Prenatal Care.

While you are pregnant, your body will undergo physical and hormonal changes.
See a doctor right away. There are some things that you can do to ensure you
and your baby's health throughout your pregnancy. This link gives detailed
information regarding physical changes that your body will undergo while pregnant.

Important information for teens that are pregnant:

Parental Care:

Prenatal care is the medical and physical treatment that women receive during a pregnancy - including ultrasounds, doctor's exams, healthy diet, exercise, sufficient sleep, and vitamins. Over 33% of teenage mothers receive inadequate prenatal care. The results of inadequate prenatal care can include an increased likelihood of infant mortality, low birth weight, premature birth, and health complications for mother and child. It is crucial for pregnant women to visit their obstetrician regularly throughout their pregnancy to ensure adequate prenatal care.

A typical prenatal care schedule for a low-risk woman with a normally progressing pregnancy is:

· Weeks 4 to 28: 1 visit per month (every 4 weeks)
· Weeks 28 to 36: 2 visits per month (every 2 to 3 weeks)
· Weeks 36 to birth: 1 visit per week
A woman with a chronic medical condition or a "high-risk" pregnancy may have to see her health care provider more often.

Pregnancy Discomforts:

Even healthy pregnancies include other physical discomforts such as constipation, mood swings, swelling and breast tenderness. Additionally, many pregnant women experience morning sickness, or nausea and vomiting, and a diminished appetite. Pregnant women tire more easily, and often need to take frequent naps throughout the day.

Physical Restrictions During Pregnancy:

Pregnant teens need to limit or avoid some activities such as participating in certain sports and lifting heavy objects. Although exercise is encouraged during pregnancy, many activities that teens participate in, such as team sports, are restricted due to the trauma they could cause the fetus. The following activities should be AVOIDED during pregnancy: ice hockey, kickboxing, soccer, basketball, gymnastics, horseback riding, downhill skiing, vigorous racquet sports, and scuba diving. Additionally, pregnant teens should avoid overheating (including using hot tubs, saunas, and jacuzzis).

Nutrition:

Many teens have poor eating habits, neglect to take their vitamins, and may smoke, drink alcohol and take drugs, increasing the risk that their babies will be born with health problems. Studies also show that teens are less likely than older women to be of adequate pre-pregnancy weight and/or to gain an adequate amount of weight during pregnancy (25 to 35 pounds). Low weight gain increases the risk of having a baby of low-birth weight (less than 5½ pounds). You should never take any over-the-counter or prescribed medications without consulting your doctor.

Pregnant teens must eat a balanced and healthy diet that includes:

2-4 servings of fruit, 3 to 5 servings of vegetables, 6 to 11 servings of grains, 3 to 4 servings of proteins and 3 to 4 servings of milk products daily. Teens must limit the amount of sugar and fat in their diets. Additionally, not all foods are safe for pregnant women. Some contain high levels of chemicals that can affect a baby's development, including certain types of fish, hot dogs, luncheon meats, lightly cooked eggs and soft cheeses.

Top of page

Prenatal Care