When Should You Start Prenatal Care?

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1 What Is Prenatal Care?

Prenatal care is the care you get while you are pregnant. It is a very important time in a woman’s life, and prenatal care can help to ensure the health and safety of both the pregnant woman and her unborn baby.

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Prenatal care goes a long way towards making sure that things are going well with your pregnancy. It can help to make sure that the baby is developing normally and healthily, and that the mother is not having any pregnancy complications as well.

2 When Should Prenatal Care Start?

In short, prenatal care should start as soon as possible after a woman finds out she is pregnant. As soon as a woman gets a positive result from a home pregnancy test, she should call her OB/GYN (or find an OB/GYN to be her provider) and make an appointment. Usually, it will be a few weeks before a doctor can get a pregnant woman in for an appointment.

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The most popular OB/GYNS sometimes even have waiting lists. Many OB/GYNS also prefer to see women who are past the eight week mark, or sometimes even past the first trimester mark. However, if a pregnant woman has a history of complications or is considered high-risk, her doctor might wish to get her in early to check things out.

3 What Is Prenatal Care Like?

Prenatal care, at the beginning at least, is not too bothersome. Most women see their OB/GYN just once per month until they are in their third trimester. At doctor’s visits, a pregnant woman will be weighed, and her blood pressure and vital signs will be taken.

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The doctor might do blood work or urine tests, and in some cases might do an ultrasound. The baby’s heartbeat will be heard with a fetal monitor, and the doctor will sometimes measure the woman’s belly to make sure the baby is developing properly. If a woman is at risk for complications, her doctor might also perform additional tests.

4 What If My First Prenatal Appointment Is Weeks Away?

If you are one of the women who finds herself having to wait a few weeks for her first prenatal appointment, don’t fret. There are a few things you can do to keep you and your baby healthy while waiting for your doctor to check things out. First of all, purchase a good quality prenatal vitamin and begin taking it every day.

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Try to eat a healthy and well balanced diet, and cut back on processed junk foods. Eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies, low fat dairy, lean meats and whole grains. Get plenty of exercise, low impact is best.

Try exercises like swimming, walking, or stationary biking to keep yourself moving without putting your baby at risk. Obviously, avoid smoking, illegal drugs or alcohol. All of these are not only dangerous for you, but for your baby as well.

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Ms. Wisniewski has over 15 years experience as a labor and delivery nurse, having also worked previously as a nurse midwife in the Philippines and India. She enjoys empowering women and providing family centered care to women from all cultural and educational backgrounds.

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