Prenatal care is the care you get while you are pregnant. This care can be provided by a doctor, midwife or other health care professional. Bella does not provide prenatal care, but we do have a referral/resource listing available. The goal of prenatal care is to monitor the progress of a pregnancy and to identify potential problems before they become serious for either mom or baby. As soon as you think you are pregnant call your health care provider to find out when you should come in for your first prenatal care appointment. During your pregnancy, make sure you attend all of your prenatal care appointments, even if you’re feeling fine. Sometimes getting to an appointment may be difficult or it may seem like a waste of time. For the sake of your baby, though, make getting prenatal care a priority.
Any content within this website or any linked websites should not be used in place of prenatal care and follow-up with your obstetrician or physician. If any concerns or questions arise please consult your doctor.
Eating for Two
A new baby! What better reason to make some changes in your diet? If you were eating a well-balanced diet before you became pregnant, you probably won’t need to make big changes. But some little changes can make a big difference in ensuring that you and your baby get all the vitamins, minerals and calories needed for a healthy pregnancy.
Rely on ingredients from the five healthy food groups: grain products, vegetables, fruits, protein foods, and milk and milk products.
To get the nutrients you and your baby need, choose these foods every day:
Grain products provide carbohydrates, your body’s main source of energy. Choose 6–11 servings of whole-grain or fortified products such as whole-wheat bread, cereals, brown rice or pasta. One serving is a slice of bread, or a cup of cooked rice or pasta.
Fruits and vegetables provide important vitamins and minerals, as well as fiber to aid digestion. Choose at least three vegetables and two fruits every day, including a juice or fruit rich in vitamin C, such as an orange. One serving is a cup of raw, leafy vegetables or 1/2 cup raw or cooked non-leafy vegetables, one whole raw fruit, or 1/2 cup cooked or chopped fruit.
Protein foods, such as meat, fish and dried beans, are crucial for your baby’s growth. Choose 3–4 servings per day. One serving equals 2–3 ounces of lean meat, poultry or fish, or one egg. If you are a vegetarian, be sure to eat eggs, tofu and other soy products, dried beans and nuts, as well as a wide variety of grains every day.
Milk and milk products (including calcium-fortified soy milk) help build your baby’s bones and teeth. Choose 3–4 servings a day of low-fat milk, yogurt or cheese. A serving is one cup of milk or yogurt or two 1-inch cubes of cheese. If you have trouble digesting lactose (the natural sugar found in milk), lactose-reduced milk products and calcium-fortified orange juice can help you get enough calcium.
Limit the amount of fat that you eat to no more than 30 percent of your daily calories. You should use high-fat foods (such as butter, sour cream, salad dressings and gravies) sparingly. Also, try to limit sweets. You don’t have to eliminate them but, when possible, make healthier choices.
You also need to drink plenty of healthy fluids—6 to 8 cups a day. While water is best, you do get some water from juice. But keep in mind that juice is high in calories, while water has none. Avoid or limit caffeine-containing beverages such as coffee, tea and colas.
Sizing Your Portions
The recommended servings on the food guide pyramid may sound like a lot of food, especially the 6-11 grain servings. However, serving sizes are often less than you normally eat.
Crucial Vitamins and Minerals
Eat foods that include folic acid like orange juice, leafy green vegetables and fortified breakfast cereals. When taken before pregnancy and in the early weeks of pregnancy, adequate amounts of folic acid may help reduce the risk of birth defects of the brain and spinal cord.
Most health care providers recommend that pregnant women take a prenatal multivitamin containing the recommended amounts of vitamins, including folic acid. Your prenatal vitamin is crucial throughout pregnancy to support the growth of the baby, so be sure you take it every day. Your need for iron doubles during pregnancy, and you may not be able to get enough from your diet. Some pregnant women need to take a 30-milligram iron supplement during their second and third trimesters to help prevent anemia. Your health care provider will recommend one if you need it. Your provider also may recommend a calcium supplement if you are unable to consume dairy products. Never take a supplement that contains more than the Daily Value (DV) of vitamins and minerals without talking to your health care provider, because large doses of certain vitamins (such as vitamin A) may harm your baby.
Say “No” to Alcohol, Smoking, Street Drugs (marijuana, meth, cocaine, etc.) or Recreational Drugs (oxycontin, Bendodiazamines, Xanax, narcotic Rxs). Minimize caffeine intake. Make healthy food choices. Discuss with your doctor any concerns you may have with previous/current use of any on these previous mentioned substances.
Work with your health care provider to determine what’s right for you. Consider these general guidelines for pregnancy weight gain:
(BMI less than 18.5)
|28 to 40 pounds|
(BMI 18.5 to 24.9)
|25 to 35 pounds|
(BMI 25 to 29.9)
|15 to 25 pounds|
(BMI 30 or greater)
|11 to 20 pounds|
If you have a multiple pregnancy (twins, triplets or more), see your health care provider. You will need to gain more weight during pregnancy depending on the number of babies you are carrying.
Gaining the right amount of weight will make it easier to shed pounds after delivery and will prepare your body for breastfeeding.
See your health care provider if you are concerned about your weight. She or he can help you determine the weight gain that is right for you.
If you are already pregnant and are overweight, do not try to diet.
If you need help planning a healthy diet that will help you gain the proper amount of weight, ask about seeing a dietitian or nutritionist.
Unless there are medical reasons to avoid it, pregnant women can and should exercise moderately for at least 30 minutes on most, if not all, days. Exercise helps women feel better. The calories burned help prevent too much weight gain. Exercise can help pregnant women avoid gestational diabetes, a form of diabetes that sometimes develops during pregnancy. It can help build the stamina needed for labor and delivery. Exercise enhances well-being and promotes early recovery after labor and delivery.
Important: Before doing any exercise, check with your health care provider.
Consider brisk walking, dancing, swimming, biking, or aerobics.