Prenatal Care: Important Practices to Protect You and Your Baby!

Finding out you’re expecting can be overwhelming. Whether it’s your first pregnancy or you’re a seasoned vet, the news brings a lot of feelings—and loads of questions, one of the first being, “Now what?”

What comes next varies from woman to woman, but one thing holds true for everyone: It’s time to think about prenatal care. Prenatal care means visiting your caregiver regularly during your pregnancy. The main reason: It keeps you and your baby healthy. In fact, according to the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, mothers who do not receive prenatal care are three times more likely to give birth to a low-weight baby, and their baby is five times more likely to suffer a fatality.

As scary as those statistics are, there is good news: It’s easy to receive prenatal care, and many of the measures a pregnant mother can take are simpler than you might think. Here are a few important prenatal care practices to use on your own. However, every mother-to-be needs to set up prenatal care appointments with their doctor, who can provide more in-depth care.

Avoid the obvious to reduce harm to you and your baby.

Drinking and smoking are huge no-no’s when you’re expecting. You should also avoid anything that can produce a shock to the baby, such as toxic substances, X-rays, and uncooked meats or fish. Washing all your fruits and veggies before eating them can also reduce the chance of foodborne illnesses—an easy precautionary step!

Take care of your body by providing it the right food and nutrients.

The benefits of eating healthy while pregnant are not a huge secret. Take advantage of the wide array of healthy foods available, eating fruits and vegetables and drinking lots of water. The CDC recommends taking 400 micrograms of folic acid every day—starting three months before getting pregnant will lower your risk for some birth defects of the brain and spine. Ask your doctor to suggest foods that are rich in folic acid and other needed nutrients!

Talk to your doctor about prenatal testing.

Some of the perks of seeing your doctor regularly for prenatal care include scanning and checking for potential birth defects or other problems. This, of course, increases the chances of early detection and, thus, early treatment. Doctors can perform ultrasounds, multiple marker screening, chorionic villus sampling, as well as many other tests that measure the fetal heartbeat and movement of the baby.

To learn more about prenatal care and our other specialty maternity services, visit us at stfrancishealthcare.org or call us at 302.375.5758.

Categories: Blog, Pregnancy