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During Pregnancy

Congratulations! You are pregnant. You probably want to do everything possible to have a healthy baby. After all, your baby is depending on you. It’s normal to have some worries, like: Am I eating the right things? Am I gaining the right amount of weight? How will I know when to go to the hospital? What will labor be like?

Our maternity health coaches are all registered nurses ready to talk to you about your needs and questions.

Here are just a few examples of what you can get when you work with one of our health coaches:

  • An eating plan to help you gain the right amount of weight
  • Tips on how to juggle work and doctor’s appointments
  • Questions to ask your doctor
  • Tips on how to feel better throughout your pregnancy
  • Safe ways to exercise
  • Advice on how to get through labor and manage pain
  • Breastfeeding support
What are some other questions that women have about pregnancy?

What’s a birth plan?

A birth plan is a document that tells the doctor what's important to you during labor and delivery. The number one goal is a safe delivery of your baby, so it's important to keep your plan flexible. You may have to adjust it if circumstances change during delivery.

Every labor and delivery is unique, and your doctor considers your and your baby’s safety first. By talking to your doctor throughout your pregnancy, you can develop trust and understanding with each other. You will feel like an active partner in your baby's birth, even if the unexpected occurs.

What is a Cesarean section?

An important part of the birth plan is being prepared for different birthing outcomes. A Cesarean section is the delivery of a baby through a cut (incision) in the mother's belly and uterus. It is often called a C-section.

If you are pregnant, chances are good that you will be able to deliver your baby through the birth canal (vaginal birth). But there are cases when a C-section is needed for the safety of the mother or baby. So even if you plan on a vaginal birth, it's a good idea to learn about C-section, in case the unexpected happens. Here are a few reasons you might need a C-section:

  • Labor is slow and hard or stops completely.
  • The baby shows signs of distress, such as a very fast or slow heart rate.
  • The baby is too big to be delivered vaginally.
  • The baby is not in a head-down position close to your due date.
  • You are carrying more than one baby (multiple pregnancies).

What is a VBAC?

If you have had a Cesarean delivery (also called a C-section) before, you may be able to deliver your next baby vaginally. This is called vaginal birth after cesarean, or VBAC. Women can talk to their doctors to determine if they are a good candidate to try for a VBAC. Some of the reasons women consider VBACS in comparison to a repeat C-section are:

  • Avoiding another scar on your uterus. This is important if you are planning on a future pregnancy. The more scars you have on your uterus, the greater the chance of problems with a later pregnancy.
  • Fewer days in the hospital and a shorter recovery at home.
  • A more active role for you and your birthing partner in the birth of your child.

What should I pack for delivery?

So many things to keep track of during those last few weeks of pregnancy! Not sure what to bring to the hospital? Use this checklist as a starting point. Your personal list may include more (or fewer) items.

What To Pack For Delivery

Still have questions or want to talk through with more detail? Our UPMC Health Plan maternity coaches are here for you. They can talk through your questions or send information that may help you feel more confident in your decisions. Call 1-866-778-6073 now.


Whatever has caused you to lose your baby or your pregnancy — miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy, stillbirth, or early newborn death — can be extremely difficult and upsetting for you and those close to you. It may be helpful for you to speak with your doctor, a support group, or with a therapist to help during this emotional time. UPMC Health Plan maternity coaches are also here to offer support and provide additional resources.