Your health is a priority to us. Check back often for more topics on women's health.
Health care for pregnant women
Getting good medical care when you are pregnant is important for the well-being of you and your baby. When you find out you are pregnant, schedule an appointment with your doctor right away. Your doctor will make sure you and your baby are healthy and give you advice on having a healthy pregnancy.
Follow your doctor’s advice about how often you should be seen. This will be based on your health and other factors. Here is an example of a common schedule:
- Weeks 4-28: Visit at least every four weeks.
- Weeks 29-36: Visit at least every two weeks.
- Weeks 37-40: Visit at least every week.
Take care of yourself because the healthier you are, the healthier your baby is. For more help and information during your pregnancy.
Caring for yourself during pregnancy
We care about the well-being of every new life. We want parents to be as prepared as possible to care for their new baby. The information in this section can help you enjoy a healthy pregnancy.
Eating right is always good health advice, but it’s extra important when you’re pregnant. When your baby gets the right vitamins, she’s more likely to be born healthy.
Need help getting good nutrition? Call Women, Infants, & Children (WIC) at 1-800-252-5942. Your doctor can also give you advice about eating right.
Medicines during pregnancy
During pregnancy, your body needs extra help, such as certain vitamins and folic acid. Your doctor will help you get your vitamins and folic acid.
It’s also important to know that some medicines are OK to take while you are pregnant, but others can cause harm. Be sure to check with your doctor before taking any medicines, even over-the-counter medicines or vitamims.
It’s important to take care of your teeth and gums. Regular dental services are covered for members under the age of 21 years. Before you take any medicines or get X-rays, let your dentist know you are pregnant. Your dentist also may want to check with your doctor before giving you any medicines.
Symptoms & Discomforts
Bodily changes and signs of labor
During pregnancy, you will experience many changes in your body. Some are normal. But others are not.
What you can do to help ease pregnancy pains:
- Get good health care while you are pregnant, and keep all your appointments.
- Be alert for signs of early labor.
- Eat right.
- Follow your doctor’s advice about what you should eat.
- Quit smoking.
- Stay away from drugs and alcohol.
- Make sure your teeth and gums are healthy.
Watch for signs of labor
Call your doctor immediately if you have ANY of these problems. Don’t wait for them to go away.
- Discharge, blood or water leaking from the vagina
- Low, dull backache
- Feel like you’re going to start your period (period-like cramping)
- Pelvic pressure (like the baby is pushing down)
- Stomach cramps (you may or may not have diarrhea with this)
- Contractions that last for awhile
Here are a few things to know about premature birth:
- The earlier the baby comes, the more danger there is to the baby.
- Premature babies can be very sick and can spend most of their first year of life in the hospital.
- Premature babies may need special care throughout their whole lives.
- You can help give your baby a healthy start in life. Get early care, and be sure to keep your health care appointments.
Inside Your Womb
Preparing for baby
Babies don’t always arrive on schedule. Because things don’t always go as planned, it’s best to plan ahead. Make sure you have your bag packed for the hospital. (Your doctor may have a list of things you will need.)
Also think about the following:
- Be sure you have a car seat for the baby. The hospital will not let the baby go home without one.
- If you have other children, let them know you will soon be going to the hospital to have the new baby.
- Make plans for someone to watch your children when it’s time for you to go to the hospital.
Not sure what to expect during childbirth? It’s normal to be a little nervous. So, we make it easy for you to go to childbirth classes. Just call the hospital where you will have your baby to find out when the classes are and sign up. Start childbirth classes at about week 30 of your pregnancy. Classes often meet once a week for about six weeks. Some hospitals have classes in Spanish too.
Classes are available to our members at no cost. Contact Member Services to schedule a ride to your childbirth classes if you can’t find one.
State Opioid Response Grant
The State Opioid Response (SOR) grant is a program funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). This grant provides substance use treatment services to pregnant or parenting women with Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) who are uninsured or underinsured. Mercy Care receives the funding and manages it to ensure access to health services.
The SOR team includes a registered nurse and a community health worker. These professionals provide coordination of care, advocacy for clients and their family of choice in a compassionate environment.
The SOR team can provide:
- support (in-home, community, phone, jail, videoconference).
- resource referrals (OUD treatment, counseling, obstetric care, housing, benefits, transportation).
- education on pregnancy and baby care.
If you or someone you know is a pregnant or parenting woman and may be experiencing substance use or abuse issues, it's important to get help early. You can reach out to the SOR team to get connected to care.
Anita Delly, RN
Tracey Fugett, Community Health Worker
Lisa Sampsell, Manager