Health Information

Pregnancy and Childbirth

  • Alcohol and Pregnancy

    Alcohol consumption by the mother is a leading cause of preventable birth defects in the fetus. In addition, the risk for miscarriage and stillbirth increases with alcohol consumption.

  • Anatomy: Fetus in Utero

    Definitions of terms related to the anatomy of a fetus in utero.

  • Complications of Pregnancy

    Some of the more common complications of pregnancy are miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, and bleeding.

  • Warning Signs During Pregnancy

    Call your healthcare provider right away if you have bleeding from the vagina, blurry vision, severe headaches, or other specific symptoms.

  • Medical Conditions and Pregnancy

    With proper medical care, most women can enjoy a healthy pregnancy, even with medical challenges, like diabetes or high blood pressure.

  • Delivery

    In preparation of the delivery, you may be moved into a birthing room or delivery room, or you may remain in the same room for both labor and delivery.

  • Common Discomforts During Pregnancy

    Nausea and vomiting are common in the first trimester, as is fatigue. Other common discomforts are hemorrhoids and heartburn.

  • Illegal Drug Use and Pregnancy

    Almost every drug passes from the mother's bloodstream through the placenta to the fetus. Illicit substances that cause drug dependence and addiction in the mother also cause the fetus to become addicted.

  • Calculating a Due Date

    First, determine the first day of your last menstrual period. Next, count back 3 calendar months and add 1 year and 7 days to that date.

  • Exercise During Pregnancy

    If you exercised before pregnancy, you can safely continue exercising. If you were inactive or you have medical complications, talk with your healthcare provider before beginning to exercise.

  • Mastitis

    Detailed information on breastfeeding and mastitis

  • First Trimester

    A healthy first trimester is crucial to the normal development of your baby. You may not be showing much on the outside, but inside, all the major body organs and systems of the fetus are forming.

  • Hormones During Pregnancy

    Many hormone levels are affected in the body during pregnancy, with several hormones playing major roles.

  • Home Page - Pregnancy and Childbirth
  • Labor

    Labor usually starts two weeks before or after the estimated date of delivery. No one knows exactly what triggers the onset of labor.

  • Labor and Delivery

    Detailed information on labor and delivery

  • Medicines and Pregnancy

    All medicines you take affect the fetus, depending on the stage of development, the type and dosage of the medicine being taken, and your drug tolerance.

  • The Pregnant Mother
  • Caring for the Mother: Physically and Emotionally

    Nap when your baby naps. Take warm, shallow baths several times a day if you had stitches after delivery. Wear a supportive bra and use warm compresses to help with milk letdown.

  • Nutrition During Pregnancy

    Not only is eating nutritious food good for you and your baby, it also can ease some of the discomforts of pregnancy. A balanced diet can help minimize symptoms such as nausea and constipation.

  • Online Resources - Pregnancy and Childbirth

    List of online resources to find additional information on pregnancy and childbirth

  • Planning a Pregnancy

    Planning ahead and taking care of yourself before becoming pregnant is the best thing you can do for you and your baby.

  • Postpartum Care

    Detailed information on caring for the mother physically and emotionally following childbirth, including information on postpartum depression

  • Pregnancy

    Detailed information on pregnancy and childbirth, including information on birth statistics, pregnancy planning, preconception care, prenatal care, pregnancy discomforts, pregnancy tests, pregnancy risks, pregnancy warning signs, labor and delivery, breas

  • Prenatal Medical Care

    It may seem like you are having a lot of appointments, but regular visits to your healthcare provider are an important part of a healthy pregnancy. You and your growing baby will be carefully monitored, with tests done to assess any potential risks and develop a treatment plan, if needed.

  • Risks to Pregnancy

    Detailed information on the most common risks to pregnancy, including information on alcohol and pregnancy, smoking and pregnancy, drugs and pregnancy, medications during pregnancy, and pre-existing conditions and pregnancy

  • Second Trimester

    During this trimester, the weight of your growing baby will multiply more than 7 times — and you will start showing more.

  • Sex During Pregnancy

    In most cases, sex during pregnancy is safe. In fact, with your healthcare provider's approval, sexual relations can continue until delivery.

  • Signs of Pregnancy/The Pregnancy Test

    The signs of pregnancy vary from woman to woman, but the most obvious sign usually is a missed period.

  • Topic Index - Pregnancy and Childbirth

    Detailed information on pregnancy and childbirth, including information on birth statistics, pregnancy planning, preconception care, prenatal care, pregnancy discomforts, pregnancy tests, pregnancy risks, pregnancy warning signs, labor and delivery, breas

  • Sleeping During Pregnancy

    The best sleeping position for you is on your side, especially the left side, because it allows for maximum blood flow to the fetus and improves your kidney function.

  • Smoking and Pregnancy

    Don't smoke during your pregnancy and limit how much time you spend in environments where there is secondhand smoke.

  • Common Tests During Pregnancy

    Certain tests and screenings may be scheduled during your pregnancy. Your health care provider will advise you on which tests you'll need.

  • Third Trimester

    The third trimester marks the home stretch for your pregnancy. You may feel more uncomfortable now as you continue to gain weight. You also may have false labor contractions (called Braxton-Hicks contractions).

  • Weight Gain During Pregnancy

    Average weight gain for women is between 25 and 35 pounds, although slight deviations from this may also be considered normal.

  • Work and Pregnancy

    Most women are able to work safely, in some cases, until the day of delivery, depending on the type of work performed and their condition.

  • Pregnancy Overview

    A pregnancy is divided into 3 phases, called trimesters. Each trimester has its own significant milestones.

  • Multiple Pregnancy

    Detailed information on multiple pregnancies, including care of multiple birth babies

  • Overview of Multiple Pregnancy

    Multiple pregnancy is a pregnancy with 2 or more fetuses. In the United States, the multiple birth rate is rising.

  • Symptoms and Diagnosis of Multiple Pregnancy

    Every pregnant woman feels like she’s getting big, but if you’re pregnant with 2 or more babies, you’ll really be growing fast. Be prepared by learning the signs of a multiple birth.

  • Complications of Multiple Pregnancy

    Having more than one baby is especially exciting—and complicated. Find out what to watch for, including a greater chance of anemia and preterm birth.

  • Care and Management of Multiple Pregnancy

    A woman with a multiple pregnancy needs more calories and nutrients, more frequent prenatal visits, and more rest.

  • Care of the Baby in the Delivery Room

    A newborn baby is wet from the amniotic fluid and can easily become cold. Drying the baby and using warm blankets and heat lamps can help prevent heat loss. Often a knitted hat is placed on the baby's head.

  • Bottle-Feeding

    Detailed information on bottle-feeding, including information on the different types of baby formulas.

  • Breastmilk Is Best

    Your milk contains just the right balance of nutrients in a form most easily used by your baby's immature body systems.

  • Breastfeeding Difficulties - Baby

    Detailed information on breastfeeding difficulties of the baby, including ineffective latch-on, ineffective sucking, slow infant weight gain, poor infant weight gain, mismanaged breastfeeding, over-active breast milk let down

  • Breastfeeding Difficulties - Mother

    Detailed information on breastfeeding difficulties of the mother, including sore nipples, low breast milk production, flat nipples, plugged milk ducts, and mastitis

  • Breastfeeding Your Baby
  • Your Baby and Breastfeeding

    Think there’s only one way to breastfeed? You can position your baby in several ways during feeding time that can be comfortable for both of you.

  • Effective Sucking

    It’s important for your baby’s health to be able to effectively remove milk from your breast during nursing. To do this, your baby must learn the proper way to suck. But how do you know if your baby is actually getting the nutrition he or she needs? Here’s a guide to help you.

  • Flat or Inverted Nipples

    Detailed information on breastfeeding and flat or inverted nipples

  • Breastfeeding: Getting Started

    The first weeks of breastfeeding should be considered a learning period for both you and your baby. Here's what you need to know.

  • How Breast Milk Is Made

    Detailed information on how breast milk is made for breastfeeding

  • Difficulty with Latching On or Sucking

    Detailed information on ineffective latch-on or sucking during breastfeeding

  • Breastfeeding and Delayed Milk Production

    Detailed information on insufficient or delayed milk production

  • Managing Poor Weight Gain in Your Breastfed Infant

    Detailed information on mismanaged breastfeeding, including information on breastfeeding positions

  • Overactive Let-Down

    Many nursing mothers worry if their babies aren’t getting enough milk—but what if the opposite were true? Here’s what you can do to make sure your aren’t overwhelming your baby during feeding time.

  • Newborn Multiples

    Because many multiples are small and born early, they may be initially cared for in a special care nursery called the neonatal intensive care unit.

  • Plugged Milk Ducts

    For mothers who breastfeed, some may be more susceptible to plugged ducts than others. Get some quick tips on how to avoid and manage this concern, so you can keep you and your baby happy and healthy.

  • Low Milk Production

    Detailed information on breastfeeding and low breastmilk production

  • Slow or Poor Infant Weight Gain

    Are you concerned that your little one has slow or poor weight gain? Unsure? This article will help you sort out your questions and concerns.

  • Sore Nipples

    Detailed information on breastfeeding and sore nipples

  • Pregnancy and Heartburn

    Chances are good that you’re one of more than many pregnant women who experience the churning and burning of heartburn or acid indigestion. It typically hits somewhere in the second or third trimester, and it can be miserable.

  • Folic Acid for a Healthy Baby

    Getting enough folic acid can reduce the risk for neural tube defects (NTDs) and may also reduce the risk for other serious birth defects of the brain and spinal cord.

  • Headaches in Early Pregnancy

    Managing headaches is especially tricky in the first trimester when you should avoid many medicines.

  • First Trimester Fatigue

    For many women, the extreme tiredness of the first trimester is quite a surprise. And it’s an especially hard transition for those who are normally go-getters with lots of energy.

  • We're Pregnant—Tips for the Expectant Dad

    More than ever, men are actively involved throughout the pregnancy experience. The term expectant father really fits, as men support, worry, and plan right along with their pregnant partners. Some of the more common experiences for expectant dads are included here.

  • Back Pain in Pregnancy

    Back pain is common in pregnancy, because of your changing body. Here are ideas on what you can do to cope.

  • Tips for Traveling Moms-to-Be

    Today’s society is increasingly mobile, and the demands of career and family often require travel during a woman’s pregnancy. Here are some tips and guidance for safe travels while you’re pregnant.

  • Pregnancy and Skin Changes

    For many women, pregnancy brings glowing skin, rosy cheeks, and shiny hair. But others can experience skin changes that aren’t so attractive, including acne, dark spots, and stretch marks.

  • Pregnancy and Posture

    Much back pain in pregnancy is related to the strain on your back from the weight of your growing baby. Using proper posture can help prevent and even relieve some of the pain.

  • Pregnancy and Oral Health

    Regular dental checkups and cleanings, along with brushing and flossing often, are important for a healthy mouth and a health pregnancy.

  • Hemorrhoids and Varicose Veins in Pregnancy

    Hemorrhoids and varicose veins might seem to be two different, unrelated problems, but they are actually quite similar. And, many women, especially those in the third trimester of pregnancy, have them.