Both types of care are essential

Every pregnancy is unique. As an expectant mother, you’ll choose what kind of support is best for you and your child. Amongst your choices are an OBGYN, a Family Medicine doctor, or it could also mean working closely with a midwife.

Whatever you choose, you’ll likely want substantial care before, during, and after childbirth—for the well-being of both you and your child. 

What’s the difference between prenatal and postnatal care? And what should you expect? We wrote this blog post just for you - to support you on both parts of your journey. By the end of it, we hope you feel more informed and confident.


    What are prenatal care and postnatal care?

    They’re crucial stages of motherhood, each with distinct focuses.

    Prenatal care, from conception to birth, emphasizes maintaining a healthy pregnancy and preparing for childbirth. It involves regular check-ups to monitor the mother and baby's health, and education about healthy habits and labor. Prenatal care helps diagnose and treat any medical conditions that could affect the baby’s development during pregnancy

    It’s important to get regular medical check-ups, education on childbirth, and of course, the right nutrition and supplementation, like prenatal multivitamins and prenatal DHA.

    Postnatal care is for the period after birth. Its goal is to help the mother recover after childbirth and ensure that the baby is growing and thriving. Healthcare during this time includes monitoring the mother's recovery, supporting breastfeeding, and tracking the baby's development. Regular healthcare visits are just as important during this stage, as well as the right postnatal nutrition.


    A closer look at prenatal care

    Prenatal care is important for a healthy pregnancy. It involves regular check-ups with a healthcare provider to monitor the health of both mother and baby. These visits are designed to catch and treat potential health problems throughout the course of the pregnancy, but also to be preventative and holistic and to support the mother to achieve a healthy lifestyle that benefits both mother and baby. The frequency of these visits may vary depending on the stage of pregnancy and the mother's overall health condition.

    What to expect during prenatal care

    Key events and milestones during this period can include:

    Nutritional guidance

    Guidance can include recommendations on the intake of essential nutrients like folate, calcium, iron, and protein— all of which are crucial for the baby's development. You’ll also learn which foods to avoid during pregnancy to prevent potential health risks.

    Physical exams and blood tests

    Exams are conducted regularly to monitor the mother's overall health and detect potential complications early. These exams may include measuring blood pressure, tracking weight gain, and assessing the growth and position of the baby. Blood tests are performed to screen for health conditions and to confirm the blood type of the mother.


    Ultrasounds are imaging tests that use sound waves to produce pictures of the baby in the womb. They’ll be used to monitor the baby's growth, confirm the due date, check the placenta’s position, and detect any complications. Ultrasounds also provide an opportunity for parents to see their baby for the first time.

    Genetic testing

    These tests will assess the risk to the baby of having certain genetic variations. These tests are optional and may include screening tests like blood tests and ultrasounds, as well as diagnostic tests.

    Education about labor and delivery

    If you’re nervous, that’s normal! Learning about the process of labor and delivery in preparation for childbirth can help mothers and fathers feel a bit more relaxed.

    Education can include the stages of labor, pain relief options, breathing techniques, and the signs of actual labor. It may also cover potential scenarios like cesarean delivery or what to do in case of premature labor. If you’re not sure where to find this education, your local hospital is a good place to start.

    Mental health support

    Pregnancy can bring a range of emotions and tremendous hormonal fluctuations, and it’s not uncommon for expectant mothers to experience mental health issues. The good news is prenatal care also includes support for these mental health challenges, offering resources like counseling services, support groups, and medication if necessary. The goal is to ensure the mother's mental well-being throughout her pregnancy journey.


    What is postnatal care? A closer look

    Postnatal care is just as important as prenatal care. This period begins immediately after the birth of the baby and can extend for 6 or more weeks. Postnatal care can include monitoring the health of both mother and baby, addressing any complications, and providing support and education to the new parents. This care is often provided by a team of healthcare professionals, which may include obstetricians, pediatricians, midwives, doulas, lactation consultants, and mental health professionals!

    What to expect during postnatal care

    Your care team’s goal is to make sure you and your babt are adjusting well. Let's unpack some of the essential events and milestones to expect during this period.

    Assessment of mom’s physical and mental health

    Healthcare providers will check vital signs such as blood pressure, temperature, and pulse and assess the healing of any wounds or incisions, particularly in the case of a cesarean section. They also check on mental health, with healthcare providers providing resources for support if needed.

    Possible tests for mother or baby

    Depending on the health of the mother and the baby, various tests may be ordered. For the mother, these may include blood tests, and for the baby, tests could include newborn screening tests to detect potential genetic variations, hearing tests, and more.

    Information and support about caring for a new baby

    Postnatal care also involves educating new parents on how to care for their newborn. Guidance may be around breastfeeding, understanding the baby's sleep patterns, ensuring proper nutrition, and learning about baby safety—including how to recognize signs of illness in a baby and when to seek medical attention.

    Health and wellness advice for mom

    This can include guidance on nutrition and exercise, managing sleep, and taking care of the perineal area or cesarean incision. It can also involve discussions about contraception and plans for future pregnancies.


    Think of Best Nest Wellness as your partner in prenatal and postnatal nutrition

    As we’ve said, having a solid support team will be beneficial during pregnancy and after birth. As you embark on this journey, think of Best Nest Wellness as your trusted partner. We are completely dedicated to supporting your and your baby's nutritional health.

    Our formulas are crafted by a neurologist-mom for whole-brain, whole-body wellness—and this means the right prenatal and postnatal supplements, with the specific nutritional support your body needs during pregnancy and the postpartum period. 

    Our supplements prioritize purity, potency, and bioavailability. With rigorous testing, sustainable practices, and dedication to exceeding industry standards, we've got you covered.

    Your family’s well-being is our priority, and we're honored to be a part of your journey.


    Frequently asked questions

    What is prenatal care?

    Prenatal care is healthcare during pregnancy to monitor the mother and baby's health, but can also encompass care around fertility during the TTC (trying to conceive) period.

    What is postnatal care?

    Postnatal care is healthcare after childbirth to support mother's healthy recovery and baby's continued healthy development.

    Why are regular healthcare visits important during prenatal care?

    They monitor the mother and baby's health and detect potential complications early. Don’t skip these!

    Why are regular healthcare visits important during postnatal care?

    They monitor the mother's recovery and the baby's growth and development. Don’t skip these either!

    What nutrients are important during prenatal care?

    A balance of all essential nutrients is important. Folic acid, iron, calcium, vitamin D, DHA, and iodine are especially crucial during pregnancy.

    What nutrients are important during postnatal care?

    Protein, iron, calcium, vitamins A, C, and D, and omega-3 fats are essential.

    How does prenatal care prepare for childbirth?

    Prenatal care provides education about labor, delivery, and healthy lifestyle habits.

    Can prenatal and postnatal care prevent complications?

    Absolutely, that’s why it’s so important to stay diligent with your exams and visits. Both types of care can detect and address potential health issues early. Per the CDC: “Living a healthy lifestyle and getting health care before, during, and after pregnancy can lower your risk of pregnancy complications.”

    Are prenatal and postnatal care necessary for all pregnancies?

    Yes, they are essential for the health of the mother and baby, so try to use all the healthcare resources that are available to you!