As an expectant or new parent, you have the trusted pregnancy resources of DeKalb Medical. As you prepare for this wonderful event, remember that early prenatal care and regular checkups are important gifts to give yourself and your baby. While every woman and pregnancy is different, this general information is designed to help you care for yourself and your baby and to help you know what to expect in pregnancy. Of course, the best source of information is your healthcare provider. We encourage you to talk with him or her about any specific information you may need. The tabs below list information in regards to what you can expect in the different stages of your pregnancy.
In the first month of pregnancy, your baby is about one-half inch long. The circulatory system and other vital organs such as the heart, brain, lungs, eyes and ears have begun to form. By the end of the second month, all essential structures are in place, and the baby is about 1 inch long.
A healthful lifestyle provides a solid foundation for your baby’s growth and development. This includes being seen regularly by a health care provider and taking care of yourself and your baby. It’s important to rest during the day. A 30-minute nap can do wonders for how you feel. As your abdomen grows, extra bed pillows can help support your back, tummy and hips.
Protect your baby as he or she grows by avoiding substances which can be harmful to your developing baby including:
Provide the safest environment possible for your growing baby by keeping these safety tips in mind:
Regular exercise can enhance your physical well-being during pregnancy, during labor and afterward. If you haven’t been exercising, try walking. Start slowly and build up to a goal of 30 minutes at least three times per week. Swimming also is an excellent form of exercise. Pay close attention to your body. Remember to drink plenty of fluids, stop if you become overheated or fatigued, start slowly and build up gradually. If you have been on a serious exercise program, be sure to talk with your health care provider about any adjustments you may need to make in your exercise routine. You should not exercise flat on your back after the third month of pregnancy.
Morning sickness such as nausea or vomiting is common in early pregnancy. Whether you feel sick in the morning or have symptoms all day and night, try these tips:
Most women can continue lovemaking throughout their pregnancy. You may experience peaks and valleys in your desire depending on your fatigue level. After your third month, creative positioning is important. You should not lie flat on your back. Avoid heavy weight on your growing abdomen.
7 lbs – maternal stores
4 lbs – increased fluid
4 lbs – increased blood
2 lbs – uterus
6 to 8 lbs – baby
2 lbs – amniotic fluid
1 lb – placenta
If you have any of these symptoms, call your healthcare provider:
One important choice you will make is how you will feed your baby. Breastfeeding is the best feeding for baby, with lifelong health benefits for mother and baby. DeKalb Medical offers ongoing support for breastfeeding moms:
Some mothers may choose not to breastfeed. Your pediatrician can recommend the best formula. If you are unsure about infant feeding, dial 404.501.5787 and a DeKalb Medical lactation expert will be happy to talk with you.
Your baby is starting to grow faster and you’ll begin to “look” pregnant. Your baby’s teeth, eyelids and eyelashes and arms and legs are developing in detail. You may feel the baby move for the first time. By the end of your fifth month, your baby is about 10 inches long.
Maintaining a nutritious, well-balanced diet is important. Remember to drink at least eight glasses of water each day. Because your baby’s brain is growing and developing rapidly, you need to eat high protein foods daily – three servings or 6 ounces. Your baby is building up iron stores and your body needs iron to maintain normal hemoglobin. Be sure to eat iron-rich foods including green leafy vegetables, most breakfast cereals, red meat, raisins and blackstrap molasses.
Unless your health care provider advises otherwise, it is safe to travel until the 28th week of pregnancy. Be sure you drink plenty of water while traveling. For car and air travel, stretch every two hours, walk and empty your bladder. Wear your seatbelt low on your hips and below your expanding tummy. Discuss travel after your 28th week with your health care provider.
You can help prevent premature birth by recognizing the warning signs and physical symptoms of preterm labor. If you have any of these symptoms, call your healthcare provider:
You need to select a pediatrician for your baby. This doctor will see your newborn in the hospital and then provide ongoing care for your child. It’s best to select a pediatrician by your 30th week of pregnancy. If you need help finding a pediatrician, call DeKalb Medical’s free physician referral service at 404.501.WELL or read more about finding a physician. Many pediatricians’ offices have ‘get to know us’ meetings to help you decide on your baby’s doctor. You may want to consider:
You also need to start thinking about how you want to parent your baby. As you select the pediatrician for your baby, ask him or her for any recommendations on parenting books or websites.
A developing baby’s sleep-wake cycle can range from 20 minutes to two hours. You will typically feel your baby move sometime between your 16th and 20th week of pregnancy. Movement will increase and become more noticeable as your pregnancy progresses. Soon family members will be able to feel those kicks and wiggles. Baby’s movement will continue throughout your pregnancy, although movement may be less noticeable in the last few weeks. If you notice a decrease in baby’s movement, call your health care provider immediately. The baby’s position along with the mother’s blood sugar level, occupation and eating habits as well as light, sound and physical stimulus to the uterus can affect fetal movement. Each baby has a different movement rhythm.
Many women may experience pain in their joints and muscles during pregnancy. DeKalb Medical offers Rehabilitation Solutions for Women, a group of physical therapists who specialize in relieving pain during pregnancy. If you are experiencing pregnancy-related aches and pains, talk with your health care provider to see if this is right for you.
Although some medications are allowed in the second trimester of pregnancy, you still may want to ask your health care provider about taking any prescription and over-the-counter medications.
Many women experience more vivid dreams during the last half of pregnancy. If what you are dreaming about is worrying you, talk with your health care provider.
From seven to nine months, you’ll gain the most weight while your baby is growing incredibly fast. In your eighth month, your baby weighs about 4 pounds and is about 17 inches long. The baby’s bones and nails are hardening and wrinkles disappear as fat begins depositing under the skin. At full term, the average baby weighs 6 to 8 pounds and is about 19 to 20 inches long. DeKalb Medical offers classes to help parents know what to expect, prepare for the arrival and be ready for the baby at home. Read more here about these classes or call us at 404.501.WELL.
Be sure you’ve scheduled your tour of DeKalb Medical’s Women’s Center. all 404.501.WELL. You’ll learn:
If you can’t come for a tour, please call 404.501.1389 to make arrangements for pre-registration.
Place fingertips gently but firmly at top of uterus and feel entire uterus for tightening or hardness. From beginning of one contraction to beginning of next is ‘how often’ the contractions are coming. From beginning of one to end of same contraction is ‘how long’ they are lasting.
If this is your first baby, you’ll want to let your health care provider know when you are having contractions every five minutes for about two hours. If you’ve already had a baby, call your health care provider after one hour of regular contractions. If you think your water has broken, call your health care provider immediately, regardless of contractions.
You want only the best care for you and your baby during birth, and
so does DeKalb Medical. With this in mind, DeKalb Medical Women’s Center
now offers an Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB/GYN) Hospitalist program to
serve alongside our community OB/GYNs. DeKalb Medical’s OB/GYN
Hospitalists focus exclusively on providing care for women in labor and
delivery. They are board certified, highly skilled in many birthing
techniques, and are required to maintain professional standards and
DeKalb Medical Hospitalists work seamlessly with our community’s OB/GYNs, family physicians, and certified nurse midwives to enhance the continuity of care for pregnant women, new mothers and their infants. This program underscores our commitment to providing the highest level of care in Women’s Services. Hospitalists contribute to our position of being “With You” as we support your wishes through carefully evaluated birth plans, and many natural birthing options.
If your DeKalb physician is unavailable or delayed, our professional hospitalists will take care of you and answer any questions you have – keeping in contact with your obstetrician to know the particulars of your birth. Anesthesiology is also included — available around the clock — ensuring women in labor won’t have to wait for pain relief, if needed. Additionally, our hospitalists can assume care if the patient does not have their own obstetrician, ensuring you are never alone in this process.
While these hospitalists are an important addition to the staff of DeKalb Medical, they are not a replacement for your personal OB/GYN. Rather, they will act as a safety net for private practice obstetricians, as well as necessary backup at irregular hours. DeKalb’s new Hospitalist program means that no matter what happens along your birthing journey, an experienced DeKalb Medical OB/GYN will be With You All the Way.
At DeKalb Medical, we support family-centered maternity care, and we want to make your baby’s arrival special for you and your family. After you check in at the nurse station, you’ll meet with a specially trained labor and delivery registered nurse who will gather information about your general health and assess your labor. Be sure to share your personal preferences for labor and the comfort measures you would like to use. Our Labor-Delivery-Recovery suites, known as LDRs, provide a relaxed, spa-like environment. Yet, they also are equipped with the most advanced technology and monitoring equipment for you and your baby. And, every room has a private bath with a shower and/or tub. At DeKalb Medical, we welcome complementary therapies such as aromatherapy or acupressure and extra support persons such as a birthing coach or doula.
You and your baby have just completed an incredible journey. Some mothers are surprised that their baby isn’t “picture perfect” when he or she arrives. Babies are born with a thin, whitish coating and they are bloody. Their heads have been conforming to the birth canal so their skull may be distorted or cone-shaped. Underneath the wrinkles and red and white messiness is a bundle of joy – your beautiful son or daughter.
Our Mother-Baby Unit is designed to provide a quiet, comfortable place to rest and recover from your delivery with 52 private Mother-Baby rooms. New mothers are encouraged to keep their baby with them round-the-clock, using this special time to discover your new baby and become more familiar with his or her care. Our Mother-Baby nurses are happy to show you all you will need to know about caring for yourself and your new baby. Each room also features a window seat couch/sleeper and your partner or one other adult is welcome to spend the night with you.
While we give all our mothers and babies special attention, some require greater medical care. Should your baby require extra attention, DeKalb Medical offers a neonatal nursery in Georgia with a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). This unit is for babies who are born early or those who need heart monitoring, special medications or assistance breathing. Parents are encouraged to take an active role in their baby’s care.
DeKalb Medical offers support for breastfeeding mothers while you are in the hospital and when you and your baby have gone home.
How long you are in the hospital after your baby is born depends on your health and your specific insurance coverage. Generally, mothers stay 24 to 48 hours days after a vaginal birth and 48 to 72 hours after a cesarean birth.