Women’s Health

Taking Care of Yourself

At St. Luke’s University Health Network, our experienced and respected obstetricians and maternal fetal medicine physicians are highly skilled and well regarded.

Staying Healthy During Pregnancy

Now, more than ever, your health matters! After all, your baby’s growth and progress can be affected by how well you take care of yourself. It is a known fact that women who receive care early and throughout their pregnancies have healthier babies.

Good Prenatal Care Includes:

  1. Good nutrition and health habits before and during pregnancy.
  2. Frequent prenatal examinations to detect early problems.
  3. Routine ultrasounds to detect fetal abnormalities and problems.
  4. Routine screening for:
    • Sexually transmitted diseases
    • Rubella immunity
    • Blood type problems (Rh and ABO)
    • Diabetes
    • Genetic disorders-if there is a family history or the age of the mother indicates the need
    • Blood pressure abnormalities
    • Urine protein

The Goals of Prenatal Care are to:

  1. Monitor both the pregnant woman and the fetus throughout the pregnancy.
  2. Identify anything that could change the outlook of the pregnancy from normal to high-risk.
  3. Explain nutritional requirements throughout pregnancy and during the postpartum period.
  4. Explain activity recommendations or restrictions.
  5. Address common complaints that may arise during pregnancy (for example, backache, joint pain, nausea, heartburn, headaches, urinary frequency, leg cramps and constipation) and how to manage them, preferably without medications.

Women who are considering becoming pregnant, or who are pregnant, should eat a balanced diet and take a vitamin and mineral supplement that includes at least 0.4 milligrams (400 micrograms) of folic acid. This level of folic acid supplement has been shown to decrease the risk of certain abnormalities (such as spina bifida) to your baby.

Pregnant women are advised to avoid all medications, unless the medications are necessary and recommended by a prenatal health care provider. Women should discuss all medication use with their healthcare providers.

Pregnant women should avoid all alcohol and drug use. They should avoid herbal preparations and common over-the-counter medications that may interfere with normal development of the fetus.