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Healthy Births 


If you think you are pregnant, see a doctor right away.
Prenatal care is the health care that a doctor or clinic gives to a pregnant woman. It is important for you to get early prenatal care.

If you go to the doctor as soon as you think you are pregnant and keep going throughout your pregnancy, you and your baby have a better chance to stay healthy.

You should receive prenatal care as often as your doctor or clinic recommends. The American Academy of Family Physicians and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend prenatal care visits take place at least:

If you need help in finding a doctor or clinic for prenatal care, call the All Kids and FamilyCare hotline at 1-866-468-7543 (TTY: 1-877-204-1012).

What to Expect At Your Prenatal Care Visits:

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Standards of Care, you can expect the following at your prenatal visits:

The first prenatal care visit starts with a doctor asking questions about you and your health.

Your doctor also gives you a physical exam, including

Ask questions! Make a list of questions to take with you to your appointment. The prenatal visit is for you.

Later in your pregnancy your doctor will check your health to see if you and your baby are healthy. Later prenatal visits include:

Tips for Being Healthy While You are Pregnant:

You may need to eat smaller meals and more often during the day. It is important to gain some weight while you are pregnant. Talk to your doctor about how much weight you should gain.


Warning Signs During Pregnancy:

Be sure to talk about all of your worries with your doctor. It is important to see your doctor often and regularly. Keep all appointments the doctor recommends.

If there is a problem, your doctor may be able to treat you before it gets serious. Call your doctor right away if you see any of these signs:

Prenatal Vitamins

Take your prenatal vitamin every day.

What you eat is just as important as how much you eat. Your body is growing a baby, and you need the right kind of fuel to do a good job.

Vitamins and minerals help your body use the energy provided by foods. They also help repair and maintain cells and tissues.

Vitamins and minerals include folic acid (a B vitamin), iron, zinc, iodine, vitamin A, vitamin D and calcium. Large amounts of vitamin A can be dangerous; pregnant women should avoid taking more than the daily value (5,000 international units) of vitamin A.

Folic Acid

Choose a diet that includes a variety of healthy, nutritious foods. Some good choices are fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads and pastas, milk products, and low-fat protein sources such as lean red meat, beans, tofu, poultry and some fish.

Folic acid is a naturally occurring B vitamin that helps a baby's neural tube—the part of a developing baby that becomes the brain and spinal cord—develop properly. It must be taken before and during early pregnancy when the neural tube is forming.

The best way to get enough folic acid is to take a multivitamin with 400 micrograms of folic acid in it and eat a healthy diet. Most multivitamins have this amount, but check the label to be sure. You also can get folic acid in your diet, but it's hard to get enough every day through food alone.

Folic acid works, but it only works if taken before and during the first few weeks of pregnancy, when the neural tube is developing into the brain and spinal cord. When the neural tube does not close properly, a baby is born with a very serious birth defect called a neural tube defect

Folic acid is found in the following foods:

About WIC

Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC):

WIC helps mothers, babies and children get the healthy foods they need.

You may be able to get WIC if you:

WIC is free. It gives you healthy foods including milk, eggs, cheese, juice, cereal, dry beans, and peas. For infants who are not breast fed, WIC provides infant formula with iron.

WIC tells you about healthy foods and screens your child's health. WIC helps with shots, family planning, substance abuse programs, family case management, lead poisoning screening, and children who need special healthcare.

If you get a Medical card, SNAP (formerly Food Stamps), or All Kids, you can get WIC. Parents, guardians or caretakers of an infant or child under age five may apply for WIC. To find out more about WIC and the agency nearest you, call 1-800-323-4769.

Nutrition During Pregnancy

Follow the USDA and the Illinois Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) recommended daily food guide and include in your diet:

You may need to eat smaller meals and eat more often during the day. It is important to gain some weight while you are pregnant. Talk to your doctor about how much weight you should gain.

About Text4baby


If you are pregnant or have a baby under one year, you can sign up for FREE text messages sent directly to your cell phone through text4baby. Even if you do not have a text messaging plan, you can get these messages at no cost. If you have limited texting per month, text4baby will not take away from the total amount of messages used. 

Registration is easy and can be done online or from your cell phone. Simply text the word BABY (or BEBE for Spanish) to 511411. You will be asked to enter your baby’s due date or your baby’s birthday and your zip code. Once you have registered, you will receive three text messages each week, timed to your due date or baby’s birthday. If your due date changes, you can text UPDATE to 511411 and enter your new due date. Messages start during pregnancy and go through your baby’s first birthday. 

You will get tips on prenatal and infant care, immunization, postpartum depression, nutrition, oral health, quitting smoking, safety and more. If you want to stop receiving messages from text4baby, you can text STOP to 511411. If you want to start the messages again, you will have to re-register by sending BABY to 511411 (BEBE to 511411 for Spanish messages).