If you are pregnant, you are likely getting advice from all corners. Hopefully you’re getting good advice from your doctor and nurses. And then everyone from your mother, sisters and friends to that person you just met in the check-out line at the grocery store may also want to chime in. You’ll likely see ads pop up in your Facebook feed to for what to do and not do during pregnancy. Probably some of this advice will conflict with what someone else says. So how do you sort it out?
Talking with your doctor or a nurse is a great place to begin. Be sure to have your list of questions ready when you go to an appointment. Or message your provider through MyChart.
Not seeing your doctor yet? Here are 7 tips to get you started toward having a healthy mom and a healthy baby:
- Start taking prenatal vitamins as soon as you find out you’re pregnant. If you haven’t yet established care with a physician to get started on these, First Care Clinic can get you going with your vitamins – free of charge.
- Contact your primary care doctor or an OB/GYN or nurse-midwife about establishing prenatal care as soon as possible. Early prenatal care will give you and your baby a great start.
- Be sure to get tested for STIs/STDs. This testing usually happens at your first prenatal visit. If you have not yet been tested, First Care Clinic can provide you with testing for STIs/STDs, free of charge. STDs in pregnancy can be dangerous to you and your baby. Both untreated gonorrhea and untreated chlamydia can increase the risk of miscarriage and preterm delivery. A baby that is born while the mother has an active gonorrhea infection can also develop blindness, joint infections or life threatening blood infections. Newborns exposed to chlamydia can get severe eye infections and pneumonia.
- Stop smoking, drinking alcohol or taking drugs. These can all be very dangerous to your baby, causing permanent damage. ACOG’s one page FAQ sheet provides an easy to read overview of the major risks associated with maternal smoking and alcohol and drug use. First Care Clinic offers programs to help women quit smoking and stop drinking alcohol.
- Establish a healthy diet. Your doctor or our clinic can help you to learn what is essential to be eating and avoiding during pregnancy. Here’s a good start about eating right during pregnancy.
- Be sure to get the vaccines recommended during pregnancy. (Yes, there are some vaccines you should get while pregnant.)
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recently released a one-page immunization guide detailing which vaccines are recommended and which vaccines to avoid during pregnancy. It also lists some vaccines which may or may not be recommended depending on other risk factors. The two vaccines recommended for all women during pregnancy are:
- The influenza vaccine – Getting the flu shot during pregnancy protects you from getting the flu. It also makes less likely that your newborn will get the flu for several months after he or she is born. Pregnant women and newborns are at an increased risk for serious complications from the flu. Getting this vaccine is very important for the health of you and your baby.
- The Tdap vaccine (Tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis). Pertussis, or whooping cough, can be very dangerous to newborns. About half of babies who get whooping cough end up in the hospital and some die of this life threatening disease. When you get vaccinated against whooping cough, it will help protect your baby from until he or she is old enough to get vaccinated.
Learn all you can about pregnancy, nutrition, fetal development and preparation for delivery and birth. First Care Clinic offers more than 90 lessons on these topics and more. The sessions are designed to fit your busy schedule. You choose only the sessions you wish to take and schedule them when it is convenient for you. Contact us to get started.
Following these seven tips will put you on your way to having a healthy pregnancy. You’ll be on your way to having a healthy mom and a healthy baby. Please contact us for help with any of these so you can be prepared in pregnancy and beyond to be the best mom you can be.