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Prenatal Care for a Healthy Baby


 

Congratulations on your pregnancy! Did you know that many things you do while you're pregnant can affect your baby's health? Do all you can to give your baby a good start in life. This includes:

  • Avoiding smoking, alcohol, and drugs. These harm you and your baby. If you use any of these, ask your healthcare provider for help to quit now.
  • Exercising daily. Exercise is good for you and your baby. Talk to your healthcare provider about ways to get exercise.
  • Eating the right foods. Eating well while you're pregnant helps your baby grow and be healthy. It also helps you gain a healthy amount of weight during your pregnancy. Your healthcare provider can tell you more.

What Is Prenatal Care?

Prenatal care is care during your pregnancy. It can include:

  • Checkups and tests to make sure you and your baby are doing okay.
  • Treatment for any health problems you have while you're pregnant.
  • Help with eating healthier foods, getting enough exercise, or quitting smoking or drinking.
  • Learning about pregnancy and preparing for labor and birth.

Why You Need Prenatal Care

Prenatal care helps you have a healthy baby. It also helps you stay healthy during pregnancy. Prenatal care:

  • Reduces the risk of harm to you and your baby.
  • Helps you learn ways to feel better while you're pregnant.
  • Gives you support and advice on taking care of yourself and your baby.
  • Can find certain problems that start during pregnancy (such as gestational diabetes) so they can be treated.

Questions for Your Healthcare Provider

Some questions to ask your healthcare provider include:

  • How often should I come in for prenatal care?
  • What changes should I make while I'm pregnant to keep my baby and me healthy?
  • What can I do to prepare for my baby's birth?

To Learn More

The resources below can tell you more about staying healthy while pregnant.

  • Maternal and Child Health Bureau
    800-311-2229  
    http://mchb.hrsa.gov/programs/womeninfants/prenatal.htm
  • National Women's Health Information Center 
    800-994-9662 
    www.4woman.gov
  • American Academy of Family Physicians  
    www.familydoctor.org
  • The National Partnership to Help Pregnant Smokers Quit 
    800-784-8669  
    www.helppregnantsmokersquit.org
  • National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome 
    www.nofas.org
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