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Pregnancy and Parenting Support

If you're considering having a child, begin by taking into account a few basic points. Both prenatal care and awareness of high-risk factors can help you physically and mentally prepare for pregnancy. You and your pregnancy are important. Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa is here to support you. We offer accurate information, confidential services and programs to support women and children. We offer information, education and referrals.

Not sure where to start? Take our online needs assessment; our caring staff will be in touch within 1-3 days to offer guidance. Or, call our intake hotline Monday-Friday at (515) 558-9946.

Looking for help with your child's care or development? Visit our health and development support page to learn how we can help you.

Prenatal Care

Early regular prenatal care, the care you receive during pregnancy, is important for you and your baby's health. For a healthy pregnancy, you should:

  • Take at least 400 micrograms of folic acid every day to help prevent many types of birth defects. Healthcare providers recommend taking folic acid both before and during pregnancy.
  • Maintain a healthy weight and diet and get regular physical activity before, during and after pregnancy.
  • Stop smoking, alcohol or drug use before, during and after pregnancy.

For more information, check out this infographic on Preconception Health.

What is a High-risk Pregnancy?

All pregnancies involve a certain degree of risk to both mother and baby. Factors present before pregnancy or that develop during pregnancy can place the mother and baby at higher risk for problems. Women with high-risk pregnancies may need care from specialists or a team of health care providers to help promote healthy pregnancy and birth.

Factors present before pregnancy that can increase risk may include:

  • Young or advanced maternal age
  • Being overweight or underweight
  • Problems in previous pregnancies, such as miscarriage, stillbirth or preterm labor or birth
  • Pre-existing health conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes or HIV/AIDS

During pregnancy, problems may also develop even in a woman who was previously healthy. These may include gestational diabetes, preeclampsia or other conditions. Good prenatal care and seeing a health care provider regularly during pregnancy are important ways to promote a healthy pregnancy.

Where do I go for support?

Few experiences change a woman's life as much as pregnancy and parenting. The responsibilities and obligations of parenting are not easy.  VNS of Iowa offers programs and services to support women and children. Call us at (515) 558-9946. A caring professional will talk with you to understand your needs and help identify options for you at VNS of Iowa or in other community organizations. Our programs range from health services to family support, more than 35 programs to support the health, education and well-being of individuals and families. In addition, a Community Resource Directory is available to help you find the resources, programs and services right for you.