Prenatal health care

Texas Healthy Babies offers a variety of resources and planning tools that you can share with your patients during their pregnancies. Together, these documents make up a toolkit to encourage open lines of communication, patient-centered goal setting and can support behavior change over time. The Birth Plan, Prenatal Provider Poster and My Health Priorities Patient Worksheet complement each other and send a message to patients that their provider is open to their questions.

get your patients prepared for breastfeeding during the prenatal period.

Research shows that those women who plan for breastfeeding and are supported by their partners and providers have a better chance of success than those who are only prompted to breastfeed at the hospital after birth. Support your breastfeeding patients by downloading the Healthcare Provider’s Guide to Breastfeeding smartphone app from the iTunes or Google Play stores.

the last weeks of pregnancy count.

Babies born late preterm and early term are knows as the great imposters. They often look healthy at birth and may be mistaken for older babies by their APGAR scores. But many times, they decompensate quickly in terms of thermoregulation, glycemic control and often require significant care in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

Early entry into prenatal care.

Only about 60 percent of Texas women enter prenatal care before the end of their first trimester. Late entry into prenatal care is linked to low birth weight, smoking during pregnancy and other poor outcomes. Providers have the opportunity to engage women — particularly women not planning pregnancy — in early prenatal care by conveying its importance during the preconception period.

They can also encourage seamless entry into on-time prenatal care, educate their administrative staff about the importance of scheduling women early in their pregnancies and work to accommodate patients’ schedules to assure entry into care.

Women with previous preterm birth

The greatest risk factor in preterm birth is a history of preterm birth. Identifying these women early and administering 17-alphahydroxyprogesterone caproate (17P) in appropriate candidates can avert subsequent prematurity. 17P is reimbursable through Medicaid and is available through compounding pharmacies and as a commercial product, Makena®. Candidates for 17P must meet the following criteria:

  • Singleton pregnancy
  • Previous spontaneous preterm delivery (<37 weeks gestation) of a single baby
Antenatal Corticosteroids

Antenatal Glucocorticoids are steroids that hasten lung maturation in fetuses with threatened preterm delivery. These steroids have been a recommended treatment modality to reduce the incidence and severity of respiratory distress syndrome and mortality in neonates for thirty years.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders and Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) and Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) are under-diagnosed conditions with great potential for long-term sequelae.

Recognizing Perinatal Depression

Perinatal depression is most common in women who:

  • Are younger than 20 years old
  • Have had PPD or other mood disorders previously
  • Have a family history of depression
  • Are experiencing additional stressful events in their lives (death or illness of a loved one, financial problems, domestic abuse, personal health problems, drug use, etc.)
Intimate partner violence

Intimate partner violence and domestic violence have been shown to escalate during pregnancy. The leading cause of death for pregnant women nationally is homicide — outpacing medical complications. It’s estimated that four to eight percent of women experience physical and non-physical abuse during their pregnancy.

CHIP Perinatal Coverage

The Texas Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) offers prenatal care for the unborn children of low-income women who don’t qualify for Medicaid coverage. Once born, the child will receive CHIP benefits for the duration of the 12-month coverage period.


The California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative (CMQCC) and the March of Dimes developed the Less Than 39 Weeks Toolkit, available through the March of Dimes Prematurity Prevention Resource Center.

These Healthy Texas Babies exam room posters help keep your patients informed and spur discussion of important health topics.

The First Trimester Checklist gives your patients a simple, step-by-step guide for ensuring they enjoy healthy pregnancies.

For additional resources and tools to support you in your assessment and treatment of perinatal depression, click here.

Get resources, information and other materials around Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders from ACOG.

Get handouts, screening tools and other information from ACOG with Drinking and Reproductive Health: Toolkit for Clinicians.

ACOG has also developed a slide set: “Illicit Drug Abuse and Dependence in Women” to address the impact substance abuse has on a woman’s health.

Alcohol and Pregnancy: Myths and Facts explores the common misconceptions about “safe” levels of alcohol consumption during pregnancy and reinforces that drinking alcohol even in small amounts can have lifelong consequences for a child.

Interrupt the cycle with the guide: “Addressing Intimate Partner Violence, Reproductive and Sexual Coercion”, developed by ACOG and Futures Without Violence.

For CHIP training materials, a listing of CHIP perinatal plans by service area and important forms, visit the CHIP page on the Texas Health and Human Services Commission website.