Prenatal Care

Without Prenatal Careyou and your baby are FIVE TIMES more likely to be at risk for death due to complications.

Prenatal care is extremely important to begin as soon as you believe you are pregnant. In addition to doctor visits, prenatal care may require changes to your eating, drinking, and smoking habits.

Important blood work tests, sonograms, and family medical history early on in pregnancy can help prevent or treat various risk factors for both you and the baby.

It is important to get your prenatal care as early as possible, follow the recommendations of your qualified health care provider, and keep your appointments throughout your pregnancy to greatly reduce health risks for both you and your baby.

Are prenatal vitamins worth it?

What if I can’t afford them?
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Get FREE VitaminsIf you are pregnant and not able to afford prenatal vitamins, City of Amarillo Public Health will provide a month's supply as needed and while supplies last.
Prenatal multivitamins that include folic acid help to support your baby’s developing brain and spinal cord.

Folic acid helps to reduce the risk of spina bifida (a birth defect of the spinal cord) and anencephaly (missing portions of the brain) in infants. Also, prenatal vitamins are very important to help you have the nutrients you need for yourself since pregnancy pulls extra nutrients to use. A lack of nutrients can lead to osteoporosis (loss of bone thickness).

Learn more aboutSafe Moms' Class

Postpartum Care

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Post birth (postpartum) care is an ongoing process in the weeks that follow birth, not just a single appointment.

Discuss a postpartum care plan with your health care provider before you give birth. This helps you have a strategy after the baby is born to take care of yourself and know what to look for if you need to get medical help.

Choosing a doctor

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Only you can decide which are the most important considerations for you – it’s a very personal decision.

Keep in mind that you may be able to narrow your list of choices with a simple phone call. There’s no need to meet with a doctor who isn’t in your network of providers if that’s a requirement for your insurance coverage.

Questions for your doctor

  • How many doctors are in the practice –will I have a primary and what are the chances that doctor will deliver my baby?
  • What is the hospital affiliation?
  • What is the cesarean rate?
  • Does the doctor or the group practice perform episiotimies as a matter of course?
  • What is the doctor’s attitude about patients having a birth plan with personal preferences?
  • How does the doctor feel about pain medication during birth?
  • If I happen to be a high-risk pregnancy, what is the doctor’s experience?

Ask Yourself

Before you move on to someone else, you might want to talk to the doctor about your concerns. If the problem can’t be resolved, or your worries aren’t addressed, don’t hesitate to change obstetricians or consider whether a midwife might be a better fit for you.

Transportation Assistance

Need a ride?
Look at your insurance card, and contact your insurance company (Superior, First Care, or Amerigroup) to find out how to get a ride to your medical appointment. Your Medicaid can sometimes arrange transportation, but you will need to call in advance to make arrangements.

Birth Plans

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A birth plan is not required to give birth but is a tool you can use to help you communicate your wishes and needs with your health care team and anyone else who might be there to support you (such as your partner) about best approaches for a safe and healthy delivery of your baby.

To help develop your birth plan, start with a list of things you want to consider, such as pain management, type of delivery, birth location, and the health care provider you want to use. Then, use your list to talk to your doctor about creating a strategy best for you. Often, health care providers have a “routine” they follow for patients, but can change that (within reason), when asked. Having your birth plan helps the communication between you and your health care provider become more personal about ways to adjust your birthing process to your needs.

Questions to help create your birth plan

These questions are recommended by the American Pregnancy Association. If you find that a question does not apply to you, skip it.
  • Who do you want to be present at the birth?
  • Do you want a doula?
  • Will there be children/siblings present?
  • Do you wish to delay the cord clamping for the baby?
  • Do you want immediate skin-to-skin contact?
  • Do you wish to breastfeed immediately after birth?
  • Do you want the ability to move around while in labor, or do you wish to stay in bed?
  • What activities or positions do you plan to use? (walking, standing, squatting, hands and knees, birth ball)
  • Do you prefer a certain position to give birth?
  • What will you do for pain relief? (massage, hot and cold packs, positions, labor imagery, relaxation, breathing exercises, tub or Jacuzzi, medication)
  • Do you want to take pain medications—or not? Do you prefer certain pain medications? (epidural)
  • How do you feel about fetal monitoring?
  • How do you plan to stay hydrated? (sips of drinks, ice chips, IV)
  • Would you be willing to have an episiotomy? Or, are there certain measures you want to use to avoid one?
  • Do you want a routine IV, a heparin/saline block, or neither?
  • What are your preferences for your baby’s care? (when to feed, where to sleep)
  • Do you want to wear your own clothing?
  • Do you want to listen to music and have special things you focus on?
  • Do you want to use the tub or shower when in labor?
  • For home and birth center births, what are your plans for hospital transport in case of emergency?
  • If you need a cesarean (c-section), do you have any special requests? (skin-to-skin contact, who is in the room, when you see the baby, etc.)

Create your birth plan

Finding a doula

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A doula is not a midwife, but is a trained advocate to help you with education, support, and communication.

Doulas are not health care professionals, but they can help you communicate with your health care provider to understand what is happening during pregnancy, when giving birth, and afterwards so you can make decisions, if needed.

Some doulas charge by the hour, while others will charge a flat fee for the entire pregnancy and potentially in-home postpartum care. Cost can vary from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, depending on who you hire and what they offer.


See doula resources

After Birth

Planning your next steps
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The birth of your baby, while exciting, presents a lot of new changes, appointments, and decisions.

We have a list of resources and information for immediately after birth and in the first 8 weeks postpartum as well as care for yourself long term after the baby is born, and information on infant health.


Your health after birth

Safe Moms’ Class

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The City of Amarillo offers a FREE class for pregnant mothers and mothers of children under one-year-old that covers everything you need to do to prepare for your baby and keep them safe.


Topics include

  • Post-birth warning signs
  • Family spacing
  • Postpartum care
  • Breastfeeding resources
  • Babyproofing at home
  • Safe sleep — protecting against SIDS
  • Car seat safety
  • Postpartum depression

Safe Sleep for Infants

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and suffocation are major safety concerns for newborns
Baby crib is empty. No blankets, pillows, bumpers, loose or soft items. Baby sleeping on their back. Baby's crib in close, in your room.
Each year, about 3,500 infants die from sleep-related deaths in the United States.

There are steps you - and everyone who cares for your baby - can take to ensure safe infant sleep. Following these steps for the first year of your baby’s life will help you and your baby sleep safe and sound.

  • Place your baby on their back to sleep for every sleep, including naps.
  • Use a firm, flat mattress (not inclined) with a well-fitted sheet.
  • Feed your baby only breastmilk for six months and continue breastfeeding for at least two years.
  • Share your room with your baby. Keep baby near your bed on their own safety-approved sleep surface like a crib, bassinet, or portable play yard with no other people or pets.
  • Keep everything out of your baby’s sleep area – no blankets, pillows, quilts, bumper pads, crib liners, sitting devices, toys, or other objects.
  • Avoid placing your baby to sleep on a couch, armchair, or seating device like a swing, baby seat, or car safety seat (except when in a car).