatment of these conditions can prevent complications during pregnancy and childbirth.
2. Monitoring the health of the mother and the baby
Antenatal visits provide an opportunity for healthcare providers to monitor the health of the mother and the baby throughout the pregnancy. This includes measuring the mother’s blood pressure, weight, and urine, as well as listening to the baby’s heartbeat and checking the baby’s growth.
3. Education and counseling
Antenatal visits provide an opportunity for healthcare providers to educate and counsel pregnant women on various aspects of pregnancy and childbirth. This includes nutrition, exercise, breastfeeding, and family planning, among others.
2. Preparation for childbirth
Antenatal visits allow healthcare providers to plan and prepare for childbirth. This includes developing a birth plan, discussing pain management options, and preparing for any potential complications.
5. Improved pregnancy outcomes
Regular antenatal visits have been shown to improve pregnancy outcomes, including reducing the risk of preterm birth, low birth weight, and infant mortality.
When to Start Antenatal Care in Nigeria?
According to one study, many Nigerian women believe that there are no advantages in booking for antenatal care in the first three months of pregnancy.
Nevertheless, it is recommended that expectant mothers in Nigeria start antenatal care as early as possible, preferably within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
This is because the first trimester is a critical period in the development of the fetus, and early detection of any potential complications can help to reduce the risk of adverse outcomes.
Summary of Antenatal Visits in Nigeria
The focused antenatal care in Nigeria includes four visits that are designed to screen for various risk factors and medical conditions, as well as to plan and assess individualized antenatal care and delivery.
During the first visit, which should occur between 1-16 weeks, the healthcare provider will screen and treat anaemia, initiate prophylaxis for malaria, and plan individualized antenatal care and delivery.
The second visit, between 24-28 weeks, includes screening for anaemia, listening to the woman’s complaints, and requesting an ultrasound scan to check foetal well-being, multiple pregnancies, and to rule out any foetal abnormalities.
During the third visit, around 32 weeks, the healthcare provider will screen for pre-eclampsia, multiple pregnancy, and anaemia, as well as review birth plans.
The fourth and final visit, at 36 weeks, includes screening for anaemia, identifying fetal lie and presentation, assessing if the pelvis is adequate, and updating the individualized birth plans.
Where to Get Antenatal Care
Antenatal care can be obtained at various healthcare facilities in Nigeria, including public hospitals, private hospitals, and maternity clinics.
The choice of healthcare facility may depend on several factors, including accessibility, cost, and quality of care.
It is advisable to choose a healthcare facility that has qualified healthcare providers and adequate resources to provide comprehensive antenatal care.
What to Expect during Antenatal Care In Nigeria
Antenatal care usually involves a series of routine checks and tests to ensure that both mother and baby are healthy throughout the pregnancy. The following are some of the procedures that may be carried out during antenatal care:
1. Medical History Taking: This involves asking the expectant mother about her menstruation history, medical history, menstruation history including any pre-existing medical conditions, previous pregnancies, and surgeries. This information can help healthcare providers to identify any potential risk factors and provide appropriate care.
2. Physical Examination: This involves a general physical examination of the expectant mother, including measuring her weight, blood pressure, and height. This can help to identify any underlying medical conditions that may affect the pregnancy.
3. Blood Tests: Various blood tests may be carried out during antenatal care, including tests to check for anemia, infections, and blood group and rhesus status.
4. Urine Tests: Urine tests may be carried out to check for protein and glucose levels, which can be indicators of potential complications such as preeclampsia and gestational diabetes.
5. Ultrasound Scans: Ultrasound scans may be carried out to monitor the growth and development of the fetus and to detect any potential abnormalities.
6. Antenatal Classes: Some healthcare facilities may offer antenatal classes to provide expectant mothers with information on nutrition, breastfeeding, and newborn care.
7. Vaccinations: Expectant mothers may also receive vaccinations during antenatal care to protect against certain infections, such as tetanus and hepatitis B.
Antenatal Care Visits
Antenatal care usually involves a series of scheduled visits, with the frequency of visits depending on the stage of pregnancy and any potential risk factors. It is advisable to attend all scheduled antenatal care visits to ensure that both mother and baby are healthy throughout the pregnancy.
How Much does Antenatal Cost in Nigeria?
Antenatal care in Nigeria can cost anywhere from a few thousand naira to hundreds of thousands of naira, depending on the healthcare provider and location.
The cost of antenatal in Nigeria is generally more affordable in government-owned healthcare centers and maternity homes, as the government subsidizes the cost.
For example, in University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin-city, the cost of antenatal care around ₦30,000 naira for the whole duration of pregnancy, while in Lagos University Teaching Hospital, it costs ₦32,000 naira, and in National Hospital Abuja, it costs ₦37,000 naira.
However, in private hospitals, the cost can be much higher and might around ₦60,000 to ₦70,000.
This guide provides a comprehensive overview of antenatal care in Nigeria. By attending antenatal visits, pregnant women can ensure the health and well-being of both themselves and their babies. If you are pregnant in Nigeria, this guide is an invaluable resource that will help you navigate the antenatal care process and ensure a healthy pregnancy and childbirth.
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