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Health care during pregnancy is called prenatal care. Getting prenatal care lowers the risk of your baby being born too early, which can lead to health problems for your baby.
Regular doctor, nurse midwife or doula visits during pregnancy help you and your baby stay healthy. During prenatal visits, you are checked to make sure your and your growing baby are well.
Schedule a visit as soon as you think you are pregnant. You will need regular prenatal checkups during your pregnancy. Your doctor will tell you when to schedule your prenatal checkups and what you can expect at each appointment.
Talk with your doctor about:
Getting a flu shot during pregnancy can help protect your new baby from getting the flu during the first six months of their life.
You and your doctor can watch to see if you develop these conditions during your pregnancy.
Preeclampsia: Preeclampsia (toxemia) is a health problem some develop after about 20 weeks of pregnancy. It is usually mild but can be dangerous for you or your baby. Many who have preeclampsia don’t feel sick. The main sign is high blood pressure. Regular prenatal visits are important so your blood pressure can be checked.
At-home digital blood pressure cuffs are a covered benefit for pregnant members. This easy-to-use equipment allows you to monitor your blood pressure at home. Ask your doctor or clinic to order one for you.
Gestational diabetes: Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that can develop during pregnancy. All pregnant people need to get tested for gestational diabetes between 24-28 weeks. High risk people may need to get tested earlier. You are at a higher risk if you:
Reduce your risk for gestational diabetes by eating healthy and staying active during your pregnancy.
Prematurity: Babies born before 37 weeks of pregnancy are premature. In Minnesota, prematurity is the second leading cause of infant death. Some risk factors, those that are lifestyle or personal choice, can be changed. For warning signs of pre-term labor and more information, go to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) prevention of premature births website.
Stress, hormone changes, pregnancy complications and more can cause you to feel anxiety during your pregnancy or after birth. Things you can do:
Mother-Baby HopeLine at Redleaf is a free mental health phone support for pregnant women, mothers, fathers and families. HopeLine is not a crisis line. A licensed therapist responds to calls within 24 hours and guides callers to the right support in their community. Call 612-873-HOPE (4673).
When you smoke, vape, drink alcohol or do drugs, so does your baby.
Smoking while you’re pregnant can lead to serious health problems, such as early labor. Smoking around your child after birth can increase health problems, such as asthma and bronchitis. By choosing not to smoke or vape, you help your baby. Quit Partner can help. Sign up at Quit Partner - Free Help to Quit Your Way or call 888-354-7526, TTY 711.
No amount of alcohol has been proven safe during pregnancy. Don’t drink any alcohol until your baby stops breastfeeding. Ask your doctor for help quitting alcohol.
A baby is so small that any amount of drug becomes an overdose. If you use drugs, stop completely while you're pregnant and breastfeeding. Ask your doctor for help quitting drugs, and if your prescription drugs are safe to continue taking while pregnant.
Quitting is hard, but your baby's health is worth it.
When you’re pregnant, you need more of certain nutrients. Choose a mix of healthy foods like whole fruits, vegetables, whole grains, proteins, and low-fat or fat-free dairy. Get the right amount of calories for you. Typically, you should get 340 extra calories per day in your second trimester (13-26 weeks) and 450 extra calories per day in your third trimester (after 26 weeks).
- Raw or rare fish or shellfish like sushi or raw oysters
- Raw or rare meats, poultry or eggs
- Unpasteurized milk, cheese or juice
- Lunch or deli meats and hot dogs unless steaming hot
- More information at Food Safety for Moms to Be | FDA
Staying active during pregnancy helps you feel better – it can even make your labor shorter and recovery faster. Being active may also help you avoid complications with your pregnancy. Aim for 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity. Start slowly if you weren’t active before. Avoid high-risk activities that increase your risk of falling or where you could get hit in the belly. Talk with your doctor about physical activity that is right for you.
It’s important for you and your baby to go to all of your prenatal care appointments. If you don’t have a ride, you may be eligible to get free transportation. Contact Member Services at 612-596-1036, TTY 711.
DHS approved 8/29/23; MC-1499-MC
612-596-1036, TTY 711