Preparing for Baby
One of the most important things you can do for yourself and your baby is to get proper prenatal care by scheduling regular visits with your physician or midwife. For most pregnancies, prenatal exams are scheduled every month for the first four months, every two weeks for the next two months and then weekly until delivery.
Early pregnancy is also a great time to learn as much as you can about the changes you’ll experience physically and emotionally. It’s a time to get ready to bring your newborn home. Overlake offers tours of the Childbirth Center and a wide selection of classes and services to help you and your family.
Register for Your Hospital Admission
While getting ready for baby, we help you take one more thing off your “to do” list, such as registering for your hospital admission early. You can:
- Preregister on MyChart.
- Get the form from your healthcare provider.
- Pick up a form from Admitting.
- Call (425) 688-5444.
When you arrive at the hospital to have your baby, you won't need to go to the main Admitting desk first. Instead, you can go directly to the Childbirth Center on the sixth floor of the West Garage.
To-Do List: Trimester by Trimester
- Choose your doctor or midwife.
- Schedule prenatal visits with your doctor or midwife.
- Register for childbirth class.
- Register for breastfeeding class.
- Register for prenatal yoga class.
- Download the OBaby app.
- Continue prenatal visits.
- Schedule a tour of the childbirth center.
- Preregister online for your delivery at the hospital.
- Attend your postpartum follow-up visit.
- Attend After Baby Comes support group.
- Schedule an appointment with a lactation consultant, if needed.
- Get your nursing bra fitted at the Mom & Baby Care Center.
Overlake works affiliated provider offices for high-risk obstetrical care and consultation services to the families and obstetrical providers in the greater Eastside area. The clinics offer diagnostic ultrasound, genetic counseling, prenatal diagnosis, management of high-risk pregnancy, and programs for multiple births, expectant mothers with diabetes and prematurity prevention.
How to Know if You Are in Labor
Your body knows what to do to deliver your baby, but it takes time. What is best for you and the baby is to let your body have the time it needs to prepare itself for birth.
Here is what your brain needs to think about while you let your body prepare: There is false labor and there is true labor. How to tell the difference?
False labor does not mean you are not experiencing pain, but it is only the beginning of your body’s preparation for birth. With true labor, contractions are longer, stronger and closer together. Time five contractions for how long they last and how far apart they are. Then wait an hour, and time five more. If they are longer stronger, and closer together in time, you may be starting true labor.
How to help your body prepare:
- Take a walk.
- Watch a movie.
- Take a nap.
- Change positions—use pillows for comfort or try walking.
- Take a shower or bath.
- Listen to relaxing music, dim lights, peaceful surroundings.
- Touch, massage, counter pressure against lower back.
- Try slow, deep breathing.
- Drink water, juice or other clear liquids.
- Eat light, healthy snacks.
- Apply heat or cold to a painful area (lower back), cool cloth to wipe face.
Call or come to the Childbirth Center if:
- You have bright red bleeding like a period, you are passing blood clots or are concerned about spotting or bleeding.
- Your baby’s activity has decreased or has stopped.
- You have a sudden gush or continued leakage of fluid from the vagina.
- You feel increasingly strong pressure between your legs.
- You are having very uncomfortable contractions that are becoming longer, stronger and closer together, coming every five minutes, last about 60 seconds, and have been doing so for one to two hours (the 5:1:1 rule).
Your healthcare provider will give you specific guidelines for when you should get ready to come to the hospital. We only want to admit you if you are in true labor or there are concerns for mother or baby well-being.
If you do need an induction, we will use techniques and medicines to help your body prepare for delivery — or help your cervix become “ripe and ready.” These techniques may not work, and you may be sent home until your cervix has softened and is ready for birth.
The best birth is a vaginal birth. Induction and Cesareans should only be done when medically necessary, as they add risks to both mother and baby.
Listen to your provider. Your doctor or midwife might suggest starting labor using medical treatment (induction) or having a C-section. This is generally advised when either you or your baby has a health condition that could effect the health of either you or your baby. There are risks to these procedures as seen below. Talk with your doctor or midwife about risks and benefits.
Some of the risks of induction include:
- More labors started with induction end up with a cesarean section (C-section) than labors that start on their own. This is especially true if this is your first baby.
- Labors started by induction are usually longer.
- Infection in the mother or baby.
- All medications have risks. For example, contractions may come too fast and affect the baby’s heart rate.
The risks decrease significantly if your cervix is “ripe and ready” for delivery. (Bishop score of nine or greater for first births and six or greater for subsequent births.)
Some of the risks of a C-section or cesarean birth are:
- Blood loss.
- Blood clots in the legs, pelvic organs or lungs.
- Injury to the bowel or bladder.
- Reaction to medications and anesthesia used.
- Your hospital stay will be longer after a cesarean birth.
The more cesarean births a woman has, the greater her risk for some medical problems and problems with future pregnancies. This may not be a good option for women who wish to have more children.
Questions About Cost
If you have questions about the costs of your hospital stay, insurance coverage or payment, our financial counselors can help you. You may call (425) 467-3518 or (425) 688-5655 Monday through Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.