Pregnancy Help Center
of Smith County
A Christ Centered Ministry
Congratulations! Having a baby is both exciting and scary. You have a lot of decisions to make now.
The first one is how to best take care of yourself during your pregnancy. 1. Schedule an appointment with a medical professional who takes care of pregnant women -- an obstetrician, family doctor, or certified nurse-midwife. 2. Begin taking prenatal vitamins and minerals. Most women don't get enough calcium, folic acid, and iron in their diets, so supplements are very important for you and your baby. 3. Eat a healthy diet, drink a minimum of eight glasses of water per day, and get at least eight to nine hours of sleep each night. 4. Stop using anything that can hurt your baby, such as tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, or other drugs. If you need help in stopping these habits, let your prenatal caregiver know because she will have tools that make it easier. 5. Come to the Pregnancy Help Center. We have an Earn While You Learn program that teaches you all about how your baby is developing, what to expect during labor and delivery, breastfeeding, bringing the baby home, first aid, and more! You earn Baby Bucks each week, and can spend them for maternity clothes or things your baby will need. This is free and confidential! Even if you have money to buy things on your own for your baby, our program can help you be better prepared for the birth of your child.
What to expect at your appointments:
You will be asked a lot of questions about your health and habits at your prenatal appointments. It is very important that you are completely honest, especially about previous pregnancies, miscarriages, abortions, or any surgery on your cervix or uterus. This will help the medical staff give you and your baby the best care. Be sure to bring a notebook with any questions you may have and to take notes during your appointments.
Your height, weight, and blood pressure will be measured. If possible, your health care professional will also listen to your baby's heartbeat and measure how much he is growing. At one of the first appointments, you may have a pelvic exam, a PAP test, and screening for sexually transmitted infections or diseases. Some blood will be taken for other tests. You will be asked about your eating, exercise, and sleep habits. (Eat 5-9 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables; 2-3 servings of protein; 8 servings of whole grain cereals, breads, and brown rice; 3-4 servings of dairy products; healthy oils like olive or canola. Limit processed foods, fried or fast foods, sugar, and caffeine. Be careful not to overeat.) If you aren't already taking prenatal vitamins, you will be asked to start right away. You may also be advised to take an additional folic acid supplement every day. Other tests are done at different times to make sure your baby is healthy and growing normally.
An ultrasound is usually done in the second trimester. You will be able to see your baby and learn the baby's sex. Typical appointments are scheduled: Once a month until you are about 28 weeks pregnant, twice a month until 36 weeks, and weekly after 36 weeks until your baby is born.
How will you afford this?
If you are single and are exploring the idea of parenting, talk to your local human services department (DHS) about your right to receive child support from the father of your baby.
If you are considering the idea of adoption, ask the Pregnancy Help Center for more information about making an adoption plan for your baby. (This is free to you.) If you do not have health insurance, contact your local Health Department. Food stamp applications are available through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or go to your local human services department (DHS). Women, Infants, and Children Program (WIC) is free through the Health Department, and provides food vouchers for you while you are pregnant or breastfeeding, and for baby after he is born.
Final Thoughts ~ Whether you choose to parent or find a loving adoptive home for your baby, taking good care of yourself will give your baby the best possible start in life, and you will enjoy a healthier pregnancy. It's never too late to start taking care of yourself, and your baby.
(Thank you to Focus on the Family for providing information about a healthy pregnancy.)
This information is intended for general educational purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional medical advice.