Birth Definitions

Antenatal Definition


Antenatal is a term used in the pregnancy and birthing industry to refer to the period of time between a woman becoming pregnant and giving birth. This typically lasts for 40 weeks, or 9 months.

The term “antenatal” refers to the period of time before childbirth. This includes the period of pregnancy and the weeks leading up to delivery. During this time, a woman will undergo various changes as her body adapts to carrying a baby. These changes can include physical ones such as an increase in weight and size, as well as emotional and mental ones such as mood swings and increased anxiety. Antenatal care also known as prenatal care is essential for a healthy pregnancy and successful delivery. It includes regular check-ups, screenings, and education on how to have a healthy pregnancy. 

The purpose of antenatal care is to ensure that both mother and baby are healthy and prepared for the birth, and to detect any problems early, so that they can be treated or managed effectively. This can involve regular check-ups with a midwife or doctor, as well as attending classes on topics such as breastfeeding and birth preparation.

Disambiguation: Antenatal can also refer to anything happening before birth, such as prenatal development (the growth of the fetus inside the womb).

Other Related Terms

There are a number of terms that are closely associated with antenatal care. These include prenatal care, which refers to the care during pregnancy; postnatal care, which refers to the care after childbirth; and perinatal care, which refers to the care during pregnancy and the postnatal period.

This image shows how often the term ‘Antenatal’ is used in relation to other, similar birth terms:

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