Learning that you are pregnant is an exciting time! It is also a time of planning and many feelings. Research shows that early scheduling of prenatal care is essential to make sure that you are on the road to a healthy pregnancy and delivery. Schedule your first prenatal visit as soon as you think you’re pregnant.
Prenatal care is medical care you get during pregnancy. At each prenatal care visit, your healthcare provider checks on you and your growing baby. Your provider may recommend certain vaccinations or prenatal tests at your checkups. Prenatal tests make sure your baby is healthy. During prenatal visits, you will also learn about what to expect at delivery and in the first months of your infant’s life.
Your provider will ask you about your family health history to see if certain medical conditions run in your family. Be sure to tell your provider how you’re feeling and ask questions. Go to all your prenatal care checkups, even if you’re feeling fine.
Want to know more about what to expect as your pregnancy moves forward? Click here to learn more about the development of your baby week by week.
Pregnancy and the delivery of your baby can be a time of excitement, stress, and changing emotions. Some mothers may get the “baby blues” or even experience pregnancy related depression before and after a baby is born. Keep in mind that fathers and partners may struggle too.
It’s okay to ask for help when you need it. Reach out to your healthcare provider, friends and family members for support. Learn more at www.postpartum.net or text BABY to 511411.
HEALTH AND ACTIVITY
Many choices you make daily can affect your health and the health of your baby. Eating healthy foods, staying active and gaining the right amount of weight during pregnancy can help keep you and your baby healthy.
During pregnancy, your growing baby counts on you for vitamins and other nutrients. Taking a prenatal vitamin, along with eating healthy foods, can help you get the nutrients that you both need. Find out about foods to avoid or limit during pregnancy, such as foods that contain caffeine or mercury. The Women Infants and Children (WIC) program is a resource for people who may need financial assistance.
For most pregnant women, it’s safe to exercise every day. Being active can give you energy, help you relieve stress and help you gain the right amount of weight during pregnancy. It can even help your body get ready for labor and birth. You should ask your provider about any exercise and activity limits.
FEELINGS AND BEHAVIOR
Many factors affect feelings and behaviors during pregnancy. Some of the most common ones include hormones, stress, body changes and fatigue. These are very common during pregnancy. While it may seem overwhelming, there are some things you can do to feel better, including:
- Listening to your body
- Making time for yourself
- Getting as much sleep as possible
- Eating well
- Seeking support from your family and friends
- Talking to your healthcare provider
You will continue to experience changes after you give birth, especially during the first six weeks after giving birth. This is why it’s important to go to your postpartum checkup. Learn about warning signs to look for after giving birth. The links provided can help you know what’s normal and when it’s time to call your provider for more help. ALWAYS let your healthcare provider or a support person know if your emotions feel unstable, you are experiencing severe depression, or are having thoughts of suicide.
It is good to learn about having a healthy pregnancy from reputable and knowledgeable resources, including your healthcare provider(s), nursing specialists that are available in your community, and books or publications from reliable experts in the field of pregnancy and parenting young children. Some of these include:
- March of Dimes
- Nurse Family Partnership® Program
- Postpartum Support International
- Prenatal Plus Program
- Your Pregnancy & Birth by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (available at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and other book sellers)
- The Office of Women’s Health -- Text BABY to 511411 to receive free text messages on prenatal care, infant care and more
- Women Infants and Children (WIC) -- A nutritional program all kinds of families: married, single parents, working or not working. If you are a father, mother, grandparent, foster parent or other legal guardian of a child under the age of five you can apply for WIC.