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One of the first things a woman wonders when she learns that she is pregnant is what should I do next?

Your first action should be to find a medical provider that you wish to care for you during the pregnancy and delivery. It is best to have that first prenatal visit in the first trimester (1-12 weeks) of pregnancy. Since it can sometimes take a little time to get an appointment you will want to start this process as soon as you can.

Every pregnancy is different, and only your medical provider can advise you on the best course of action for you. However, there are some “do’s and don’ts” that are consistent with every pregnancy that you can safely follow until that first appointment.

  • Start prenatal vitamins. You do not need a prescription for these. Prenatal vitamins can be found in any store that sells over the counter medications. These vitamins are specially formulated and contain the 400 micrograms of folic acid and the additional iron that are essential for fetal development.
  • Stop all alcohol, smoking, or illegal drug use as all three are proven to be harmful at any time in pregnancy.
  • Check with your physician if you are on prescription or over-the-counter medications. Never stop any medications abruptly as there can be adverse reactions and some medications can safely be continued if necessary.
  • Avoid exposure to toxic chemicals, such as cleaning solvents, insecticides, lead, mercury, and paint fumes o Do not use hot tubs, saunas or take very hot baths as these can be harmful, especially early in pregnancy.
  • Avoid x-rays or make sure that extra precautions are taken if you cannot.
  • Stay active.
  • Don’t clean or change a cat’s litter box, or eat or handle raw meat. These activities can put you at risk for toxoplasmosis, an infection that can be harmful to the fetus.
  • Strive to have a health lifestyle. Eat a healthy diet, drink plenty of fluids, get plenty of sleep, wear your seatbelt and don’t hesitate to set limits on your activities.

Pregnancy should be a time when you make every effort to do what is best for your health which will result in doing what is best for your baby. Taking a few precautions now can have a lifetime of benefits for both of you.

The information provided here is general in nature.  It is not a substitute for a consultation with a medical professional. Before any medical procedure, it is imperative that you discuss your personal medical history, risks, and concerns with your doctor. If you have questions during or after a procedure, your doctor should be immediately contacted. Avenue Women’s Center is not an emergency center.  If you are experiencing severe symptoms, such as bleeding and/or pain, seek immediate medical attention.  Contact your physician, go to an emergency room, or call 911.