What is Prenatal Care?

Prenatal care is preventive health care for pregnant mothers and should be a central part of pre- and post-family planning. Prenatal care has a dual purpose of 

 ensuring regular check-ups are conducted so that doctors may treat or prevent potential health problems throughout the course of the pregnancy; and 

 promoting healthy lifestyle practices for the safety and benefit of both mother and child.

In addition, postnatal care is required primarily during the first six weeks following childbirth.

Take My Prenatal Pledge Today! 

How to Prevent Congenital Syphilis

TALK — Talk to your doctor and ask about regular syphilis testing.
TEST — Get tested at your first prenatal visit; during the third trimester no earlier than 28 weeks gestation; and again at delivery.
TREAT — If you are diagnosed with syphilis, get treated right away. Make sure your partner is treated, too.

  1. If you are pregnant, your doctor is required to test you on three separate occasions for possible sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
  2. Contact Your Provider
  3. If you don’t have insurance, contact Houston Health Department Centers. Walk-ins are welcomed.
  4. Get Tested

Get Tested for Syphilis Three Times

Make Prenatal Care Your No. 1 Priority

Good prenatal care requires a mother’s love and patience. Know your responsibilities — starting with what to ask your doctor.

A doctor can diagnose syphilis by using dark-field microscopy to examine material from syphilis sores. If syphilis bacteria are present in the sore, they will show up with a characteristic appearance.

A simple blood test is another way to determine whether someone has syphilis. Shortly after infection occurs, the body produces syphilis antibodies that can be detected by an accurate and inexpensive blood test. A low level of antibodies will stay in the blood for months or years, even after the disease has been successfully treated. Due to the fact that untreated syphilis in a pregnant woman can infect and possibly kill her developing baby, every pregnant woman should have a blood test for syphilis.

Doctors are required to test expectant moms:

  • During their first prenatal visit
  • Third trimester (no earlier than 28 weeks of gestation)
  • At delivery

What is Your Pledge? What is Your Pledge?
Take My Prenatal Pledge Today!

Houston Health Department Centers

Northside Health Center

8504 Schuller Road
Houston, Texas 77093
Phone: 832-393-5428

Monday: 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Tuesday – Thursday: 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
2nd Wednesday each month: 7 a.m. - 11 a.m.
Friday: 7:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Closed Saturday and Sunday

Sharpstown Health Center

6201 Bonhomme Road
Houston, Texas 77036
Phone: 832-395-9800

Monday - Friday: 7:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Closed Saturday and Sunday

Sunnyside Health Center

4605 Wilmington Street
Houston, Texas 77051
Phone: 832-395-0206

Monday: 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Tuesday - Friday: 7:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Wednesday: 7:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
Closed Saturday and Sunday

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According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of female syphilis cases nationally rose 32% between 2017 and 2018

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Percent of number of congenital syphilis cases among pregnant moms in Houston/Harris County more than doubled, 47 cases to 104 cases, from 2017-2018 respectively

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Percent of women ages 18-34 accounted for all syphilis cases in Houston/Harris County from 2017 to 2018

My Prenatal Pledge

"I pledge to be tested three times during my pregnancy."

K Thomas, Other, 25-34, Houston

My Prenatal Pledge

"I pledge to share the information."

d chaney, Already a Mom, 45, Harris County

My Prenatal Pledge

"I pledge to spread the word!!!"

K Odom, Already a Mom, Houston

My Prenatal Pledge

"I pledge to be tested for syphilis and other STI's at every well woman's exam, also to share information on testing."

C Frand, An Expectant Mother, 25-34, Houston

My Prenatal Pledge

"My pledge is to make sure all the women in my life know to test at least 3 times during pregnancy."

b barnes, Already a Mom, 45, Houston