the care of a pregnant woman during the time in the maternity cycle that begins with conception and ends with the onset of labor. A medical, surgical, gynecological, obstetric, social, and family history is taken, with particular emphasis on the discovery of familial or transmissible diseases. A physical examination is performed, including observation and evaluation of all body systems and pelvic organs. The vaginal part of the pelvic examination may include estimation of the size of the pelvis; a Papanicolaou (Pap) smear; and tests for Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Candida albicans, Chlamydia species, Trichomonas vaginalis, syphilis, herpes genitalis, and other infections. Blood pressure, weight, urinalysis (primarily for glucose and protein levels), measurement of fundal height, and auscultation of the fetal heart are routinely performed at monthly intervals or even more frequently in the second and third trimesters. Laboratory tests are performed to determine blood type and Rh factor, rubella titers, hematocrit, and hemoglobin or complete blood count. Ultrasound and/or amniocentesis may be performed if certain fetal abnormalities are suspected. Also called antenatal care, prenatal care. See also intrapartal care, postpartal care.
an·te·par·tal care(an'tē-pahr'tăl kār)
Therapy of a pregnant woman; usually called prenatal care in North America.