What Is Prenatal Care?

Before you and your spouse decide to have a baby, it’s a good idea to talk to your Ob/Gyn, who can help ensure you have the healthiest pregnancy possible.

Once you conceive, your Ob/Gyn will monitor your pregnancy and answer your questions. There are two important aspects of prenatal care: the care you receive from doctors while you are pregnant, and how you care for yourself through nutrition and activity.

Prenatal schedules for visiting your doctor may include monthly visits during your first six months, biweekly visits during months seven and eight, and weekly visits in the ninth month. If you have heath conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure, or have a high-risk pregnancy, you may go to the doctor more frequently.  

What You Can Do

To help make sure you have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby, there are several things you can do as part of your own prenatal care.

  1. Don’t drink or smoke. It can’t be said enough—alcohol and cigarette smoke can cause birth defects. And, of course, stay away from illegal drugs.
  2. Take folic acid. Folic acid helps the baby’s neural tube, and ultimately brain and spinal cord, to develop. Folic acid should be taken before conception and in the early weeks of the pregnancy to be beneficial.
  3. Watch your caffeine intake. High amounts of caffeine can lead to low-birth-weight babies. Not to mention that because it’s a diuretic, it can be dehydrating. Most experts recommend not consuming more than one serving (300 milligrams) of caffeine a day.
  4. Avoid undercooked/raw meats, fish and eggs. This lowers your risk of exposure to salmonella and other bacteria.
  5. Stay away from soft imported cheeses and deli meats. Deli meats and certain cheeses may contain listeria bacteria, which can increase risk for miscarriage. Avoid soft, imported cheeses like Brie, Camembert, Roquefort, Feta, Gorgonzola and queso fresco—unless the package is clear that the cheese is made from pasteurized milk.
  6. Keep moving. You can exercise when pregnant. (Talk to your doctor about how much.) Exercise can help control pregnancy weight gain—and, thanks to increased endurance, make delivery easier on you.  

Why Parrish Medical Center

Having a healthy baby is about more than what happens during labor and delivery. Prenatal care and even preconception care is essential. Parrish Medical Center has an expert team of obstetricians available 24/7 to deliver your baby and work with you to make sure you’re healthy throughout your pregnancy.

At Parrish Medical Center, we offer various classes to help you have a healthy pregnancy, to prepare you for labor and delivery, and even to educate you on early parenting.

We also offer fitness classes at Parrish Health & Fitness Center, including belly dancing, that are great for relieving stress and preparing for childbirth as part of your prenatal exercise regimen.

And when the baby arrives, PMC’s certified lactation consultants and certified car seat technicians are standing by to make sure you and your baby have a sunny future.

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