Ages & Stages > Pregnancy & Birth

Pregnancy and Birth

Congratulations! You're beginning the adventure of a lifetime. Growing and giving birth to a baby is at once the most earthy and the most sacred work there is. And after that, the real fun begins.

It's dizzying, this new way of being in the world. You're already becoming a parent. Nine months seems a lifetime, but it will fly by. How do you decide what you need to think about first?

This section is here to help you organize your priorities, trimester by trimester, with everything from lists of questions for your doctor to resources for breastfeeding. You'll find links to my favorite websites, like Childbirth Connection, where you can research birth options, and Pregnancy.org, where you can ask any question you want -- in a chat or via email -- of an OB, midwife, or doula, and talk with other pregnant and nursing moms.

First Trimester

Welcome to the first stage of parenting: Growing your baby! Nine months may seem like a long time, but it goes quickly -- and you have important work to do during those months. (Read article)

Second Trimester

Hey, you're starting to get the hang of this. Your body has stopped feeling so queasy. You're no longer falling into bed each night at 7pm. You're exercising, eating right, and you've gotten used to doing without that glass of wine at parties. And, finally, you've made a decision you feel good about regarding your birth venue and medical assistance. What's next? (Read article)

Third Trimester

Congratulations, you're on the home stretch! Only a few months until you hold your baby in your arms. It'll be a busy trimester, but I encourage you to find time for movies, loved ones and plenty of sleep. (Read article)

Choosing your hospital or birthing center

It may seem like you can wait to choose a hospital or birthing center. But this can be a circular process. You may choose your health care provider and then find out that the hospital where she delivers babies has some policies you don't like, such as mandatory removal of the baby for bathing and weighing. You hear that the hospital across town doesn't have that policy, and in fact has a well-regarded birthing center. That sends you back to the previous step: Which doctors and midwives practice at the hospital across town? If it's early enough in the process, you can still switch providers. Here's your step by step guide to making this choice, from home birth to scheduled C-Section. (Read article)

Choosing your Doctor or Midwife

Your health care provider will monitor your baby's development and your health throughout the pregnancy, and you need to feel comfortable discussing anything with her or him. But there are lots of friendly, competent doctors and midwives out there. The most critical factor in choosing one for your baby is the kind of birth you are likely to have with them. Here's your step by step guide to choosing the perfect doctor or midwife for you. (Read article)

Childbirth: Questions to Ask Your Doctor & Midwife

Great questions to start you thinking, from the Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative. (Read article)

How to Avoid a Caesarian or C-Section Birth

C-Sections are epidemic in the United States. 1 out of every 3 women now pregnant will have one. If you need a C-Section to save the life of your baby, it's nothing short of miraculous, and worth every bit of pain and risk. But fewer than half of all C-sections are actually medically necessary. Here's how to avoid having one. (Read article)

Activate Your Hormones to Become a Better Mother -- and a Happier Person!

Women’s oxytocin levels after the birth of their baby -- and even during pregnancy! -- predict their bonding behavior with their baby.  Quite simply, the more oxytocin you produce, the more loving and attentive you are to your baby. So if you don't have high oxytocin levels, are you just fated to be a lousy mother, and your kids are out of luck?   Or are there ways for us to increase our oxytocin levels? (Read article)

How to Prepare Your Child for the New Baby

He's always been the baby and he's about to be displaced. But he's also the apple of your eye, and a capable "big" kid....Here's how to minimize sibling rivalry and protect your bond with your child while welcoming the new baby. (Read article)

Preparing Your Child for the Separation While You Birth the New Baby

Many women worry about leaving their older child when they go to the hospital to give birth to their baby.  It doesn’t help that labor is by definition unpredictable in both timing and length, making it even harder to prepare a child who is often little more than a baby himself.  How do we prepare our older baby, toddler or preschooler for this separation from mom, and maybe even from home? (Read article)

Recommended Pregnancy & Birth Books

Go ahead, put your feet up and enjoy a cup of herbal tea. The accumulated experience and wisdom of generations of women is waiting for you. (Read article)

Books about the New Baby for Older Siblings

Lots of fabulous books to prepare big siblings. (Read article)

Q & A: Letters and Answers about Pregnancy & Birth

Have a question about parenting your infant?  Questions from readers, with wise and practical solutions from Dr. Laura Markham to all those questions that keep you up at night.  (Read article)


Q: Why does a Parenting website focused on the psychology of Parent-Child relationships have a section on Pregnancy and Birth? Isn't that a medical process?

A: Because conception is the beginning of your relationship with your baby. Your pregnancy and birth are the launching pad for your relationship. The healthier they are physically and emotionally, the better foundation you and your baby will have as you begin your life together.

May your pregnancy be blessed and the beginning of a beautiful relationship.