Early and expert prenatal care is the single most important predictor of a healthy childbirth. Women’s Health Care physicians offer the most advanced education and technological developments available to care for you and your developing infant during your pregnancy, whether it’s relatively “normal” or “at-risk.” You will see your physician every four weeks during the early months of your pregnancy and more frequently as you near your due date. Women’s Health Care physicians deliver at either The Women’s Hospital or St. Mary’s Hospital for Women and Children, depending on your preference.
No two pregnancies are exactly alike. During your pregnancy, your physician will provide you with the best personal care and advice, but as a general rule, you will be able to follow these guidelines:
- Medications – Add a daily prenatal vitamin, if you have not done so already. Also, review all medications you take with your physician. Some prescription and over-the-counter medications are not recommended if you are pregnant.
- Diet – It’s important to eat a healthy, well balanced diet. Normal weight gain during pregnancy should be about 25 to 30 pounds, and you need add only about 300 additional calories to your daily intake to provide adequate nourishment for the developing baby. Caffeine and NutraSweet or saccharin – use in moderation or eliminate, if you prefer.
- Smoking – stop or at least cut down as much as possible. Smoking has been shown to have adverse effects on the developing fetus.
- Alcoholic beverages – since alcohol is known to contribute to fetal malformation, developmental delay, and mental retardation, we recommend that you avoid alcoholic beverages during your pregnancy.
- Activity – continue your regular exercise program or start an exercise routine. The ideal is 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days. Exercise prepares your body for labor and delivery and helps you lose weight and regain muscle tone after your child’s birth.
- Intercourse – may be continued as desired unless your physician advises otherwise.
- Travel – you may travel as usual during the early months of your pregnancy. Remember to use lap and shoulder belts in your car. Travel is more risky in the later part of your pregnancy, so avoid travel more than 100 miles one way during the last 3 months of your pregnancy, and especially during the last 6 weeks.
- Employment – unless your job is too physically stressful or your physician advises otherwise, it is fine to continue your work during your pregnancy.
- Ultrasound and laboratory tests – testing at various intervals during your pregnancy will help us monitor your health as well as that of your developing baby. Your physician will explain recommended tests as well as the results of the tests.
- Prenatal classes – being prepared for childbirth and caring for your newborn is very important, and your physician will encourage you to enroll in classes early in your pregnancy to help you be comfortable with the changes in your life that lie ahead.
- Whether this is your first pregnancy or you’re an experienced mom, your Women’s Health Care physician is eager to help you understand and enjoy your pregnancy.