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Prenatal Care Tips

PrenatalCareTipsPrenatal care is an integral part of a healthy pregnancy. Prenatal care visits are a series of checkups to ensure your pregnancy is healthy and normal.

Today's post will cover prenatal care tips for a healthier pregnancy.

Top Prenatal Care Tips to Consider

  • Cut out alcohol
  • Take prenatal vitamins (folic acid)
  • Decrease caffeine consumption
  • Exercise regularly
  • Drink more water
  • Get vaccinated
  • Make a birth plan
  • Stop smoking
  • Tell your doctor about health issues or family health history
  • Schedule prenatal visits with a personal care provider or OB-GYN
  • Identify the cost (health insurance coverage)

When Should I Start Prenatal Care?

You can start prenatal care before you even get pregnant with a pre-pregnancy planning visit. Most prenatal care services start within the first 6-12 weeks of pregnancy. You can usually expect to visit the clinic once a month after the first 28 days.

Why are Prenatal Care Visits Important?

PrenatalCareTipsIt’s essential to stay on top of all of your prenatal care visits. This way, physicians can identify risks early on and provide strategic counsel on how to navigate your pregnancy.

Learn more about how consulting an obstetrician can reduce pregnancy risks.

What to Expect During Your Prenatal Care Visits?

Prenatal visits involve important screenings, such as:

  • Blood tests to check for anemia, your blood type, HIV, and other factors.
  • Gestational diabetes tests
  • Advanced screenings if you’re 35 or older, are expecting twins, or have a family history of genetic conditions

How Obstetricians Provide Prenatal Care Service

Obstetricians or obstetric-gynecologists (OB-GYNs) offer care from conception to postpartum.

During a prenatal care visit, however, an obstetrician may:

  • Provide a physical exam
  • Check blood, blood pressure, and urine
  • Administer Pap smear or pelvic exam
  • Give vaccinations, like the flu shot
  • Prescribe a prenatal vitamin
  • Discuss prenatal tests
  • Tell you your due date

Your First Trimester Checkup

PrenatalCareTipsThe first-trimester prenatal checkup lays the foundation for good results throughout the entire pregnancy. The obstetrician or nurse will review factors like medical history, your due date, lifestyle choices, healthy ideal weight, and lab tests.

Related Post: What to Expect at Your First Obstetrics Appointment

Medical History

  • Family medical history
  • Meds and drugs you take
  • Exposure to toxins
  • Domestic life (safety)
  • Prior pregnancy and menstrual cycle

Due Date

When your doctor gives you a due date, it’s not a prediction of when you’ll deliver the baby. It’s the date when you’ll be 40 weeks pregnant (an estimated time of delivery).

Identify Your Healthy Weight

Your health provider can help you identify and manage your ideal weight for a healthy pregnancy.

Lab Tests

Labs may be taken for:

  • Blood type
  • Hemoglobin level (check for anemia)
  • Check immunity to certain infections
  • Urine sample
  • Prenatal genetic screening

Lifestyle Issues

Your health provider might discuss:

  • Vitamins and medications
  • Exercise
  • Sexual habits
  • Dental care
  • Vaccinations

Nutrition and Diet During Pregnancy

PrenatalCareTipsAn obstetrician can counsel you on what foods to eat and what vitamins to take during pregnancy.

Ideal Foods

The best foods include:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Dairy
  • Grains
  • Proteins

Foods to Stay Away From

The worst foods include:

  • Unpasteurized milk and foods made with unpasteurized milk
  • Hot dogs and luncheon meats (unless they are heated until steaming hot before serving)
  • Raw and undercooked seafood, eggs, and meat. Do not eat sushi made with raw fish (cooked sushi is safe)
  • Refrigerated pâté and meat spreads
  • Refrigerated smoked seafood

Physical Activity and Exercise

Obstetricians can advise you on the best exercises and activities to do while pregnant.

Avoid Physically Demanding Exercises

You may need to slow down as your pregnancy progresses. This is something to consult your maternity team about. Generally, a less strenuous activity is advisable if you’re breathless while talking during exercise. If you weren’t active before pregnancy, don’t start a new, intensive exercise program.

Exercise Tips

  • Minimum of 30 minutes of activity a day
  • Avoid stressful exercises in hot weather
  • Stay hydrated
  • Warm up before exercise and cool down afterwards
  • Avoid activities with a high risk of falling (ice hockey, horse riding, gymnastics)

Maintain a Healthy Weight

PrenatalCareTipsEat and drink healthy, low-calorie foods and beverages to help your baby gain the proper amount of weight.

The exact amount of food and calories will depend on:

  • Weight before getting pregnant
  • Age
  • Metabolic level

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that if you were at a healthy weight before, you don’t need extra calories during the first trimester, only 340 extra calories during the second, and 450 extra calories during the third trimester.

Every woman is unique and has unique physical dimensions and metabolic needs. Consult with your OB to ensure you are on the right path and understand precisely what your body needs.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), if you were underweight before becoming pregnant, you may need to gain up to 40 lbs. If you were average weight, gain 25 to 35 lbs. And if you were obese before the pregnancy, expect to gain 11 to 25 lbs.

Get a Mental Wellness Checkup

If you have a history of mental illness or depression, these issues should be addressed immediately. OBs will often refer you to a licensed mental health therapist, depending on the situation. A pregnancy can be mentally taxing, but a mental health professional can help.

Keep Regular Prenatal Checkups: Second and Third Trimester

PrenatalCareTipsIt’s good to follow up on your initial prenatal checkup during the second and third trimester of the pregnancy.

During the session, your provider can:

  • Measure the distance from the pubic bone to the top of the uterus (fundal height)
  • Status of baby’s growth
  • Assess fetal movement
  • Listen to the baby’s heartbeat

Managing Discomfort

An OB can provide you with over-the-counter medications and advice on how to best manage any discomfort during a pregnancy. Prenatal checkups ensure that solutions are given promptly.

Preparing for Labor

PrenatalCareTipsThere’s plenty you can do to prepare for giving birth. Alongside good exercise and nutrition, here are some additional everyday tips:

  • Learn relaxation breathing techniques
  • Prenatal yoga or meditation
  • Sleep on your side
  • Spend more time kneeling upright or on your hands and knees
  • Keep your knees lower than your pelvis when sitting

Find a Kansas City Obstetrician for Prenatal Care Help

At Northland Women's Health, we promote compassionate prenatal care from experienced OB-GYN professionals in Kansas City. Visit our location or call us today for more information.


Northland Women's Health Care, P.C.
8600 NE 82nd St. •  Kansas City, MO 64158  •  Phone: 816-741-9122  •  Fax: 816-741-9665