I am Pregnant...How do I Prepare for Having a Baby?
Congratulations on your pregnancy! Whether you are pregnant with your first baby, or you are expecting your fourth, we are here to care for you throughout your pregnancy, delivery, and after your baby's birth.
Finding out that you are having a baby brings about a number of emotions. Once the feelings settle down, it's time to figure out what the next steps are. The following information is meant to give you a good overview about what to expect during pregnancy and some of the things you should be thinking about. A one-stop online resource for all things pregnancy and baby!
Prepare for Having a Baby: Next Steps
Find a Provider: Des Moines OB/GYN and Midwife Clinics
You have lots of decisions to make now that you're having a baby, and one of the first things you'll need to consider is who will care for you during your pregnancy - an obstetrician, a family practice physician, or a certified nurse-midwife. Each has different qualifications, philosophies, practice guidelines, and areas of expertise. Your choice will depend on your health, your risk factors and the type of pregnancy and birth experience you want. Read our OB clinic patient testimonials.
With offices located throughout Des Moines, you can schedule appointments close to home or work.
OB/GYN Clinic Locations
Learn What to Expect with Your Medical Care During Pregnancy
It is very important to start prenatal care as early as possible - the sooner good care begins, the better for the health of both moms and their babies. You should call to schedule your first examination during the first 6 to 8 weeks of your pregnancy, or when your menstrual period is 2 to 4 weeks late. Many health care providers will not schedule the first visit before 8 weeks, unless there is a problem. Read all about what to expect including routine visits, prenatal tests, and more.
Decide Where You'd Like to Deliver
Once you have chosen a provider, you can chose where to deliver your baby. Having a baby at a maternity center can be an exciting experience. Some of the factors that may affect your choice include location, referral preference, distance from a children's hospital, neonatal coverage, amenities, or another factor that may be important to you. Good maternity centers offer tours of their facilities and help you understand all that will take place during your experience in the maternity center during and after delivery.
All three of the UnityPoint Health - Des Moines Maternity Centers, Iowa Methodist, Iowa Lutheran and Methodist West, will provide you with experienced and caring physicians, nurses and support staff who will help you welcome the newest member of your family.
Schedule a Maternity Center Tour With Your Hospital of Choice
Good maternity centers offer tours of their facilities and help you understand all that will take place during your experience in the maternity center during and after delivery. Schedule your Maternity Center tour.
Sign-up for Childbirth Education Classes
Birth and baby care classes can help prepare you for what to expect before, during and after your delivery. Learn what to expect during pregnancy, tips on comfort measures during childbirth, prepare yourself for breastfeeding, learn how to bathe your baby and so much more! It is recommended to have your birth and baby care classes completed by your 34th week of pregnancy. Register online and view upcoming class times and locations.
Take Care of Yourself During Pregnancy
For your baby's sake and yours, it's important to take especially good care of yourself during your pregnancy. Talk with your OB provider about any questions you have related to what is OK during pregnancy and what to avoid. Read more about nutrition, foods to avoid, pregnancy side effects and more.
Choosing a Provider for Your Baby
When you pre-register for your delivery, you will be asked the name of the baby's provider. This person is different than your OB provider and will be caring for your child after he/she is born. First time mothers, often do not realize that in choosing their own doctor for their pregnancy, they must also decide on a pediatrician or family physician for their new baby. Read more about choosing a provider for your baby.
We have several providers throughout Des Moines and its suburbs for you to choose from. Visit our Find a Doctor page to find what you are looking for.
Visit the Maternity FAQ page
Expectant parents usually have a lot of questions about their upcoming delivery and hospital stay and we are OK with that. We encourage you to ask questions and learn as much as you can about welcoming a new baby into your family. To help answer some of your frequently asked questions, we have created the Maternity FAQ page. Please visit this page to see some of the common questions. Feel free to also use our Submit a Question form if you're unable to find the answer to your question.