Are you newly pregnant?

Planning to get pregnant or just got the news?
Congratulations! You just became a hospital-shopper.

In the video below Dr. Dori McLennan and Dr. Judy Kimelman discuss some things you need to know when you learn you're pregnant — or if you're planning to start a family soon. They discuss what to look for in a hospital birth center; differences between an obstetrician, a family-practice doctor with an OB specialty, and a midwife; pregnancy and childbirth classes; and more. 

Read the video full text/transcript

Welcome to one of the most exciting, anxious, and – ultimately — miraculous times of your life. If you haven’t figured out which hospital or what doctor or midwife will deliver your baby, don’t worry – you have until the 12th week of your pregnancy to find one. In the meantime, whether you’ve already received the good news or you’re just thinking about getting pregnant, here are the steps to take to ensure that you have a happy birth day:

  1. Watch your diet, drinking, and medications to keep baby safe.
    You’ve probably heard that alcohol and smoking are out — completely. It’s also smart to limit your caffeine intake, and stay away from certain kinds of fish that may have high mercury content (tuna, for instance). You’ll also want to be careful with any medications — both prescription and over-the-counter — until you can talk to your caregiver. Read more health and lifestyle tips here.
  2. Check with your insurance company.
    Insurance plans are all quite different. So you’ll want to give your insurance company a call or visit their website to see if they cover care from the hospitals, doctors, and midwives you’re considering. To double-check your coverage, feel free to call the hospital or doctor’s office directly and ask if they’re included in your insurance plan.
  3. Decide where you’d like to have your baby.
    Since not all doctors deliver at all hospitals – and midwives practice at just a few – you’ll need to first choose where you’d like to go and then find a caregiver who delivers there. The video above gives an idea of what to consider when selecting a hospital. To get a first-hand look at Swedish’s four birth centers, you’re welcome to sign up for free birth center tours.
  4. Find or see a doctor or midwife within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
    You don’t need to see a care provider this instant, but since it can take a while to get a first appointment, start the process of finding your doctor or midwife  soon. We should add that if you’re thinking about having a doula assist you with your birth, they’re very welcome at Swedish.

    You’ll want to ask your friends, of course, and you’ll need to decide which kind of caregiver suits you. The video above will help you decide if an obstetrician (OB), a family-practice doctor with an obstetrics specialty (FP/OB), or a midwife is the best choice to deliver your baby. You can also read about the types of providers you have to choose from.

    Then, when you’re ready to meet some caregivers who deliver at Swedish, check out our provider directory or call 206-386-BABY (2229) and we’ll happily give you some suggestions. You might also want to sign up for an OB Speed Dating event, where you can meet several doctors or midwives in a single evening.

Full video text/transcript for "Expecting or Planning to get Pregnant?" video

First of all, congratulations on even making the decision to get pregnant.  It's such an exciting journey. I think pregnancy  is an interesting combination of happiness, fear, anxiety. Is everything going to be okay? Is my baby going to be normal? How do I do this?

I'm Dori McClennan and I'm the Medical Directory of the OB program at the Swedish Ballard campus and I'm also the Medical Directory of the Swedish OB/GYN group there as well as the Midwivery group at Ballard.

My name is Judy Kimelman. I'm an OB/GYN. I work at Seattle OB/GYN group and I'm one of eight OB/GYNs and I work at the Swedish First Hill campus. 

When patients first find out they're pregnant there's a tendency to feel I need to be seen yesterday. People feel very anxious about getting in and being seen right away. The truth is you really do have 3, 4, 5 weeks to come in and be seen. Ideally you're seen before the end of the first trimester, so before you're 12 weeks pregnant. 

The two first things you have to think about is who is going to take care of you through your pregnancy and where are you going to deliver. If you don't already have a doctor, you want want to choose one that you're going to feel comfortable talking to, asking questions of, you're gonna feel safe.

A lot of people find a doctor through word of mouth. You can go online, find their profiles, make sure you feel comfortable with them. The communication part is huge and I think that if a patient feels that they have an advocate in their provider and a good communicator it becomes much less scary.  You really want someone that you feel that they're sensitive and caring but they're also going to take really good care of you and help direct you through the whole process.

One place you can get information is to go online to the website and if you look at classes.  All of the birth prep classes, all of the tours and tours are at each facility of course and they're scheduled throughout the week. And then later on in the pregnancy many people choose to do additional classes. There is a very extensive list of classes and times and schedules that are available. I think doing a tour of hospital, I think doing a meet and greet with the doctor can be really helpful. You want to have a hospital that's going to be convenient for you to get to.

Not all hospitals, for example, have a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. And most people do not need to be delivered in a hospital that has that ability. So what you look for is a hospital that has access to that kind of services.  The advice I'd give is to really relax and enjoy the process. Of course you're nervous but try to get away from that and really just enjoy it. It's such an exciting time in your life. Take it all in.  It feels like a long time, the pregnancy, but it really goes by very quickly and it's so exciting to bring a baby into the world.