Congratulations. You’ve joined the ranks of the moms-to-be. Surely you‘re discovering that there is a lot to know. First of all, take a deep breath. Then, take a look at these popular topics. The idea here is to provide a brief and manageable overview. If you’re inclined to dig deeper into any topic, we’ve sprinkled in links for you to learn more.
For more information on pregnancy, consult your doctor or call (314) 996-LIFE (5433) or toll-free (800) 392-0936, or email us.
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Most OB/GYNs deliver at several hospitals. They may have a hospital they prefer. Remember, the choice is yours. Your own research, which should include your doctor's recommendation, will help you make your decision on where to deliver. Once you’ve gathered some information, you’ll want to tour those facilities sometime in your first or second trimester. Then simply make your wishes known to your doctor.
As far as the criteria for choosing a hospital, there are many things to consider, depending on your health condition and your preferences. A good start is to ask your doctor if your pregnancy looks to be normal or complicated/high risk. If there is a potential for complications, you will want a facility that is experienced in dealing with complications.
Missouri Baptist Childbirth Center specializes in births of multiples and has a High-Risk Pregnancy Center and a Level IIIA NICU to provide you and your baby the best care possible when complications arise.
Does the hospital have expertise in handling emergencies? Both during childbirth, and after the baby is born? Is there a NICU onsite, or do they use the NICU at another partner hospital?
Can your partner stay with you at all times?
Is the anesthesiologist (your pain relief provider) always present on the floor, or on call?
Is the hospital a “teaching hospital,” meaning that medical students or residents may deliver your baby? Are you okay with this?
What is the general atmosphere of the department and patient rooms? (A tour will give you a good idea.) Take a tour of MoBap Childbirth Center.
When does the baby stay in your room and when does he/she go to the nursery? Is it up to you?
Does the hospital have lactation (breastfeeding) consultants on staff?
What is the visiting policy, and where does your partner sleep when staying the night?
How is the food, and what are the dining options?
Find out “Why MoBap?"
Sign up for MoBap Childbirth Center Tours & Pre-Registration.
Your second trimester is a good time to interview pediatricians and make a selection. A good start is to ask your most trusted friends who are parents. Who do they use? Why do they like this doctor? Your OB is, of course, another good source. Other things to consider are geographical location, personality style, and obviously, experience. For more information and questions to ask, visit the “Finding a Pediatrician” section in My Guide to Pregnancy. Then call the offices of the doctors you’re interested in to register, or schedule a visit with the doctor. By the way, all pediatricians are used to the parent interview process and you are not bothering them by scheduling an appointment.
Your third trimester is a good time to get the hospital bag ready. You will need certain items for yourself and the baby, packed and ready to go. Remember to keep it near the door or in another place that you’ll remember easily.
> Download Hospital Bag Check List
A birth preference list, is a good way to make your wishes known to your doctor about the delivery itself. This is basically your written stance on comfort measures, pain medications and medical procedures. The second trimester is a good time to start it, just to make sure you and your doctor are in agreement about your delivery, and that it’s finished way before your due date.
However, keep in mind that unexpected situations may arise, and in an emergency, necessary changes may have to take place. This is not a binding contract for you either, because you are always free to change your mind, even “in the moment.” So think of it as a guideline, not a commitment.
> My Birth Preference List
Day care facilities vary in terms of their availability, and some have waiting lists. So if you are interested in one in particular, it would be good to look into it during your second trimester to check on availability during the time your child would attend. Nanny services have their own policies as well, so it is good to check in early.
Tours, interviews and word-of-mouth from friends are going to be your most reliable resources in making this important decision, as well as cost, of course.
Your doctor is always the best person to ask in terms of your personal health and fitness, but there are some general guidelines.
If you were physically active before the pregnancy, you should be able to continue low impact exercise at a moderate pace. If you have never exercised before, you can probably start a slow paced program, such as walking, with the permission of your doctor.
First Trimester. Brisk walking, swimming, yoga and light weight training are beneficial. Avoid activities that involve risk of injury, or excessive bouncing or twisting, view sample pregnancy exercises from WebMD. Find out how to calculate your target heart rate during pregnancy to ensure that you are exercising at a healthy pace.
Second Trimester. You may continue the exercises from the first, with a few added cautions. Your new center of gravity may affect your balance, so be aware of it as you are running or doing yoga. If you are weight training, you may find it more comfortable to sit rather than stand. The key now is to listen to your body and not overdo it. With an increased heart rate, you will get winded sooner. Remember also to stay hydrated and avoid excessive heat.
Third Trimester. Depending on how you’re feeling and how your exercise has been going so far, you may want to slow down your exercise in the third trimester. Again, listen to your body and rest when you need to. Light walking is usually still a good option and may also help you feel more energetic, if fatigue is setting in. Always remember to stay cool and drink plenty of water.
At your first doctor’s visit, you will most likely be prescribed prenatal vitamins or your doctor may recommend an over-the-counter brand. You will take these multivitamins during your entire pregnancy to make up for nutritional shortfalls in your diet.
At the same time, it’s important to be more mindful of your diet right away. Your body is working extra hard when you’re pregnant, and it’s a good idea to give yourself the fuel you need.
For a deeper look at nutritional guidelines, and what foods to avoid, visit our Eating and Exercise section in My Guide To Pregnancy.
As soon as your regular clothes start getting too snug, you will want to shop for maternity clothes. This could be late in your first trimester, or early in the second. Many women have found they can stretch the amount of time in their regular clothes with a little creativity: such as twisting a hair elastic around the button of your pants to “extend” the waistline.
When it’s time to shop, there are a multitude of options in the St. Louis area, as well as online. Additionally, your friends who own maternity clothes would likely be happy to lend them.
If it’s at all possible to address the nursery before your third trimester, it would be a good idea. That’s because the closer you get to your due date, the more tired you will become. Also, if there is painting or construction going on, some feel that the fumes and dust could be more harmful in the later weeks of pregnancy.
Somewhere in your second trimester you may experience a significant energy boost, often called a “nesting instinct.” This is an excellent time to organize and prepare your nursery.
The most essential baby items are a crib and bedding, a place to change the baby and a disposal bin for diapers, if using disposable diapers. From there, many people include items such as a rocking chair or glider, storage for toys and books and general decorations. Some parents also like to keep a bassinet in their bedroom and have the baby sleep there during the first month.
A month or two before the due date is a good time for a friend or family member to host your baby shower. You will want to register at least a month or so before that. At this point, you may have decided on the colors of your nursery and whether or not you’d like your gifts to be gender specific. These are helpful bits of information for your guests when they go shopping.