Eastern Iowa Pregnancy and Childbirth

Pregnancy & Childbirth

Whether this is your first baby or fourth, pregnancy should be an amazing time in your life. Along with the excitement of pregnancy, you will experience many changes – both mentally and physically. At Eastern Iowa Women’s Health Center, we are here to care for you from the very beginning and all the way through your pregnancy.

You will have several visits with your OBGYN doctor throughout your pregnancy. At your first visit with us at around 10 weeks into your pregnancy, we will go over much of the information below. If you have other concerns or questions, give us a call at 319-730-7300. You can reach us anytime – day or night!

1st Trimester (Weeks 1-13)

At four weeks along your baby is the size of a grain of table salt. By the end of your first trimester, your little one will be about the size of a lime.

During the first three months A LOT is happening with your baby: Organs are formed, the heart begins beating and the brain and nerves begin to work. Around week 13 boys and girls begin to look different, but it will be almost two more months before we can tell you if it’s a boy or a girl.

Take pregnancy vitamins that include folic acid and vitamin D to make sure you and your baby are as healthy as can be.

You may experience:

  • Sore or heavy breasts. You may also notice your nipples are tender and getting darker. Wear a comfortable bra with wide straps and avoid soap around your nipples, which can dry them.
  • Lots of things may cause pregnancy headaches, from hormones, to stress and fatigue, even changing your caffeine intake. Drink plenty of water, eat healthy snacks, rest plenty, but also stay active and try to decrease stress. If you still have headaches, go to page XX for a list of approved medications you can use during pregnancy. If your headache is severe and/or you have blurry vision, call us at 319-730-7300 right away.
  • If you’re feeling sick you’re not alone. More than half all of pregnant women get “morning sickness,” but it can happen any time – day or night. It may not last long, or it may last for weeks or months. It’s caused by higher hormone levels and lower stomach acids. Snacks and eating smaller meals more often can help. Try bananas, yogurt and peanut butter before bedtime and crackers in the morning and during the day. Extreme nausea or throwing up that causes weight loss and dehydration is rare, but always give us a call if you are struggling to eat or keep down food.
  • Feeling dizzy or faint. You are growing a tiny human inside your body, it’s hard work! Avoid getting overheated or standing up too quickly to avoid bouts of dizziness. Try to keep your stress, hunger and fatigue levels low and give your body lots of extra rest while pregnant. If you experience abdominal pain or bleeding, call us immediately.
  • Increased need to pee. Growing a baby creates a lot of extra fluid inside your body. You can keep your body healthy by going to the bathroom often and cutting down on caffeine. Drinking less before bed will help you sleep better. If you feel pain or burning when you go to the bathroom, please call our office.
  • All of these changes going on in your body can make it hard to get sleep. Try to take naps during the day if you can. Relaxing before bed can also help.
  • Your hormones are changing, your body is pumping more blood, and your organs are working hard to get ready for your baby. You may have periods of being very tired throughout your pregnancy. Get eight hours of sleep at night if you can and nap often. Eat a healthy diet with fruits, veggies and protein, and drink plenty of water to help keep yourself strong. Staying active – even taking a quick walk – can also help fight exhaustion.

While your body is changing, your emotions may be all over the place too. The important thing to remember is that your feelings are probably very normal.

You may experience one or more of these as your body and mind adjust (your partner may experience them too):

  • Feel happy one minute and sad or upset the next.
  • Be more focused on yourself and depend on others more.
  • Feel pressures or stress about your growing family.
  • Feel concerned about being a good parent
  • Be surprised or anxious about changes to your body.
  • Worry about your health and your baby’s health.

All of these feelings are very normal, but here are a few tips to keep you and your partner more calm and happy during your pregnancy:

  • Don’t worry if you are not always excited about the pregnancy. Maybe you are concerned, scared or sad. Those are normal and okay feelings to have.
  • Talk to your partner, close friends or family members often. Sometimes just saying things out loud can improve your outlook and mood – and you will likely get lots of good advice!
  • Make sure you and your partner give each other extra time, love and support. Spend time together as you get ready to parent together.

Some feelings during pregnancy are NOT normal. Feeling constantly depressed, angry or having major mood swings is not normal. The important thing is that these feelings can be helped with the right care. Call us at 319-730-7300 anytime, day or night, if you or your partner are having strong feelings that won’t go away. Your health matters.

2nd Trimester (Weeks 14-27)

Amazing changes are happening to you and your baby during this second trimester. Some will be wonderful and some will take some getting used to! If you had morning sickness in your first few months, you should now begin to feel more energy and more like yourself again.

Baby is developing very small things is very big ways, such as eyelashes and fingernails and very fine hair growing on his or her tiny head. Although your baby has been moving around for some time, you can start to feel him or her, including when the baby is sleeping and waking – and others can too! During this time, you may find out whether your baby is a boy or a girl with an ultrasound – if you want to. At the end of this trimester, your baby is about the size of a head of lettuce.

If your pregnancy is at 24 weeks or beyond, you should feel your baby move at least four to six times in an hour. If you think your baby is moving less than that, try a fetal kicks count:

  • Eat or drink something
  • Lie on your left side in a quiet place
  • Monitor you baby’s activity for one hour

You should feel your baby move at least four to six times in an hour. After four to six movements have been felt, you can resume regular activities. If less than four movements were noted in that hour, please contact your doctor at 319-730-7300.


During this trimester, you may experience:

  • Aches and pains in your back, hips or abdomen. As your baby grows, your body expands to make room. This can cause aches in your back, your hips and stomach area. Apply a heat pad or take a warm bath. Exercise to keep your muscles strong. Try to stand and sit up straight, and wear supportive, comfortable shoes.  If you have severe pain in your abdomen, call us at 319-730-7300 right away.
  • Tender or bleeding gums. Because of the increased hormones in the body, many women experience sore or even bleeding gums. Try a softer bristle toothbrush and floss gently. Your gums should return to normal after delivery of your baby.
  • Discharge. A white, milky discharge from your vagina is normal at this time. You can use a panty liner, but don’t use tampons, as they can lead to infection. If the discharge is yellow, green bloody or smells strong, call us for an appointment.
  • Heartburn or indigestion. Heartburn is frequent in mid-to-late pregnancy, again because of hormones. Avoid spicy or acidic foods – even citrus fruits like oranges – and eat smaller portions throughout the day instead of bigger meals. Heartburn can be especially bothersome at night, so avoiding eating within two or three hours of your bedtime.
  • Constipation and hemorrhoids. Your digestion of foods may slow down during your pregnancy. Drink more water, keep up your physical activity and eat foods with healthy fiber, such as veggies and grainy breads. If more water and increased activity aren’t helping with constipation, try Metamucil,Fiber-Con, or other fiber over the counter products, try Colace {docusate  sodium)  per package directions, or if neither of those work, you can try Miralax, a mild  laxative. Do not use for longer than two weeks. Hemorrhoids can form because of your expanding uterus and increasing blood flow. 
  • Weight gain. Either too fast/too much weight gain (more than 6.5 pounds per month), or too little weight gain (less than 10 pounds at 20 weeks into the pregnancy), should be checked out. Keep track of your weight weekly, and call us at 319-730-7300 if you’re concerned.

3rd Trimester (Weeks 28 – 40)

It’s almost your baby’s birthday! During these last couple of months, your baby will gain up to half his or her birth weight. Baby’s brain and lungs are growing and developing quickly at this time.

Your delivery date is planned using the first day of your last period, so pregnancy usually lasts between 38 and 42 weeks with a full-term baby.

You may experience:

  • Back, pelvis or hips discomfort. Your body has changed so much and in so many ways that aches and pain are common. Move slowly when you turn, lift or bend. Try sleeping on your side with a pillow between your legs. A warm bath or heating pad will help too.
  • Leaking from your breasts. This is called colostrum and it means you’re getting ready for making milk. Your breasts are also around as much two pounds heavier by now, and may show veins or stretch marks. Wear a comfortable, supportive bra, even at night if it helps.
  • Bleeding. Spotting can happen throughout your pregnancy, but heavier bleeding can mean a problem. Close to your delivery date, you might see a thick, clear, or slightly blood-tinged discharge. This is normal and means your body is getting ready for delivery. A sudden gush of fluid can be your water breaking.  Call right away if you’re bleeding or if you think your water has broken: 319-730-7300.
  • Anxiousness. Whether this is your first baby or not, you’re likely to have feelings of anxiety, excitement, worry or fear. Your partner may as well. These are very normal and expected feelings. If you feel excessive emotions, such as depression or anger that won’t go away, call us for help at 319-730-7300.
  • Frequent urinating. At this point, your baby is pushing down on your bladder, making it feel like you have to go to the bathroom often, day or night. You may even leak a bit when you sneeze or cough. Avoid drinking anything right before bedtime so you won’t have to get up as much at night. Pain or burning during urination should be checked out.
  • Contractions. Not all contractions are the same, and you’re likely to experience Braxton Hicks contractions before your actual labor begins. Braxton Hicks contractions are usually shorter and less intense. They go away. When you go into labor, your contractions will get closer and closer together, and they won’t stop until your baby is born. If you have strong contractions that last, give us a call at 319-730-7300.
  • Swelling or varicose veins. There is increased blood flow in your body, which can cause pressure in your legs. This can lead to varicose or spider veins, and often, swelling in your legs. Get up and move around. When you’re sitting down, prop your legs up if you can, and try support hose if you need them.

 During this last trimester – between 35 and 37 weeks of pregnancy – you should be tested for Group B Streptococcus, or GBS, which is an infection that about one in four pregnant women carry. Most women infected with GBS experience no symptoms, but it can make your baby sick, even within a few hours after birth. Call us at 319-730-7300 if you have questions.


The big day has arrived! Eastern Iowa Health Center doctors deliver babies at UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s Hospital and Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids. We encourage you to tour both hospitals a make the decision regarding which is best for you.

We will work to honor your plans for childbirth. Some mothers-to-be opt for pain management with medication. Other women prefer to go through childbirth without any assistance. Some women have C-sections. No matter what you plan is for your baby’s birth, know that our mission is to keep you as comfortable as possible throughout the process. Most importantly, we will  focus our efforts on ensuring you and your baby are healthy.

When you and your baby go home

We are here for you and your family as you celebrate, rest and recover. At EIHC we provide personalized and friendly medical care for you, your baby and your whole family, regardless of ability to pay. Every day we serve pediatric and family medicine patients at our newly remodeled and renovated location at 1201 3rd Avenue SE, Cedar Rapids.

We will give your care for your newborn with wellness checkups throughout his or her first year and beyond. We will give you information and tips on sleep, feeding and development and discuss red flag issues to watch for. For new moms and dads, EIHC works together with you for your healthcare needs and concerns, so that each of our patients and friends can enjoy an active, fulfilling life.


Care before, during and after pregnancy for you and your baby


Options for to meet your needs from "the pill" to permanent birth control


Your body is changing, we will help keep you through this transition


Regular check-ups are the key to a healthy life, we're here for you


"I thought that I wouldn't be able to get quality pregnancy care without insurance. I was so happy to be wrong. The wonderful nurses and doctors at Eastern Iowa Women's Health Center provided me with amazing care. I will never go anywhere else." - Rania

Your health matters.