For pregnant mothers who are aiming to have low intervention pregnancies and births, it can seem tempting to skip regularly antenatal care check-ups. However, this can be counterproductive as antenatal care has been shown to reduce the chance of preterm birth and improve outcomes for both mother and baby. 

Here are some ways that antenatal care helps in low intervention pregnancies. 

Mutual risk assessment

There has been a lot of research into the additional risks that can be placed on the mother and baby by lifestyle choices such as exposure to cigarette smoking, drinking alcohol and use of other drugs. The team can work with the mother to manage risks before and after pregnancy. They can also give advice on simple lifestyle changes that can have a positive impact on the health of the baby, which can include taking folic acid supplements to reduce the risk of specific issues, such as neural tube defects. 

Builds a rapport between parents and birth team

Having a baby can be a stressful time, so it's important that you have a good relationship with your birthing team. Having met the midwives or obstetricians before you have the baby and getting a chance to talk to them and mention any concerns can help you to feel more comfortable with them when you are in labour. Regular checkups ensure that you get a chance to ask any questions that may occur as your pregnancy progresses and give you the opportunity to get to know everyone on the staff. 

Monitoring signs of preterm labour

Especially in a first pregnancy it can be hard for the parents to know the difference between the normal aches and pains of the final trimester and the start of preterm labour. Antenatal care can help to identify some of the signs of potential preterm labour (such as protein in the urine and cervix dilation). Being aware of the potential for preterm labour can help the parents identify lifestyle changes and help them keep an eye out for signs that they may need to get to the hospital for more urgent care. 

If you are looking to have a low intervention birth with a healthy mother and child, it is still a good idea to have antenatal appointments. Find a team of birthing professionals you can trust that can help you to have the healthiest and easiest possible pregnancy and labour, with minimal stress from complications.