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Your Pregnancy Journey

Each mother-to-be’s experience can be unique. Below is a basic guideline for the journey to motherhood. Our care experts’ first priority is the health of you and your baby and sometimes that means some variations to the plan below. We will do our best to talk through your care plan so everyone feels good about how we are moving forward.

The first step is choosing a provider to partner with. You may take recommendations from friends or family, review bios online, or even talk through your wishes with our scheduling staff. However you make your decision, make sure after meeting the provider you feel comfortable with him or her so you can share with them how you are feeling, what concerns or questions you have along the way, and, of course, what your wishes are for your ideal OB and labor experience.

Our team is committed to making your experience as aligned to your wishes as possible. If there is anything you need, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Your First Appointment

This appointment can be anytime from 8 weeks to 12 weeks of pregnancy. Our team will confirm your pregnancy and go through your medical history. This information enables your provider to anticipate problems that may be minimized with prenatal care.

A physical exam will also be performed to check your weight, height, blood pressure, abdomen, heart, lungs and breasts. This visit will also include a pelvic exam to check uterus, pelvis and ovaries.

Your provider will likely order a urine and blood test. You’ll have an ultrasound and see the first image of your baby.

Before you leave, you will be provided an estimated due date.


Second Trimester

Most pregnant moms will see their provider once a month during months 4 through 6. You and your health care provider will determine the timing and number of visits based on your health needs. You will be seen more often if your provider has any concerns or there are risk factors that may develop.

These monthly visits are necessary to learn how the baby is growing. You will also get to visit with your doctor about how you are feeling, physical changes and medical tests you are offered. At each visit they will check your weight, blood pressure, the growth and position of your baby and your baby’s heart rate.

At approximately 18 to 22 weeks your provider may order an ultrasound to view your baby’s major organs and structures. If you choose, at this visit we are usually able to confirm if you are having a boy or a girl. This is also the timeframe when we’ll recommend you take classes and start to learn about the changes happening to you and your baby’s body.



Third Trimester

You will double your doctor visits to twice a month during months 7 and 8. In month 9, plan to see your doctor once a week until your baby arrives.

You and your health care provider will determine the timing and number of visits based on your health needs. These monthly visits are necessary to learn how the baby is growing. You will also get to visit with your doctor about your feelings, physical changes and medical tests you are offered.

At each visit they will check your weight, blood pressure, the growth and position of your baby and your baby’s heart rate. Your care team will talk you through the final preparations needed to make sure we know your wishes for labor and delivery.

Meeting Your Baby

The big day has arrived! You will soon meet your new little one.

Labor Starts
You may experience pre-labor, which is the stage before labor where the amazing female body begins to prepare itself for labor. When labor begins you should call the birth center and let them know you are planning to come in so we can prepare for your arrival.

Arrive at the Hospital
For those delivering in Fargo, you should go directly to the Family Birth Center at Sanford Medical Center. Your first stop when arriving will be to our triage room. Here our expert and attentive nurses will check your progress and make sure your baby is ready for labor. It is not unusual for patients to be sent home. Babies come at their own time.

Labor and Delivery
Your next stop will be to your labor and delivery room. This room is where you will stay until after you delivery your baby. One of the first things we’ll do is review with you your birth preferences to make sure your experience is both comfortable and centered on what you feel is best for you and your baby.

You will meet your dedicated-just-to-you expert labor and delivery nurse. Each mom’s labor experience can be different based on their unique situation and preferences. Communication between you and your care team is very important. Things can happen quickly, and open communication helps ensure we’re able to best support you no matter the situation. Always feel comfortable sharing how you are feeling or your wishes at any time.

Below are some general things most moms will experience:

  • Physical exams will be done as needed to monitor progress.
  • A blood sample will be taken.
  • An IV may be placed in your arm.
  • Your contractions will be monitored by either palpation (feeling your abdomen) or with an electronic fetal monitor.
  • The on-call physician will meet with you while in labor to understand your needs and preferences, and check on your progress. They will also be present during delivery.

If delivering in Fargo, should any concerns or complications arise, the neonatal intensive care unit is located just steps away. The NICU specialists provide the most comprehensive care for babies in the region.
If you’ve selected a primary care doctor for your newborn, we will work with you to schedule their first clinic appointment, usually two weeks out, before you leave the hospital.

Bonding Suite
Several hours after birth, you will be transferred to a clean, quiet room for the remainder of your stay.

These rooms are similar to our labor and delivery rooms, yet are separate to allow quiet and tranquil time for new families to bond and for moms and babies to heal. We work with you to best support a bonding environment. This typically includes immediate skin-to-skin contact between baby and parents.

During your stay, we encourage “rooming in”, which is keeping your baby with you in your room. Research has shown the first few days together are crucial for breastfeeding, learning your baby’s queues, and adapting to each other’s schedules. Should a nursery be needed, this is also an available option. 

Breastfeeding support is also a priority, if this is something you choose. We have dedicated lactation experts as well as nurses trained in breastfeeding. They are also available for you after you go home to help you along the journey.


The staff will also walk you through the necessary paperwork and birth certificate information.

Getting Ready for Home
The typical length of stay is one to two days after vaginal deliveries or two to threee days for C-section deliveries. Before you leave you will want to make sure to review your discharge checklist and make sure you have everything ready to go.



Life with Baby

Adjusting to life at home with a new baby can be a challenge. Sanford Women’s and Sanford Children’s are here to support you and answer your questions.

Sanford offers several resources and education for new moms. If you have questions or concerns before your scheduled appointment, for you or baby, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your provider team through My Sanford Chart or call the office. My Sanford Nurse is also a great option for questions 24-hours a day.

Care for Mom
For some moms having a new baby is a breeze, for others it can be a huge challenge.
We are here to support you. Your OB/GYN will want to see you six weeks after delivery to make sure you are recovering properly and address any concerns you may have.

Care for Baby
Your baby’s primary care physician will want to see your baby at 2 weeks old. If this appointment wasn’t made during your inpatient stay, you can make this appointment directly with the Sanford Children’s provider you choose.