Pregnancy is an exciting and special time. But it can also be overwhelming. At Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN), our goal is to make your move to parenthood – or growth of your family – safe, memorable and stress-free. Your obstetrician or certified nurse-midwife can guide you through all of your health care decisions and answer any questions you have.
You can expect to meet your baby around nine months from conception, but the actual length of your pregnancy can vary:
- Only 10 percent of births occur on the estimated due date
- Around half will happen within a week of the estimated due date
- Nearly 90 percent of babies arrive within two weeks of their estimated due date
The most important thing you can do to make sure you have a safe pregnancy is to adopt a healthy lifestyle, including scheduling and attending all of your prenatal checkups. Early in your first trimester you will have your first visits with your pregnancy care provider and personal nurse liaison.
At LVHN, we want you to be able to choose the right provider for your circumstances. That’s why we offer:
- Maternal fetal medicine specialists
- Certified nurse midwives
- Advanced practice clinicians in the office such as certified registered nurse practitioners and physician assistants
We also offer the Baby Bundle, which is our pregnancy and newborn guide for families. Baby Bundle is an app and e-book that gives you all the information you need during pregnancy, including important guidelines for health and safety and also track and monitor your pregnancy milestones.
We divide pregnancy into three periods, called trimesters. Each trimester marks different milestones for your pregnancy:
Your LVHN obstetrics provider may recommend testing during pregnancy. Mostly risk-free, these tests provide helpful information to providers – and peace of mind to expectant parents.
There are different factors that may make pregnancy more complicated for you and your baby. Your provider will identify any possible concerns and track them throughout your pregnancy.
You may be told you have a high-risk pregnancy if you have a chronic medical condition or specific risk factors that may increase the likelihood of complications. In some cases, difficulties occur without warning or risk factors. But rest assured, we are a national leader in caring for women whose conditions make their pregnancies high risk. Our maternal fetal medicine doctors (perinatologists) specialize in managing medically complicated pregnancies and are available to you 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
You can prepare for your baby’s birth day by deciding on which one of our hospitals is where you’ll deliver and then registering for your personal hospital stay.
Childbirth preparation also includes participation in prenatal and parenting classes, which cover topics such as:
- Relaxation and breathing techniques for labor
- Choices in pain management
- Signs and stages of labor and delivery
- Baby care
On arrival day, our Family Birth and Newborn Centers offer a family-centered approach to delivery. We will respect your preferences during labor and delivery, and after birth. Our entire team works to ensure your experience is safe and comfortable and a very special experience for you and your family.
The postpartum period starts after you’ve delivered your baby. It lasts until your body recovers, about six to eight weeks later.
Plan to see your LVHN provider four to six weeks after delivery to ensure your body is healing properly. You can use this time to ask questions and discuss concerns, including:
- Emotions: Stress, lack of sleep and hormone fluctuations can make you vulnerable to baby blues and postpartum depression. It is important to share your feelings with your provider who can offer resources that can help you overcome these feelings. Our licensed professional counselors (LPCs) based in the Lehigh Valley are available to help you
- Breastfeeding: What you feed your baby is a personal choice. If you prefer breastfeeding, our lactation team delivers ongoing support in the hospital and when you go home.
Before your postpartum visit, your personal nurse liaison will check in on you at home or you can call the office at any time to talk to a trained obstetric nurse about your concerns.