Prenatal care is a vital aspect of a healthy pregnancy, ensuring the well-being of both mother and baby throughout this incredible journey. With over 25 years of experience as a board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist in Forest Hills, NY, Barbara A. Hessel, MD. FACOG has extensive knowledge and expertise in providing comprehensive prenatal care and guidance for expectant mothers, helping them navigate the challenges and joys of pregnancy.

Pregnancy is a remarkable time of physical and emotional transformation, and comprehensive prenatal care promotes the best possible outcomes for both mother and child. Trust Dr. Hessel to guide you through every stage of your pregnancy journey, providing the compassionate care, expertise, and support you need to ensure a healthy and joy-filled experience for both you and your baby.

In this article, we will discuss the importance of prenatal care in ensuring a healthy pregnancy, covering a range of topics, including essential health screenings, dietary recommendations, and lifestyle considerations. With expert advice from Dr. Hessel, our goal is to help expectant mothers make informed choices that will benefit their overall health and the well-being of their growing baby.

Essential Health Screenings for a Healthy Pregnancy

Routine health screenings during pregnancy play a crucial role in monitoring maternal and fetal health, allowing healthcare providers like Dr. Barbara Hessel to detect any potential concerns early on. Some essential prenatal screenings include:

1. First-Trimester Screenings: These tests typically assess the risk of chromosomal abnormalities in the developing fetus, including Down syndrome and trisomy 18. They consist of blood tests and an ultrasound to measure the nuchal translucency.

2. Second-Trimester Screenings: Also known as the “quad screen,” this blood test measures levels of specific hormones and proteins to assess the risk of certain birth defects and chromosomal abnormalities.

3. Gestational Diabetes Screening: This test is usually performed between the 24th and 28th week of pregnancy to identify women who are at risk for gestational diabetes, a temporary form of diabetes that can affect pregnancy outcomes.

4. Group B Streptococcus (GBS) Screening: GBS is a common bacterium that can be harmful to newborns if passed to them during delivery. A GBS test is typically conducted between the 35th and 37th week of pregnancy.

Dietary Recommendations for a Healthy Pregnancy

A balanced and nutrient-rich diet is essential during pregnancy to support the health and development of both mother and baby. Dr. Hessel recommends incorporating the following nutrient-dense foods into your prenatal diet:

1. Protein: Adequate protein intake is vital for fetal growth and development. Include a variety of protein sources, such as lean meats, fish, poultry, beans, and legumes in your diet.

2. Iron: Pregnant women require higher levels of iron to support their increased blood volume and the developing baby’s needs. Consume iron-rich foods like red meat, poultry, fish, beans, and fortified grains.

3. Calcium: Calcium is necessary for the development of the baby’s bones and teeth. Include dairy products, fortified plant-based milk alternatives, leafy greens, and calcium-fortified cereals in your diet.

4. Folic Acid: This essential nutrient helps prevent neural tube defects in the developing baby. Incorporate leafy greens, citrus fruits, and fortified grains into your diet, and consult with Dr. Hessel about any necessary supplemental folic acid.

Lifestyle Considerations for a Healthy Pregnancy

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy is essential for maternal and fetal well-being. Consider the following lifestyle factors:

1. Exercise: Engaging in moderate, low-impact exercise during pregnancy can help promote overall health, improve mood, and prepare the body for labor. Seek Dr. Hessel’s guidance about suitable exercises based on your individual health and pregnancy status.

2. Avoid Harmful Substances: Refrain from smoking, consuming alcohol, or using drugs during pregnancy, as these substances can negatively impact fetal development and increase the risk of pregnancy complications.

3. Prenatal Vitamins: Consult with Dr. Hessel about the necessity of prenatal vitamins to meet your nutritional needs during pregnancy and ensure you and your baby receive all the essential vitamins and minerals.

4. Stress Management: Manage stress during pregnancy by practicing relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing exercises, yoga, or meditation. A balanced state of mind can be beneficial for both the mother and the growing baby.

Postpartum Care and Support

After the birth of your baby, continued care and support are essential for a smooth transition into motherhood. Dr. Hessel provides comprehensive postpartum care, including:

1. Postpartum Checkups: These visits typically occur six weeks after childbirth, allowing Dr. Hessel to assess your physical and emotional well-being and address any post-delivery concerns.

2. Breastfeeding Support: Dr. Hessel can provide guidance and resources to help facilitate successful breastfeeding and address any challenges that may arise.

3. Contraceptive Counseling: Discuss your family planning goals and contraceptive options with Dr. Hessel to make an informed decision about postpartum birth control.


A healthy pregnancy requires comprehensive prenatal care, including essential health screenings, a balanced diet, and a healthy lifestyle. As a board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist, Barbara A. Hessel, MD. FACOG is dedicated to providing personalized, compassionate care for expectant mothers, guiding them through their pregnancy journey and beyond.
If you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant, prioritize prenatal care as part of your health journey. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Hessel’s OBGYN clinic in Forest Hills, NY, today to establish a prenatal care routine tailored to your unique needs, ensuring a healthy and joyous pregnancy experience for both you and your baby.