Pregnancy Guide

You Are Pregnant! Now What?

Congratulations on your pregnancy! Learning you are expecting a baby is an exciting time filled with lots of emotions. Once the initial feelings have settled, it's time to get planning!

Whether you are going to be a new mom or you have been through childbirth a time or two, this is your comprehensive guide to everything related to pregnancy and newborns.

Guide to Having a Baby

Find a Provider for You

Finding out you are pregnant brings forth a number of decisions that need to be made. One of your first priorities should be finding a provider to care for you while you are pregnant. You have several options including an obstetrician, a family practitioner or a certified nurse-midwife. Each provider offers different types of expertise, qualifications and medical practices. Choosing a provider should be based on the risk factors of your pregnancy, your comfort level and your birth plan.

How Will Your Medical Care Change During Pregnancy?

Prenatal vitamins are essential for the health of you and your newborn. Ideally, you start taking prenatal vitamins before you become pregnant, but if you don't, start taking them as soon as you find out you are pregnant.

Your first visit to a health care provider should occur between the first six to eight weeks of your pregnancy, or when your menstrual period is two to four weeks late. Most providers won't see you until the eighth week, but it is important to make this appointment as soon as possible because openings fill up quickly. During this visit, your health care provider confirms your pregnancy, determines any risk factors for you or your baby, and gives you a full physical exam. You should expect to answer questions about your health history and last menstrual cycle.

If you are healthy and you have a low-risk pregnancy, expect to see your health care provider every four weeks until week 28 of your pregnancy. From there, you will see your provider every two weeks until week 36 of your pregnancy and then once a week until delivery.

Where Should You Deliver?

After you decide on a provider, you can choose where you want to deliver your baby. Your choice may depend on location, where your provider delivers, personal insurance coverage, pregnancy risk factors, amenities, and personal preferences. Speak with your health care provider to determine the option that best fits you.

With private, relaxing labor-deliver and postpartum care rooms, UnityPoint Health - Methodist is an excellent choice. We offer advanced technology and a private setting. If issues arise, addition care can be provided in our certified Level II Neonatal Unit.

Click here to schedule a tour and to learn more about our private birthing suites.

How Should You Care for Yourself During Pregnancy?

For your health and your baby's health, it is especially important to take care of yourself during your pregnancy. The basic guidelines for a healthy pregnancy are to get enough rest, eat a healthy diet and don't smoke, drink alcohol or take drugs.

During pregnancy, your body undergoes many changes. While you may feel uncomfortable discussing questions with your health care provider, it is important to do so to ensure the best health for you and your baby. Keep an open-ended list of questions in between appointments and bring that list with you every time you meet with your provider.

Register for Childbirth Classes

Childbirth and newborn classes can prepare you for what to expect during pregnancy and childbirth and after delivery. Learn breathing and relaxation exercises, breastfeeding, Lamaze exercises, how to choose a pediatrician, and much more. View classes.

Find a Provider for your Baby

Not to be confused with your provider during your pregnancy, this health care provider cares for your baby after he/she is born. This provider may be a pediatrician, pediatric nurse practitioner (PNP) or a family practitioner, depending on your baby and your preference. To ensure you are comfortable with your baby's provider, interview several candidates regarding their practices and policies. The optimal time to start searching for a provider for your baby is three months prior to your due date.