Preparing for Your Baby

There are many things to do to prepare for your baby's birth, from decorating a nursery to dealing with insurance issues. To make this time easier for you, we'd like to help in as many ways as possible.

Pre-Admission

When you go into labor, the last thing on your mind should be filling out forms. That's why the Women's Center offers an easy one-step registration process. Just print out and fill in the Maternity Pre-Admission Form then mail or fax it back before your 24th week of pregnancy. That's all there is to it.

When you're admitted to the hospital, only a couple of signatures will be needed. Make sure you bring your insurance cards and any paperwork your insurance company requires. If you are on a CHAMPUS plan, please bring your non-availability and military ID cards, regardless of which plan you are on.

Choosing a Physician For Your Baby

You should choose a physician for your baby about two months before your due date. We will need your physician's name when you are admitted. If you need help selecting a physician, please call our free Physician Referral Service at 1-800-889-DOCS (3627). We can help you find a conveniently located physician who participates in your insurance plan.

If you and your physician have special arrangements regarding the care or admission of your baby, the physician's office must provide them to us in writing, preferably prior to your delivery.

You and your partner should also discuss circumcision with your physician before your baby is born.

Setting The Stage For Your Baby's Arrival

Your baby's birth and the first few moments of life are memories you will cherish forever. Take some time to think about what will make those memories even more special for you and your entire family. Perhaps you want your older children present. Maybe you want your priest, minister, pastor or rabbi to give a birth blessing. Now is the time to discuss these ideas with your healthcare provider. We'll work with you to help you welcome your baby in your own special way.

Second (or third or fourth) Time Around

At the Women's Center, we know not all pregnant women are first-time moms. Many of you have another child, even several children, at home. And we've taken great care to meet your needs as well.

First of all, we offer a very family-oriented birthing experience. Your children are welcome to visit during labor and may be able to attend delivery at your request. If you are interested in this option, please discuss it with your healthcare provider well in advance. In any event, you will want to determine, in advance, who will stay with your children while you are in labor-either at home or at the hospital. In addition, we provide playrooms for siblings and sibling classes to help your children know what to expect when your new baby comes home.

Since you already know what labor and delivery are like, we offer refresher courses that simply review the process. However, if you are planning a vaginal delivery and have previously had a C-section (V_BAC), you may wish to attend a more comprehensive prepared childbirth class. Also, even if you breast fed your other children, you may wish to take a breast feeding class, talk with our lactation consultant or joint our breast feeding support group. Each baby is different and you may find that this baby nurses for longer or shorter periods of time, more or less frequently or prefers a different position than your other breast fed children.

Because you have children already, it will be harder for you to follow the proverbial advice, "sleep when the baby sleeps." You may want to have family members or friends lend a hand or look into hiring a housekeeper, baby nurse or other help in the first few days or weeks.

A Happy, Healthy Pregnancy

Being pregnant brings out a lot of emotions, many of them conflicting. You may be thrilled. Or you may be apprehensive-worrying about changes in your lifestyle and if you'll be a good parent. Try to relax. After all, nature ensures that you have plenty of time to sort our your emotions and get ready for your new baby.

What You May Be Feeling In The First Trimester

Physically, you may be experiencing fatigue, so try to rest whenever possible. You also may experience food aversions or cravings, even nausea. Listen to your body. Many times the cravings are for foods your body needs, such as calcium-rich foods. Nausea can be relieved by eating nutritious foods, snacking between meals (healthy snacks, of course) and consuming starchy foods such as crackers, bread and potatoes.

You also may feel some frustration at not yet appearing to be pregnant. After all, you're feeling a lot of changes. You probably won't gain much weight this trimester (although you'll gain a total of 25 to 35 pounds over the course of the pregnancy). Even so, your clothes may begin to feel tight. Don't worry, you'll look pregnant soon enough.

What You May Be Feeling In The Second Trimester

This is one of the best times of pregnancy. Most women feel great, and the fatigue and nausea have usually passed. Your waist and breasts are expanding-finally the whole world knows your wonderful news.

The middle of this trimester also brings the most exciting moment of pregnancy, the first time you feel your baby kick. As the pregnancy becomes more real to you, the fun of planning a nursery and buying items for your new baby begins. At the end of the second trimester you will probably experience fewer mood swings as you settle into your pregnancy.

What You May Be Feeling In The Third Trimester

By now, you'll probably start to experience Braxton-Hicks contractions (the uterus hardens for a minute then relaxes). You may begin to feel excited about meeting your new baby as well as concerned over handling the stress of labor and delivery. Prepared childbirth classes (or refresher classes for experienced moms) can help with these fears.

You may also start to worry about losing your pregnancy weight after the baby is born. Most women lose about 12 pounds during delivery. If you maintain healthy eating habits you should be able to lose the extra weight within two to six months after delivery. If you are planning to breast feed, you may not lose the last few pounds until your baby is weaned.

At the end of this trimester you may experience surges of extra energy, what many people call the nesting instinct. Or you may find yourself tired. Try to catch up on rest now - it's almost time to meet your baby.

Warning Signs

Pregnancy is a normal state for women, but sometimes complications may arise that put you or your baby at risk. When problems are caught early and promptly treated, the chances for a healthy delivery are good.
Call your healthcare provider immediately if you experience any of the following:

  • If you are in less than your 37th week and have regular contractions, menstrual like cramps in your lower abdomen, pelvic pressure or a change in vaginal discharge.
  • Vaginal bleeding, however slight (with the exception of a small amount of bleeding following a vaginal exam).
  • Sudden or slow leakage of fluid from your vagina.
  • Chills or a fever over 100 degrees.
  • Persistent or severe pain anywhere in your abdomen.
  • Painful or burning urination.
  • A marked decrease in fetal activity, especially in your third trimester.
  • A severe or continuous headache.
  • Blurred vision or seeing spots.
  • Sudden or excessive weight gain.
  • Swelling, especially above the waist.