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Fetal Health and Development

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Summary

A normal pregnancy lasts nine months. Each three-month period of pregnancy is called a trimester. During each trimester, the fetus grows and develops. Regular medical checkups and prenatal tests are very important. They can

  • Help keep you and your baby healthy
  • Spot problems with your baby (if there are any). In some cases, health care professionals can treat the problem before your baby is born. But even when they cannot, it can still be helpful to know about the problem early on. That gives you time to learn about your baby's condition and prepare for any challenges you may face after the baby is born.
  • Prevent problems during delivery. For example, if your baby is breech (bottom first or feet first, instead of head first), you may need to have a Cesarean section to avoid complications.

Besides getting medical care, there are other things you can do to keep your baby as healthy as possible. It's important not to drink or smoke. Try to eat a healthy diet and make sure to take care of any health problems you have during pregnancy.

Start Here

  • (March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation)
  • (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) Also in
  • (Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women's Health) Also in
  • (American Academy of Family Physicians)
  • (American Academy of Family Physicians)
  • (American Academy of Family Physicians)

Diagnosis and Tests

Related Issues

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development) Also in

Specifics

  • (National Kidney Foundation)
  • (American Heart Association)
  • (American Heart Association)
  • (Texas Heart Institute) Also in
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
  • (Children's Hospital and Health System, Wisconsin)
  • (American Academy of Family Physicians) Also in

Statistics and Research

  • From the National Institutes of Health Video (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development)

Clinical Trials

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)

Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)

Find an Expert

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development) Also in
  • Also in

Patient Handouts