Medical care provided by a physician to a pregnant woman during the course of her pregnancy.
Many women in crisis pregnancies, particularly teenagers, do not seek prenatal care early in the pregnancy. Consequently, problems with the fetus may not be identified, or the woman herself may suffer untreated health problems.
There are several reasons women avoid prenatal care in the first trimester, including denial of the pregnancy and a conscious or unconscious desire to carry the fetus to term-a desire that is easier to realize if no one except the woman is aware of the pregnancy in the early months. Clinics have seen women in their last trimester of pregnancy who deny they are pregnant yet who are very clearly pregnant to even the most casual observer.
Poor women may not have health insurance and think they are ineligible for public assistance or Medicaid.
The lack of prenatal care contributes to the high rate of infant mortality in the United States. It is very important for every woman to see a physician for appropriate testing and care as soon as she suspects she may be pregnant.
Find more information on prenatal care
©2000 by Christine Adamec and William Pierce, Ph.D. Reprinted from The Encyclopedia of Adoption, 2nd Edition (2nd Edition) with permission of Facts On File, Inc.
To see local Adoption resources, please select a location (U.S. only):
Note: Our authors are dedicated to honest, engaged, informed, intelligent, and open conversation about adoption. The opinions expressed here may not reflect the views of Adoption.com.