Pregnancy Home > Prenatal Care
Here are ways to take care of yourself and the precious new life growing inside you:
- Continue taking your multivitamin with 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day.
- Get early and regular prenatal care. It doesn't matter if this is your first pregnancy or if you already have children -- it is important to see a healthcare provider during your pregnancy. Your healthcare provider will check at each visit to make sure that you and the baby are healthy. If there are any problems, action can be taken right away to help you and the baby.
- Eat a healthy diet that includes fruits, vegetables, grains, and calcium-rich foods. Choose foods low in saturated fat.
- Unless your healthcare provider tells you not to, try to be physically active for 30 minutes, most days of the week. If you are pressed for time, you can get your activity in through 10-minute segments, three times a day.
- If you smoke, drink alcohol, or use drugs, STOP. These can cause long-term damage to your baby. Talk with your healthcare provider about steps to take to stop smoking. Talk with a member of your faith community, a counselor, a trusted friend, or your healthcare provider if you are concerned about your alcohol or drug use.
- Ask your healthcare provider before taking any medicine, even over-the-counter medicines. Some medicines are not safe to take during pregnancy.
- Avoid hot tubs or saunas and x-rays during pregnancy.
- Do not empty the cat litter when you are pregnant. It may contain a parasite that causes an infection called toxoplasmosis, which can cause birth defects. Also, use gloves when working in garden areas used by cats.
- Don't eat uncooked or undercooked meats or fish.
- Stay away from toxic chemicals like insecticides, solvents (like some cleaners or paint thinners), lead, and mercury. Most dangerous household products will have pregnancy warnings on their labels. Ask your healthcare provider about products if you are unsure.
- Limit or eliminate your caffeine intake from coffee, tea, sodas, medications, and chocolate.
- Staying active might help you stay healthier, and many women do so by continuing to work through pregnancy. If you have a question about the safety of your particular job, talk with your healthcare provider.
- Get informed. Read books, watch videos, go to a childbirth class, and talk with experienced moms.
- Ask your healthcare provider about childbirth education classes for you and your partner. Classes can help you prepare for the birth of your baby.