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Your Pregnancy Journey

Your pregnancy is as unique as you are. We look forward to providing you with personalized care as you begin your journey to parenthood.

The first step is choosing a provider to partner with you. At Sanford we offer the option of an obstetrician, family medicine physician or certified nurse midwife who will meet your specific needs and provide you with high-quality obstetrical care.

Our team is committed to helping you and your baby thrive every step of the way.


Your First Appointment and the First Trimester


This appointment can be anytime from 8 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.

Your provider will also conduct a physical exam and 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.

Click here to learn more about your first prenatal visit and the first trimester.



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.

Click here to learn more about the second trimester.



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.

Click here to learn more about the third trimester.



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 your provider’s clinic location and let them know you are planning to come in. That way everything will be ready when you arrive.

Arrive at the Hospital

For those delivering in Sioux Falls, you should go directly to The Birth Place through the Sanford Women’s entrance at Medical Building 3 at 22nd and Grange Ave., on the main campus of Sanford USD Medical Center.

Your first stop when arriving will be to our triage room. Here our expert and attentive certified nurse midwives 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 down the hallway from the Family Birth Center. 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.

Family suite

Several hours after birth, you will be transferred to a clean, quiet room for the remainder of your stay. In Sioux Falls, this may be in the The Birth Center, or in our Sanford Women’s Unit on the fifth floor.

These rooms 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 available and staffed 24-hours a day by registered nurses.

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 three to four days for C-section deliveries. Before you leave, we will work with you to review your Journey-to-Home checklist and make sure you have everything ready for your new life with baby.



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.

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