Learn about Family Support & Coaching Services:

Pregnancy

Step-by-Step:

I Just Found Out I am Pregnant

Health

Schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible. Need help with the cost of the visit? Visit Healthy Louisiana (Medicaid) to see if you qualify for coverage and learn how to apply. Healthy Louisiana’s Find a Provider tool makes it easy to find a doctor in your area. Be sure to select Obstetrics/Gynecology (OB/GYN) under “Specialty” to see doctors who specialize in caring for pregnant people.

Habits

Right now, it’s super important to develop healthy habits! Make sure you get enough rest (try laying on your left side), eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, and get regular exercise. Talk to your doctor about the safest ways to eat and exercise during pregnancy.

In addition to starting healthy habits, it’s also important to stop unhealthy habits! Things like smoking, drinking, and using illegal drugs aren’t good for YOUR health, much less your little one. Again, ask your doctor about easy steps to curbing some of these habits.

We know some habits are hard to break, so here are a few resources to help you be healthy:

Helping Hands

Need more support during your pregnancy?

The Bureau of Family Health supports families with coaching services like the Louisiana Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP). NFP pairs first-time mothers in their 2nd or 3rd trimester with a registered nurse, who visits every two weeks and offers advice on your health, the baby’s health, and getting ready for parenting. If you’re a first-time mom and eligible for Healthy Louisiana (Medicaid), then contact your local NFP representative to learn more.

Healthy Start offers classes, transportation, supplies for baby, referrals and much more.

For free advice and ongoing support, sign up for helpful texts from Text4Baby! Text “BABY” or “BEBE” to 511411 – or download the Text4Baby apps for iOS and Android devices.

And don’t forget: supplemental nutrition programs are available for moms, too! Visit Louisiana WIC to see if you’re eligible and learn how to apply.

I am 1-3 Months Pregnant (First Trimester)

Health

When you visit your doctor, don’t be afraid to ask questions! Here are a few to get you started:

  • Can you recommend a local childbirth class?
  • Could you tell me more about the benefits of breastfeeding?
  • Would parenting classes help me get ready for the future?
  • How much weight will I gain during pregnancy?

Morning sickness (including nausea & vomiting) occurs in about half of pregnant women during their first trimester. Despite the name, these symptoms can actually occur at any time of day! Talk to your doctor if you’re feeling overwhelmed by morning sickness.

If you notice any of the warning signs below, call your doctor or healthcare provider right away:

  • Baby’s moving much less or pushing down really hard (after 19 weeks)
  • Blurred vision
  • Burning or painful urination
  • Chills, fever, or rash
  • Cramping or abdominal pain that may feel like your period
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting spells
  • Leaking of fluid from the vagina
  • Seizures
  • Severe headaches and vomiting
  • Sudden swelling in your hands, feet, or face
  • You experience more than 6 contractions in one hour

Habits

Believe it or not, your “dental health” is super important during pregnancy. If you don’t already do so, start brushing “twice” a day, especially around your gums. Visit with a dentist, too. To find one near you who accepts Medicaid, call 1-877-455-9955.

Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. We know it can be difficult at times, but WIC can help make it more affordable.  Visit WIC’s website for more information.

Drink a lot of fluids. Juices (not “juice cocktails”—read the label!), milk, and water are all great. Avoid caffeine in soft drinks, coffee, and tea. And alcohol—stay away from alcohol!

Prevent Infection

Cytomegalovirus, or CMV, is a common virus that affects people of all ages. 1 out of 3 pregnant women who become infected with CMV will pass the virus to their unborn child. In children and adults, symptoms of a CMV are usually no worse than the common cold or flu. However, CMV infection in an unborn baby can lead to serious health complications, including hearing loss or deafness, intellectual disabilities, seizures, vision loss or other long-term disabilities.

CMV is spread through direct contact with bodily fluids, such as saliva, urine, and breast milk. CMV is common in healthy children ages 1 to 3 years who attend day care, so pregnant women who care for young children may be more likely to get CMV. To prevent infection, pregnant women should:

  • Wash their hands frequently, especially after changing diapers or wiping a child’s nose or mouth.
  • Avoid kissing young children on or near their mouths – kiss them on the forehead instead!
  • Don’t share utensils, drinks, or toothbrushes with children under 6 years of age.
  • Clean or disinfect toys or surfaces that come into contact with a child’s saliva or urine.

Visit nationalcmv.org for more information.

Helping Hands

Depression affects a lot of women during pregnancy. There’s a lot changing and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. If you’re feeling tired, sad, or lost, give Partners for Healthy Babies a call at 1-800-251-BABY (2229).

Healthy Start offers classes, transportation, supplies for baby, referrals and much more.

The Nurse-Family Partnership can send a nurse to visit you every other week and help give advice for your health, the baby’s health, parenting tips, and other resources available in your area until your baby is two years old! If you’re a first-time mom and eligible for Medicaid, you might qualify.

Text4baby– For ongoing, free advice, sign up for helpful texts from Text4baby. Text “BABY” or “BEBE” to 511411.  For more information, visit Text4baby.org.

I am 4-6 Months Pregnant (Second Trimester)

Health

Dental health is most important during the second and third trimesters. You may notice that your gums are swelling and bleeding. If you don’t already do so, start brushing twice a day, especially around your gums. Schedule a visit with a dentist, too. To find one near you who accepts Medicaid, call 1-877-455-9955.

If you notice any of the warning signs below, call your doctor or healthcare provider right away:

  • Vaginal bleeding or spotting
  • Leaking of fluid from the vagina
  • Cramping or abdominal pain that may feel like your period
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting spells
  • Burning or painful urination
  • Severe headaches and vomiting
  • Blurred vision
  • Chills, fever, or rash
  • Sudden swelling in your hands, feet or face
  • Seizures
  • Baby’s moving much less or pushing down really hard (after 19 weeks)
  • You have more than 6 contractions in one hour

Habits

Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. We know it can be difficult at times, but WIC can help make it more affordable. Visit WIC’s website for more information.

Drink a lot of fluids. Juices (not “juice cocktails”—read the label!), milk, and water are all great. Avoid caffeine in soft drinks, coffee, and tea. And alcohol—stay away from alcohol!

Can I get a little Help?

Depression affects a lot of women during pregnancy. There’s a lot changing and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. If you’re feeling tired, sad, or lost, give Partners for Healthy Babies a call at 1-800-251-BABY (2229).

Healthy Start offers classes, transportation, supplies for baby, referrals and much more.

If you are under 29 weeks pregnant and a first time mom, you may still qualify for the Nurse-Family Partnership program.  They can send a nurse to visit you every other week and help give advice for your health, parenting tips, and other help available in your area until your baby is two years old!

Text4baby– For ongoing, free advice, sign up for helpful texts from Text4baby. Text “BABY” or “BEBE” to 511411.  For more information, visit Text4baby.org.

I am 7-9 Months Pregnant (Third Trimester)

Health

Find a doctor for your baby. Ask your doctor for a referral to a pediatrician that best suits you and your baby’s needs. If you are enrolled in Medicaid, your baby will be automatically enrolled in LaCHIP (the child Medicaid program). Even if YOU don’t qualify for Medicaid, your child may qualify for LaCHIP. Go here for info about LaCHIP.

Habits

Cribs, Car seats, Clothes. Time to go shopping. Your baby will need a carseat to get home from the hospital (it’s the law). The little one will also need his/her own sleeping space (if you can’t afford a crib, a pack n’ play will work, too) to sleep safely. Finally, you should start looking for clothing for the little one.

Breastfeeding. We can’t recommend it enough! It helps you lose weight, can lower your risk of depression, and it’s the best food you can give your little one. La Leche League (LLL), has useful information for mothers and mothers-to-be. Click here for breastfeeding help and resources and to find a LLL group near you.

Call 1-800-251-BABY (2229) for additional referrals on breastfeeding support.

Learn the signs of labor. Make sure to learn the signs of labor, so you know when it’s time to head to the hospital. Ask your doctor.

When your water breaks. Fluid leaks from your vagina it may come out in a large gush or a small trickle, you should call your doctor. Most women start having regular contractions before their water breaks, but in some cases, the water breaks first. When this happens, labor usually follows soon.

Get ready for delivery. Make plans on how you will get to the hospital from work or home, when it’s time for the baby to come. Arrange for care for other children. Relax. Babies tend to arrive when they are ready, not exactly on your due date.

Pack your hospital bag – ahead of time. Include comfortable clothes, toiletries and any other items that will help make you feel comfortable. Most hospitals have the basics for your newborn. But you’ll want to bring a receiving blanket and baby’s going home outfit. Don’t forget to install the car seat so you can take baby home!

Can I get a little Help?

Find help with food, housing, employment, health care, counseling and more at 2-1-1.

If you or someone you know is not ready to take care of a newborn baby, Louisiana’s Safe Haven Law offers parents a safe, legal option. More information regarding the Safe Haven is available by calling toll-free: 1-800-CHILDREN (244-5373). Or you can click here for more info.

Text4baby– For ongoing, free advice, sign up for helpful texts from Text4baby. Text “BABY” or “BEBE” to 511411.  For more information, visit Text4baby.org.

 

More Step-by-Step:

Partners for Healthy Babies