Saint John's to Educate Moms During Height of Birth Season

Hospital offers prenatal care information and valuable resources for new Latina moms at state-of-the-art facility

Published on LatinoLA: July 13, 2011

Saint John's to Educate Moms During Height of Birth Season

Summer marks the peak time for live births in the United States. From July through September, obstetricians witness an increase in the arrival of newborns and while state-of-the art facilities like Saint John's Health Center are always ready to meet the increased demand, many women fail to seek the appropriate prenatal education and care necessary for an optimal childbirth experience.

To this end, the experts at Saint John's Health Center aim to inform expectant Latina mothers about proper care, tests and nutrition, as well as resources available at their facilities, including a team of bilingual physicians who understand their culture and care about their health and wellbeing.

"Many Latinas forego basic preventative care and, unfortunately, that includes prenatal care," says Dr. Jacqueline Trejo, Obstetrician and Gynecologist at Saint John's McAlister Women's Health Center. "Every pregnant woman needs to learn about proper nutrition for fetal development and familiarize herself with key tests that can help her identify potential health issues for her and her baby during gestation."

Dr. Trejo says getting regular prenatal care visits and childbirth education are the best preventative measures to ensure a successful pregnancy and birth. During pregnancy, certain routine lab tests, such as urine and blood tests, can help determine if a mother is at risk of gestational diabetes, anemia and certain infections.

Tests can also identify potential issues, such as incompatible Rh factor, that can be easily handled during pregnancy but could cause problems with future pregnancies if undetected. Depending on a woman's age, health history and results of the routine tests, her doctor may recommend additional screenings, such as testing for birth defects and genetic disorders.

Proper nutrition is also a key aspect of prenatal care. A good diet is even more important during pregnancy, when there are added demands on a woman's body to meet the needs of the growing fetus. Dr. Trejo recommends a diet that includes proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and fats, but that also takes into account key pregnancy nutrients such as calcium, folic acid, iron and vitamins A, C, D, B6 and B12, among others.

Dr. Trejo offers general tips for pregnant women. She recommends they get:

1. Prenatal care: this should include regular doctor visits and childbirth education.
2. Tests & screenings: besides routine blood and urine tests, your doctor can discuss what other tests, if any, are best for you.
3. Proper nutrition: Make sure to include calcium and vitamin D to build strong bones and teeth; iron to help red blood cells deliver oxygen to the baby, Vitamin A to form healthy skin and eyesight and folate, which is needed to produce blood and protein.
4. Adequate weight gain: A woman whose weight is normal before she becomes pregnant should gain 25ÔÇô35 pounds during pregnancy.
5. Exercise: Exercise can help strengthen muscles used in labor and delivery and lessen some of the discomforts of pregnancy. Most women should exercise 30 minutes or more each day. Talk with your doctor before starting an exercise program.

To provide better prenatal care and a childbirth experience, Saint John's Health Center recently opened the McAlister Women's Health Center which is Southern California's newest and most advanced women's medical facility. Encompassing the entire third floor of the new Howard Keck Diagnostic Center, it has been designed to offer comfort and privacy while providing exceptional care by leading women's healthcare specialists.

The inpatient unit features three distinct areas--labor, delivery and recovery; postpartum; and women's services. More importantly for Latina patients, Saint John's Health Center cares and understands their specific needs.

For more information on Saint John's McAlister Women's Health Center, prenatal care and birth services, visit Saint John's Health Center website at

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