Keep your baby safe and healthy

GEHA | May 7, 2020

children's health women's health pregnancy
Prenatal care and childhood immunizations are an important way to maintain your health as well as your baby's health.
The importance of first trimester prenatal care

Your first doctor’s visit is usually after your eighth week of pregnancy. During this visit, your doctor may talk to you about the following ways to have a healthy pregnancy:

  • Nutritional supplements, including folic acid
  • Alcohol, tobacco and drug use
  • Medications
  • Exposure to toxic substances
  • Healthy diet and weight gain
  • Caffeine intake
  • Physical activity
  • Dental checkups

If your pregnancy is healthy, your doctor visits are usually once a month before 28 weeks, every two weeks between weeks 28 and 36, and weekly from week 36 to birth.

As your pregnancy progresses, expect your doctor to check your blood pressure, measure your weight gain, measure your abdomen to check your baby’s growth, check your baby’s heart rate,  check your hands and feet for swelling, feel your abdomen to find your baby’s position, and do tests such as blood tests or ultrasound exams.

Sometimes additional tests may be necessary, such as to check for gestational diabetes and other conditions, depending on your age and family history.

You may have questions about prenatal care, such as the frequency of your doctor appointments, exercise and healthy eating, prenatal supplements, the effects of smoking or substance use, and what to expect in each trimester. Resources are available to help answer your questions and guide you through your pregnancy.

GEHA offers a free maternity resource packetfilled with information about pregnancy, prenatal care and your maternity benefits. Check your medical plan for health rewards for receiving your first trimester checkup.

For help scheduling an appointment, call 800.821.6136.

Maintain childhood immunizations

The COVID-19 pandemic is causing many changes in the way health care is delivered. For example, some elective procedures may be postponed or telehealth visits may take the place of face-to-face appointments.

Ensuring the delivery of newborn and well-child care – especially childhood immunizations – still requires in-person consultations and health care providers are adapting accordingly.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, health care providers are using many strategies to offer well-child visits while keeping everyone healthy. These strategies might include:

  • Scheduling well-child visits during specific times of day. For example, well visits in the morning and sick visits in the afternoon.
  • Separating all patients by distance, including offering separate locations.
  • Partnering with other community providers to deliver well-child care.

Download immunization schedule from birth through age 6.


Sources:
Medlineplus.gov, “Prenatal Care.” Medlineplus.gov, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, 13 March 2018.
Womenshealth.gov, “Prenatal Care.” Womenshealth.gov, Office on Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 14 March 2018.