Prenatal and Postpartum Care
Prenatal (the care a woman gets before the birth of a baby) and postpartum (the care a woman gets after the birth of a baby) care ensure the health of the mom and the baby. Many decisions, in consult with your doctor or midwife, need to be made about the pregnancy: vitamins, tests and screenings to monitor the baby’s growth, and plans for care of the baby after birth.
Prenatal care is the care that women receive and provide for themselves throughout their pregnancy. Pregnant women who get early care have healthier babies. Early prenatal care includes:
- Regular visits to an OBGYN or midwife
- Classes: most delivery hospitals offer classes about labor and delivery
- Enrolling with WIC (Women Infants and Children program)
- Eating well
- Proper exercise
- Learning about and watching for signs of problems
- Not using drugs, alcohol or smoking any substance
- Checking with the doctor about supplements, either herbal or over the counter
- Quit Smoking: if you smoke, quitting protects the health of the baby
- If you use drugs, talk to your doctor or midwife about treatment to quit using
Planning for the Baby Includes Making Decisions About:
- How will you feed your baby? Please consider breastfeeding.
- What type of family planning to use.
- Finding a doctor for your baby. Contact us.
- Health care for your baby by enrolling in a program. Contact us.
Postpartum care is the care that women receive after the baby is born.
- Visit your doctor or midwife between three and eight weeks after your delivery to be sure that you are healing without problems.
- Mood changes: many women experience mild mood changes during and after pregnancy, but mainly after pregnancy. Because the hormone levels in the body change during pregnancy, how you feel changes too. Discuss your mood changes with your doctor or midwife.
Some women have mood changes that become depression or experience high levels of anxiety. In spite of age, income level or race/cultural background, all women are subject to depression during or, more often, after pregnancy and during the first 12 months of the baby’s life.
Women report feelings of anger, sadness, irritability, guilt, lack of interest in the baby, changes in eating and sleeping, trouble concentrating, thoughts of hopelessness, and even thoughts of harming the baby or themselves. Fortunately your doctor or midwife knows what to do. There are good treatment options for all women.
The Alliance has resources:
- Classes on pregnancy and birth
- DVDs on pregnancy, birth and baby care
- Books, pamphlets, flyers
- Baby's Coming!
- Born Too Soon
- Hey Dad!
- It's Not Just the Baby Blues
- Keep Your Baby Safe
- Kick Counts
- When You Are Pregnant: Don't Forget Your Teeth
- When You Are Pregnant: Exercise for Two
- When You Are Pregnant: Grow a Healthy Baby
- When You Are Pregnant: It's Never too Late to Quit
All publications in English on healthy pregnancy
All publications in Spanish on healthy pregnancy
All publications in Chinese on healthy pregnancy
All publications in Vietnamese on healthy pregnancy
510-747-4577 or 1-877-932-2738
CRS TTY: 711/1-800-735-2929
Monday – Friday
8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
National Health Information Center (Health Finder) http://www.healthfinder.gov/ and click on “P” and select “Pregnancy.”