Prenatal Care During Pregnancy

What is prenatal care?

Prenatal care is the health care you get while you are pregnant.
Take care of yourself and your baby by:
Getting early prenatal care. If you know you’re pregnant, or think you might be, call your doctor to schedule a visit.
Getting regular prenatal care. Your doctor will schedule you for many checkups over the course of your pregnancy. Don’t miss any — they are all important.
Following your doctor’s advice.

Why do I need prenatal care?

Prenatal care can help keep you and your baby healthy. Babies of mothers who do not get prenatal care are three times more likely to have a low birth weight and five times more likely to die than those born to mothers who do get care.
Doctors can spot health problems early when they see mothers regularly. This allows doctors to treat them early. Early treatment can cure many problems and prevent others. Doctors also can talk to pregnant women about things they can do to give their unborn babies a healthy start to life.

How often should I see my doctor during pregnancy?

Your doctor will give you a schedule of all the doctor’s visits you should have while pregnant.
Most experts suggest you see your doctor:
About once each month for weeks 4 through 28.
Twice a month for weeks 28 through 36.
Weekly for weeks 36 to birth.

If you are older than 35 or your pregnancy is high risk, you’ll probably see your doctor more often.

What happens during prenatal visits?

During the first prenatal visit, you can expect your doctor to:

Ask about your health history including diseases, operations, or prior pregnancies.
Ask about your family’s health history.
Do a complete physical exam, including a pelvic exam and Pap test.
Take your blood and urine for lab work.
Check your blood pressure, height, and weight.
Calculate your due date.
Answer your questions.

Most prenatal visits will include:

Checking your blood pressure.
Measuring your weight gain.
Measuring your abdomen to check your baby’s growth (once you begin to show).
Checking the baby’s heart rate.
While you’re pregnant, you also will have some routine tests. Some tests are suggested for all women, such as blood work to check for anemia, your blood type, HIV, and other factors. Other tests might be offered based on your age, personal or family health history, your ethnic background, or the results of routine tests you have had.

Where can I go to get free or reduced-cost prenatal care?

Women in every state can get help to pay for prenatal care during their pregnancies. This prenatal care can help you have a healthy baby. Every state in the United States has a program to help. Programs give prenatal care, information, advice, and other services important for a healthy pregnancy.
To find out about the program in your state:
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.
For information in Spanish, call 1-800-504-7081.
Contact your local Health Department.

Rerurn from Prenatal Care During Pregnancy to Pregnancy Week by Week

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