I’m Pregnant. Now What? Essential Prenatal Care for You and Your Baby
October 12, 2016
First off, congratulations! News of a pregnancy is always exciting, particularly for first-time moms. Here are answers to common questions that can help you calm your nerves and get you on the right track with prenatal care:
I just found out I’m pregnant. When should I contact my doctor?
You should contact your doctor as soon as you have a positive pregnancy test. Every pregnancy is different and each expecting mom has different needs. Many prenatal providers schedule the first visit around eight weeks. However, if you have special medical considerations or other factors that make your pregnancy high-risk, your doctor may want you to come in sooner. It’s also a good idea when you call your doctor to tell him or her about any medications you are taking. Your doctor can advise you on what is safe for your baby.
When should I start taking prenatal vitamins?
Ideally you should start taking prenatal vitamins as soon as you start trying to become pregnant, or one month prior to conception. If your pregnancy is not planned, you should start taking prenatal vitamins as soon as possible. You’ll want to talk to your doctor about a prenatal vitamin that is right for you. Generally speaking, you’ll want to find a prenatal vitamin that contains nutrients to help you meet these daily goals:
- 800 mg of folic acid to reduce the chance of birth defects1
- 18 mg of iron to support your increased blood volume and organ function1,5,6
- 1,300 mg of calcium to help your baby build strong bones and maintain your own bone density1
- 400 IU of vitamin D to help the absorption of calcium1
- 150 mg of iodine to help fetal brain growth and thyroid function1,4
Prenate® Vitamin Family is a line of prescription prenatal vitamins that can help mothers meet these daily goals. Prenate® is committed to providing nutritional support for mothers and babies. With products designed with the patient in mind, Prenate® offers a line of prescription prenatal vitamins for the stages and special needs of each pregnancy. Talk to your doctor to see if Prenate® vitamins may be right for you to help fill nutritional gaps.
How often will I need to go to the doctor?
Every pregnancy is different. High-risk pregnancies may require more frequent visits. If you are over age 35 or have certain medical conditions , your pregnancy may be considered high-risk. But most experts recommend the following schedule:
- Monthly visits for weeks 4 through 282
- Twice a month for weeks 28 through 362
- Weekly for weeks 36 to birth2
Should I change my diet?
If you already eat a well-balanced diet, there is not much you need to change during pregnancy. Most doctors recommend that expecting moms eat a variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy and lean proteins. You should aim to consume around 72 grams of protein each day from lean sources like chicken or fish. Certain types of fish, eggs and nuts contain omega-3s fatty acids (DHA and EPA). These are helpful to your baby’s brain development. However, be mindful of the types of fish you eat. You should avoid fish that are known to contain high levels of mercury, such as swordfish or mackerel. You should also focus on foods that are high in folic acid, iron and calcium. If you are someone who loves sweets, sodas and coffee, consume these treats in moderation. As an expecting mom, you should limit your daily caffeine intake to 200 mg per day.3
Can I still exercise?
Most women can continue to exercise during pregnancy. You’ll want to talk to your healthcare provider about your specific exercise regimen. Typically, 150 minutes each week of aerobic activity is recommended. This should be broken down into 30 minutes of low-impact exercise five days a week. Most doctors would not recommend high-impact activities or contact sports. Remember, no matter what activities you choose, it’s important to stay hydrated. While pregnant, you should aim to consume eight to 10 cups of water every day.
Are there any other lifestyle changes that I should consider?
There are some lifestyle changes that may need to occur once you are pregnant. However, many are healthy habits that you should follow regardless of pregnancy. But with a growing baby inside, it’s even more important to keep these lifestyle adjustments in mind:
- Don’t drink, smoke or use drugs. It’s also important to avoid secondhand smoke.
- Avoid hot tubs, saunas and hot baths.
- Get plenty of rest – at least six to eight hours of sleep nightly.
- Limit stress as much as possible. Avoiding all stress is not totally realistic, so practice methods of coping with stress as soon as you feel it creeping into your day.
- Avoid harmful chemicals, such as insecticides, paint fumes, cleaning solvents, lead and mercury.
- Avoid contact with cat liter and rodents, including pet rodents. The droppings of cats and rodents can contain parasites or viruses that are harmful to an unborn baby.
This may seem like a good bit of information. We’ve created this handy infographic to summarize essential prenatal care recommendations. Click the graphic below to download, print or Pin it for safekeeping.