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Prenatal Care 

The key to having a healthy baby is to take good care of your health. The healthier you are, the stronger your baby is likely to be.

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Planned Parenthood of South, East and North Florida is proud to offer initial prenatal care services up to 14 weeks gestational age. This initial prenatal care allows you time to identify and schedule your ongoing care with a full-service provider. 

What is Prenatal Care?

Prenatal care is the care you receive during pregnancy from a health care provider, like a doctor, midwife, or other full-service prenatal care providers who will ensure you and your developing fetus are as healthy and strong as possible. Through regular checkups, you will learn how to manage the discomforts of pregnancy, have any testing you may need, learn warning signs, and ask questions.  

Prenatal care also includes advice on how mothers-to-be can best care for themselves. Learning about good nutrition, developing good eating habits, exercising sensibly, and getting plenty of rest are prime examples.  

What Happens During Your Initial Prenatal Visit: 

Gestational Dating Ultrasound

A sonographer will perform an ultrasound (abdominal or transvaginal) to estimate how many weeks pregnant you are. This ultrasound can also assess the presence of a heartbeat and the location of the pregnancy in the uterus to rule out an ectopic pregnancy. 

Initial Prenatal Lab work

Your initial prenatal lab work includes a comprehensive obstetric panel which is a group of blood tests to check for blood type, antibody screening, complete blood count, and STDs, among other tests to check your health during early pregnancy.   

Physical Exam

Your physical exam will include measuring your height, weight, blood pressure, breathing, pulse, a breast exam, and a pelvic exam.   

Genetic Screening Available

A genetic screening determines the risk for chromosomal irregularities and genetic disorders and detects any infections.  

Prenatal Vitamin Prescription

Prenatal vitamins are supplements that contain daily vitamins and minerals you need before and during your pregnancy. Folic acid is the most important vitamin to take before and during pregnancy. Folic acid is a B vitamin that cells in your body need for growing and developing. 

Will I still get the ultrasounds and lab tests expected for prenatal care?  

Yes, you will still get the same initial prenatal care you would get one-on-one with your clinician. Any labs, prescriptions, and ultrasounds will be ordered for you as appropriate.  

Will you help me identify a full-service care provider for ongoing prenatal care? 

We will help you navigate options for obstetrical care to continue your prenatal health care. We will share a list of obstetricians, certified midwives, and other full-service prenatal providers in your insurance network that can continue your care. If you are eligible for Medicaid, we can assist you with the application process.   

Can you share any resources I might need as an expecting parent? 

We can connect you with community programs and resources like WIC and Healthy Start.   

What Else Should I be Doing?  

It's important to take care of yourself between visits. Here are some suggestions.  

Eat Healthy: Select balanced meals from the five food groups: grains, proteins, fruits, vegetables, and dairy. They provide essential nutrients to you and your developing fetus.  

Eat Often and Lighter Meals: To avoid heartburn and discomfort, eat 4 to 6 smaller meals daily instead of 3 bigger meals. Don't overeat. You only need 300 extra calories per day to support your fetus's growth. Avoid excess fat, sugar, and sodium.  

Drink Liquids: Be sure to drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water, juice, or milk daily.  

Avoid Tobacco, Alcohol, and Drugs: If you smoke, drink alcohol, or use drugs, quit as soon as you know you are pregnant. These dangerous habits can cause long-term harm to your baby. Ask your health care provider for resources to help you stop.  

Take Prenatal Vitamins and Folic Acid: One of the most important things you can do during pregnancy is take folic acid. This B vitamin can prevent specific congenital disabilities of the brain and spinal cord. Take a multivitamin that contains 400 to 800 mcg of folic acid daily. Also, ask your health care provider if you need an iron or calcium supplement.  

Limit Caffeine: Caffeine has many adverse effects on healthy fetal development. Limit consumption to 200 milligrams daily (about the amount in a 12-ounce cup of coffee). Chocolate, soda, tea, and some over-the-counter medicines also contain caffeine. Read food, drinks, and medicine labels to know how much caffeine you're getting, and ask your health care provider if you need clarification.  

Exercise Sensibly: Talk to your health care provider about what exercise and physical activity are best during pregnancy.  

Be Careful About Medications: Consult your health care provider before taking any medication, even over-the-counter. Pain medications for headaches or antihistamines for colds containing aspirin or ibuprofen can harm the fetus. 


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