Planning for Baby

Having a healthy baby starts before you’re pregnant. When you’re healthy, you’ll be more likely to have an easy pregnancy. Your baby will be more likely to be healthy too! That’s why it’s vital to make sure you’re taking good care of your mental and physical health before you become pregnant. Not sure where to start? Keep reading for tips to stay healthy when planning for a baby.

Go to all preventive care visits

Going to all your preventive care visits can ensure any health-related issues that may affect your pregnancy can be spotted early and taken care of before you become pregnant. Some preventive care activities that are key for women who are planning to become pregnant are:

  • Annual physical exams
  • Chlamydia screens (for women 24 and under)
  • Cervical cancer screens
  • Diabetes screens

You can take a look at our full list of preventive care activities for more information. Ask your primary care provider (PCP) if other activities or screenings are needed. Don’t forget – you may also be able to earn rewards for going to your preventive care visits!

Go to regular dental visits

Making sure your teeth and gums are in good shape is key before you become pregnant. Keeping your teeth and gums healthy while pregnant can become a challenge. This happens for reasons you can’t control during pregnancy, like vomiting (which erodes your tooth enamel) and the bones around your teeth becoming looser. 

Going to regular dental visits before you become pregnant is a vital step to take and can better prepare your gums and teeth for these changes during pregnancy.

To learn more, check out our brochure on pregnancy and oral health.

Avoid tobacco smoke

If you are a smoker, it’s best to quit smoking before getting pregnant. Smoking during pregnancy can cause many problems for your baby, such as:

  • Miscarriage or stillbirth
  • Premature birth
  • A low birth weight
  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
  • Asthma and other breathing problems

If you need support to quit smoking, call the Quitline at 1-877-270-STOP (1-877-270-7867). The Quitline includes free coaching, quit plan and educational materials.

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Think you might be pregnant? Need a pregnancy test?

With your CareSource benefits, you can get a pregnancy test each month* for free! Talk to the pharmacist at your local pharmacy about getting your free pregnancy test today. Want to learn about other benefits and services available at no cost you?

*Limit one test per member per month

Use opioid painkillers? Talk to your PCP right away

Have you been prescribed opioid painkillers, like Vicodin or Percocet? If so, it’s vital that you let your PCP know about your plans to have a baby. This way, they can come up with another solution to help you manage pain, like nonopioid options for chronic pain. Even if opioid painkillers are prescribed to you, they can be harmful to your baby during pregnancy. They can cause problems like:

  • Birth defects
  • Premature birth
  • A low birth weight.
  • Small head circumference
  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

Another thing that can happen to your baby when you take drugs, like opioids, during pregnancy is something called neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). NAS is when a baby withdraws from certain drugs they are exposed to in the womb before birth. Signs and symptoms of NAS are:

  • Body shakes, seizures, twitching and tight muscles
  • Fussiness, crying a lot or having a high-pitched cry
  • Poor feeding/sucking or slow weight gain
  • Breathing problems, including breathing really fast
  • Fever, sweating or blotchy skin
  • Trouble sleeping and lots of yawning
  • Diarrhea or throwing up
  • Stuffy nose or sneezing

Are you dealing with substance use disorder? If you are, we’re here to help you. Call the CareSource Substance Use Hotline at 1-833-674-6437.

Set up a pre-conception care visit with your PCP

Before becoming pregnant, it’s vital to set up a pre-conception care visit with your PCP. During this visit, your PCP will go over:

  • Issues you’ve had with pregnancy in the past.
  • Medications you’re taking right now.
  • Vaccinations that you might need before pregnancy.
  • Other steps you can take before pregnancy.

Going over these topics together will give you the tools to stay healthy during your pregnancy and protect your baby.

Family Planning Resources

Have other questions related to family planning?

Call Member Services at 1-855-202-0729 (TTY: 1-800-255-0056 or 711).