Prenatal care is the care a woman receives while she is pregnant. First trimester prenatal care means the expectant mother has accessed prenatal care services within the first three months of her pregnancy. This care can be provided by a doctor, midwife or other health care professional. The goal of prenatal care is to monitor the progress of a pregnancy and to identify potential problems before they become serious for either mom or baby.
A typical prenatal care schedule for a low-risk woman with a normally progressing pregnancy is:
A woman with a chronic medical condition or a "high-risk" pregnancy may have to see her health care provider more often.
Early and adequate prenatal care is one of the primary ways to help prevent poor outcomes. Women who receive prenatal care in the first trimester are more likely to have healthier birth outcomes than those who do not receive prenatal care, because pre-existing medical conditions can be detected early and health advice is provided for the entire time she is pregnant. Women who have access to high-quality, affordable prenatal care and who obtain prenatal care in the first trimester tend to have healthier babies with fewer conditions that interfere with school readiness, such as cognitive impairments, behavioral and learning disorders, and visual and auditory impairments
A lack of prenatal care has been linked to poor child outcomes, including low birth weight, which puts babies at high risk for poor health and developmental outcomes such as serious cognitive impairments like cerebral palsy and mental retardation, behavioral and learning disorders, asthma, and other health problems, with the incidence and severity of those problems increasing as birth weight falls. An infant's birth weight is the greatest predictor of infant death.
In Florida, this data is regularly collected and maintained by the State's Department of Health.
The birth data statistics presented are calculated spatially by first geocoding the addresses of the birth mothers. Geocoding involves matching a physical address to a digital reference layer, such as a roads or parcels layer, in GIS. Geocoding rarely results in a 100% successful matching rate and this holds true for the data being presented here as well. Residency addresses provided by the birth mother were geocoded directly by the Florida Department of Health. The percentage matched is typically very high (around 90%) and while this number serves as a very good representation of the birth trends within the county it is important to note that the data presented here is a sample of the true total number of births.