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The Importance of Early Monitoring During Pregnancy | Affinity Health

Affinity Health, a leading provider of high-quality healthcare, emphasises the importance of affordable medical support and advice for expectant mothers.

 

Growing a baby is demanding work, but the responsibility of ensuring both mom and baby are healthy doesn’t just lie on mommy’s shoulders alone. Affinity Health recognises how a lack of foetal monitoring can be detrimental to the baby and the mother. Early problems must be identified to remedy the situation as early as possible and to ensure a healthy pregnancy.

What are Common Pregnancy Issues?

Did you know that, according to the World Health Organization:

  • Twenty-five percent of maternal deaths occur during pregnancy?
  • Between a third and a half of maternal deaths are due to causes such as hypertension (pre-eclampsia and eclampsia) and antepartum haemorrhage, which are directly related to inadequate care during pregnancy?
  • Malaria, HIV/AIDS, anaemia, and malnutrition are associated with increased maternal and new-born complications?
  • New-borns are affected by problems during pregnancy, including preterm birth and restricted foetal growth, and other factors affecting the baby’s development such as congenital infections and foetal alcohol syndrome?

The good news is that women attending anti-natal visits can dramatically lower the probability of experiencing pregnancy, birth and postnatal complications.

 

“Antenatal care is crucial to improving the survival and health of pregnant moms and their babies,” says Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health.

 

“Experts recommend that the first anti-natal visit should be as early as possible in pregnancy, preferably in the first trimester. The last visit should be at around 37 weeks or near the expected date of birth to ensure that appropriate advice and care have been provided to prevent and manage potential problems.”

What Can You Expect at Your First Antenatal Visit?

The first antenatal visit should include, but are not limited to:

  • Measurement of weight, height, and blood pressure
  • Examination of the ankles for swelling
  • Pelvic examination to determine the size and position of the uterus.
  • Blood tests to determine blood type and rule out infectious diseases and evidence of immunity to rubella and chickenpox
  • Urine tests

As your pregnancy progresses, you’ll be offered a range of other tests, including ultrasound baby scans. Most healthy women receive two ultrasound scans during pregnancy. Ideally, the first is in the first trimester to confirm the due date, and the second is at 18 to 22 weeks to ensure the baby’s normal anatomy and sex.

Dealing With Pain and Discomfort

It took your body nine months to prepare for childbirth, and recovery takes time. If you had a vaginal birth, bathing in a Sitz bath could help you feel better. It’s vital to look after your incision and follow your doctor’s instructions if you’ve had a C-section. Avoid climbing stairs, driving, or lifting anything heavier than your infant for the first six weeks after delivery.

Support Post-Delivery 

Sleep deprivation, hormone shifts, and physical aches and niggles are all part of pregnancy and can worsen after your baby is born. Although your “mama bear” instinct compels you to devote all of your attention to your baby, it’s just as crucial to look after yourself. That means getting lots of rest, eating well, getting some mild exercise, dealing with health issues, and leaning on your partner, family, or friends for support in the early days and weeks.

Support During The Birth

Pregnant women have the right to a positive, comfortable and safe childbirth experience. Although pregnancy and birth are normal physiologic processes, medical assurance of safe delivery at clinics, hospitals, or at home is paramount. That means skilled birth attendance at delivery, with backup emergency obstetric care and essential supplies in place.

Emotional Balance

Over 80% of postpartum parents suffer from the “baby blues”. It’s normal to feel teary, cranky, irritated, unhappy, and emotional throughout the first few weeks of motherhood. The good news is that these feelings will subside on their own. If they last longer than expected (usually more than two weeks postpartum) or are accompanied by severe anxiety or depression, it’s recommended to seek medical attention.

Following childbirth, many mothers have the following issues:

  • Engorgement of the breasts (when your breasts swell as they fill with milk)
  • Nipple ache
  • Pain in the perineum
  • Constipation
  • Discharge from the cervix
  • Sweating
  • Backache
  • Haemorrhoids are a type of haemorrhoid (piles)
  • Urinary incontinence and urinary tract disorders
  • Changes in the skin
If you have any health issues, consult your doctor.

Maternity Management Programme

Affinity Health’s Maternity Management Programme provides Members with an array of pregnancy, birth, and post-delivery benefits, including:

  • Access to the Healthcare Consultant benefit, which covers unlimited, managed consultations and medication with a Primary Healthcare Professional at one of The Medical Society centres countrywide.
  • Access to additional specialists, including midwives, gynaecologists, sonographers, social workers, psychologists, and dieticians.
  • Basic Blood tests as per the Affinity Health Formulary
  • Access to Telephonic Consulting, which offers Members unlimited telephonic consultations with a healthcare professional to assist Members with Antenatal Healthcare.
  • Two growth sonars referred by your network GP, subject to the Affinity Health Formulary.
  • Access to The Birthing Team, a specialised and partnered maternity programme offered through Affinity Health (available to members residing in Johannesburg, Durban, Pretoria, and Polokwane).
  • Cover for in-hospital births at a network hospital.
  • Cover for home births from the Natural Maternity Benefit up to the Affinity Health Rate. from the Natural Maternity Benefit up to the Affinity Health Rate
  • Cover for a water birth at home or in hospital.
  • Access to Affinity Health’s Early Childhood Development service
  • Cover for elective circumcisions under the Day-to-Day benefits for babies and children up to the age of 2 years.

About Affinity Health

Affinity Health is South Africa’s leading provider of health insurance, offering you a range of options at affordable rates including access to the widest national provider network. We understand the importance of having medical insurance that meets your needs, your budget, and your lifestyle. Our range of healthcare products are designed to protect you and your family when it matters the most. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service at all times. For more information, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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