How do I Maintain Prenatal Health?

Autumn Rivers

Most pregnant women hope to have a healthy baby, and in most cases, this is quite within their control. If you want the best possible outcome for your unborn baby, you should take steps to maintain prenatal health by taking on certain positive habits, and discontinuing negative ones. Once you find out that you are pregnant, the first step is to make a doctor's appointment. You should also begin taking prenatal vitamins daily, and stop any habits that could have a negative effect on your unborn child.

Prenatal vitamin supplements.
Prenatal vitamin supplements.

You should choose a doctor that you will be comfortable with, as you will likely be seeing the same one for the entire duration of the pregnancy, as well as at the birth. Most doctor offices ask pregnant patients to come in every four weeks up until week 32 of their pregnancy in order to make sure that they stay in good prenatal health. From week 32 to week 36, you should expect to see your doctor every two weeks. After this, you will likely begin having weekly appointments until week 40 or until you deliver. If you are diagnosed as high-risk due to health issues, you can expect to see your doctor much more frequently earlier, and perhaps as often as three times per week toward the end.

Pregnant women often undergo ultrasounds.
Pregnant women often undergo ultrasounds.

It is recommended that you begin taking prenatal vitamins as soon as you find out that you are pregnant. In fact, if you are trying to conceive, you should begin taking them now so that your body has all the nutrients it needs to sustain prenatal health from the beginning. You can ask your doctor for a prescription or recommendation of over-the-counter prenatal supplements, or you can find a brand that contains the correct amount of vitamins that you need for a growing fetus. If you find that prenatal supplements make you sick during the first trimester, you can try taking them either with a meal, or at night just before bed. If this does not work, ask your doctor what your options are, as discontinuing their use is bad for your prenatal health.

Part of maintaining prenatal health is having regular doctor appointments.
Part of maintaining prenatal health is having regular doctor appointments.

Medical research shows that habits like smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol typically have a negative effect on the fetus. Smoking can cause low birth weight, preterm delivery, and birth defects, while moderate use of alcohol can cause miscarriage, fetal alcohol syndrome, or premature birth. If you are struggling with quitting either of these habits, ask your doctor for help. Improving your prenatal health as soon as possible is likely to lead to the birth of a healthy baby.

Doctors can help prenatal patients with health issues related to smoking and alcohol.
Doctors can help prenatal patients with health issues related to smoking and alcohol.

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