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Key Elements for Your Healthy Pregnancy

expectant mom looking at tablet in kitchen

Key Elements for Your Healthy Pregnancy

expectant parents holding out sonogram while dad kisses moms forehead

Taking Care of Baby Starts with Taking Care of You

Caring for your baby starts the moment you learn you are pregnant. It really means taking care of yourself, developing healthy habits, and getting good medical help. Following the advice of doctors and caretakers will help you feel better during your pregnancy and get your baby off to a good start.

Healthy Eating for You and Baby

expectant mother eating strawberry in kitchen

Eating the right foods while you are pregnant will help you feel better and give your baby the nutrition needed for healthy growth.

  • Whenever possible, choose whole foods, like apples, instead of apple juice, or a baked potato instead of french fries 
  • For carbohydrates, choose whole grain breads, whole wheat pastas and brown rice to add more fiber and vitamins to your diet
  • Eat more leafy green vegetables like kale and spinach
  • Lean protein foods like chicken and turkey, or beans and lentils, are also good choices
  • Stick with low or non-fat milk or dairy products
  • Try to stay away from deli meats and limit how much fish you eat
expectant mother eating from bowl sitting in bed while reading book

If you have morning sickness, try eating some crackers before you get out of bed. You may find that eating smaller meals more often during the day helps with queasiness, and makes you feel more energetic.

Your doctor may suggest a prenatal vitamin that can give your baby important vitamins and minerals that are needed to grow and develop. Remember, whatever goes in your body also goes in your baby’s body.

expectant mom and dad talking to doctor

Taking Care of You and Baby

As soon as you know that you are pregnant, you should begin seeing a medical professional regularly. Doctors or nurse midwives who specialize in the prenatal care know how to treat both you and your baby. Your care professional can talk to you about what to expect during your pregnancy, recommend tests, and check your baby’s growth and development. Your doctor or midwife is the person to go to with questions or concerns, or to call for an emergency.

Help Getting Health Care

If paying for medical care is a concern, there is help available for qualified moms-to-be. Here’s information on two programs.
expectant mom at home on couch smiling as nurse holds stethoscope to her belly

Maternal Infant Health Program

Pregnant women with Medicaid can receive free care at home from the Maternal Infant Health Program (MIHP).

A nurse and social worker will work with you to provide support during your pregnancy and after your baby is born. Through MIHP, you’ll learn the skills you need to stay healthy and have a healthy baby. It’s like having a personal care team to coordinate with your doctor, your health plan, and other providers in your community. 

Find an MIHP Provider
mom holding infant as nurse gives baby a shot in the leg

Nurse-Family Partnership

The Nurse-Family Partnership program guides young, first-time expectant mothers from early pregnancy through their child’s second birthday.

A trained nurse partner will work with you to offer help and advice throughout your pregnancy, visit you at home and answer questions about infant care, and give you the support you need to raise a happy, healthy baby and create a stable, secure future for you both. 

See if you are Eligible

Caring for Your Teeth Through Your Pregnancy

Your body changes with your pregnancy, including your teeth. Pregnancy hormones in your body can cause inflamed gums, more cavities, and even tooth loss. Here are some things you can do to prevent dental problems: 

  • Schedule an appointment with your dentist now
  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day, and floss once
  • If you are vomiting from morning sickness, rinse your mouth with 1 teaspoon of baking soda dissolved in a glass of water, or use a fluoride mouth rinse.
Get Prenatal Tooth Tips
expectant mom brushing teeth in mirror in bathroom

Overall Pregnancy Tips

expectant, happy mom outside leaning into dad who holds belly

Try These Pregnancy Tips

  • Rest when you can, and try to get a good night’s sleep 
  • Anything you put in your body will also go in your baby. Avoid smoking, drinking, and using drugs, which can result in serious health problems for your baby. If you need help quitting, talk to your doctor
  • Staying active will help you feel better, reduce your blood pressure and help you manage any other health conditions
pregnant mom talking a walk outside past trees while sunny

More Pregnancy Tips

  • Plan time for a daily walk or swim, or sign up for a prenatal yoga class
  • Talk with your doctor or nurse midwife about an exercise plan during your pregnancy
  • It’s also important that you stay up-to-date with your vaccines. Ask your doctor about an annual flu shot and other important vaccinations that guard against serious diseases

More Resources for Parents-To-Be

Stay Healthy During Pregnancy

Find information on what you can do to stay healthy during pregnancy from the Center for Disease Control.

Get Nutrition Tips

Get tip sheets on meal planning, exercise, and more from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's MyPlate.

Get Pediatric Advice has helpful advice from the American Academy of Pediatrics.