Prenatal Care

You and your growing baby!

Prenatal care is medical care you get during pregnancy. At each prenatal care visit, your health care provider checks on you and your growing baby.

Schedule your first prenatal care checkup as soon as you think you know you’re pregnant. Your provider can make sure you’re healthy and you can find out your due date.

Go to all your prenatal care checkups, even if you’re feeling fine. All pregnant women get blood and urine tests and a blood pressure check at every visit.

Your provider may recommend certain vaccinations or prenatal tests at your checkups. Prenatal tests make sure your baby is healthy and they include amniocentesis, chorionic villus sampling and ultrasound. Your provider also asks you about your family health history to see if certain medical conditions run in your family. Tell your provider how you’re feeling and ask lots of questions so you know what’s happening throughout your pregnancy.

What should you look for in a prenatal care provider?

Choose a health care provider who makes you feel comfortable and who listens to you. Make sure his office and the hospital or birthing center where he delivers babies is close to where you live. Talk to friends and family to find out who their prenatal care provider is.

Think about these things when you’re choosing your provider:

  • Is the provider covered by your health insurance?
  • Have you heard good things about the provider? Is she recommended by your friends or family? How does your partner feel about her as your prenatal care provider?
  • Do you prefer to see a man or a woman provider? How old to you want the provider to be? Does he explain things clearly?
  • Is the office easy to get to? Do the office hours fit into your schedule? Is the office staff friendly and helpful?
  • Who takes care of phone calls during office hours? Who handles them after hours or in an emergency? Do you have to pay if your provider spends time with you on the phone?
  • Is the provider in group practice? If yes, will you always see your provider at prenatal care appointments? Or will you see other providers in the practice? Who will deliver your baby if your provider’s not available when you go into labor?
  • What hospital or birthing center does the provider use? What do you know about it? Is it easy for you to get to?

Due Date Caculator

This interactive Due Date Calculator will help you estimate the date your baby will arrive. Pregnancy usually lasts 280 days (40 weeks) from the first day of the woman's last menstrual period. This calculator is a general guide: every pregnancy is unique, and sometimes babies arrive sooner or later than expected. Always talk to your health care provider about your due date. Once you're pregnant, be sure to have regular checkups by a doctor, certified nurse-midwife or other health care professional during the course of your pregnancy. The goal of prenatal care is to monitor the progress of a pregnancy and to identify potential problems before they become serious for either the mother or the baby. Fertilization of the egg usually takes place 14 days before the woman's next period. If your menstrual cycle is shorter or longer than 28 days, select the number of days from the start of one cycle to the start of the next cycle.

March of Dimes Due Date Caculator»