Pregnancy and prenatal care
Having a healthy pregnancy is one of the best ways to have a healthy birth. Prenatal care can help prevent complications and inform people about the vital steps they can take to protect their developing fetus and have a healthy pregnancy.
ETR’s materials urge people to visit their health care provider as soon as they think they might be pregnant. With regular prenatal care, people will understand the importance of good nutrition and physical activity.
Fetal development in the 3 trimesters
People have a lot of questions about the new sensations they feel as they adapt to being pregnant. There are questions about what’s happening to their body, how the fetus is growing and developing, and how best to take care and stay healthy. Our materials on the three trimesters cover these questions and offer help for taking care of common conditions and emotional experiences.
Alcohol, tobacco and other drugs
Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) are medical and behavioral conditions that can occur in a person whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. Alcohol passes to the fetus through the umbilical cord. No amount of alcohol is known to be safe during any stage of pregnancy. If a person is drinking during pregnancy, it can still be beneficial to help the person stop drinking alcohol because fetal brain growth takes place throughout pregnancy.
With marijuana newly legalized in some places, there are a lot of questions about health risks. A study led by Dr. Beth Han of the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that the percentage of women who said they’d used marijuana during pregnancy doubled from 3.4% to 7% from 2002 to 2017. The use of marijuana has been linked to a higher risk of preterm birth. ETR has materials specifically on the effects of marijuana use during pregnancy.
The childbirth experience is different for every person giving birth, and even for each time the same person gives birth to a new baby. But there are a lot of steps people can take to prepare for childbirth, such as choosing a trusted health care provider or midwife, going to childbirth classes with a birth partner, and learning as much as possible about what to expect during labor. ETR’s materials offer a clear overview on what to expect when you’re expecting.
After giving birth
New parents can expect a lot of changes after they have a baby. The birth parent’s body needs to recover and heal. The birth parent may also experience mood changes for a while, and possibly even post-partum depression. Both parents have a lot of strong feelings about the changes taking place their everyday lives. ETR’s materials encourage new parents to keep track of their health, to take good care of their physical and emotional health, and to get the support they need to take good care of their new baby.
New parents get lots of advice – from their own parents and relatives, from friends and co-workers. One person may recommend one thing, another may recommend the opposite. It’s vital for new parents to remember that each baby is unique and that babies aren’t in a race to grow up and learn new skills! Babies grow and learn new things at their own pace. New parents might feel overwhelmed by all the advice they receive, but they’ll feel relieved to have some of the basic facts about breastfeeding and lactation, good nutrition, child safety and child-proofing a home, and childhood vaccinations.