0
We're unable to sign you in at this time. Please try again in a few minutes.
Retry
We were able to sign you in, but your subscription(s) could not be found. Please try again in a few minutes.
Retry
There may be a problem with your account. Please contact the AMA Service Center to resolve this issue.
Contact the AMA Service Center:
Telephone: 1 (800) 262-2350 or 1 (312) 670-7827  *   Email: subscriptions@jamanetwork.com
Error Message ......
JAMA Patient Page |

Prenatal Care FREE

Sharon Parmet, MS, Writer; Cassio Lynm, MA, Illustrator; Richard M. Glass, MD, Editor
JAMA. 2004;291(1):146. doi:10.1001/jama.291.1.148.
Text Size: A A A
Published online

Prenatal care is health care during pregnancy before the baby is born. Prenatal care gives your doctor a chance to find any problems early, so they can be treated as soon as possible. You can also work with your doctor on preventing any complications for which you or your baby might be at risk.

WHAT TO EXPECT OF PRENATAL CARE

  • You should schedule a prenatal visit as soon as you realize you are pregnant.

  • Prenatal care visits generally occur about once every 4 weeks during the first 6 months of pregnancy and then every 2 to 3 weeks during the next 2 months, and then weekly until delivery.

  • At your first prenatal visit, your doctor will take your health history and perform a physical examination including checking your height, weight, and blood pressure. You will be checked for diseases that could harm your baby (such as diabetes, hepatitis B, syphilis, and HIV infection).

  • In later visits, your doctor will check on the growth of your baby by measuring your abdomen. Your doctor may use ultrasound (sound wave) examinations to assess your baby's growth.

  • You will have tests at each prenatal visit to check for high blood pressure and for protein in the urine, which could indicate a problem with the pregnancy.

DURING YOUR PREGNANCY

  • Take 400 micrograms of folic acid (a B vitamin) each day. Folic acid has been shown to help prevent birth defects. Start taking folic acid if you are thinking of getting pregnant.

  • Eat a well-balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables and get at least
    30 minutes of exercise per day unless otherwise instructed by your physician.

  • Tell your doctor about any medications you are taking because some drugs are not safe to take during pregnancy.

  • Don't smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, or take illegal drugs. Alcohol has been linked to birth defects including fetal alcohol syndrome, which can cause mental retardation. Smoking has been linked to low birth weight and heart problems in babies. Use of illegal drugs can cause many problems, such as infections, for the pregnant woman and developing baby.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

INFORM YOURSELF

To find this and other JAMA Patient Pages, go to the Patient Page link on JAMA's Web site at http://www.jama.com. A Patient Page on high blood pressure during pregnancy was published in the March 28, 2001, issue; and one on pregnancy tests was published in the October 10, 2001, issue.

Sources: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Academy of Family Physicians,
The National Women's Health Information Center

The JAMA Patient Page is a public service of JAMA. The information and recommendations
appearing on this page are appropriate in most instances, but they are not a substitute for medical diagnosis. For specific information concerning your personal medical condition, JAMA suggests that you consult your physician. This page may be photocopied noncommercially by physicians and other health care professionals to share with patients. Any other print or online reproduction is subject to AMA approval. To purchase bulk reprints, call 718/946-7424.

TOPIC: PREGNANCY

Tables

References

Letters

CME
Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.

Multimedia

Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.

Articles Related By Topic
Related Collections
PubMed Articles