Starting a Family?

When it’s time to grow your family, smart decisions help leave little to chance

Hasbro’s the game Life is a classic board game of chance. Your career, salary and number of kids are all left to the whim of a game-board spinner. Thankfully, you can approach the game of making life with a little more planning.

There are some chance elements in pregnancy, but there are a lot of things women can do for a healthy pregnancy. Bingham Memorial Women’s Center Ob-Gyn’s—Heather Pugmire, MD, —highly recommend you follow these important steps so you can welcome your baby into the world knowing you left nothing to luck.


Nutrition. A diet rich in vitamins and minerals such as iron, protein, folic acid and calcium forms the building blocks for a healthy pregnancy. “Nutrition affects pregnancy from the first day to the last day in a way that few things do,” Dr. Pugmire says. A prenatal vitamin with folic acid is also a must.

Stop using harmful substances. Certain chemicals can seriously harm your baby. Do not use illegal drugs or alcohol. If you smoke, quit. “About 20 percent of pregnant patients still smoke. This causes miscarriage, poor growth, asthma, stillbirth and fetal death,” Dr. Weaver says. Tell your Ob-Gyn about all medicines you’re taking—even over-the-counter ones.

Caffeine. We get it. Pregnancy ushers in an era of fatigue like no other. Experts agree one cup of coffee or other caffeinated beverage is safe. “After two servings, caffeine might contribute to miscarriage. The verdict is out, but it’s possible,” Dr. Pugmire says.


The first trimester is conception to 14 weeks and is considered the most critical time in your pregnancy. Patients are usually seen every four weeks, and patients with special situations may be seen more frequently.

Testing, testing, 1-2-3. A pelvic exam and blood and urine tests happen right away to test for viruses, infections and sexually transmitted diseases that can be passed to the fetus. “Each blood and urine test looks for a potential problem that has a solution,” Dr. Weaver says.

“I think I’m gonna be…” Adopting a few of these strategies might help you stomach the early months of nausea: avoid spicy and fatty foods, eat five or six small meals a day and eat a few crackers before getting out of bed to settle your stomach.

12 weeks! At 12 weeks you’re really not at much of a risk for miscarriage anymore. That’s an important benchmark,” Dr. Pugmire says. It’s time to start looking forward to your first ultrasound.

While the fetus at the end of three months is only about 4 inches long and weighs less than one ounce, all of its functions have begun to form: major organs, nervous system, heartbeat, arms, fingers, legs, toes, hair, and buds for future teeth.


The second trimester is 15 to 28 weeks. This period of pregnancy is often called the “golden period” because many of the unpleasant effects of early pregnancy disappear and this is considered to be the most comfortable of all three trimesters. For example, you’re likely to experience decreased nausea, better sleep patterns, and increased energy levels.

By week 18 of pregnancy, your baby is about five and one-half inches long and weighs about five ounces. S/he can yawn and hiccup, and they have fingerprints on those tiny digits. By week 21, you should be able to feel their newly coordinated arms and legs give you little jabs and kicks. By about week 23, your baby will likely double their weight in the next four weeks. By the end of your second trimester, you’ll have a two-pound human in your belly.

Still more tests? Around the 15- to 20-week mark, some women opt for a blood test or genetic testing (if this wasn’t done in the first trimester) to check for birth defects. Discuss the risk and benefits of these tests with your Ob-Gyn.

23 weeks. Your baby is now viable, meaning he or she would have a chance of survival outside of the womb. Maintain your healthy diet—your body needs a lot of energy to play this game of life.


The third trimester is 29 weeks to delivery. During the third trimester, fetal development continues, especially brain growth. Your baby can now open and close his/her eyes and suck their thumb. By the end of the 7th month, your baby will weigh about three pounds and be about 15 inches long.

During the 8th month, you will notice harder kicks and you may see rhythmic movements of your belly, caused by the baby hiccupping or sucking their thumb.

By the 9th month, your baby’s lungs and brain will slowly become mature. During this month, s/he will gain up to a half pound every week. They will also get taller and be about 18 to 21 inches long at birth. S/he will start getting ready for their trip through the birth canal by moving downward (sometimes referred to as “lightening”.) Their head will rest deep in your pelvis, which normally happens two to six weeks before labor.

Start preparing for labor and delivery. Enroll in a childbirth class, take a tour of your hospital and enlist your spouse or partner to help! Attend Bingham Memorial’s FREE class for expecting mothers: Birthing Basics to Bundles of Joy. Visit: to sign up for the next available class. Any questions, please call (208) 782-3901.

This free class will provide the opportunity to talk with a Bingham Memorial Ob-Gyn and receive helpful advice for a healthy pregnancy, discuss what to expect during your delivery and hospital stay, and walk through your birthing plan workbook.

39 weeks. Your baby’s lungs and brain are fully mature. It’s time to pack a bag and install that rear-facing car seat in your car.

But “is it time?” Many women rush to the hospital only to learn they are in false labor. That’s OK! It’s better to be safe. Generally, true labor contractions come at regular intervals, get closer together and increase in strength.

Ready, set, push! This baby-making business isn’t all fun and games. Labor is called labor for a reason. No matter how long you’re in labor or by what method you deliver, when your baby is placed in your arms for the first time, that’s when you win.


Start your family right by seeing your Ob-Gyn for preconception care before you start trying.

“Only about 1 in 10 women actually do this,” says Dr. Pugmire. “This is crucial. Your baby’s organs are forming before you even know you are pregnant.”

Dr. Heather Pugmire a Ob-Gyn, works with expecting mothers, or those planning to become pregnant in the near future. Dr. Pugmire sees patients in Blackfoot. She is welcoming new patients.

To schedule an appointment, contact Bingham Memorial Women’s Center at (208) 782-3900.

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