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Pregnancy Resources

Folic Acid

Folic Acid is a B vitamin that is an essential nutrient for healthy growth and development. The U.S. Public Health Service and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that all women of childbearing age take 400 micrograms of folic acid every day to help prevent major birth defects of the baby's brain and spine known as neural tube defects (NTDs).

About 3,000 pregnancies are affected by NTDs each year in the U.S. It is estimated if women took folic acid every day before getting pregnant and during early pregnancy, it may help reduce the number of pregnancies affected by NTDs by up to 70 percent.

NTDs are detected through an alpha-fetoprotein test (AFP). AFP is a blood test administered at 16-18 weeks of pregnancy. The test measures alpha-fetoprotein, a substance produced by the fetus and secreted into the amniotic fluid. An elevated AFP can mean the mother is carrying twins or that there is a problem with the placenta. An elevated AFP can also mean that there is the possibility of birth defects present such as kidney or liver disease, Down syndrome, spina bifida, or other defects. Additional follow-up and testing will be conducted by the healthcare provider if an elevated AFP is detected.

Foods that contain folic acid include:

  • Beans, like lentils, pinto beans, and black beans
  • Leafy green vegetables, like spinach and Romaine lettuce
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Peanuts
  • Citrus fruits, like oranges and grapefruit
  • Enriched or fortified grains, cereals, and pasta

Additional resources:

Region V CAT Grief Resource Guide for Pregnancy and Infant Loss

Grief Resource Guide for Pregnancy and Infant Loss

Care for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CYSHCN)

A groundbreaking set of standards and companion background have been released. These standards address the core components of an effective system of care for CYSHCN. The Children's Rehabilitation Service will work to incorporate these standards of care in Alabama.

Disparities in Child Passenger Safety

Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for children less than 15 years of age. But American Indian/Alaskan Native children die as passengers at a higher rate than any other racial/ethnic group. Read the whole story.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD)

The National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is a federal initiative devoted to preventing and treating FASD. FASD comprises a range of effects that can occur in an individual whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy.

Movement Matters

A baby's movements are an important sign of their well-being in the 3rd trimester. Get to know what's normal for your baby using the free Count the Kicks Pregnancy App.

How to Apply for Medicaid For Pregnant Women

The Alabama Medicaid Maternity Care Program is designed to ensure every pregnant woman has access to medical care, to lower Alabama's infant mortality rate, and to improve the health of mothers and infants. Even if you do not know about the income guidelines, apply for Medicaid. Your local eligibility worker will help you determine if you qualify. More information is available in our brochure, and you may apply online at Insure Alabama or at your local county health department, federally qualified health care center, or some local hospitals. Call 1-800-362-1504 or visit Medicaid.

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS)

Alabama Perinatal Excellence Collaborative (APEC)

  • APEC was established to be a resource for obstetric and other healthcare providers throughout the state of Alabama for assistance in improving perinatal outcomes and ultimately the health and welfare of women and infants throughout Alabama.
  • Download the APEC guidelines to your smartphone.
  • Download the My Family Plan app for mothers.

Maternity Care Coordination Services

Maternity Care Coordination Services are available to eligible Women, Infants, and Children Program recipients. Download the brochure.

Oral Health During Pregnancy

Getting healthy before pregnancy and staying healthy throughout is an important priority for expectant moms. And oral health is a vital part of overall health and well-being. Unfortunately, oral health issues can be common during pregnancy. And more than half of women report not seeing a dental professional during pregnancy. Up to 70% of pregnant women experience gingivitis associated with changes in hormone levels during pregnancy. Some studies indicate there may be an association between poor maternal oral health and preterm birth. To learn more go to Dental Care or Brushing for Two: How Your Oral Health Affects Baby.

Postpartum Depression

  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Depression Toolkit - Many mothers struggle daily with depression. Depression is a real condition that can affect mood, appetite, and health. This toolkit is designed for community-based providers to offer ideas and resources for helping mothers, and their families, who may be suffering from depression.
  • Jenny's Light was established with the mission to improve and save lives by increasing awareness of perinatal mood disorders such as postpartum depression.
  • Postpartum Support, International is dedicated to helping women suffering from perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, including postpartum depression. They also work to educate family, friends, and healthcare providers so that moms and moms-to-be can get the support they need and recover.
  • is a community website sharing the stories of women and men who have experienced postpartum depression (PPD).

Pre-Pregnancy and Prenatal Care  

Pre-Pregnancy and prenatal care can help prevent complications and inform women about important steps they can take to protect their infant and ensure a healthy pregnancy. With regular prenatal care, women can reduce the risk of pregnancy complications. For more information, read Prenatal Care Checkups from the March of Dimes. 

Page last updated: June 13, 2024