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the aggregate of hygienic, organizational, and therapeutic-prophylactic measures directed toward the creation of optimal conditions for the normal development of the human fetus and the prevention of congenital diseases, developmental anomalies, and afterbirth (perinatal) deaths. Various diseases in the mother before or during pregnancy may adversely affect the fetus and lead to premature birth, developmental defects, various diseases in the uterine or later life of the infant, and sometimes to the death of the fetus. The maternal organism, acted upon by the external environment, becomes in its turn the external environment of the fetus, interaction with which is effected mainly through the circulatory system of the afterbirth—placenta. For this reason, the mother’s condition before and during pregnancy is important for the development of the embryo and the fetus in the first days and weeks of pregnancy.
Prenatal care includes the early observation of pregnant women; early discovery ..treatment, and prophylaxis of infectious, cardiovascular, and other diseases and toxicoses of pregnancy; rational diet; prohibition of medications and X-ray radiation without a doctor’s prescription; prohibition of alcohol and tobacco; sufficient oxygen saturation of the mother’s organism; residence in a special sanatorium or rest home for pregnant women; a proper regimen of work and rest; therapeutic exercise; psychoprophylactic preparation for giving birth; and the future mother’s visit to a school for motherhood. Qualified help at childbirth is very important. Early tests for the blood group and Rh factor of the pregnant woman are performed.
Prenatal care is effected by the whole system of Soviet public health and motherhood and childhood protection, which are directed toward prophylaxis. Prenatal care is also stipulated in special legislation pertaining to women workers in general and to pregnant women in particular. This legislation includes pregnancy and childbirth leaves and grants and other measures. Fulfillment of these measures and their immediate execution are provided by women’s consultation offices, the social-legal bureaus connected with them, maternity homes, and medical and genetic consultation offices that give prophylaxis and treatment for hereditary diseases.
REFERENCES“Nauchnaia sessiia po probleme ‘Antenatal’nyi period zhizni i prob-lemy ego okhrany’.” In Tezisy dokladov. Moscow, 1961.
Flamm, G. Prenatal’nye infektsii cheloveka. Moscow, 1962. (Translated from German.)
Zhenskaia konsul’tatsiia. Edited by L. S. Persianinov. Minsk, 1966.
A. L. KAPLAN