Being pregnant and giving birth are exciting times for many mothers. Unfortunately, many women in the US suffer health complications during and after pregnancy. In fact, the rate of maternal mortality (death) in the US increased by approximately 27% from 2000 to 2014. Approximately 700 women die each year from pregnancy or childbirth complications. In 2014, more than 50 thousand women in the US had severe pregnancy complications. Finally, among black women the risk of pregnancy-related death is 3 to 4 times higher than it is for white women.
To help reduce the risk of complications during and after pregnancy, it’s important for women to take steps to manage their health. These may include:
Receiving care from a healthcare team before, during, and after your pregnancy.
Sharing your current and past medical history with your team.
Learning as much as you can about what you need to do to stay healthy and have a healthy baby.
The checklist below may help guide the conversation between you and your healthcare providers during your pregnancy-related visits.
My Pregnancy Health checklist
Schedule a pre-pregnancy checkup.
Keep all prenatal visits.
Make healthy lifestyle choices.
Tell your healthcare provider about all of the medications and supplements you take.
Ask your healthcare provider if you need to take a prenatal vitamin and folic acid.
Stay up-to-date with your vaccinations.
Learn your family history.
Be physically active.
Learn what foods to eat and which to avoid.
Avoid toxic substances or environmental contaminants.
Get help if you are exposed to violence.
Take care of your mental health.
Learn the signs of preeclampsia (high blood pressure) during pregnancy.