Prenatal care can reduce your babyâ€™s risk for health problems. To have a healthy pregnancy and baby:
Have regular prenatal exams during your pregnancy. At each visit your healthcare provider will check to make sure that you and the baby are healthy. Regular visits can help prevent possible problems. They can also help find and treat any problems early.
Eat healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, low-fat milk, eggs, cheese, and whole grains.
Take good care of your health and exercise as advised by your healthcare provider.
Donâ€™t drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes or take drugs.
Have your baby checked by a healthcare provider right after birth.
How can I find a healthcare provider for my baby?
You should find a healthcare provider for your baby about 3 months before your expected delivery date.
If you belong to a health plan, check the plan’s list of primary care providers. You can also ask for referrals from friends, coworkers, or pharmacists. Local medical societies usually have a referral service and will give you names of healthcare providers in your area.
Set up an interview to meet the healthcare provider. Make sure that your baby’s healthcare provider is someone that you feel comfortable with.
How can my babyâ€™s provider help?
All care providers should be concerned with physical, emotional, and social health issues of children from birth through the teen years.
A pediatrician is a doctor that provides care to infants and children. A family practice doctor sees both children and adults. Nurse practitioners and physician assistants may also provide health care for children.
Choosing the right healthcare provider gives you peace of mind. As a parent, you should feel comfortable asking any questions that you have. Ask your babyâ€™s healthcare provider about breast-feeding, parenting, and any other questions that you have.
Your baby’s healthcare provider can tell you what to expect at different ages. While some behavior and growth milestones tend to happen at certain ages, a wide range for each age is normal. It is okay if your baby reaches some milestones earlier and others later than the average. If you have any concerns about your child’s development, you can always check with your baby’s healthcare provider.
You can also ask your baby’s healthcare provider how to keep your child safe and healthy. For example, many diseases can be prevented by vaccination. Vaccines are given at different ages to protect your child when the risk is greatest. Talk to your healthcare provider for more information about vaccines.
You should also feel sure that your baby will receive good care.
Written by Robert Brayden, MD, Professor of Pediatrics, University of Colorado.
Pediatric Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth. Last modified: 2014-10-16 Last reviewed: 2014-10-16
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Finding a Healthcare Provider for Your Baby: References
Prenatal Services HRSA: Maternal and Child Health Bureau. Accessed October 3, 2014 from mchb.hrsa.gov/programs/womeninfants/prenatal.html.
Choosing a Pediatrician. American Pregnancy Association. Accessed October 4, 2014 from americanpregnancy.org/planning/choosing-a-pediatrician.