It’s important to take care of yourself and your baby during pregnancy. To keep you and your baby healthy:
- See your doctor or midwife regularly.
- Get important prenatal (“pree-NAY-tuhl”) tests.
- Don’t smoke or drink alcohol.
- Eat healthy foods and stay active.
- Prevent infections.
To get more tips for a healthy pregnancy:
See your doctor or midwife regularly.
Plan on visiting your doctor or midwife at least every month for the first 7 months and more often during the last 2 months. A midwife is someone who is trained to provide prenatal care (care during pregnancy) and help women during childbirth.
Know the benefits of prenatal care.
Women who get prenatal care have healthier babies and are less likely to give birth prematurely (before the baby’s due date).
Doctors and midwives can find health problems sooner when they see mothers regularly. Early treatment can cure many problems and prevent others.
Make the most of each visit with the doctor or midwife.
Talk with your doctor or midwife about:
- Questions about your pregnancy
- How to have a healthy pregnancy
- Your medical history, including any medicines you are taking, and your family’s health history
- Anything that’s bothering or worrying you
- Your plan for giving birth, including:
- Where you would like to give birth – at a hospital, birthing center, or at home
- What support people you want in the labor room
- How you want to manage pain during labor
- Whether you want to breastfeed right after giving birth
Find out when to call your doctor or midwife right away.
Get important prenatal tests.
During your pregnancy, your doctor or midwife will recommend medical tests as part of your prenatal care. These routine medical tests give your doctor or midwife important information about you and your baby.
Your doctor or midwife will check your blood and urine for:
Some tests will be done more than once. If you are younger than age 25 or have certain risk factors, your doctor or midwife may check for other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
Talk about your family history.
Share your family’s health history with your doctor. This will help you and your doctor decide whether you need any other tests, like genetic testing. Find out more about genetic testing.
Get tested for diabetes.
- Pregnant women at high risk for type 2 diabetes need to get tested at the first prenatal visit. Find out about your risk for type 2 diabetes.
- All pregnant women need to get tested for gestational (“jes-TAY-shon-al”) diabetes between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy. Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that some women develop during pregnancy.
What do I need to know about gestational diabetes?
Gestational diabetes can lead to health problems for moms and babies – during and after pregnancy. It’s important to get tested so that you and your doctor or midwife can take steps to protect your health and your baby’s health.
You are at greater risk for gestational diabetes if you:
- Are overweight or obese
- Have a family history of diabetes
- Are over age 25
- Are African American, Hispanic or Latino American, American Indian, Alaska Native, Asian, or Pacific Islander
- Had gestational diabetes during an earlier pregnancy
- Have had a baby weighing over 9 pounds
You can reduce your risk for gestational diabetes by eating healthy and staying active during pregnancy. Check out these questions to ask your doctor about getting screened for gestational diabetes.
Learn more about gestational diabetes [PDF - 372 KB].
Not pregnant yet? Plan ahead.