Prenatal Adoption Information

If the child you're planning to adopt isn't yet born, whatever information you can gain about the pregnant woman and about the child's prenatal condition is important. Researchers are discovering that prenatal conditions have an enormous impact on children's later mental and physical development.

Here are a few questions to ask about prenatal conditions that can affect a child:

  • Is the pregnant woman receiving adequate prenatal care? This means care in the first or early second trimester of her pregnancy, when she should be examined at least monthly by an obstetrician or certified nurse midwife.
  • Is the pregnant woman eating right? Is she taking prenatal vitamins?
  • Because unborn children receive all their nutrition from their birthmothers, the birthmothers' diet is crucial. Is the pregnant woman eating plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and dairy products? Is she eating a steady diet of junk food and nothing else?

  • Is the birthmother abusing alcohol?
  • Physicians advise pregnant women to stop drinking alcohol altogether during the pregnancy; alcohol use can damage the developing fetus. At its most extreme, this damage can lead to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), which causes severe neurological damage.

  • Is the pregnant woman abusing drugs (legal or illegal)?
  • Abuse of illegal drugs (such as marijuana, heroin, and cocaine) during pregnancy can adversely affect the child's physical and mental development. The birthmother's gynecologist probably will check for drugs and hopefully will report any signs of drug use to the agency or attorney. However, this may not be possible because of patient confidentiality unless the birthmother signs a release. Ask the agency or attorney if they obtain such releases.

    Also, remember that many legally prescribed medications can be dangerous to a developing fetus and so should not be taken by pregnant women. If the birthmother is getting adequate prenatal care, she will be aware of these restrictions.

  • Does the pregnant woman smoke? Smoking while pregnant decreases oxygen delivery to the developing baby and may result in a baby having a lower birth weight at the time of delivery.
  • Is the birthmother under severe stress? Is there any domestic violence, either physical or emotional?
  • What is the birthmother's general emotional and psychological state? Although it's inevitable that an unplanned pregnancy will cause some amount of stress, high levels of depression or anxiety will not be good for her or the developing fetus.

More on: Adoption


Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Adoption © 2004 by Christine Adamec. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

get ready for school!

We’ve got your
shopping list,
lunch menu,
and more.



Join BIC on our mission to save handwriting and Fight For Your Write! Writing helps kids become better readers, boosts their confidence and sparks their creativity. Visit BICFightForYourWrite.com to sign our petition to save handwriting!

7 Fun Driveway and Sidewalk Games for Kids
Looking for classic outdoor games kids can play in the driveway or on the sidewalk, just like the good ol' days? From hopscotch to bubble-blowing contests, there's something for all ages!

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

Best Sun Safety Practices for Babies
Follow these sun safety practices for babies to ensure your little one stays safe on the beach and on sunny days all year long.