There are lots of things you can do today to have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.
Get prenatal care.
If you know you are pregnant or think you might be, call your doctor or midwife to schedule a visit.
Get important shots.
The Tdap and flu vaccines are recommended for all pregnant women. Talk to your doctor or midwife about other shots (vaccines) you may need. These shots can help protect you and your baby.
Take charge of your health care.
Speak up and ask questions when you are at the doctor. When you play an active role in your health care, you help make sure that you and your growing family will get good care.
Know your family’s health history.
Use this family health history tool to keep track of your family’s health. Share this health information with the doctors and nurses who take care of you and your family.
What about cost?
Many prenatal tests are covered under the Affordable Care Act, the health care reform law passed in 2010. Depending on your insurance plan, you may be able to get these tests at no cost to you.
Talk to your insurance company to find out what this means for you. For information about other services covered by the Affordable Care Act, visit HealthCare.gov.
You can also get help from your state to pay for medical care during pregnancy. These 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.
One of the best ways to protect your health and the health of your baby is to stop smoking and drinking during your pregnancy.
There is no safe amount to drink or smoke while you are pregnant. Both can harm the health of your baby. Be honest with your doctor or midwife about how much you are drinking or smoking.
Secondhand smoke (smoke from other people’s cigarettes) can also put you and your baby at risk for health problems. Stay away from cigarette smoke.
Eat healthy and stay active.
Eating well can help you have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. Check out these tips on healthy eating during pregnancy. Talk with your doctor or midwife about your nutritional needs during pregnancy.
- Ask if you need to take a daily prenatal vitamin.
- Find out about healthy weight gain during your pregnancy.
Being physically active may help you have a more comfortable pregnancy. Aim for 2 hours and 30 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity, like walking fast, dancing, or swimming. Do aerobic activity for at least 10 minutes at a time.
Get more tips to help you stay active during pregnancy.
To get more information about diet and exercise during pregnancy, visit:
Keep track of your baby’s movement.
After about 28 weeks of pregnancy, you will probably start to feel your baby move. Keep track of how often your baby moves. If you think your baby is moving less than usual, call your doctor or midwife.
Infections can harm your baby. To prevent infections you can:
- Wash your hands often.
- Avoid certain foods [PDF - 125 KB], such as lunch meat and soft cheeses.
- Prepare food safely. Don’t forget to rinse fruits and vegetables.
- Have someone else empty your cat’s litter box. Dirty cat litter has bacteria that can harm pregnant women.
Ask for help if you need it.
Being pregnant may be tiring or stressful at times. Extra support from loved ones can help you have a more comfortable pregnancy. Family members or friends can:
- Provide emotional support so you feel less stressed
- Visit the doctor or midwife with you
- Change the litter box if you have a cat
- Help prepare for the baby’s arrival by setting up furniture
Think about what you need, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Plan ahead for the first few weeks with your new baby.