Transition to Parenthood and Pregnancy

Becoming parents is both a challenge and a great experience. Understanding this stage of life can not only help a healthy child develop, but help parents stay sane

Developmental Milestones of the Transition to Parenthood and Pregnancy

Development of a Neonatal Baby

While the charts on the right go more in depth about specifics about prenatal development, here are some basic milestones to remember about development and what teratogens affect the baby when

  • Trimester 1 (weeks 1-12)
    • Formation of the Zygote (weeks 1-2)
    • Formation of the Embryo (weeks 3-8)Basic Organs (brain, heart, bones, digestive tract) begin to develop (weeks 3-4)
      • Bone replaces cartilage, movement of embroy begins (weeks 5-8)
    • Formation of the Fetus (weeks 9-12): rapid increases in size and gender becomes evident
  • Trimester 2 (weeks 13-24)
    • Rapid increase in size and brain development
    • Fetus reacts to sound
  • Trimester 3 (weeks 25-38)
    • Size triples
    • Lungs mature

Stages of Labor

Understanding the stages of labor is helpful for any couple expecting a baby


  • Stage 1: Effacement and Dilation of the Cervix and Transition
    • Cervical Effacement: The gradual thinning, shortening, and drawing up of the cervix measured in percentages from 0 to 100%
    • Cervical Dilation: The gradual thinning and opening of the cervix measured in centimeters from 0 to 10 cms
    • This is the longest stage and can vary widely from hours to days (Mayo Clinic)
  • Stage 2: Pushing and Delivery of the Baby
  • Stage 3: Delivery of the Placenta

Other Resources

Some Relevant Concerns of the Transition to Parenthood and Pregnancy

Dealing with Infertility

Infertility, not being able to get pregnant after 1 year of unprotected sexual activity, can be very challenging for a couple. The following first gives some understanding to the subject and then suggests some possible solutions and resources.

Common Types of Infertility

  • Female
    • Hormonal imbalance
    • Ovum not produced
    • Ovum not viable
    • Blocked Fallopian tubes
  • Male
    • Hormonal imbalance
    • Not enough viable sperm produced
    • Improper body temp. (scrotum)
    • Blocked Vas deferens

Treatment of Infertility

  • Medication: using medication to assist with fertilization, most medications for woman are used to induce ovulation
  • Intrauterine insemination (artificial insemination): specially prepared sperm are inserted into the woman’s uterus ($1,000 per treatment)
  • Assisted reproductive technology (In Vitro fertilization): all fertility treatments in which egg and
    sperm are handled outside the body (about $10,000 per try)

Other Resources for Dealing with Infertility

Staying Healthy as Pregnant Mother and Eating the Correct Foods

Staying healthy as a mother is crucial to not only the development of the baby, but the well-being of the mother.

  • Foods to Avoid
    • Raw food
      • TIP  Many people think you cannot eat Sushi when pregnant. As long you get Sushi which is cooked rather than raw, it is just fine
    • Hot dogs/lunch meat
    • Unpasteurized diary
    • Fish
    • Supplements
  • Healthy Weight Gain and Eating (See Chart)

    • Expecting mothers need only eat 300 extra calories per day (so the statement that you need to eat for two is a myth)
    • When breastfeeding, mother’s need an extra 500 calories
  • Exercise Guidelines During Pregnancy
    • It is healthy and good for mother’s to excercise during pregnancy
    • Women should not lose weight during pregnancy
    • Heart rates should be kept under 140 beats per minute

Other Resources for Weight Gain, Nutrition, and Excercise

Types of Childbirth and Which One to Choose

  • Natural Childbirth: Natural childbirth is delivering one’s baby without anesthetics. Types of natural childbirth include:
    • Lamaze Method
      • Tries to lessen the pain by concentrating on set procedures
      • Breathing techniques
      • Husband is trained to be a coach
    • Bradley Method
      • Teaches positive attitudes
      • Mother will have pain but it is not unbearable
      • Teaches mothers to relax and not fight the pain during the
        contractions but to use them to work for you
      • Uses gravity to help birthing (birthing wedge)
    • Home Births
      • Risk factor may be minimal if a low-risk mother
      • Difficult to anticipate if one is going to have complications
  • Medicated Deliveries
    • Epidural: An epidural is a continuous flow of pain reducing medicine administered throughout the delivery. It is administered in the epidural space. It may prolong delivery, but can reduce the pain
      • Risks of Epidurals
        • 5% of epidurals fail to block pain
        • Associated with a decrease in release of oxytocin
        • Longer labors
        • Higher rate of instrumental deliveries (use of forceps and other tools)
        • Sudden drop in mother’s blood pressure
        • If dura is punctured, the spinal fluid leaks out causing headaches a few days later which may last for weeks
    • Spinal Block: A Spinal Block is a one-time dose of anesthesia administered in the spinal canal and is usually given when an emergency cesarean section procedure (c-section) needs to be done
  • Cesarean Section: Cesarean section childbirth’s involve a cut across the lower abdomen during labor and are usually reserved for births where complications exist. This is not a type of childbirth one would choose normally

Author’s Opinion

It is the author’s opinion that if it is the mother’s first childbirth, it should be performed in the hospital rather than a natural birth because if complications occur they can be addressed quickly

Other Resources

Supplemental Materials

What to Expect When a Baby is Born: The 3 L’s of Parenting

  • Labor (employment): employment and work arrangements change when a baby is born. Here are some TIPS for adjusting:
  • Labor (home): the number of household tasks increase tremendously (think diapers, feeding, clothing) when a child is born. Here are some TIPS for the adjustment:
    • Discuss how you will work together as partners before the baby comes
    • If you don’t know how to change a diaper, learn how
  • Love: the spousal relationship takes on new strains and opportunities. To see more about keeping this relationship strong, see the special topic page, Keeping Your Marriage Healthy


Dealing With a Changing Sexual Life During Pregnancy

Many people wonder if sex is safe during pregnancy and if a sexual relationship can still be maintained between partners. The short answer is yes. The longer answer, taken from the Mayo Clinic is below:

  • “As long as your pregnancy is proceeding normally, you can have sex as often as you like.”
  • “However, hormonal fluctuations, fatigue, nausea and breast tenderness early in pregnancy might lower your sexual desire. As your pregnancy progresses, weight gain, back pain and other symptoms might dampen your enthusiasm for sex.”
  • “Your emotions can take a toll on your sex drive, too. Concerns about how pregnancy or the baby will change your relationship with your partner might weigh heavily on your mind — even while you’re eagerly anticipating the addition to your family.”

Other Resources

Good Reads



Note for Author: For information not provided in links, see 2017 personal notes on lecture about the transition to parenthoo and pregnancy and childbirth from SFL 240 class