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Have a Healthy Pregnancy

Pregnant woman

The Basics

It’s important that you take care of yourself and your baby during pregnancy. You can start by:

  • Seeing your doctor or midwife regularly
  • Getting important prenatal tests

If you’re pregnant, it can be hard to keep all of the information straight. Here’s help: Pregnancy Dos and Don’ts. Take this quiz to test your pregnancy know-how.

See Your Doctor or Midwife Regularly

Plan on visiting your doctor or midwife at least every month for the first 7 months, and more often during the last 2 months. A midwife is someone who is trained to help women during childbirth and provide prenatal care.

Become a partner with your doctor or midwife to manage your care. Ask questions and discuss any issues related to your pregnancy. Find out all you can about how to stay healthy.

Don’t hesitate to call your doctor or midwife if something is bothering or worrying you. Sometimes physical changes can be signs of a problem.

Get Important Prenatal Tests

While you are pregnant, you will undergo routine medical tests as part of prenatal care. These tests help your doctor know how you and your baby are doing. Your doctor will check your blood and urine for:

If you are younger than 25 or if you have certain risk factors, your doctor may check for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) like gonorrhea and chlamydia.

Some tests will be done more than once. If you are worried about a test or if you have questions, talk to your doctor.

The Benefits

The biggest benefit of a healthy pregnancy is having a healthy baby. Women who get prenatal care have healthier babies and are less likely to deliver prematurely (early).

Doctors and midwives can find health problems sooner when they see mothers regularly. Early treatment can cure many problems and prevent others.

There are other benefits, too, such as:

  • Feeling less worried or tired
  • Preventing health problems like diabetes and heart disease

Take Action!

There are lots of things you can do to have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. Don’t wait.

Get Prenatal Care

If you know you are pregnant, or think you might be, call your doctor to schedule a visit. Women in every state can get help to pay for medical care during their pregnancies.

Programs give medical care, information, advice, and other services important for a healthy pregnancy. To find out about the program in your state:

  • Call 1-800-311-BABY (1-800-311-2229).
  • For information in Spanish, call 1-800-504-7081

Don’t Smoke or Drink Alcohol

Quitting smoking and drinking is one of the best ways a woman can protect herself and her baby's health. Even being around cigarette smoke puts a woman and her baby at risk for problems. Be honest with your doctor or midwife about how much you are drinking. There is no safe amount of alcohol to drink while you are pregnant.

Learn more:

Prevent Infection

Infections can harm your baby. You can prevent infections by:

Get more tips for preventing infection during pregnancy.

Eat Healthy and Get Active

Eating well can help you have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. Being physically active may help you have a more comfortable pregnancy and an easier delivery.

Talk to your doctor or midwife about a diet and exercise plan that is right for you. Ask if you should be taking a daily prenatal vitamin. Find out how much weight you should gain during pregnancy.

Learn how you can quit smoking to have a healthy pregnancy. Get tips for breastfeeding your baby.

What do you want to do today?

  • Ask your doctor if you should be taking a daily prenatal vitamin.
  • Write down all of your medical appointments in a calendar.
  • Print out these Fish Facts [PDF-148 KB] for pregnant moms and post them on your refrigerator.

  • Note:  Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®.
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    National Health Information Center

    P.O. Box 1133, Washington, DC 20013-1133