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If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant there are steps you can take for a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. The healthier you are, the better chance you have of your baby being born healthy.
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If you are thinking about becoming pregnant it is important to make healthy choices now. Did you know that your baby is starting to grow and form before you know that you are pregnant?
Your baby’s brain and spinal cord begin to grow right from the start, in the first few weeks of pregnancy. The best way to ensure a healthy brain and spinal cord is to get enough folic acid every day. Even if you are not thinking about having a baby soon, you should still take a vitamin with folic acid every day for protection! You should take at least 0.4 milligrams or (400 micrograms) of folic acid daily. Folic acid is found in your prenatal vitamin and in most multi-vitamins. You can also get folic acid from the foods you eat such as dry cereals, grains, orange juice, and dark green leafy vegetables. It is good to eat these foods and take your vitamin/folic acid daily to be sure you get enough.
For more information click on the links below:
The 2nd Edition of the "Moms and Babies, Be Healthy Stay Healthy" handbook is available for order from Statewide Health Resources and Publications E-Store (SHRPE). This handbook includes information, written on a seventh grade-reading level, covering topics surrounding preconception, pregnancy, parenting and infant health. These books are available in both English and Spanish.
Ordering through SHRPE:
This website is for purchasing forms, brochures and other items commonly used by the public/ or DOH offices.
A password is required to log-in to SHRPE. If you do not have a password or need assistance on how to place an order, email the Forms Management Office. If you experience technical difficulties with the SHRPE website, send an email to: American Business Solutions directly. This site is not supported by the DOH network.
How can you test for pregnancy?
You can buy a home pregnancy test kit or go to a doctor or clinic for a test. If you are using a home kit, be sure and follow the directions. If your test is negative (meaning that you may not be pregnant), but you still have symptoms, wait a week and repeat the test. If it is still negative, then you should contact a health care provider. If your home test is positive, you need to call a health care provider and schedule a prenatal visit.
Florida Statute 390.0111(3) (2011) requires the Florida Department of Health to provide "printed materials" to physicians engaged in terminations of pregnancies. These materials are to be made available to a patient prior to the termination of a pregnancy. These materials titled "Fetal Development and Alternatives to Terminating a Pregnancy" include a description of the fetus at various stages of development, referral information for entities offering alternatives to terminating a pregnancy and informatino on medical assistance benefits for prenatal care, childbirth, and neonatal care. The printed materials are available in English, Spanish, and Haitian Creole for downloading and printing.
The printed materials are also incorportaed by reference in rule 64F-23.001, Florida Administrative Code. The administrative rule, which also contains links to the printed materials, can be found on the Florida Department of State website at the following link:
Further information on informed consent for termination of pregnancy can be found in section 390.0111, Florida Statutes. The entire section is available at the following link:
Finding out that you are pregnant can be exciting and scary. Your baby is growing and your body is changing. The more you know about what is happening the more in control you can feel.
To find out more about physical and emotional changes during pregnancy follow the links below:
One of the most important things you can do is choose a health care provider to take care of you through your pregnancy. Regular prenatal care can help you learn about your pregnancy. Your local County Health Department can assist you in where you can go for affordable prenatal care if you do not have a health care provider. Click the link below for a complete listing of Florida County Health Deparments:
Medicaid provides medical coverage to low income pregnant women. Medicaid eligibility is determined by the Department of Children and Families (DCF). To find out more:
The Healthy Start program assists pregnant women, interconceptional women, infants, and children up to age 3 to obtain the health care and social support needed to reduce the risks for poor maternal and child health outcomes. Every pregnant woman and every child born in Florida is eligible for Prenatal or Infant Risk Screening. The program invites pregnant women and infants to participate in Healthy Start services if they score positive on the screening instrument.
Healthy Start Coalitions are non-profit organizations dedicated to improving the health of pregnant women and babies in a community.
To find out more visit: www.healthystartflorida.com
The statewide toll-free hotline offers counseling information and referrals about pregnancy, infant and toddler issues. The goal of the hotline is to improve the health status of Florida's pregnant women and their children by providing callers with information on helpful community resources and answering basic questions about pregnancy, breastfeeding, childbirth education and other pregnancy-related concerns.
Women who sign up for the service by texting BABY to 511411 (or BEBE for Spanish) will receive free text messages each week, timed to their due date or baby’s date of birth. The messages focus on a variety of topics critical to maternal and child health, including birth defects prevention, immunization, nutrition, seasonal flu, mental health, oral health, and safe sleep. Text4baby messages also connect women to prenatal and infant care services and other resources.
Diabetes is a condition in which the body cannot change sugars and starches (carbohydrates) into energy. This happens when the body cannot make enough insulin or cannot use the insulin it makes. As a result, extra sugar in the blood can lead to damage in the blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, heart, and nerves. If you are a woman with diabetes, you still can have a healthy baby. You need to take extra care before and during your pregnancy. Learn how to get ready for a healthy pregnancy.Potential Effects of Uncontrolled Diabetes Before and During Pregnancy*
For more information on Pregnancy and Diabetes please visit the following pages:
What is cord blood?
The term "cord blood" is used to describe the blood that remains in the umbilical cord and the placenta after the birth of a baby. Up until recently this afterbirth was discarded as medical waste. Cord blood contains stem cells that may be cryopreserved for later use in medical therapies, such as stem cell transplants or clinical trials of new stem cell therapies. Cord blood can either be donated for the public good or stored privately for the family.
For more information and links to private and public cord blood bank options visit: www.parentsguidecordblood.org
Additional information on umbilical cord blood banking may be found at:
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection in a pregnant woman poses a serious risk to her infant at birth. Infants born to women infected with the HBV have a 40% chance of developing chronic hepatitis B infection and may eventually die from liver disease unless preventive treatment is given immediately after the infant is born and the hepatitis B vaccine series is completed. All practitioners providing prenatal care in Florida are required to screen all pregnant women for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) to identify those infected with HBV. The Florida Department of Health provides case management to pregnant women infected with HBV to ensure their infants receive appropriate care and treatment. The Florida Department of Health also supports routine vaccination of all infants with the hepatitis B vaccine series, with the first dose administered at birth. For more information on Perinatal Hepatitis B Prevention Program please click the following link: