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Prenatal Care—What You Need to Know

Prenatal care is an important part of a healthy pregnancy. Whether you choose an obstetrician or nurse-midwife, prenatal care is the key to monitoring your health and your baby's health.

Prenatal CareYour first visit with your healthcare provider

As soon as you think you're pregnant, schedule your first prenatal appointment. You might want to include your spouse or partner in the appointment as well.

Your health care provider will ask many questions; including details about your menstrual cycle, use of contraceptives, past pregnancies, and allergies and/ or other medical conditions. Bring a list of any prescription or over-the-counter medications you're taking. Share any family history of congenital abnormalities or genetic diseases.

Your due date

Establishing your due date early in pregnancy allows your health care provider to monitor your baby's growth as accurately as possible.

Lab & Screening Tests

Prenatal tests can give you valuable information about your baby's health. Your health care provider may offer ultrasound, blood tests or other screening tests to detect fetal abnormalities.

Lifestyle

Your health care provider will discuss the importance of good nutrition, prenatal vitamins, exercise and other lifestyle issues, such as stress and smoking. If you smoke, ask your health care provider for suggestions to help you quit.