OB Pre-Natal Care

Weeks 1-8

Congratulations! You and your family are pregnant. If you have not already, contact your healthcare team to confirm your pregnancy and start your prenatal care. The first appointment with your provider can last one to two hours and includes collecting your medical history, completing a physical exam, and drawing lab work to measure your current health status. While you do not need to start increasing how much you are eating, it is important to focus on the kinds of foods you are choosing. Some key required nutrients to consider are Folate, Iron, Calcium, and Vitamin D to promote the best health for you and your baby.

Developmental Milestones

  • My Baby: At six weeks, your baby is the size of a grain of rice. Their heart, brain, eyes, nose, and lips are all starting to form.
  • My Body: You might start to feel tired or nauseous, and your senses of smell and taste may change. Your breasts may even begin to feel tender or heavy.

Nutrition Needs

Folate or Folic Acid

Folate is an essential B vitamin that plays a critical role in developing your baby’s brain and spinal cord during the first four weeks of life. Taking this vitamin before becoming pregnant and early throughout your pregnancy can lower the risk of Neural Tube Defects (NTDs), which occur when the brain and spine do not form properly.

    • Sources: Folate is found in foods like spinach, black-eyed peas, fortified breakfast cereals, asparagus, and Brussels sprouts. Folic acid is the synthetic form of this vitamin found in supplements, like prenatal vitamins. It is recommended to take folic acid with food to help your body better absorb the vitamin.
    • RDA: The daily recommended intake of folate or folic acid is 600 mcg for pregnant women.


  • RDA= Recommended Dietary Allowances are the goal for dietary intake of essential nutrients to meet the known nutrient needs of a healthy person.

Iron + Vitamin C

Iron is a mineral naturally found in the body and many foods. Your body needs iron to help carry oxygen throughout your body and to your baby. Pairing iron-rich foods with foods that have vitamin C can help your body absorb and use iron better.

    • Sources: Iron is found in animal sources like meat, chicken, and seafood, as well as plant-based sources like beans, peas, and iron-fortified breads and cereals. Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits, strawberries, bell peppers, and tomatoes.
    • RDA: The daily recommended iron intake throughout pregnancy is 27mg, which you can get from food and prenatal vitamins.


  • RDA= Recommended Dietary Allowances are the goal for dietary intake of essential nutrients to meet the known nutrient needs of a healthy person.


Calcium is the most common mineral in the body. It is needed to build strong bones, move muscles, and regulate your baby’s hormones. When a mother does not have enough calcium to support both her and her baby’s growth, she increases the risk of developing complications and potentially delivering her baby before the scheduled due date.

    • Sources: Calcium is found in dairy products, like milk, yogurt, and cheese, as well as some plant-based options like kale, broccoli, and Bok choi. Fruit juices, tofu, and breakfast cereals have added calcium that is not naturally present and can help meet your daily needs.
    • RDA: The daily recommended calcium intake throughout pregnancy is 1000-1300mg, depending on your age, to prevent the breakdown of calcium stores.
  • RDA= Recommended Dietary Allowances are the goal for dietary intake of essential nutrients to meet the known nutrient needs of a healthy person.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium, which helps build your baby’s bones and teeth. Vitamin D also carries messages between your brain and body to fight off viruses and bacteria from making you sick.

    • Sources: Your body can make Vitamin D when your bare skin is exposed to the Sun’s rays or through the foods you eat. Vitamin D is found in Salmon, tuna, eggs, and mushrooms. Many breakfast cereals, milk, and nut milk have added Vitamin D.
    • RDA: The daily goal of Vitamin D for pregnant women is 15 mcg or 600 International Units a day.


  • RDA= Recommended Dietary Allowances are the goal for dietary intake of essential nutrients to meet the known nutrient needs of a healthy person.

Family Engagement Activity

Making healthy choices during pregnancy can be made easier when the whole family is involved.

  • Oregon Health & Science University has made it easier for you and your partner to make healthy choices with their My Pregnancy Plate. This diagram can guide you to make informed and healthy food choices throughout your pregnancy. The next time you make a meal with your family and friends, try following the My Pregnancy Plate to promote healthy eating for your whole family.
  • If you would like to learn more about the My Pregnancy Plate, download it here.

Caregiver's Corner

Choosing a Provider: Midwife vs Obstetrician

Jana Sullivan is a Certified Nurse Midwife at CHRISTUS Children’s who can help you choose a healthcare provider that is right for you.

  • An Obstetrician/Gynecologist (OB/GYN) is a doctor who has studied 4 years of medical school, plus 4 years of residency, and 3 more years of a specialization centered on maternal health. OB/GYNs are trained to handle high-risk pregnancies and can perform surgeries like cesarean sections (c-sections) primarily in a hospital setting.
  • A Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM) is a Registered Nurse with a 2–4-year bachelor’s degree, plus an advanced 2-year master’s degree in nursing with a certification by the American Midwifery Certification Board. CNMs usually attend births in a hospital, home, or birth center and provide expert care during normal pregnancies.
  • A Lay Midwife refers to an uncertified or unlicensed midwife who had an informal education through years of experience as an apprentice or self-study.

What to Consider When Choosing a Health Care Provider

  • What services does your health insurance cover?
  • What is the philosophy of care each provider offers?
  • What is the scope of practice and practice settings?
  • Do you feel comfortable with the provider?