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Extracted from Survival Guide to Midwifery, 2nd Edition (2012) Diane M. Fraser and Margaret A. Cooper, Oxford; Churchill Livingstone: 2012. Courtesy Elsevier
An integral part of antenatal care is the physical examination of the pregnant woman. Prior to examination, her consent and comfort are primary considerations.
The examination should include:
Blood pressure (BP) is taken to ascertain normality and provide a baseline reading for comparison throughout pregnancy.
Abdominal examination is carried out to establish and affirm that fetal growth is consistent with gestational age during the progression of pregnancy.
Routine auscultation of the fetal heart is not recommended unless requested by the mother. Using a Pinard's stethoscope, the midwife should count beats per minute, which should be in the range of 110-160. The midwife should take the woman's pulse at the same time to be able to distinguish between the two. Using ultrasound equipment e.g. Sonicaid or Doppler enables the woman to hear the fetal heartbeat.