What is prenatal care and why is it important?

Having a healthy pregnancy is one of the best ways to promote a healthy birth. Getting early and regular prenatal care improves the chances of a healthy pregnancy. This care can begin even before pregnancy with a pre-pregnancy care visit to a health care provider.


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015). Preconception health and health care. Retrieved May 20, 2016, from http://www.cdc.gov/preconception/planning.html
  2. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (2017). Final recommendation statement: Folic acid for the prevention of neural tube defects: Preventive medication. Retrieved January 17, 2017, fromhttps://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/Page/Document/
    external link
  3. March of Dimes. (2011). Your first prenatal care checkup. Retrieved May 20, 2016, from http://www.marchofdimes.org/pregnancy/your-first-prenatal-care-checkup.aspx external link
  4. Child Trends Databank. (2015). Late or no prenatal care. Retrieved May 20, 2016, from http://www.childtrends.org/?indicators=late-or-no-prenatal-care external link
  5. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2014). Preeclampsia and high blood pressure during pregnancy. FAQ034. Retrieved May 20, 2016, from http://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Preeclampsia-and-High-Blood-Pressure-During-Pregnancy external link
  6. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2013). Tobacco, alcohol, drugs, and pregnancy. FAQ170. Retrieved May 20, 2016, from http://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Tobacco-Alcohol-Drugs-and-Pregnancy external link
  7. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2011). Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. Retrieved August 1, 2012, from http://www.cdc.gov/Features/FASD
  8. Eckstrand, K. L., Ding, Z., Dodge, N. C., Cowan, R. L., Jacobson, J. L., Jacobson, S. W., et al. (2012). Persistent dose-dependent changes in brain structure in young adults with low-to-moderate alcohol exposure in utero. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 36(11), 1892–1902. PMID: 22594302
  9. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2016). Folic acid. Data and statistics. Retrieved December 12, 2016, from https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/folicacid/data.html
  10. NIH Office of Dietary Supplements. (2016). Folate.Dietary supplement fact sheet. Retrieved May 20, 2016, from http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Folate-HealthProfessional 
  11. American Pregnancy Association. (2015). Acne during pregnancy. Retrieved May 20, 2016, from http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/acne-during-pregnancy/ external link
  12. Office on Women's Health. (2012). Prenatal care fact sheet. Retrieved May 20, 2016, from http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/prenatal-care.html
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