Ante-natal care (ANC) is the check up or care offered to pregnant women to ensure that they stay healthy for the duration of their pregnancy, and after delivery of their baby. It is important for women to go for a first ANC visit in the first trimester (first three months) of pregnancy. During the first visit, the Service Provider will perform certain tests (such as checking for STIs and HIV, as well as finding out the mother’s blood group) and will also identify possible risk factors for the pregnancy (such as chronic diseases or problems with previous pregnancies or deliveries). The earlier in the pregnancy this is done, the more time there is to refer the pregnant woman to any necessary support or services.
During later ANC visits, the Service Provider will monitor the pregnant woman’s weight, and will also check her blood pressure and a urine sample to identify problems such as high blood pressure or diabetes. The pregnant woman will also receive iron supplements (Pregamol) which need to be taken daily to ensure that she and the baby stay healthy. Information on a healthy pregnancy is given at ANC visits.
If a pregnant woman tests positive for HIV she is enrolled onto the PMTCT programme. This is a service provided to pregnant women who are HIV positive, regardless of whether she normally qualifies to receive anti-retroviral (ARV) therapy.