The importance of pre – natal care
•During the pre natal period , the foetus relies
upon its mother for all functions. The
healthier the mother, the stronger and
healthier the baby will be.
a. In pregnancy, the mother has to provide
the necessary nutrients for the growth of
her foetus as well as her own needs.
b. Extra protein is required during pregnancy
to allow for the growth of the foetus and
extra tissues in the mother such as the
placenta, uterus, blood and breasts.
c. The mother’s diet should also contain
sufficient vitamin D, calcium, phosphorus iron,
folic acid and vitamin C.
d. Vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium
and phosphorus are essential for the formation
of foetal bones. If the mother’s diet is deficient
in these two elements, they will be absorbed
from her own bones.
e. Iron and folic acid are needed for the
formation of foetal blood.
f. Deficiency of folic acid is linked to central
nervous system defects.
g. Vitamin C is concerned with the formation of
a. Cigarette smoke contains carbon
monoxide, nicotine and tar.
b. Cigarette smoking reduces the amount of
oxygen available to the foetus because
carbon monoxide reduces the oxygen
carrying capacity of haemoglobin.
c. Nicotine causes the blood vessels to
constrict. This reduces blood flow through
d. Mothers who smoke deliver babies with
lower – than – average birth weights.
e. Premature birth and late miscarriage are
common in smokers.
a. Alcohol can pass through the placenta
b. When a woman drinks heavily during
pregnancy, the baby maybe born with
foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS)
c. FAS babies have mental retardation, small
brains, poor muscles bone, low birth
weight and behavioral problems such as
hyperactive and poor concentration.
a. The foetus is very sensitive to drugs such
as cocaine and heroin.
b. If a mother is addicted to one of these
drugs, her foetus is also likely to become
addicted and will show withdrawal
symptoms after birth.
c. Permanent brain damage of the foetus
results in mental retardation or behavioral
problems in later life.
d. The babies have low birth weights and
heart defects in severe cases.