Women’s Health

Childbirth Preparation

Preparing for Baby – What to Expect

Pregnancy is an exciting and overwhelming time for any new parent…even those who have other children! The Baby Place at Peterson Health is here to help you celebrate and prepare in the months leading up to your baby’s birth.

Prenatal visits

When you first learn you are pregnant, it’s time to start thinking about who you will choose as your doctor to see you through pregnancy and childbirth. The Baby Place providers include obstetricians and nurse midwives who can care for you in your community. For help in choosing a doctor, please call 830-258-7661.

Once you choose a doctor or Certified Nurse Midwife, you can schedule an initial appointment to get to know the provider and start your prenatal care. Typically, you’ll have a prenatal office visit about once every four weeks in the first 28 weeks of your pregnancy. At the 28th week, we’ll draw some additional lab tests, and your visits will become more frequent, about every two weeks. Starting with the 35th or 36th week of pregnancy, you will have weekly office visits until your baby is born.

Prenatal screening

Every pregnant woman will have lab tests and ultrasounds, allowing her health care team to monitor both mom’s health and baby’s health and development. Ultrasounds are often an exciting time for families, giving them a glimpse at their developing baby.

Some tests are optional – such as ones to preliminarily screen your baby for certain conditions, such as Down syndrome and spina bifida. These can include special blood tests and/or procedures such as amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling. Your doctor will discuss these tests with you and allow you to decide what is right for you.

Any prenatal screening can provide information to you, but few are 100 percent accurate and none tell you everything about your baby. It’s possible that a baby with a “high risk” test result will have few or any problems, just as it’s possible for a “low risk” test result to fail to identify significant problems. Talk to your doctor about the pros and cons of screening and which tests might be right for you.

High-risk pregnancy

Some pregnancies are labeled “high risk” for a number of reasons. This may be due to health concerns for the mother, the baby, or both. The Baby Place doctors are experienced in caring for high risk patients with the expertise and resources needed to ensure a pregnancy and birth that is as safe as possible for both mom and baby.

Sometimes moms who are very young or older than usual may be considered high risk. Moms with existing health conditions such as diabetes, blood disorders, addiction, or other diagnoses would be considered high risk. Sometimes, lab tests or imaging detect conditions in the baby that make the pregnancy high risk, such as a heart defect, neural tube defect, chromosomal condition, and others.

In the rare occasions when it is necessary, The Baby Place has referral relationships with and quick transfer ability to hospitals who can care for the most critically ill moms and babies.

Your birth plan

The Baby Place doesn’t just try to work with your birth plan. Our providers encourage you to create a birth plan and will even help you develop it. A birth plan plots out how you would like to experience labor and childbirth. We will do our best to follow your plan.

  1. Aim for the birth plan that is best for you – what’s trendy is way less impactful than what is meaningful to you.
  2. Work with your doctor or midwife to make sure it’s safe.
  3. Be flexible.

Birth plans can include music, lighting, pictures, activity, hydrotherapy, natural childbirth, medication, epidural, C-section, family involvement, partner involvement, camera use, first breastfeeding, homecoming, or any other aspect of labor, delivery and newborn care you’d like to plan. Your doctor or Certified Nurse Midwife can help you formulate it or look it over to be sure it’s safe.

When you get to The Baby Place to have your baby, be sure to let the staff, and particularly your nurses, know that you have a birth plan. Share it with them. As long as everything in it is safe for you and baby, you will be well on your way to realizing your birth plan.

However, childbirth can be your first introduction to how your children can surprise you. Sometimes a planned vaginal birth becomes an emergency C-section. Sometimes the hydrotherapy you thought you’d love is not something you’re thrilled about, after all. Sometimes your support person gets sick, or the car breaks down. Babies are beautiful when the birth plan goes off without a hitch, and when it goes completely awry. Be flexible, and know we’ll do whatever we can to make this experience just right for you and your family.

Parenting Classes and Tours

Whether you’re expecting your first child or need a refresher for a subsequent pregnancy, The Baby Place offers classes and tours to help you know what to expect in labor and delivery as well as in caring for a newborn baby.

Join other expectant parents at our “Pregnancy to Parenting” classes. These classes for pregnant women and their partners cover topics such as stages of labor, pain relief measures, insurance coverage, and care for mom and baby after delivery, as well as infant safety and nutrition. Additional classes are available on topics such as breastfeeding, CPR and parenting.

If you and your partner, and even your other children, would like to see The Baby Place at Peterson Health before you deliver, we’d be happy to provide a free tour and answer your questions about the program. Seeing the home-like rooms and learning about the features and amenities ahead of time can help calm those nerves when it’s time for baby’s arrival.

To schedule a tour or learn about available parenting courses, just call The Baby Place at 830-258-7444. Check out the class schedules and descriptions on our events calendar.

Caring for yourself during pregnancy

Pregnant moms aren’t the fragile flowers they were once thought to be. Many women work, raise kids or pursue other activities throughout their pregnancy. However, you are nurturing a developing baby, so both your body and the baby’s will require a little extra care and a few extra precautions. Your doctor or Certified Nurse Midwife will help you sort out your questions about these and other issues.


Eating for two doesn’t require eating twice as much! Pregnant women should add about 200 to 300 more calories a day than normal. Concentrate calories on food that is healthy for you and your baby. Taking a prenatal vitamin each day is also recommended. Here’s some recommended daily servings for pregnancy:

  • Six to eight glasses of water
  • Six to nine servings of whole grain foods (One slice of bread or half a cup of cooked whole grain pasta is a serving)
  • Three to four servings of fruit (fresh, raw fruit is best)
  • Four to five servings of vegetables (one medium carrot or half a cup of chopped vegetables is a serving)
  • Two to three servings of lean meat, fish, eggs or nuts
  • One serving of Vitamin C-rich foods (orange, sweet pepper, tomato)
  • Two to three servings of iron-rich food (black-eyed peas, sweet potatoes, greens, dried fruit or meat)
  • One serving of a food rich in folic acid (green, leafy vegetables)

Some food isn’t safe in pregnancy. This includes fish with high levels of mercury, including swordfish, shark, king mackerel and tilefish. Avoid sushi – raw fish. However, most fish are a healthy choice for mom and baby; just limit consumption to 9-12 ounces per week. Also avoid any unpasteurized milk or dairy products and avoid any prepared food that is spoiled or not cooked well. Be sure to wash your knives, cutting boards and other cooking utensils between uses and wash all fruits and vegetables with water and one tablespoon of vinegar before you eat them.

Exercise and activity

Daily exercise will help you stay fit, control your weight, and be prepared for labor. Every day, try to get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise such as walking or swimming.  If you haven’t been exercising regularly before pregnancy, start with light exertion and work up to a moderate program. Drink plenty of fluids and avoid exercising in the heat. It is important to avoid exercises in which there could be direct blows to your stomach. You should also avoid scuba diving and contact sports.  Be sure to ask your provider before starting a new exercise program and if you have questions about your exercise routine or activity level. Be sure to balance the activity with time for rest and adequate sleep. Pregnancy is a marathon, not a sprint!

Other precautions

It’s important to stay as healthy as possible during pregnancy, including during flu season. Flu shots are recommended and safe to have during pregnancy. Other vaccines also are safe, and the Tdap (whooping cough) vaccine is recommended for any adult who will be spending time with the baby. Ask your provider about vaccines you should have during pregnancy.

In addition, some things should be avoided during pregnancy. Unfortunately, hot tubs and saunas are off limits because they can raise your body temperature to unsafe levels. A warm bath or hot shower is fine. If you have a cat, be sure to tell your family that you are forbidden to change the litterbox or to work in the garden where the cat could bury excrement for the next nine months. While it’s perfectly safe to play with, hold and pet your cat, you must wear waterproof gloves when gardening, and avoid the litterbox altogether. Repeat these instructions to your loved ones and remind them the noble sacrifice they are making for the baby as they change the litterbox, while you enjoy some time on the recliner.


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