Preparing for Childbirth | Methodist Hospital | UnityPoint Health

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Pregnancy and Preparing for Childbirth at Methodist

Congratulations! You're pregnant. Whether you are a first-time or experienced mom, you probably have questions. How do I keep my pregnancy healthy? How do I prepare for childbirth? Is there anything new I need to know?

Whether your birth choice is natural, vaginal with pain medication, or via C-section, you want your baby to be healthy. And you probably have strong feelings about how to create just the right environment for your child's birth.

Choose Us as Your Childbirth Planning Partner

The UnityPoint Health – Methodist Birthing Center team is as passionate as you are about individualizing your care and keeping your childbirth plan on track. We can help with tools and resources for a healthy pregnancy and childbirth planning.

To help you keep your health and your baby's on track, we have classes and information on pregnancy complications. And we're there for you when you go home, too. Our breastfeeding support and postpartum planning tools help you navigate those hectic first weeks.

Preparing for Childbirth: First Steps

A new baby means planning and more planning. But you can do a few things right away:

  • Choose a provider: Find a certified nurse-midwife, obstetrician or family medicine physician. Make an appointment in your first 6-8 weeks of pregnancy. Research OB/GYNs and nurse-midwives.
  • Decide where to deliver: Methodist has intimate labor-delivery and postpartum care rooms designed for low intervention. We offer a certified Level II Nursery with Extended Neonatal capabilities. This means we can take care of babies born at 32 weeks' gestation or later.
  • Choose your baby's provider: Look for a pediatrician, pediatric nurse practitioner (PNP), or family medicine physician for your baby. Confirm with your provider 3 months before you are due.
  • Address any issues: Talk to your provider if you know your pregnancy will be complicated. They can help you make a childbirth plan that takes care of you and your baby.

Personalize Your Birth Plan

A birth plan is a written document you share with your provider and Methodist care team. In it, you can state your preferences and anticipate how you'll make decisions throughout labor.

Studies show that women who have a birth plan experience fewer interventions and have better communication with their care team. Mother and baby  may also have better outcomes.

You can start your plan now by speaking with your doctor about childbirth options. When you arrange a tour of the Methodist Birthing Center, you can talk to our specially trained staff about your individual preferences. Then create and start sharing your birth plan.

Stay Healthy During Pregnancy

Keeping your scheduled provider visits, taking your prenatal vitamins and eating a healthy diet are the foundations of a healthy pregnancy. It's not always easy, but you should also be getting plenty of rest. And during pregnancy, avoid alcohol, smoking and drugs.

Between visits with your doctor or midwife, make sure to communicate with them if you have concerns. You can monitor your baby's movements and prepare for breastfeeding, too. Get more tips on keeping you and baby healthy during pregnancy.

Find Childbirth Classes for You and Your Family

Childbirth preparation classes are part of a positive childbirth experience . They have been shown to make women more comfortable and improve communication. Women who attend classes may use less medication or lower their chance of a C-section. They are more likely to breastfeed successfully.

Our Methodist team has created classes to prepare you for childbirth, breastfeeding and caring for your newborn. Soon-to-be older brothers and sisters (and family) can attend a class of their own. Sign up for classes  and a tour of our Birthing Center now.

Understand Pregnancy Complications

While most births are routine, sometimes women experience illness or complications. Many can be managed at home. Others mean you need to see a doctor. Learn more about pregnancy complications. Contact your provider if you have any concerns.

During your pregnancy, you may experience:

  • Common issues: You may get a minor illness or need to know what over-the-counter medications are safe.
  • High-risk pregnancy: If you know your pregnancy is high-risk, you'll need to work with a perinatologist, a doctor who specializes in high-risk pregnancies. Your provider will decide if you need this specialist.
  • Zika concerns: Providers now screen for Zika. While you are pregnant, take precautions, and talk to your doctor if you may have been exposed.
  • Personal challenges: If you are struggling with opioid use, we have programs focused on getting you healthy and keeping you and your baby together.

Start Your Postpartum Plan

Did you know doctors now agree that parents and providers need to pay much more attention to the "fourth trimester" — the 12 weeks after you go home? The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends making plans that cover medical, family and social aspects of going home.

The Birthing Center has a checklist and tips to help you get your list together. You can create a care plan, set up a support system and watch out for postpartum medical issues and postpartum depression. Start your fourth trimester postpartum plan now.

Contact the Birthing Center

You can call 309-672-4852 to schedule a tour of the Birthing Center. Tours are held:

  • Mondays  at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
  • Wednesdays  at 5 p.m.
  • Fridays at 10 a.m.

For information about childbirth preparation classes, see our Classes and Events page or call 309-671-2522.

Preregister now to reserve your space.