We know that having a baby is hard work, that's why it's called labor. Contra Costa Regional Medical Center & Health Centers' goal is to provide comprehensive, personalized, and family-focused care from early pregnancy to delivery.
The journey begins at our Healthy Start program where we will confirm your pregnancy and establish prenatal care for you and your growing baby. During your pregnancy, you will come in regularly so we can check on how you're doing and how you're baby is developing.
At the end of the process, you will be admitted into the Labor & Delivery unit at our hospital in Martinez where we deliver 15% of all the babies born in Contra Costa County every year.
- Labor and Delivery 925-370-5608
- Nursery 925-370-5615
- Postpartum 925-370-5613
- 24-hour Advice Nurse 800-495-8885
The first trimester is the first 3 months, or 12 weeks, of your pregnancy when the fertilized egg rapidly divides and implants onto the uterine wall to form an embryo. The first 12 weeks are the most critical and fragile for the development of your baby, as this is the time when major organs are being developed. The risk of a miscarriage is high during the first trimester so it is recommended to begin taking prenatal vitamins and stop the use of harmful substances.
Weeks 1-4 begins on the first day of your last period. Your baby is a cluster of cells called an embryo. The eyes begin to form with optic nerves on either side of the head. By the end of week 4, the embryo implants itself into the lining of your uterus.
- If you haven't yet, take an at-home pregnancy test, if you suspect you are pregnant.
- Make an appointment with Healthy Start.
- Begin taking prenatal vitamins.
- If you are using, quit harmful substances for the better development of your baby. Talk to your provider about your concerns. We're here to help!
By week 5, your baby looks like a tadpole and about the size of a peppercorn. A long tube is developing that will eventually become the spinal cord. The nose, mouth, ears, hands, and feet begin developing. The placenta has also formed during these weeks. You may feel soreness in your breasts, fatigue, morning sickness, and have some spotting. By week 8, your baby will be around the size of a raspberry.
- If you haven't yet, schedule your first prenatal visit.
- Talk to your doctor if you are taking certain medications to see if it is okay to take while pregnant.
- Talk to your doctor about her recommendations about screening for possible birth defects.
- Get lots of rest.
- Ask about proper nutrition in pregnancy. Some resources can be found here.
By week 9 your baby is about the size of a cherry. Your baby will be moving around, although you can't feel any movement. By week 12, baby is the size of a plum, and fully formed with hands and feet. Baby will be able to open and close hands, and curl toes. Morning sickness may be more intense during these weeks.
- If you haven't yet, schedule your first prenatal appointment.
- Make sure myccLink is set up, so you can easily manage your appointments, view test results, and message your doctor.
- Drink lots of fluids.
For most, the 2nd trimester is the most enjoyable. Now, that the morning sickness and fatigue are slowly fading away, you should feel a renewed sense of energy. During this time, you may even find out your baby's sex, if you choose.
During these weeks 13-16, your baby will develop more muscle tissue and bones. Your baby's skin is also beginning to form, but it will be almost transparent. You may begin to feel some movement as your baby rolls around and kicks. By week 16, your baby will be about the size of an avocado.
- If you work, start planning when you want to have your maternity leave. Talk to your employer about the company policy on maternity and benefits.
- Talk with one of our registered dieticians at Healthy Start if you have any dietary concerns.
- Make sure to find some time to relax. It takes a lot to grow a baby.
During these weeks, your baby begins to develop some fat and the cranial nerves for the 5 senses. You'll feel some taps or flutters as your baby moves and kicks around. This is the month when you can finally see the sex of your baby. Remember to ask for a print out if you choose to know.
- Make sure you are registered on myccLink if you are not already.
- Decide if you and your partner want a doula (birthing coach). Learn more about doulas.
- Prepare for delivery by taking a childbirth class offered by Healthy Start.
Congratulations! You are about halfway through your pregnancy. Around this time, your doctor will begin measuring your baby's growth through the fundal height, which is the distance from your pubic bone to the top of your uterus. At this point, your baby will begin to develop her hearing, so make sure you to spend some time singing or talking to her.
- Make sure to have some time for yourself to relax and exercise. Continuous stress is not good for the baby, and may cause a premature birth.
- Read up on breastfeeding and how to feed your baby.
The second trimester is almost over and you may notice your belly button start popping out. No cause for concern, it will go back to the way it was before a few months after your baby is delivered. At this point, your baby may have some hair and may be around the size of a cauliflower.
- Make sure to keep taking your prenatal vitamins to help with your baby's healthy growth and development.
- Start looking at car seats. You'll need one to take baby home from the hospital.
Welcome to the final chapter of your pregnancy! The 3rd trimester is often the most uncomfortable time for most women, but after 3 months you'll be able to finally hold your new little bundle of joy.
During these weeks, your baby's bones will be fully formed, but still soft and flexible. Your body may start producing breast milk and leak a thick, yellowish fluid called colostrum, a term for early milk. You may also be experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions. At week 32, your baby will be the size of a Napa cabbage.
- Start packing a hospital bag just in case you go into labor early.
- Begin to babyproof the house.
- Make sure to keep your nutrition up. Healthy mommy = healthy baby.
You may be feeling sharper kicks at this point in your pregnancy because there is less amniotic fluid to cushion these movements. Baby will be snug in your uterus, curled up as he/she will be gaining roughly an ounce per week and be the size of a honeydew melon.
- Practice breathing and relaxation techniques from birthing classes you have taken.
- Brush up on some breastfeeding basics. Resources can be found here.
- Ask your provider about testing for Group B Strep (GBS), a bacterial infection in the vagina.
- Make sure to sleep in and take naps. The more Baby is growing, the more rest you need to be able to provide for him/her.
Your body is now gearing up for labor as you are now nearly full term. Your cervix is thinning and your nipples may start sticking out in preparation for breastfeeding. Your baby is now about the size of a watermelon. If you are past your due date, don't worry. Some ovulate later than expected. Get ready to welcome your new baby soon!
- Watch for signs of labor.
- Prepare for the arrival of your baby, and take a look at your prenatal packets from Healthy Start and WIC.
- Finalize maternity leave plans.
- Stock up on diapers and other baby supplies.
- Be ready for water to break!
- Time your contractions. Regular contractions means you're going into labor.