Prenatal care is specialized medical attention for pregnant women. While each woman's needs are different, prenatal care generally includes monthly appointments to track your health and your baby’s growth during pregnancy.
Regular prenatal care is one of the best ways to ensure a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. Your appointments give you the opportunity to ask questions, learn more about pregnancy, and prepare for your baby’s arrival.
As a leading OB/GYN in Rhode Island, A. Michael Coppa, MD, specializes in comprehensive pregnancy care. He and our team get lots of questions from women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant.
Today, we’re taking a closer look at some of the most common myths (and facts) we hear.
Myth: Prenatal care starts after a positive pregnancy test
It’s true that you should schedule your first prenatal appointment as soon as you find out that you’re pregnant. But does prenatal care really only start after you get a positive pregnancy test?
Fact: You may benefit from pre-pregnancy care too
You don’t have to wait until you’re pregnant to start taking better care of your body.
We offer pre-pregnancy (preconception) care for women who are planning to start a family or who are actively trying to get pregnant. Care can include improving your own health, increasing fertility, and even starting to take prenatal vitamins.
Myth: Your due date is a sure thing
At your first prenatal appointment, we estimate your due date. Finding out your due date is very exciting, and it helps the pregnancy seem more real for many couples. But there’s no guarantee your baby will be born on your due date.
Fact: Pregnancy due dates are only an estimate
We calculate your due date from the first day of your last menstrual period. It’s generally 40 weeks after that date, but pregnancies are considered full term starting at week 37. It’s possible to deliver a full-term baby anytime during weeks 37-42.
Myth: Morning sickness ends by noon
Morning sickness is characterized by nausea and vomiting, and it’s a classic symptom of early pregnancy. The name implies that morning sickness tapers off later in the day, but that’s not always the case.
Fact: You could feel ill throughout the day
About 70% of women experience morning sickness during early pregnancy. Unfortunately for many, the symptoms of morning sickness last all day long. The good news is that it typically improves during the second trimester.
Myth: You need to eat for two
Eating for two is a common phrase heard during pregnancy. It means that because you’re growing a baby, you need to eat twice as much food as usual during pregnancy, but is it really necessary?
Fact: Your pregnancy diet shouldn’t change much
The truth is that you may not need to increase your food intake during the majority of your pregnancy. Dr. Coppa gives you specific recommendations based on your weight and health, but in general, you may only need to eat about 500 more calories per day during your third trimester.
As always, what you eat matters. Choose nutritious, healthy foods to fuel yourself and your baby.
If you’re trying to get pregnant or you recently found out that you’re expecting, now is the time to establish prenatal care. Contact us by phone or request your first appointment online to get started today. We have offices in Cranston, Providence, and Smithfield, Rhode Island.