To have a healthy birth, it’s important to begin a healthy lifestyle for your baby from the womb. Prenatal care involves regular obstetrician (OB) visits, following a healthy diet, and living in a clean environment.
Why Prenatal Care is Important for You and Your Baby’s Health
The first step of pregnancy is being tested by a doctor to confirm you are pregnant, and once it is proven you are pregnant, your OB can answer any questions you have and schedule your next visit for a checkup. Your obstetrician will monitor you and your baby’s health with consistent doctor visits, so it’s important to schedule appointments as your baby changes through each trimester.
When you are pregnant, it is best to follow a healthy lifestyle plan in order to prevent complications during birth and to keep your baby as healthy as possible. Babies whose moms do not follow a prenatal care routine are three times more likely to have a low birth weight and five times more likely to die than the moms who do follow a prenatal care routine.
What Prenatal Care Involves
Once a doctor confirms you’re pregnant, it’s important to schedule regular doctor appointments so your OB can track your progress. During each routine visit your blood pressure, weight, urine protein and glucose levels will be checked. We will also listen to your baby’s heartbeat with a doppler device. In-house 3D and 4D ultrasounds are also useful for monitoring your baby during pregnancy.
Ultrasounds may be useful during each trimester of pregnancy. Typically you will have one or two ultrasounds during a low-risk pregnancy. If the need arises, an ultrasound may be utilized more often in your pregnancy.
- First Trimester: Confirm your baby’s heartbeat, pinpoint your baby’s gestational age and genetic screening for nuchal translucency.
- Second Trimester: Document normal anatomy and measure your baby’s growth.
- Third Trimester: Identify the baby’s position, further measure growth, check the presentation of the baby in preparation for delivery and check on the baby’s status.
Your baby’s health is your responsibility. It’s your job to communicate with your OB about how you’re feeling and ask questions that arise so solutions can be made.
The “Do’s & Don’ts” of Pregnancy
When you are pregnant, there are certain “do’s and don’ts” you should follow These involve what you consume, how often you should exercise and the type of environment you live in.
- Eat a regular healthy diet, gaining 25-35 pounds is recommended during pregnancy
- Take a prenatal vitamin during pregnancy and breastfeeding
- Aerobic exercises 3-5 times a week for a maximum of 15-20 minutes
- Drink plenty of fluids before, during and after exercising
- Take approved medications for common problems
- Wear your seatbelt
When you do anything, you have to remember you’re eating, exercising and taking safety precautions for two people instead of just one. Your baby is nourished from protein and calcium-rich foods you consume and the weight you gain is for your baby’s growth but also to help your body.
If you are unsure if a medication is safe to consume or if a chemical is okay to use such as a cleaning product, consult your OB.
- Drink alcohol
- Go in saunas, hot tubs, jacuzzis, or tanning beds
- Fly on an airplane after 36-week mark
- Drive more than a few hours from the hospital during the final month
Drinking alcohol and smoking is not healthy for you and is especially unhealthy for a growing baby. Since your baby cannot choose what is consumed or what environment it’s in, you have to advocate for your baby’s health.
If you have further questions, find your answers under West Des Moines OB/GYN Frequently Asked Questions, or contact your OB for advisement on prenatal care.
How West Des Moines OB/GYN Can Help
Our OB/GYNs can be helpful with preconceptual counseling as well as following you throughout your pregnancy, delivery and postpartum. Count on our team of board-certified doctors to help you prepare for a healthy delivery.
At either of our Metro Des Moines OB/GYN locations, our OB services include a prenatal care plan that is specified to you. As a women’s health center, we staff doctors who specialize in women’s healthcare, so you can depend on your OB/GYN to take care of you, and your baby and give you peace of mind during your pregnancy and after you have given birth.