Congratulations, you’re expecting! Pregnancy is an exciting time, but it can also be stressful. Knowing that you are doing all you can to stay healthy during pregnancy and setting your baby up for a healthy start in life will give you peace of mind. Early prenatal care is VERY important. Please call us for information, education and possible assistance (if you qualify).
Before Baby Arrives
You and your baby gain many benefits from breastfeeding. Breast milk is easy to digest and contains antibodies that can protect your baby from bacterial and viral infections.
Jaundice can sometimes lead to brain damage in newborns. Before leaving the hospital, ask your doctor or nurse about a jaundice bilirubin test. If you think your baby has jaundice, call and visit your baby’s doctor right away.
Within 48 hours of your baby’s birth, a sample of blood is taken from a “heel stick“ and the blood is tested for treatable diseases. More than 98% of all children born in the United States are tested.
SIDS is the sudden death of an infant younger than 1 year of age that cannot be explained. Learn how to help your baby stay safe.
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among children in the United States. Many of these deaths could have been prevented if parents had used properly installed child safety seats. Placing your baby in an age- and size-appropriate restraint system lowers the risk of serious and fatal injuries by more than half.
Folic acid is a B vitamin that can help prevent major birth defects. Take a vitamin containing 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day, before and during pregnancy.
Smoking during pregnancy is the single most preventable cause of illness and death among mothers and infants. Learn more about the dangers of smoking and seek help to quit.
When you drink alcohol, so does your unborn baby. There is no known safe amount of alcohol to drink while pregnant. It is best to avoid alcohol even while trying to become pregnant due to the dangers of Alcohol Fetal Syndrome.
Talk to your doctor about vaccinations (shots). Many are safe and recommended during pregnancy, but some are not. Having the correct vaccinations at the appropriate time can help keep you and your baby healthy.
If you are pregnant, a flu shot is your best protection against serious illness from the flu. A flu shot can protect pregnant women, their unborn babies and even their babies after birth.
You won’t always know if you have an infection – sometimes you will not even feel sick. Learn how to help prevent infections that could harm your unborn baby.
If you are pregnant or are thinking about becoming pregnant, get a test to screen you for HIV as soon as possible and encourage your partner to get tested as well. If you do have HIV and you are pregnant, there are steps that you can take to keep yourself healthy and not pass HIV to your baby.
Take precautions to reduce your risk for West Nile Virus and other mosquito-borne infections.
Poor control of diabetes during pregnancy increases the chance for birth defects and other problems for your baby. It can cause serious complications for you, too.
Existing high blood pressure can increase your risk of problems during pregnancy.
Taking certain medications during pregnancy might cause serious birth defects to your baby. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about any medications that you are taking. These include prescription and over-the-counter medications and dietary or herbal supplements.
Some workplace hazards can affect the health of your unborn baby. Learn how to prevent certain workplace hazards. If you are worried about a specific substance, click here.
If you think that you might have been exposed to radiation, talk with your doctor.
Genetics and Family History
Understanding genetic factors and genetic disorders is important for learning more about preventing birth defects, developmental disabilities, and other unique conditions in children. If you are worried about passing a disorder to your child, talk with your doctor about doing some blood tests (genetic tests) before the baby is born.
Family members share their genes and their environment, lifestyles, and habits. A family history can help identify possible disease risks for you and your baby. Your doctor might suggest that you see a genetic counselor if you have a family history of a genetic condition or have experienced several miscarriages or infant deaths.
Bleeding and clotting disorders can cause serious problems during pregnancy, including miscarriage. If you have a bleeding or clotting disorder, talk with your doctor.
If you are planning a trip within the country or internationally, talk with your doctor first. Travel might cause problems during pregnancy. Also find out about the quality of medical care available at your destination and during your transit.
VIOLENCE & PREGNANCY
Violence can lead to injury and death among women in any stage of life, including during pregnancy. Learn more about violence against women, and find out where to get help.