Hesperian Health Guides
Chapter 7: Learning a pregnant woman's health history
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To give good care to a pregnant woman, you should find out about her general health, her past health, and her past pregnancies and births. You also need to know what this pregnancy has been like so far. This is called a health history.
Learning a woman’s health history will help you give advice to make this pregnancy and birth as safe as possible.
The best way to learn about a woman’s history is to ask her. At first, she may not be comfortable talking with you. If she feels shy about her body or about sex, it may be difficult for her to tell you things that you need to know about her health. Try to help her feel comfortable by listening carefully, answering her questions, keeping what she tells you private, and treating her with respect.
This chapter suggests questions to ask each woman so you can learn more about her. You probably have some questions of your own that you want to ask but that we do not include here. For example, if there is hepatitis B in your community, you may want to ask the woman if she has hepatitis B or tell her how to prevent it. Think about the information you need to know in order to give her good care. What questions do you usually ask a pregnant woman?
If you can, write down what you learn about each pregnant woman. This information may be needed later in the pregnancy, or during labor or birth.
After learning a woman’s health history, and every time you meet with a pregnant woman, you should do a regular pregnancy checkup. The next chapter of this book, Chapter 8, explains how to do the regular pregnancy checkup.