Prenatal Health

How well you take care of yourself during pregnancy has a direct effect on the health of your baby. You can find information on a variety of topics including: vitamins and supplements, nutrition and exercise, and prenatal tests.

General Information

  • Although each pregnancy is unique, certain changes are common to all normal pregnancies. A basic understanding of physical and emotional changes of pregnancy helps a woman to understand pregnancy and have a positive experience.
  • If you are having sex and you are capable of becoming pregnant, you should be taking 0.8 mg. of folic acid each day in case you become pregnant–even if you are not planning to become pregnant for a long time.
  • Traveling during pregnancy can be very enjoyable. Through the first two trimesters and into the third, it is perfectly safe to travel as long as you are not experiencing any complications and your doctor has not indicated any reasons for prohibiting travel. Talk to your physician about any travel plans and how best to safely enjoy your trip.
  • The average recommended weight gain during pregnancy varies depending on your baseline weight.

Prenatal Testing

  • A variety of prenatal tests are available. While not all patients need or will have all the various tests, it is good to know that they are available.
  • Fetal well being tests are designed to evaluate the status of the placenta and baby. These are used later in certain high-risk pregnancies and occasionally in low-risk pregnancies when there are concerns about fetal well-being.
  • Pregnancy ultrasound is a method of imaging the fetus and the female pelvic organs during pregnancy. The ultrasound machine sends out high-frequency sound waves, which reflect off body structures to create a picture.
  • Chorionic villus sampling (CVS) is a procedure used to diagnose certain genetic defects in early pregnancy. The test has been performed regularly since 1982, and thousands have been performed around the world.
  • Amniocentesis is a procedure performed on pregnant women in their second trimester to diagnose or rule out genetic defects.
  • There are many new noninvasive genetic screens available in early pregnancy. This field of medicine is rapidly evolving. If you are interested in genetic testing, please talk to your physician about which test is best for you.

Nutrition

  • Even before pregnancy begins, nutrition is a primary factor in the health of mother and baby. A well-balanced diet before conception contributes to a healthy pregnancy and will probably need few changes.
  • One of the most important things a woman can do to ensure a healthy pregnancy for herself and her baby is to eat a well-balanced diet. Good nutrition during pregnancy is essential to creating an environment that allows the baby to grow and flourish.
  • The level of mercury in certain fish might pose risks to a developing fetus.  Please discuss safe seafood with your physician.
  • Food can be contaminated with a bacteria called Listeria. Learn to protect your food against this common bacteria. Storing food at the proper temperature and cooking to the proper temperature help to protect you from its ingestion.