Prenatal care for you and your unborn baby is very important. From the time you get pregnant until you give birth, everything you eat or drink, everything you do or don’t do, affects your unborn baby. A healthy start in life begins before birth. In fact, a healthy start begins even before pregnancy with good diet and exercise.
Taking care of your health is important, even before you are pregnant, because half of all pregnancies are not planned. If you know you are pregnant, or even think you might be pregnant, you should make a medical appointment with a doctor or at a clinic as soon as possible. Your health care provider will do a checkup and tests to make sure you and your baby are healthy. It is important that you see your health care provider within the first month of your pregnancy and continue to get checkups on a regular basis.
The first three months (or first "trimester") of your pregnancy is an important time! Your baby is developing—the brain, heart, spinal cord, lungs, eyes, ears, arms, legs, fingers, and toes. The sooner you visit your doctor, nurse practitioner, or certified nurse midwife, the better chance you have for a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.
As long as your pregnancy is healthy, it is best to stay pregnant for at least 39 weeks, and wait for labor to begin on its own. This gives your baby the time he or she needs to develop and grow. To find out more about why waiting 39 weeks is best for you and your baby, visit the March of Dimes website.
- [PDF] Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy,
- Women, Infant and Children Program (WIC)
- Nutritious Foods for Pregnancy
- Pregnancy: Taking Care of You and Your Baby
- Pregnancy and Newborn Health Education Center
- Folic Acid
- Pregnancy Week by Week
- Pregnancy Calendar
- Don’t Rush Your Baby’s Birthday
- Flu Prevention and Vaccination
- Pregnancy & Newborns
- Medical Care during Pregnancy
- Centering Pregnancy Virginia Network
After You Have Your Baby
- Medical Care and Your Newborn
- Diet and Exercise After Pregnancy
- Postpartum Nutrition and Weight Loss
- Information on Pertussis
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