Child Feeling a Child

Tips for Mother and Baby Before, During and After Pregnancy

Humans have been getting pregnant and giving birth for hundreds of thousands of years. The basics have remained constant during that time.

Nutrition and science, however, have advanced to the point that people who once had no chance of ever getting pregnant, can how have healthy pregnancies and give birth to healthy children.

Parents play a big part — beyond the donation of genetic material — in healthy pregnancies and birth. Here are some checklists of things you can do before, during and after pregnancy to keep yourself, your partner, and your baby well.

Before Pregnancy

  1. Start planning — Just like you take steps to prevent pregnancy, you should take steps to keep yourself and baby healthy when you decide it’s time to have a baby.
  2. Visit your doctor — Let your doctor know your plans. Discuss any family history regarding pregnancy, medical conditions, medications, lifestyle, and vaccinations.
  3. Take folic acidYou should take 400 micrograms starting at least a month before getting pregnant and continue through pregnancy.
  4. Stop drinking alcohol, smoking, and drug use — These are all leading factors in birth defects, premature birth, and low birth weight.
  5. Avoid toxins — Cat and rat feces can affect the human reproductive system. So can manmade toxins in fertilizer, bug spray, or synthetic chemicals. Try to avoid exposure.
  6. Find the right weight — Obesity during pregnancy can lead to diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers. It’s not healthy to be underweight either. Talk to your doctor about finding the right weight.
  7. Find help for family violence — Partner violence is always wrong and dangerous. Pregnancy adds a new element to the equation. Get help to find a safe situation.
  8. Know your family’s medical history — Ask questions. There may be traits you don’t know about that would be helpful to share with your doctor.
  9. Get mentally focused — Pregnancy can be stressful. Don’t let that stress interfere with your daily activities. Talk to your doctor about thoughts and feelings, and treatment if you feel overwhelmed.
  10. Keep at it — You may be building new habits. Stick with them to improve your chances of having a healthy pregnancy.

During Pregnancy

Keeping yourself and your baby healthy will be your focus once you become pregnant. It’s important to keep doing the good things you did before getting pregnant. It is also important to make sure you are fully vaccinated. That includes having the COVID-19 vaccine. It is safe for expectant mothers to get the vaccine. It’s also important for passing those antibodies onto their newborns.

Other steps include:

  • Regular prenatal checkups
  • Taking folic acid
  • Continuing to be tobacco, alcohol, and drug free
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Avoiding exposure to environmental toxins
  • Checking with your doctor before taking over-the-counter medications

It’s important for mothers to listen to their bodies and observe changes that may seem surprising. Talk with your doctor about warning signs and don’t be embarrassed to raise an alarm.

Pregnant Woman Being Weighed by Nurse

After Delivery

Most expectant mothers cannot WAIT to give birth. But once you’ve delivered there are new things to think about. They include:

  1. BreastfeedingThere are multiple benefits for mother and child. Lactation counselors can help with any problems you may encounter, getting your baby to latch. It’s important to safely handle and storage breast milk if you do breastfeed.
  2. Postpartum depressionTalk to your doctor if you feel depressed after delivery.
  3. Vaccinations — It is crucial to get your baby vaccinated. Follow this immunization schedule from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  4. JaundiceNewborns sometimes have too much bilirubin in their bloodstream which causes their skin and eyes to appear yellow. It can lead to brain damage in newborns if untreated.
Woman Holding Her New Born

Parents need to be on the lookout for healthy and normal development in their baby. Make sure to attend well-baby visits and get all the recommended immunizations. You should also track your baby’s development and visit their pediatrician if you have any questions.

It Takes a Village

Parenting is a big job, but you don’t have to do it alone. AltaMed is available to provide specialized care to expectant mothers, new mothers, and newborns, giving them the best start at life. That includes age-appropriate immunizations and screenings. Our pediatricians also have information on early childhood development milestones and can talk to you about any concerns you may have during your child’s first few years of life.

Get started by contacting us today at (877) 462-2582.

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Pandemic Pregnancies

Pandemic Pregnancies: What You Need to Know

Even during the pandemic, it’s still possible to have a normal pregnancy and deliver a healthy baby. Read on to learn more about things to consider and COVID-19 vaccines before and during pregnancy.

Vaccinations During Pregnancy

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urges vaccination among people who are pregnant, recently pregnant (including those who are lactating), who are trying to become pregnant now, or who might be pregnant in the future. The CDC strongly recommends a COVID-19 vaccination either before or during pregnancy because the benefits of vaccination outweigh known or potential risks. Studies have confirmed that the vaccine is safe in all stages of pregnancy and does not cause fertility problems.

As of September 2021, there have been more than 125,000 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in people who are pregnant (including those who are lactating). According to data from the COVID-19 Associated Hospitalization Surveillance Network (COVID-NET), 97% of hospitalized pregnant people with confirmed COVID-19 infections were unvaccinated.

If You’re Not Yet Pregnant, But Want to Be

If you and your partner stay healthy, COVID-19 itself will not affect your ability to conceive. Staying healthy during the pandemic includes taking precautions such as wearing a mask when appropriate and washing your hands frequently.

COVID-19 hasn’t just made an impact on health, it has badly damaged our economy, jeopardized funding for public programs, had a significant impact on our health care system, and profoundly affected almost every part of life in this country. Other facts to consider:

  • Once you are pregnant, you will have to see the doctor regularly to protect your health and the health of your baby. Although some of these visits can be done with a telehealth screening, many of these visits will have to be in-person. AltaMed and other health facilities are taking precautions to keep patients and staff safe, but it is impossible to eliminate every risk.
  • The costs of trying to get pregnant, receiving prenatal care, delivery, and follow-up care can add up. If your job or your health insurance aren’t secure, it may be tough to cover the expenses.
  • As Los Angeles struggles with coronavirus and asks people to avoid unnecessary trips, you may find yourself with less in-person support from friends and family. And, whether you’re trying to get pregnant, are pregnant, or already have a baby, mixing with people outside of your household could potentially expose you to COVID-19.

No matter what’s happening in the world, it’s a good idea to have a discussion with your doctor and your partner before attempting to become pregnant. None of this information is a substitute for those conversations, just information to consider.

Doctor Performing an Ultrasound on a Woman

If You’re Already Pregnant, There are Risks, But They’re Low

Congratulations if you’re expecting. If you stay healthy, coronavirus probably won’t jeopardize your pregnancy or your baby. Even if you do get coronavirus, the risk of transmitting it to your baby is very low. Unfortunately, there haven’t been many high-quality scientific studies to shed light on all of the potential risks.

However, if you do contract coronavirus and develop serious symptoms, this may increase your risks for pregnancy complications, including pre-term birth. More intensive research is needed to confirm, but scientists also believe that simply being pregnant can make you vulnerable to more severe cases of COVID-19.

All the precautions for people who want to become pregnant apply here, too. Even though you will likely be at home, caring for your infant for some time, professional child-care could be a big question mark. Even asking your closest relatives for help could expose you and your baby to COVID-19 risks unless they are already living in your household.

Pregnant Woman Getting a Vaccine

Still Not Sure? Talk to Your Doctor

Even if you already have children, the decision to get pregnant can change your life and your family, and that’s especially true now. Talk to your doctor. Having an informed medical opinion about your unique health history and risks, as well as the current state of COVID-19, may help you make up your mind. And if you are already pregnant, rest assured knowing that AltaMed is here for all your prenatal care needs.

Doctors and public health officials urge everyone, including those who are pregnant or wish to be, to get their flu shots early this year. Schedule an appointment to get your immunizations today. Flu shots are safe for pregnant woman and their babies, no matter what trimester. It’s one more way to protect yourself and your entire family.

Disaster Plan

Be Ready the Next Time Disaster Strikes

Californians are too familiar with disasters. Wildfires, floods, mudslides, and earthquakes are all part of living in California

The Federal Emergency Management Agency ranks California as the second-most disaster-prone state after Texas with 336 major disasters between 1953 and 2020. That includes the 2020 wildfires that burned more than 4 million acres.

Everyone needs to have a plan for coping with an emergency. In some cases — like wildfires, floods, and storms — you have a little time to prepare. Disasters like earthquakes can strike without warning.

Here are some important ways you can be ready.

Woman Preparing Emergency Medications

First-Aid Kits

Every household should have one. If not, start putting one together. You can buy some kits pre-assembled. You can also buy what you need piece by piece. Regardless of how you do it, remember it’s for emergencies. Try not to use the contents unless there is an emergency, otherwise you might not have what you need when disaster occurs.

Basics should include:

  • Two pairs of sterile gloves
  • Sterile dressings
  • Soap and antibiotic towelettes for disinfecting
  • Antibiotic ointment to prevent infection
  • Bandages in a variety of sizes
  • Eye wash
  • Thermometer
  • Medicine dropper
  • First-aid book
  • Pain reliever, antacids, anti-diarrhea medication, laxatives or other over the counter drugs
Woman Shopping Bottled Water

Earthquake preparations

The best time to prepare for any disaster is before it happens. It’s best to prepare ahead of time, especially for earthquakes, given their unpredictability. Part of those preparations should include a communications plan. Make sure there is an out-of-state contact you can alert. You should also plan where to meet if you are separated from family.

In addition to a first-aid kit, your supply kit should have a gallon of water per person per day, non-perishable food for several days, a flashlight, fire extinguisher, and a whistle.

Buying all these items at once can be expensive, so buy them over time and put them in a durable bag or plastic bin that’s easy to access.

If you are in an earthquake, you should:

  • Pull over if driving and set your parking brake.
  • Turn face down and cover your neck and head with a pillow if you’re in bed.
  • Stay outdoors if that’s where you are and get away from buildings.
  • Make sure to avoid doorways if you’re inside during an earthquake. Don’t run outside. Crawl under a table if possible.
Kit Emergency Prep

More Emergency Kit Musts

Having emergency kit items in your house is good. Assembling them in a kit is better. Putting items in airtight plastic bags and putting those bags in a storage bin or duffel bag is the best.

A disaster could leave you without power, water, or cellular service. You will need to be self-sufficient for several days. So, have:

  • Water — at least three gallons per person
  • Food — three days of non-perishable energy bars, canned fruit, canned juices, comfort snacks
  • Extra doses of medications that your family regularly needs
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio
  • A weather radio with tone alerts
  • Flashlight
  • First-aid kit
  • Extra batteries
  • Whistle
  • Dust masks
  • Plastic sheets and duct tape
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags, plastic ties, and hygiene products
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Manual can opener
  • Local maps
  • Portable cell phone chargers and backup batteries

Always Here for You

AltaMed is here for you regardless of the circumstances. We provide primary care, urgent care, behavioral health servicespediatrics, dentistry, health screenings, women’s health, and much more.

Call (877) 462-2582 and get started with us today.


Tips for Mother and Baby Before, During and After Pregnancy