What is Prenatal Care?
Prenatal care is taking you and your baby for a checkup before he/she is born. Prenatal care is very important and should be started as soon as possible. It can assure you that you and your baby are as healthy as possible.
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Do not let lack of money stop you from seeking prenatal care. A woman in every state can get help to pay for medical care during her pregnancy (visit pregnancy support groups). You can also call 1-800-311-BABY (1-800-311-2229). This toll-free telephone number will connect you to the Health Department in your area code.
Until you start prenatal care, and even after you have begun, keep taking care of yourself and: Don’t drink alcohol. Don't smoke. Don't do drugs. Don't eat junk food. Don't take any medications without talking to your doctor.
Do get plenty of rest. Do eat healthy foods. Do exercise and keep active.
How Important is Prenatal Care?
Statistics show that babies born to mothers who received no prenatal care are 3 times more likely to be born with a low birth weight and 5 times more likely to die, than those whose mothers received prenatal care. Chances are you and your baby will be fine and not have any unusual problems. However, just in case, prenatal tests can help identify health problems that could endanger you and your child.
Health care providers who normally provide prenatal care to pregnant women are doctors who specialize in women's health care (gynecologists), doctors who specialize in pregnancy and childbirth (obstetricians), doctors who provide a range of services for patients of all ages (family practitioners), and certified nurse-midwife (an advanced practice nurse specializing in women's health care needs, including prenatal care, labor and delivery, and postpartum care for "normal" pregnancies).
A typical prenatal care schedule for a low-risk woman with a normally progressing pregnancy is approximately every 4 weeks for months 1-7, every 2-3 weeks for months 7-8, and once a week after that. A woman with a chronic medical condition or a high-risk pregnancy may be advised to see her health care provider more often.
During your initial prenatal visit, your provider will ask you a lot of questions, conduct a physical examination, have you give a blood and urine sample, and may conduct several other preliminary tests. Your health care provider will probably suggest you take prenatal vitamins and may suggest you eat or avoid certain foods. They may also suggest one or more prenatal tests. The aim of these tests is to detect birth defects or any other potential problems. There are both invasive and non-invasive methods of diagnosing a problem before birth. One of the most common tests involve an ultrasound. For information please visit the links Prenatal Testing.
Where Can I Find Additional Sources of Information?
If you are pregnant and don't know where to turn to actually start prenatal care or you don't know how you can afford it, call your local hospital and you can always contact us at Adoption Services (phone: 1(800)943-0400) so we can help you. Adoption Services is a fully licensed non-profit adoption agency that helps birth mothers living in any state in the U.S. The Agency can also help a U.S. citizen living in any foreign country. Adoption Services has helped over 9000 birth parents and families. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or if you want our guidance or help. We can make sure your rights are protected and that you receive all the financial assistance and medical help as well as other types of help that the law allows. There is never any fee to you as a birth parent whether or not you work with our agency. Please visit the link "Ways we can help you".