Prenatal Care Checklist

Venturing into the brave new world of pregnancy, birth, and motherhood can be a daunting task, and at times every woman is likely to feel unprepared. However, the checklist below can help you to determine whether these feelings are valid or simply the result of anxiety.






Nutrition

Are you eating mainly healthy, whole foods? Have you cut excessively processed sweets and prepackaged products out of your diet? If you have, great – you're eating just the way your prospective baby will need you to! If not, consider revamping your diet before bringing a little one into the world. Your body can't function at its best when overloaded with sugar, sodium, and chemical additive, and needs vital nutrients like calcium and iron to help both you and your baby thrive.

Exercise

What sort of exercise plan are you currently following? What would you say your current level of fitness is? Pregnant women are advised to get at least 30 minutes of cardio exercise three times a week, so if you don't already meet or exceed these guidelines, now would be a great time to start! Choose a workout that appeals to you mentally and emotionally; there are many different options out there, and not everyone has to love yoga or be a marathon runner. All you need to do is lead a healthy, active life!

Vitamins and Supplements

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Are you getting all your vitamins? Physicians recommend that pregnant women get at least 600 micrograms of folate or folic acid, 1000 mg of calcium, 27 mg of iron, and 15 mg of zinc in addition to other vital nutrients per day. Most of these nutrients can easily be found in a healthy diet, especially if you are getting the recommended 4 -7 servings of fruit and veggies, 4 servings of dairy products, 7 – 11 servings of whole grains, and 3 servings of lean protein. However, it doesn't hurt to take a daily multivitamin as well!

Clean Bill of Health

When was the last time you visited your doctor? While women without health insurance or maternity coverage may not regularly see a physician, it's important to build a relationship with the person who will be overseeing your prenatal health. If you are not yet pregnant, make sure to get a full physical before you begin your attempts to conceive. You want to know you're in good health before bringing a child into the world! Most public health agencies will offer referrals to a general physician if you do not currently have one.

Baby-Friendly Habits

Smoking, drinking, and partying are all common activities for people without children – but if you plan on having a baby, you'd better start acting like a parent sooner rather than later! Drugs and alcohol are BIG no-no’s when it comes to pregnancy, and cigarette smoking can have a negative effect on your circulatory system, reducing blood flow to your uterus when your baby needs it the most! Replace these habits with others which are more life affirming; learn to paint, or take a yoga class!

Although it's impossible to be 100% prepared for every eventuality, a healthy life based on the guidelines above will provide you with a great foundation for bringing a new baby into the world.







Article on Prenatal Care Checklist

You can invest in the health of both you and the baby even before your first prenatal care visit. Below is a guide to steps you can take to create a healthier you, a healthier pregnancy and ultimately a healthier baby.

Stop Now!

If you have not already stopped, make sure that you cease smoking, drinking alcohol, or using any illicit drugs. Each of these has documented research that shows that there is potential harm to your developing baby.

Nutrition!

Eat well-balanced meals that include fruits, vegetables, grains and foods that are low in saturated fat.

Vitamins!

Make sure that you get 400 mcg of folic acid. Eating a well-balanced meal is a great way to get the vitamins you need, but just to be safe, make sure that you supplement your diet with a prenatal vitamin. Another nutrient important to your health is calcium.

Exercise!

Try to be active at least 3 times a week for at least 30 minute. If you were exercising before you were pregnant, you should be able to continue your routine. Avoid any contact sports and activities that risk falling. Also avoid any heavy lifting.

Avoid!

Here is a list of things to avoid during your pregnancy: caffeine, outdoor cats, insecticides, uncooked or undercooked meats, hot tubs, saunas, x-rays, and soft cheeses.

Prenatal Care!

Get early and regular prenatal care. Your doctor will be able to recognize potential or existing problems earlier and take any necessary action. Your doctor will also help ensure that your pregnancy is the best that it can be.