Birthmothers who don’t get proper prenatal care can endanger their own health as well as their baby’s health. That’s why it’s important to start prenatal care as soon as possible. We all want to be healthy, but sometimes it’s hard to know what we should do, so we’ve prepared a complete guide to prenatal care for birthmothers.

Visit Your OB/GYN

As soon as you find out you’re pregnant, make an appointment to see a doctor. If you don’t have a doctor who specializes in childbirth and pregnancy, called an OB/GYN, you can also visit your gynecologist to provide you with prenatal care.

Your first appointment is usually the longest since the examination is very thorough. You’ll be asked some questions about your medical history as well as the birthfather's medical history. In addition to a complete physical exam, your health care provider may take this opportunity to discuss your lifestyle and habits and suggest you make certain changes that may help to maintain a healthy pregnancy.

If there aren’t any complications with your pregnancy, you can expect to visit your doctor every four weeks for the first six months of your pregnancy, then every two weeks for the following two months, and once a week during the last month. These visits are important to monitor your baby’s growth, your health, and to help avoid possible complications.

Eat Healthfully and Exercise

It’s extremely important to take care of yourself during pregnancy. That’s why you should ask your healthcare provider to give you advice about a proper diet and exercise routine. Also, some medicines are not safe during pregnancy, including regular over the counter pain medication, and you should consult your doctor before taking medications of any kind.

When it comes to food, try to eat a variety of healthy foods. Include plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and calcium-rich foods in your diet. Also, drink plenty of water. Eating a variety of food will help you to get a plenty of nutrients needed for your baby’s development. Talk to your doctor about the foods you should avoid during pregnancy. Your doctor will monitor your weight gain and tell you how much weight you should aim to gain during your pregnancy.

Exercising during pregnancy is good for you, but before planning out your exercise routine, consult your doctor to ensure it's safe for you and the baby.

Prenatal Vitamins

A healthy diet is the best way to get the vitamins and minerals you and your baby need, but even if you eat healthy food, you may fall short on key nutrients. That’s why prenatal vitamins can help fill any gaps in your diet. They also contain folic acid and iron to prevent neural tube defects and to support the baby’s growth and development. During the third trimester, your baby’s bones are growing, so it’s important to take calcium and vitamin D during this time. Prenatal vitamins are just a complement to a healthy diet, they’re not a substitute for good nutrition.

Get Informed

Don’t forget to read books, watch videos, go to childbirth classes, and read and watch stories from other birthmothers. These will help you better understand what labor and delivery is like and get an idea of what to expect at the hospital and after the adoption takes place.