Prenatal Care May Help Prevent Birth Injuries
If you are pregnant, get early and regular prenatal care. Whether this is your first baby or third baby, and regardless of how old you are, prenatal care is critical for your health and the health of your baby. Not only can prenatal care make your pregnancy a more pleasant and safer experience, but prenatal care and birth injuries are linked.
Schedule your first prenatal check-up as soon as you think you’re pregnant. Your provider can give you guidance on what you need to do to help ensure the health of your child and create a prenatal care plan. You need to go to each of your schedule doctor appointments even if you are feeling fine and think all is going well with your pregnancy.
Healthcare Steps to Take If You Are Pregnant
There are steps that you can take to help your baby stay healthy and develop normally. There is no guarantee that your actions will prevent neglect on the part of your doctor, but your efforts can help. When it comes to your health, follow these guidelines:
- Prenatal care – go to all of your appointments and report any questions or concerns that you have about your health or the baby’s.
- Vitamins – talk to your doctor about prenatal vitamins and folic acid.
- Medications – talk with your doctor about any medications you are currently taking or considering taking. Before any doctor or physician prescribes medication during your pregnancy, make sure they know you are pregnant and how far along you are at the visit. Certain medications can cause birth defects and may be harmful to the baby.
- Avoid x-rays if possible and make sure to inform anyone requesting diagnostic testing that you are pregnant.
- Get a flu shot.
- Weight gain – gain a healthy amount of weight, but not too much. Your doctor should help you stay on track.
- Don’t smoke, drink alcohol, or use drugs.
- Get plenty of sleep and minimize stress. Stress-induced labor can be very dangerous for both you and the baby.
- Consult with your doctor about what tests should be conducted, such as testing for gestational diabetes or other conditions that can harm the baby.
- Inform your doctor of your medical history and conditions that may run in your family.
Follow a Healthy Pregnancy Diet
Just as you want to maintain healthy habits during your pregnancy, you also want to eat healthily. The baby counts on you for its nutrition. Eat a variety of food including fruits, vegetable, whole grains, and drink plenty of water. What to Expect When You Are Expecting has a great section on diet during pregnancy and tips on healthy baby-making foods.
Protect yourself and your baby from food-borne illnesses, including Toxoplasmosis and Listeria. Wash fruits and vegetables before eating them. Talk with your doctor about limitations to your diet. Your doctor may advise against eating certain fish, meats, or cheeses.
Your Doctor Should Do Their Part
You have taken the time and energy to do your part to maintain the health of your growing baby, and your doctor should do their part as well. Even if you eat healthily, take care of yourself, and go to all of your appointments, the doctor must also live up to their end of the bargain in keeping your baby safe.
Doctors may miss the signs and symptoms of infections that can harm the baby or ignore warning signs that the baby is in trouble. When doctors don’t meet the standard of care for treating pregnant women, children can be harmed.
Chelsie King Garza is a birth injury attorney available for a free consultation to discuss your concerns. If you believe your doctor’s neglect harmed your baby, Ms. Garza is here to help.