What do new soon-to-be moms need to know about obstetrics and maternity care? Your pregnancy test was positive and now you're not sure what to do. If you need more information about everything from doctor's office visits to healthy lifestyle choices, take a look at the do's and don'ts of prenatal care.
Do Schedule An Appointment With Your Medical Provider
Do you already have a trusted gynecologist who can provide OB services during your pregnancy? If not, now is the time to find an obstetrician. Even though your primary care physician (PCP) can help you through routine illnesses and provide regular adult well-visit check-ups, this type of generalist isn't the right doctor to see during pregnancy.
Instead of scheduling a visit with your PCP, ask your doctor for a referral or recommendation to an OB practice. This is the first step towards a healthy pregnancy. An OB can provide you with the prenatal medical care you need right now, for the next trimesters, during the childbirth process, and after you deliver your baby.
Office visits with the OB will vary during your pregnancy. As you get farther into your pregnancy (or if you have complications) the doctor will need to see you more often. Routine prenatal check-ups include physical exams, fetal monitoring (listening to your baby's heartbeat), and plenty of time for you to ask questions. Your doctor may also order routine blood work, at least one ultrasound, and other types of testing if needed.
Don't Skip Prescribed or Recommended Vitamins
During your first prenatal visit, the OB will discuss the use of and prescribe or recommend prenatal vitamins. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), women need folic acid, calcium, choline, iron, vitamin D, vitamin C, B vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids during pregnancy. Your OB will help you to select the right prenatal multivitamin to meet many of these nutritional needs. The doctor can also explain which vitamins you can get through healthy food choices.
While prenatal vitamins are a part of your healthy pregnancy, you should never take more than the doctor prescribes. Additional vitamins or supplements could pose health risks for you or your baby. This includes so-called natural remedies. Before you take any type of vitamin or supplement, talk to your OB. They may want you to only take the prenatal multi-vitamin they've prescribed.
Do Eat A Healthy Diet
Again, some vitamins are necessary for a healthy pregnancy. Even though your prenatal multi-vitamin will boost your nutritional intake, you also need to eat a healthy diet. This may mean that you need to make some changes or learn more about health-conscious food choices. Your OB can review your existing diet and provide suggestions for ways to improve or add to your daily meals and snacks.
For more information, contact a local OBGYN such as Ob-Gyne Associates of Libertyville.