Prenatal care and expectant mother and baby health     More information about expecting and being pregnant     Pregnant wife's home-page

Pregnant Wife

Women's Health Source for Pregnant Wives

Pregnancy Care

Prior to modern medicine, many mothers and their babies did not survive pregnancy and the birth process.prenatal care Today, good prenatal care can significantly improve the quality of the pregnancy and the outcome for the infant and mother.

Good prenatal care includes:

Women who plan to continue a pregnancy to term need to choose a health care provider who will provide prenatal care, delivery, and postpartum services. Provider choices in most communities include:

Family health care providers, or generalists, can help manage women throughout normal pregnancies and deliveries. If there is a problem with the pregnancy, your doctor will refer you to a specialist.

The goals of prenatal care are to:

Women who are considering becoming pregnant, or who are pregnant, should eat a balanced diet and take a vitamin and mineral supplement that includes at least 0.4 milligrams (400 micrograms) of folic acid. Folic acid is needed to decrease the risk of certain birth defects (such as spina bifida). Sometimes higher doses are prescribed if a woman has a higher than normal risk of these conditions.

Pregnant women are advised to avoid all medications, unless the medications are necessary and recommended by a prenatal health care provider. Women should discuss all medication use with their providers.

Pregnant women should avoid all alcohol and drug use and limit caffeine intake. They should not smoke. They should avoid herbal preparations and common over-the-counter medications that may interfere with normal development of the growing baby.

Prenatal visits are typically scheduled:

Weight gain, blood pressure, fundal height, and the baby's heart beat (as appropriate) are usually measured and recorded at each visit, and routine urine screening tests may be performed.



It is urgent that you call your health care provider if you are currently pregnant and you have any amount of vaginal bleeding, severe abdominal pain, physical or severe emotional trauma, or your water breaks (membranes rupture). Also call if you are in the last half of your pregnancy and notice the baby is moving less or not at all.

Prenatal Care

Prenatal care is more than just health care while you are pregnant. Your health care provider may discuss many issues, such as nutrition and physical activity, what to expect during the birth process and basic skills for caring for your newborn.

Your doctor or midwife will give you a schedule for your prenatal visits. You can expect to see your health care provider more often as your due date gets closer. A typical schedule includes visiting your doctor or midwife

If you are over 35 years old or your pregnancy is high risk because you have certain health problems like diabetes or high blood pressure, your doctor or midwife will probably want to see you more often.

Health Problems in Pregnancy

Every pregnancy has some risk of problems. The causes can be conditions you already have or conditions you develop. They also include being pregnant with more than one baby, previous problem pregnancies, or being over age 35.

If you have a chronic condition, you should talk to your health care provider about how to minimize your risk before you get pregnant. Once you are pregnant, you may need a health care team to monitor your pregnancy. Examples of common conditions that can complicate a pregnancy include

Other conditions that can make pregnancy risky can happen while you are pregnant – for example, gestational diabetes. Good prenatal care can help detect and treat them.