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Pregnancy

Step-by-Step:

I Just Found Out I am Pregnant

Health

Schedule a doctor’s visit ASAP (it’s easy and can be free). Start regular visits with your doctor, as soon as possible. Medicaid health insurance can pay for these visits – find out if you’re eligible and how to apply here. To find a doctor in your area that takes Medicaid, go here, choose “Physician Services” under Provider Groups, then “OB/GYN” under Provider Specialities.

Habits

Having healthy habits is as important as quitting unhealthy ones. Make sure you get enough rest (try laying on your left side), eat well, and get regular exercise. It’s super important for both you and the baby. Ask your doctor, he or she will have some great advice for easy ways to get some exercise and eat healthier.

Just as important is stopping bad habits like smoking, drinking, and using illegal drugs. These things aren’t good for YOU, much less your little one.

We know bad habits are hard to break, so here are a few resources to get you the help you need:

Can I get a little Help?

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 help 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.

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

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

Don’t forget, WIC is available for moms, too! Find out if you’re eligible and how to apply here.

I am 1-3 Months Pregnant (First Trimester)

When you visit your doctor, don’t be afraid to “ask questions.” Here are a few to think about:

  • Childbirth classes
  • Breastfeeding
  • Parenting classes
  • How much weight to gain

Morning sickness (nausea & vomiting) occurs in about half of women during these months. It actually can occur at any time of day. Talk to your doctor if you’re having too much of a problem.

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

  • 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

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!

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.

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