The first antenatal care visit should come early in pregnancy, ideally before week 12. For most women, 4 visits during pregnancy are appropriate. Women with certain health conditions or complications of pregnancy may need more visits, however. Provide care or refer for antenatal care.
- Counsel women about good nutrition and eating foods that contain iron, folate, vitamin A, calcium, and iodine and avoiding tobacco, alcohol, and drugs (except medications recommended by a health care provider).
- Help pregnant women protect themselves from infections.
- If she is at risk for STIs, discuss condom use or abstinence during pregnancy (see Sexually Transmitted Infections, Including HIV).
- Ensure that pregnant women are immunized against tetanus.
- To prevent or treat anemia, where hookworm infection is common provide treatment (antihelminthic therapy) after the first trimester.
- Help pregnant women protect their babies from infections.
- Test for syphilis as early in pregnancy as possible, and treat as needed.
- Offer HIV testing and counseling.
- Pregnant women are particularly susceptible to malaria. Provide insecticide-treated bed nets for malaria prevention and effective malaria treatment to every pregnant woman in areas where malaria is widespread, whether or not malaria is diagnosed (presumptive treatment). Monitor pregnant women for malaria and provide immediate treatment when diagnosed.