Every year the CDC receives reports of women who died as a result of a pregnancy-related complication. The yearly number is around 500, and they estimate that there are probably another 500 additional deaths that are not identified as being pregnancy-related. The CDC estimates that up to one-half of pregnancy-related deaths could be prevented by better prenatal care.
Prenatal Care Tips
Early prenatal care can provide necessary information to the mother regarding nutrition-related and behavioral risk factors that can impact the mother and baby. We recommend that you consider a preconception visit with your Obstetrician before you get pregnant, start taking folic acid before conception and get early prenatal care. Following are some prenatal care dos and don’ts:
- Get early and regular prenatal care.
- Take a multivitamin or prenatal vitamin with 400 to 800 micrograms (400 to 800 mcg or 0.4 to 0.8 mg) of folic acid every day.
- Ask your doctor before stopping any medicines or starting any new medicines.
- Avoid x-rays. If you must have dental work or diagnostic tests, tell your dentist or doctor that you are pregnant so that extra care can be taken.
- Eat a variety of healthy foods.
- Drink plenty of fluids, especially water.
- Get all the nutrients you need each day, including iron.
- Protect yourself and your baby from food-borne illnesses, including toxoplasmosis (TOK-soh-plaz-MOH-suhss) and listeria (lih-STEER-ee-uh). Wash fruits and vegetables before eating.
- Don’t eat fish with lots of mercury, including swordfish, king mackerel, shark, and tilefish.
- Gain a healthy amount of weight. Your doctor can tell you how much weight gain you should aim for during pregnancy.
- Don’t smoke, drink alcohol, or use drugs.
- Unless your doctor tells you not to, try to get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week.
- Don’t take very hot baths or use hot tubs or saunas.
- Get plenty of sleep and find ways to control stress.
- Stay away from chemicals like insecticides, solvents (like some cleaners or paint thinners), lead, mercury, and paint (including paint fumes)
- If you have a cat, ask your doctor about toxoplasmosis.
- Avoid contact with rodents, including pet rodents, and with their urine, droppings, or nesting material.
- Take steps to avoid illness, such as washing hands frequently.
- Stay away from secondhand smoke.
Check out more detailed tips here.
If you just found out you’re pregnant, we would like to offer our sincerest congratulations! We know how much of a whirlwind this time of life is and we are here to help you get your feet back on the ground. At Creekside Center for Women, we focus on making those first steps, and every step along the way, simple and informed. Prenatal care is incredibly important and we will be with you throughout this exciting time in your life. Call and schedule an appointment today to talk to one of our physicians.