Prenatal Care: Changing, but Critical

Preparing to welcome a new baby is an exciting time. However, during the era of COVID-19, you might be wondering what extra precautions your healthcare provider is taking to keep you and your little one safe.

Your obstetrician-gynecologist (OB-GYN) will let you know how your prenatal care experience might change. For instance, some visits might be handled by phone or video, while others might be combined into one.

Your first contact will be early on. Let your healthcare provider know as soon as you think you’re pregnant. Your doctor’s office will likely schedule your first visit sometime after your eighth week of pregnancy.

Contact with your provider will increase as your pregnancy progresses. When social distancing is lifted, if your pregnancy is progressing normally, you’ll likely visit your healthcare provider monthly up to 28 weeks, every two weeks between weeks 28 to 36 and weekly from 36 weeks to delivery. Some providers are limiting or combining visits, as well as leaning on telehealth.

At most visits, your healthcare provider will perform routine tests. You’ll provide a urine sample at every visit so your provider can check your urine for signs of diabetes, infections and preeclampsia.

Your medications may change. Prior to being pregnant, you might have taken cough or cold medicine without a second thought. But medicines can affect you differently at different times during your pregnancy, or be harmful to your baby. Now, check with your OB-GYN before taking any medications while pregnant—this includes prescriptions, over-the-counter medicines, vitamins and supplements.

One pill everyone can agree on? A prenatal vitamin. Be sure to take a prenatal vitamin with 400 to 800 mcg of folic acid every day to help prevent birth defects. Consult with your OB-GYN about what’s best for you.

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