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Prenatal Health Care

  • By: Karin Sardadvar
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

Prenatal health care is the medical care a woman receives during pregnancy. It is also called antenatal care (prenatal/antenatal: from Latin, meaning “preceding birth”). Depending on the country, it may be provided by a doctor specialized in obstetrics and gynecology, a midwife, a general practitioner (family physician), or a nurse. In countries with well-developed health systems, regular appointments with a medical doctor are often complemented by appointments with a midwife. In industrialized Western countries, a large majority—up to 100 percent—of pregnant women make use of prenatal health care. Usually, they have 7 to 11 antenatal visits per pregnancy. In developing countries, 75 percent of pregnant women receive some antenatal care, according to United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) data. However, less than half of all pregnant ...

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