Prenatal care is the care a woman receives when she is pregnant. As soon as a woman “thinks” she is pregnant she should call a healthcare provider to make an appointment to confirm and schedule her first prenatal appointment. Health professionals that help pregnant women include obstetricians, family physicians, midwives and nurse-midwives.
Women who are at a higher risk for a poor birth outcome can access prenatal Healthy Start services. Ask your doctor about signing up for Healthy Start at your next appointment.
Knowing the signs of premature labor and encouraging women and their significant others to know will help decrease the chances of a baby being born too early. A woman should call her health care provider or go to the hospital right away if she thinks she is experiencing preterm labor. Signs include contractions every 10 minutes or more often; change in vaginal discharge; pelvic pressure; a low, dull backache; cramps that feel like a period; and abdominal cramps with or without diarrhea.
Stress is the pressure and tension felt when faced with a situation that is new, unpleasant or threatening. Even an uncomplicated pregnancy can result in some stress. Studies have shown that if a mother experiences excessive stress or suffers from an emotional trauma, her baby may be born with certain deficiencies that may persist into adulthood and cause more complications.