Mississippi State Department of Health

A healthy baby is no accident. You can increase your chance of having a healthy pregnancy by following good health habits, quitting smoking, and making sure that your diet includes the right amount of folic acid.

About half of all pregnancies are unplanned. If there's any chance you may become pregnant, you need to start these healthy habits to ensure the healthiest possible child.

Increase Your Chances for a Healthy Baby

Before Pregnancy

During Pregnancy


Folic Acid: A Necessary Nutrient for Proper Development

Folic acid is a B-vitamin that can reduce the risk of birth defects of the brain and spine. All women who could become pregnant should get 400 micrograms (400 mcg or 0.4 mg) of folic acid every day.

Talk to your health care provider about:

Smoking and Pregnancy

Cigarette smoking and second-hand smoke can lead to many problems, including low birth weight, miscarriage, and infant mortality.

If You Are a Non-Smoker
Avoid other people's smoke while you are pregnant and after the baby is born. If other people in your home smoke, they should quit. Studies show that regular exposure to secondhand smoke may harm a developing child.

If You Smoke
You and should quit or cut back as much as you can. Here are some resources that can help:

Prevent Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

When a pregnant woman drinks alcohol, so does her unborn baby. Alcohol, even in the early stages of pregnancy, can cause Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome causes abnormal features, growth retardation, and lifelong learning and behavior problems in children.

Alcohol can damage a fetus at any stage of pregnancy – even before a woman knows she is pregnant.

All drinks containing alcohol can hurt an unborn baby. A standard 12-ounce can of beer has the same amount of alcohol as a four-ounce glass of wine or a one-ounce shot of straight liquor. There is no safe kind of alcohol for a pregnant woman.

Nearly half of all births in the United States are unplanned. Women who could become pregnant, even if they are not planning to do so, should not drink. If you are pregnant and drinking, stop.

Having a Healthy Baby – On Time

Babies go through important steps of development during the last weeks of pregnancy. Waiting to deliver at full term – at least 39 weeks – ensures that your newborn has the best possible chance in life. Let your doctor know that waiting until full term is important to you unless it is medically necessary to deliver sooner.

MSDH Programs for Prenatal Care

Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies of Mississippi

As a Medicaid provider, MSDH provides a perinatal high risk case management program to benefit mothers and infants. This program includes a multi-disciplinary range of preventive health services for pregnant women including physical exams, nutrition, social services, health screening, education, counseling, interventions, and referral service as appropriate. The primary objective of theHealthy Moms, Healthy Babies program is to decrease infant mortality and low birth weight infants by providing health care to pregnant women. By increasing the number of women having access to prenatal care, it is intended to assist with the reduction of infant mortality.

Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring Survey (PRAMS)

The Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring Survey is a joint project between the Mississippi State Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The purpose is to find out why some babies are born healthy and others are not. To do this the survey asks new mothers questions about their pregnancies. The answers are confidential and will assist us in learning more about ways to improve the chances for mothers and babies in Mississippi. The data will also assist for future planning.

Learn More

MSDH Pregnancy Resources

Other Pregnancy Resources

Links referenced
COVID-19 and Pregnancy - 3 Steps to Stay Safe    https://www.acog.org/womens-health/infographics/covid-19-and-pregnancy-3-steps-to-stay-safe
COVID-19 Vaccines for People who Are Pregnant or Breastfeeding    https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/recommendations/pregnancy.html
10 Telehealth Tips for your Ob-Gyn Visit    https://www.acog.org/-/media/project/acog/acogorg/womens-health/files/infographics/10-telehealth-tips-for-an-ob-gyn-visit.pdf?la=en&hash=A6393FB4AFD3E0D440FADE9A08A649F7
Watch full-size »    https://youtu.be/FX6bYX6gbGA
More about Folic Acid    http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/folicacid/
More information on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome from the CDC    http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/fasd/
National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome    http://www.nofas.org/
More about 39 weeks for a healthy baby    http://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/index.cfm/41,0,376,657,html
More about Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies high-risk management    http://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/index.cfm/41,0,106,html
More about PRAMS    http://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/index.cfm/31,0,299,361,html
Full information about our program for pregnant and parenting teens    http://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/index.cfm/41,18601,106,html
Preventing Birth Defects    http://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/index.cfm/41,0,285,html
39 Weeks for a Healthy Baby    http://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/index.cfm/41,0,376,657,html
Breastfeeding    http://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/index.cfm/41,0,144,html
WIC Nutritional Program    http://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/index.cfm/41,0,128,html
Child Care    http://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/index.cfm/30,0,183,742,html
Safe Sleeping and SIDS    http://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/index.cfm/41,0,202,html
Children's Health Programs    http://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/index.cfm/41,html
Perinatal Health    http://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/index.cfm/41,0,376,659,html
MSDH Family Planning Program    http://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/index.cfm/41,0,107,html
Pregnancy Information    https://www.acog.org/womens-health/pregnancy
March of Dimes' Pregnancy and Newborn Health Education Center    https://marchofdimes.com/pnhec/4439_1206.asp
Birth Defects Information    https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/birthdefects/
Folic Acid Topics (CDC)    https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/folicacid
17P and Preterm Births    http://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/index.cfm/41,0,376,621,html
The National Birth Defects Prevention Network (NBDPN)    https://www.nbdpn.org/

Find this page at http://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/index.cfm/index.cfm

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