What Should I Do?

Take care of yourself. Get a healthy start!

Now, more than ever, it’s important that you take care of yourself. Not just for your sake, but for your baby’s. Your baby is depending on you for three things: oxygen, nutrition and protection from harmful substances and sexually transmitted diseases. Here are some helpful hints for a healthy pregnancy:

Make an appointment with a health-care provider.

You owe it to yourself and your baby to see a doctor or certified nurse-midwife as soon as possible. Medical care is important during pregnancy for both you and your baby.

If money is a concern, let the Opportunities for Life consultant know—we can inform you of resources that can assist you with getting affordable medical care. Don’t let your financial situation prevent you from taking care of yourself and your baby.

Get tested for STDs.

Sexually transmitted diseases can harm an unborn baby if you don’t get treatment. So if there’s any chance you’ve been exposed to an STD, get tested immediately.

Stop using harmful substances.

The most vulnerable time in a baby’s life, health-wise, is in the first few months after conception. Illicit drugs and cigarette smoke should be avoided at all costs. But even moderate amounts of alcohol and many over-the-counter medications can be harmful. Also, consuming too much caffeine has been linked to higher rates of miscarriage and low birth-weight babies. Caffeine also pulls calcium out of your bones and interferes with absorption of iron. If you must have caffeine, limit yourself to the equivalent of one to two cups of coffee or tea a day.

Eat right and take a good multivitamin.

At no time in your life is nutrition more important than before and during a pregnancy and while you are breastfeeding. Not only will poor nutrition damage your health, but very likely the health of your unborn baby. Practicing good nutrition from conception onward significantly reduces the risk of certain birth defects, pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes, and a low birth weight baby. Key nutrients during pregnancy include folic acid, iron, calcium, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids.

Call your doctor if…

  • You have spotting or bleeding
  • You have constant pain
  • Your water breaks
  • You have symptoms of high blood pressure (swelling in hands/face, blurred vision, dizziness, quick weight gain)
  • Your baby does not move every waking hour after your 28th week

Healthy Start information excerpted from Healthy Pregnancy published by Focus on the Family.