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.

Parrish Healthbridge: Healthcare Simplified

For education, breaking news or a message from your physician, HealthBridge will get it to you quickly.

  • Healthy Living

    How the Mayo Clinic Care Network Ben...

    1. Patients have access to Mayo Clinic expertise without leaving the county.2. Membership will enhance the delivery of healthcare in our com...

  • Healthy Living

    A Window to Your Health

    When you make an appointment to have your teeth cleaned, you may wonder how that visit benefits your health. After all, you brush after each...

  • Healthy Living

    Secrets of Stroke Survivors

    No one said bouncing back from a stroke is easy—but it is possibleA stroke strikes swiftly and suddenly and can hit anyone at any age. It oc...

  • Healthy Living

    Mini Frittatas in a Cup

    These frittatas feature tomatoes, broccoli and spinach, all of which have been shown to be good for the heart. Use leftover veggies or add y...

  • Healthy Living

    It's Open Enrollment Season

    It's Open Enrollment Season We participate with Medicare and many Medicare Advantage Plans. Visit for more informat...

  • Healthy Living

    A Healthy Mind

    You likely know someone who has a disease like diabetes or heart failure. What may be surprising is that you also probably have a friend, co...

  • Healthy Living

    Inside the Parrish Sleep Disorders C...

    In 2010, the sleep center conducted 390 sleep studies and ran three to four days per week. In 2014, the center completed over 1,100 sleep st...

  • Healthy Living

    Rx: Food

    Good nutrition is important for everyone, but when you have a chronic condition like diabetes, your diet dramatically affects your well-bein...

  • Healthy Living

    Lifestyle Tips for Breathing Better...

    When was the last time you changed the filter in your vacuum cleaner? Last month? Last year? Never? What about your air conditioner filter?...

Our Services

PMC helps our community stay healthy by living our vision of Healing Families—Healing Communities®

See Services

Classes & Events

Get healthy—and stay that way!—with dozens of classes, events and support groups to choose from every month.

See Calendar


Parrish Medical Center is among the nation's best in clinical care, safety and patient experiences.

See Awards

Patient Stories

Need a little get-healthy inspiration? Read about how people just like you have transformed their lives.

See Stories

Web Nursery

Parents of babies born at PMC can choose to have a picture of their baby posted.

Find Pictures

Urgent Care Scheduling

Reserve a space at urgent care locations, as well as make an appointment at a physician's office.

Check In