Prenatal care

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:50 pm
When you're pregnant, everything you do can have an effect on your baby. That's why it's important to see your doctor as soon as you think you might be pregnant, and then to continue with regular visits once the diagnosis is confirmed. Throughout your pregnancy, your doctor will perform a number of tests and procedures to make sure both you and your baby are doing well. You'll also be given advice on how to take care of yourself, so your baby can be born in the best possible health. For example, you need to eat a well-balanced diet. This means eating plenty of dairy products, fresh vegetables and fruits, lean meat, whole-grain breads and cereals, and limiting your intake of fat, cholesterol, and caffeine. By the end of pregnancy, weight gain should only be in the range of 25 to 35 pounds. During pregnancy, your body requires more of certain nutrients such as calcium and iron. Your doctor may recommend a supplement with those minerals, as well as zinc and folic (FOE-lick) acid. It's also very important not to drink alcohol, smoke, or take any drugs that haven't been approved by your doctor. Many women continue to exercise during most of their pregnancy; however, it's important to check with your doctor first to decide on an exercise program that's right for you. Remember, what you do while you're pregnant can affect the rest of your child's life. Talk with a health care provider if you have any questions or concerns about prenatal care.

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