Prenatal care is the care you get before your baby is born. If you think you’re pregnant, schedule a visit with your doctor as soon as you can. Early care is very important to the health of you and your baby.
Your first pregnancy visit should be in the first three months, called the first trimester. If you are a new CenCal Health member, schedule a prenatal visit with your doctor right away.
You need to get important tests done, like blood pressure, urine, and blood tests. You will also have ultrasounds later on. This will ensure that you have a healthy pregnancy.
Other things you can do to get your pregnancy off to a good start include:
- Eat a healthy diet. Your doctor can tell you what foods to avoid, and what foods will help your baby grow.
- Ask your doctor about medicines you take, and if you should continue taking them while you are pregnant.
- Get all recommended vaccines. Learn about this in English or Spanish
- Be active. Talk with your doctor about what a safe level of activity is for you.
- Take vitamins, especially folic acid and prenatal vitamins. This will also help your baby grow healthy.
- Avoid tobacco products. Don’t smoke, and ask people around you to not smoke.
- Keep your teeth healthy. Learn more about dental care in English or Spanish
- Don’t drink alcohol or take any medications or drugs without checking with your doctor.
Postpartum care means the care you need after you have your baby. Make sure to schedule regular postpartum check-ups with your doctor. That is the most important way to keep you and your baby healthy. You should have a postpartum check-up between 4 to 6 weeks after delivery, or as suggested by your doctor.
Here are a few other tips:
- Rest as much as possible. Ask your doctor how much activity you can do in the next few weeks.
- You will likely have spotting or bleeding for several days. Wear a sanitary pad, not a tampon.
- You may feel cramping or bloating. Your breasts will likely feel firm and swollen. Breastfeeding and using a breast pump can help reduce any discomfort.
- Mood swings, sadness, and anxiety are common after giving birth. Take good care of yourself, and ask your partner or other loved ones for help. If you are concerned, call your doctor to get prompt treatment.
Download this booklet to learn about postpartum depression:
Postpartum Depression Facts
There are many benefits to breastfeeding your baby. Breast milk has nutrients that help your baby stay healthy and grow. These nutrients can also help protect your baby from illness or some infections. Most women should try to give their babies breast milk for at least the first 6 months.
Many women have trouble breastfeeding. Sometimes the baby doesn’t latch on, or maybe the mother feels that the baby isn’t getting enough milk. Also, mothers who work may need to pump and store their milk. To learn about breastfeeding, visit www.marchofdimes.org
If you have trouble breastfeeding, you can also ask a lactation educator for help. They are usually available through the hospital or doctor’s office. A lactation educator can teach you how to breast feed, either in the hospital or after you go home.
If you are a CenCal Health member, breast pumps and visits with a lactation educator are free. If you would like help finding a lactation educator, call Member Services at (877) 814-1861.
Women, Infants, and Children Program
WIC is a nutrition program that helps pregnant women, mothers with infants, infants, and young children eat well, be active, and stay healthy.
WIC offers families
- Checks for buying healthy foods
- Nutrition education
- Breastfeeding education and support, including group classes, one-on-one support, and loan of a breast pump
- Help finding other community services
To learn more, or to see if you are eligible for WIC, visit their website:
Santa Barbara WIC San Luis Obispo WIC
Maternal, Child, Adolescent Health Program
The MCAH program helps healthy children be born to healthy mothers by helping to provide a safe environment for women, children, and their families. The MCAH program can offer nurse home visits and other services at no cost. To see if you qualify, visit their website:
Santa Barbara MCAH San Luis Obispo MCAH
To find more helpful resources in Santa Barbara County, click the links below: