10 Recent Discoveries in Prenatal Care

The wheel of scientific discoveries never ceases rolling, and medical research is continuously progressing to find solutions and treatments in the field of women’s reproductive health. All of this has one goal; to make pregnancies easier while maintaining the health of the mother and the baby. Find out the most recent discoveries about pregnancy and prenatal care.

Dr. Adba Fragieh | Gynecologist Obstetrician
Dr. Adba Frangieh
Published on:Mar 7th 2022 |Updated on:Apr 10th 2024
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Modern practices in prenatal care

1 - Folic Acid

In the past folic acid was only prescribed to a pregnant mother from the beginning of her pregnancy. Today we prescribe it to women pre-pregnancy while they are trying to conceive. Research has shown that taking folic acid before pregnancy has a positive effect on fetal health, as it helps prevent birth defects, especially those of the spine.

2 - Omega 3 and DHA

Omega 3 and DHA are now part of the prenatal care supplements, due to the positive effect they have on the increase of the baby’s IQ. These supplements are often prescribed after the first trimester is over with all its nausea and vomiting-related issues.

3 - Thyroid health

We know now that the mother’s thyroid gland health is crucial to the unborn child’s overall health. Therefore, we advise the treatment of any thyroid issue or hormonal imbalance before pregnancy. Treating thyroid problems in pregnant women is now part of the overall prenatal care. It has been proven that thyroid medications must have the doses modified during pregnancy, to guarantee the health of the thyroid gland, to prevent any negative impact on the mother’s or fetus's health, IQ, and overall development.

4 - Healthy weight

If the lady getting ready for pregnancy is overweight, it is important that she reduces her weight before getting pregnant. Studies have shown that overweight women are at a higher risk of developing gestational diabetes and hypertension.

5 - Developments in prenatal tests

The test detecting Down syndrome in unborn babies, used to be complicated and invasive. We had to take a sample from the placenta or the amniotic fluid to perform the test. Today there is a very accurate blood test that can be done after the tenth week of the pregnancy. This test checks for 99.9% of the fetal cells, which allows us to know whether the baby has Down syndrome or not, it can also show the gender of the baby.

6 - Ultrasound scan

Despite the huge developments in 3D and 4D ultrasound scans, we still rely on the 2D scan to evaluate fetal health and development. The 2D scans have developed greatly and can now provide enough data to help us evaluate the pregnancy.

7 - Pregnancy complications

There are still pregnancy complications that women face every day, such as gestational diabetes and hypertension, preeclampsia, and early labor. But medical developments and increased awareness of the importance of proper prenatal care helped detect these complications earlier which made treatments more successful than before, leading to fewer complications than in the past as well.

8 - Dealing with early labor

Medical development in treatments and medications provided tools to delay labor as much as possible, to control the symptoms of early labor. Medications allowing the continuation of pregnancy have become safer for the pregnant mother and her unborn baby.

9 - Neonatal care

In recent years we have seen a huge leap in neonatal care. new-born deaths among preterm born babies have dropped significantly. A preterm baby even born as early as during the sixth month can now survive and grow.

10 - Stem cells

The umbilical cord used to be thrown away after delivery. But now due to medical and scientific advancements, we know it is a treasure that can be stored. There are several treatments that are being developed based on stem cell research. Treatments of certain cancers and other diseases made stem cell banking a worthy investment in the future health of the child and the entire family.

Also read: What happens during the first prenatal visit?

Dr. Adba Fragieh | Gynecologist Obstetrician
Dr. Adba FrangiehGynecologist Obstetrician

Dr. Frangieh is a Lebanese gynecologist/obstetrician with 25 years of experience in normal vaginal deliveries, cesarian sections, treatment of infertility, laparoscopy, and all kinds of gynecologic surgeries. Dr. Frangieh holds a degree in Medicine from the American University in Beirut, in addition to an Internship at Yale University, and training at Baltimore University.

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