What is prenatal care?
Prenatal care is the health care you get while you are pregnant. Take care of yourself and your baby by:
- Getting early prenatal care. If you know you're pregnant, or think you might be, call your doctor to schedule a visit.
- Getting regular prenatal care. Your doctor will schedule you for many checkups over the course of your pregnancy. Don't miss any — they are all important.
- Following your doctor's advice.
Why do I need prenatal care?
Prenatal care can help keep you and your baby healthy. Babies of mothers who do not get prenatal care are three times more likely to have a low birth weight and five times more likely to die than those born to mothers who do get care.
Doctors can spot health problems early when they see mothers regularly. This allows doctors to treat them early. Early treatment can cure many problems and prevent others. Doctors also can talk to pregnant women about things they can do to give their unborn babies a healthy start to life.
To read more about this topic, from this and related documents, please see WomensHealth.gov. You might also wish to see the HealthyNJ pages: Childbirth, Diabetes in Pregnancy, Pregnancy, Prenatal Testing, Premature Birth and Problems During Pregnancy.