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Pregnancy and Childbirth Preparation

Choosing to have a baby is one of the most exciting decisions you’ll ever make. For some women, getting pregnant happens quickly and without a lot of planning. However, it’s also common for conception to take longer and require more strategy. Either way, preparation for childbirth is a critical step. Franciscan Health System is here to help.

Becoming pregnant

It is often difficult to know exactly when ovulation is going to occur during a woman’s 28-day menstrual cycle. Here are some things to remember:

  • doctors recommend that couples who are trying to have a baby have intercourse between days seven and 20 of a woman’s cycle
  • studies have shown that having intercourse every other day or every third day works just as well as every day in order to become pregnant
  • sperm can live inside a woman’s body for three to five days. However, a released egg only lives for four to 12 hours. The highest pregnancy rates have been reported when fertilization occurs within four to six hours of ovulation

If you are trying to determine the best days to conceive, an ovulation predictor can be useful, such as an ovulation calculator, particularly effective for women who have regular menstrual cycles. Women who have irregular menstrual cycles may want to consider an ovulation prediction kit.

Pregnancy symptoms

Signs of pregnancy may include:

  • a delayed or missed period
  • swollen and/or tender breasts
  • fatigue/tiredness
  • backaches
  • headaches
  • frequent urination
  • darkening of the areolas
  • food cravings

Each woman experiences pregnancy differently, and associated symptoms can vary widely. One of the most common pregnancy symptoms is morning sickness, which usually occurs only during early pregnancy months but can last a whole pregnancy.

Pregnancy tests are available over the counter if you suspect you might be pregnant. Or, plan a visit with your provider and begin prenatal care.

Trying for a second pregnancy after a preemie?

Read important care tips here.

Classes and support

Throughout your pregnancy, we’ll help you prepare for childbirth. We’ll guide you through preparations for delivery such as with labor (Lamaze) classes, available delivery options, including cesarean or VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean), and newborn and postpartum care. Classes are held in many locations across the region including Tacoma, Federal Way, Enumclaw, Bonney Lake, Black Diamond and the surrounding plateau communities, Auburn, Kent, Des Moines, Fife and Burien.