We Know: All About Prenatal Care

What Is Prenatal Care?

Prenatal care is any kind of care for a mother before the baby is born. It should predate conception for many items, such as diet, exercise, and vitamin supplements.

Women who do not seek out prenatal care for themselves have a five-times normal risk of their babies dying, and three times normal risk of their babies being born with low birth weights. You should take prenatal care seriously.

What Should I Do?

There are several very simple steps you can take to ensure that you have a healthier baby.

  • Don't drink alcohol of any kind, smoke cigarettes, or take illegal drugs. If your doctor prescribes you drugs, you should let him or her know that you're planning to get pregnant, or that you already are pregnant.
  • Eat healthy foods. This means more fresh vegetables and fruits, and less canned food and frozen foods. Canned and frozen foods are preserved with an appalling amount of salt, while fresh foods only contain the salt you put in them. Follow the guidelines set forth by the FDA in its new food pyramid.
  • Take a prenatal multivitamin fortified with folic acid. When you're pregnant, you should take care to get plenty of iron and calcium so that the baby doesn't cannibalize your body for these minerals.
  • Exercise daily. If you're not used to exercising, start small with short walks and get longer every day. If you are used to exercising, maintain your current regimen unless your doctor tells you to quit.
  • See a doctor as soon as you think you're pregnant.

Should I Avoid Medicine?

It's not necessary to avoid all medicine, but you must tell your doctor about any medicine you're currently taking. Even over the counter pain medications may be harmful to your baby. Conversely, suddenly stopping a medication can cause a backlash effect that could harm your health and even make you lose your baby.

Instead of going cold-turkey, speak with your doctor about the proper medications to take to ensure your health and that of the baby.

What If I Can't Afford Health Care?

Call your local health department. They can generally direct you to a free clinic or another program that will help you pay for your pregnancy and delivery. It's in everyone's interest that your baby be born healthy.

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