When and how often should I go to the doctor?
It is recommended that you see your doctor as soon as you think you are pregnant to start prenatal care. Using during your first four months of pregnancy you should see your doctor one time a month. For weeks 28 through 36 you should see your doctor twice a month and during your last month of pregnancy every week.
Where can I get health insurance?
If you are pregnant and living in New York State you can qualify for the Prenatal Care Assistance Program (PCAP) or in some areas the Medicaid Obstetrical and Maternal Services (MOMS) Program. Both programs are free of charge to pregnant women who meet certain income guidelines. Coverage lasts during your entire pregnancy, delivery and for at least two months after delivery. Services offered include routine pregnancy medical check ups, hospital care during pregnancy and delivery, information about pregnancy, labor and delivery, HIV counseling and testing, help in applying for other programs such as WIC and health insurance for other family members, healthcare for your baby for at least one year after the birth and family planning services.
For more information or to find a PCAP/MOMS enroller near you please call the New York State Growing Up Healthy Hotline at 1-800-522-5006.
Do I qualify for WIC or food stamps?
You can find information regarding WIC in New York State including qualifying information at http://www.health.state.ny.us/prevention/nutrition/wic/
You can find information regarding food stamps in New York State including qualifying information at
How much weight should I gain during my pregnancy?
According to the American Pregnancy Association the amount of weight one gains during pregnancy depends on a women’s pre-pregnancy weight. You should expect to gain:
25-37 pounds if you were a health weight before pregnancy
28-40 pounds if you were underweight before pregnancy
15-25 pounds if you were overweight before pregnancy
For more information on proper eating guidelines please visit the Healthy Orange Eat Well Play Hard
Are there foods I should avoid while I am pregnant?
It is always important to eat a well balanced diet but especially so while you are pregnant to make sure your baby gets all the nutrients it needs to grow. However, the following foods are not the healthiest choice for expecting women and should be avoided: raw meats, soft cheeses, pate, cold cuts, and raw or partially cooked eggs. Fish containing mercury should not be consumed any time during a pregnancy and if you are thinking about becoming pregnant then consumption should be limited.
Is it safe to go to the dentist while I am pregnant?
It is safe to see a dentist while you are pregnant for routine check ups including cleanings. In some cases it may be necessary to take x-rays at which time you should inform your dentist so they can take precautions to safeguard you and your baby. Elective procedures should be postponed until after birth.
I am still smoking. Is that ok?
Whatever you breathe your baby breathes and smoking robs your of oxygen and nutrients that both you and your baby need to get. Smoking while pregnancy nearly doubles a women’s chance of having a low birth weight baby which can result in poor growth of the baby in utero or preterm delivery. Low birth weight and preterm babies are at an increased risk of chronic, serious health problems and disabilities. Smoking should be discontinued during pregnancy and continued after birth for overall good health.
For more information on quitting assistance please visit the OCDOH tobacco cessation webpage
Is it safe to drink while I am pregnant?
Whatever you ingest, your baby takes in to so drinking alcohol while pregnant is not recommended. Alcohol enters your baby’s bloodstream and can cause permanent mental, physical and developmental problems. Even binge drinking (drinking heavily on one day but then not drinking for several days) can leave your baby with lifelong problems. It is best to not drink at all while pregnant.
To learn more or for further resources please visit the Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Council of Orange County at:
I was diagnosed with HIV. Can I have a natural birth?
Women can have a natural birth if they are HIV positive however doing so poses a great risk of passing the disease to their baby. It is recommended that HIV positive women have planned cesarean births (C-sections). There are precautions and procedures that should be followed to ensure that the virus is not passed to the baby. Any pregnant woman who is HIV positive should meet with their doctor and discuss medication options that greatly reduce the risk of transmission before, during, and after birth.
For more information about HIV/AIDS please visit the New York State Department of Health, AIDS Institute website:
I know this is an exciting time but I feel gloomy. Am I alright?
You are most likely experiencing signs of prenatal depression which commonly occurs among pregnant women. Signs of depression include problems concentrating, problems with sleeping, fatigue, changes in eating habits, feeling anxious, irritability, and feeling blue. There is support available to you. If you live in Orange County you can call 1-888-750-2266 that will connect you with services and assist with crisis situations.
Is it safe to get immunizations/vaccinations while I am pregnant?
Ideally women should be up to date with their vaccinations prior to becoming pregnant however we know that is not always an option. If you are planning to become pregnant you should have your yearly influenza vaccination as well as the Td/Tdap vaccination which is to guard against tetanus and diphtheria. It is important to discuss your personal medical history with your doctor upon your first prenatal visit. The following vaccines should not be given during pregnancy: LAIV, MMR, Varicella, Zoster (shingles), and Vaccinia (smallpox).
For a more complete list of information on vaccinations during pregnancy please visit the NYS Department of Health website at this web address:
Maternal Infant Services Network
Alcohol & Drug Abuse Council of Orange County
Planned Parenthood of the Mid Hudson Valley
Middletown Community Health Center
Greater Hudson Valley Family Health Center
AIDS Related Community Services