Pregnancy and Postpartum Guide

Congratulations! We are so excited to be celebrating YOU and your growing family.
This is your Pregnancy + Postpartum digital magazine - a welcome into motherhood, or into growing your family again.

included in this guide:

‣ information about our sponsors
‣ content about new motherhood of all kinds written by local moms
‣ a bit more about Des Moines Mom and how to get involved in community with other local moms
‣ real mom experiences, encouragement, and more!

hey mama!

We are thrilled to be releasing our Pregnancy & Postpartum Guide. The goal of the guide is to be a one-stop resource for moms who are trying to conceive, currently pregnant, or recently given birth. This guide offers ALL of the resources needed for a successful pregnancy and postpartum period in the Des Moines area.

The pregnancy and postpartum period can be filled with lots of joy, but it can also be overwhelming when researching all of your options. For many parents, there seem to be way more questions than there are answers: What kind of birth would suit our family best? Where should I give birth? Who will help me after the birth of my baby? Once my baby is born, will I ever sleep again???

It is our hope that this guide helps answer some of those questions for moms in Des Moines. To our readers, we sincerely hope you will find this guide to be a helpful part of your journey into and through motherhood.

Looking for a pediatrician for your new baby? We have all the information to help you make that choice too! Here’s our Des Moines Pediatrician & Family Medicine Guide.


Disclosure: This is a sponsored guide, presented by our valued local partners. While we love sharing these resources with our readers, we have not personally vetted each individual business represented here and encourage our readers to do their own research to find the best fit for their family. 

presenting sponsor

MercyOne Maternity & Infants' Care  welcomes more than 4,000 babies into the world each year, and offers all of the extras that will help make your first memories with your baby unforgettable. Their world-class care includes an Obstetric Emergency Department and Antepartum Unit, Birthing Unit, Post-partum Unit, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Perinatal Center, and midwives. Their centers care for low and high-risk pregnancies, deliveries, and newborns – including deliveries before 37 weeks of pregnancy. They also provide parents with a large offering of complimentary birthing and infant CPR classes, volunteer birth doulas, and lactation consultants. Now Open – West Des Moines Maternity & Infants’ Care center!

MercyOne Midwives

MercyOne Des Moines Midwives are proud to offer compassionate care throughout a woman’s lifespan – from adolescence through menopause. We provide supportive education that allows you and your family to make informed decisions regarding your health care. Their midwifery model in the medical setting allows you a variety of options for labor and delivery, including nitrous oxide and epidurals if desired, with 24/7 physician support as needed.

Postpartum Depression

Pregnancy and the birth of a baby is a joyous occasion, celebrated by family and friends. But for 1 in every 10 women in the United States, the time directly after birth can be one of the more challenging times to maintain any sort of good mental health. While many women experience the “baby blues” in the first 2-3 weeks after birth, postpartum depression is different and is often not talked about enough. There is a stigma around postpartum depression that leads too many women to suffer in silence.

Childbirth at MercyOne

At MercyOne, the highest standard is the only standard. They are dedicated to providing a remarkable birthing experience.

MercyOne is proud to offer the only OB Emergency Department (OB ED) where patients are guaranteed an assessment by an obstetrician. Patients experiencing complications during pregnancy can self-refer to the 24/7 OB ED, or they may be referred there by their provider.

gold sponsors

UnityPoint Health

At UnityPoint Health – Des Moines, you will find experienced and caring physicians, midwives, nurses and support staff who will help you welcome the newest member of your family. Choose your provider from a highly skilled team that includes OBGYNs, certified nurse midwives (CNM) and family practice physicians. The care teams at each of our maternity centers are trained to offer you the personalized care that you and your newborn deserve before, during and after your child’s birth. Iowa Methodist Medical Center, one of our two maternity centers, is situated in downtown Des Moines. If your baby requires more advanced care, Blank Children’s Hospital is located right next door to the Iowa Methodist Maternity Center, connected by a walk-way leading directly to the Level IIIB NICU. Blank Children’s physicians and staff are readily available to provide any assistance if that need should arise. Methodist West Hospital, located in the western suburbs of the metro, offers experienced staff, beautiful surroundings and 24/7 on-site neonatal support in partnership with Blank Children’s Hospital. Our specially trained neonatal nurse practitioners and transport nurses attend each delivery and can treat babies needing specialized care in the Level II Special Care Nursery. At UnityPoint Health – Des Moines, we care about you and making sure you have the support you need, from our birth and baby care classes to our high quality, personalized care, to lactation support and beyond.

The Iowa Clinic Women's Center

The Iowa Clinic Women’s Center offers one of Central Iowa’s largest and most experienced teams of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Their team takes pride in delivering the most comprehensive and professional care possible for you and your baby. When you are a patient at The Iowa Clinic, you have the advantage of several physicians reviewing your care and ensuring that everything is progressing ideally. In addition, The Iowa Clinic provides complete obstetric care under one roof that includes a full-service laboratory, as well as Medical Imaging and Pathology Departments. Ultimately, this means less wasted time for you and easier coordination of appointments. Their physicians deliver at Methodist West and MercyOne West Des Moines Medical Center. After childbirth, you have access to some of the best pediatric physicians as well as Iowa’s first Women’s Center – where staff can help coordinate annual exams, mammograms, and other testing all in one day at one location. As a mom, you will be a role model and lead by example for your children. Taking care of your health should be a top priority after your baby arrives. The Iowa Clinic will be here to help you and your family every step of the way.

becoming a mom

by Kinzy Gillespie

Hold the test pointing down, place the absorbent strip in a stream of urine for 5 seconds, recap the test, and wait for the longest three minutes OF. YOUR. LIFE.

Pacing the bathroom, clearly ignoring the portion that states “don’t look at the results for 3 minutes,” you obsessively check the lines and await your fate. Will you be sad if there’s one line? Relieved? Are you ready to be a mom? Do you want a child? 3 minutes and one pee-soaked stick is all it takes to change your entire life FOR-EV-ER.

motherhood has ruined me

by Rachel Verzani

I am officially wrecked from these children.

My hips will never again fit into a size 4. My chest has forever changed. My belly will always have a little bit of pudge and a whole lot of stretch marks. My scar from my belly button piercing is stretched and unrecognizable. The bags under my eyes are permanent. My hands are cracked and dry from all the washing. My immune system is continually tested. I have white hairs. I am addicted to caffeine. My body is ruined.

You, my child, are worth it all. You are worth being wrecked for.

If this is the price of motherhood, then please, sweet children, ruin me. Again and again. Forever.

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From One #desmoinesmom to Another



As a new mom it’s okay to not be okay. It is so important to reach out for help even though it is hard to admit you need it.
• Ask a friend to come and hold the baby while you take a shower.
• Give yourself grace and self-love.
• Moms are warriors. And warriors need help from their fellow warriors from time to time.
• Take a long hot shower and blast that favorite music mama!

From One #desmoinesmom to Another


West Des Moines

I learned the hard way that it's ok to ask for help. With my first, I thought I could handle everything. I was totally wrong and ended up with some postpartum depression after major sleep deprivation. With my second, I was forced to ask for help while also healing from an injury. I learned how nice it is to have others help out with some of the small (and big!) things. And in my experience, most people like to help out new moms, they just don't know how to ask!

My best advice: if people offer to help, take it! Let them bring you ice cream, Starbucks, or fruit. I vividly remember asking my BFF to buy me "Granny Panties, the bigger the better". Even during these Pandemic times, there are still ways people can support you!

You've got this!

bronze sponsor

“Being a mom has made me so tired. And so happy” Tina Fey

Mom Friends

by Katie Evans

One thing that has TRULY surprised me in my adult life is how many people (particularly moms) are aching for friendship. I grew up right here in Des Moines and still found myself feeling “friendless” when we moved back from Minnesota. I remember calling our parents (who are awesome) to hang out on the weekends! But we were still eager to find a group of friends! Fast forward eight years and I think I have learned a thing or two about making friends as a mom.

feeling lonely in mesh underwear

Katie Nyberg

I vividly remember the first months of motherhood being so lonely for me.

My son was born in late December. My husband wasn’t able to take any time off work, and I had no idea what I was doing as a new mother. To complicate matters, I also had this package of hospital-issued mesh underwear and phonebook-size pads I was supposed to be using. I remember sitting with my baby, watching the clock tick slowly, and feeling completely lost in what I was supposed to be doing to care for this tiny baby.

Something was definitely missing. Something didn’t feel “right.” I hadn’t showered or left my house for days in a row. I had this emptiness and hopelessness that I couldn’t figure out.

From One #desmoinesmom to Another



Set Your Own Standards

When a screaming, gooey kid was laid on my chest after a 24-hour labor, I thought, “okay, bye now.” He was neat and all. But, I wasn’t capable of doing anything other than thinking, “what did we just do?”

Luckily, I wasn’t doomed at motherhood just because we didn’t have the picture-perfect first meeting! New moms (heck, all moms) can sometimes get set up to feel like failures.

Don’t let someone else’s standards get in your way. Embrace the beauty of a mom tribe and use their ideas to find out what works best for your kid.

dear first-time mom, chill out!

by Kara Knaack

CALM DOWN. Seriously, calm down. You are on the fast track to nutso-Kara, and no one wants that.

Right … so first-time mom Kara is not a fun person. In ideal, pre-baby conditions, you are a FUN person. You are gracious, talk in complete sentences, can make jokes, and can listen with a compassionate ear. But first-time mom Kara is more than a little neurotic and a teensy bit batty (and by teensy bit, I mean a lot. Crying on a walk because your husband kicked you out of the house to get fresh air is a bad sign.) Being new to motherhood and extremely sleep-deprived, well, those things did not bring out the best version of yourself.

First-time mom Kara, people aren’t going to do things exactly the same as you would, and the world will not end (this is actually a life-truth, not just a mom-truth). For example, your dear, dear friends who agreed to babysit your child will be able to put your baby to bed without the step-by-step swaddling tutorial and the teddy bear you left swaddled as an example. Dial down the crazy, dear.

“The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.”

-- Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh

From One #desmoinesmom to Another



Forget the parenting books, which overwhelm you with information that doesn't pertain to your situation. Find a couple of moms you admire, and ask them for advice when you're struggling to figure out anything from sleep schedules to illnesses to what's for dinner. Their tried and true advice will give you solutions you won't find in any book.

do you have a postpartum plan?

by Kimberly Isburg

There’s a lot to think about when it comes to having a new baby. Lots of expectant parents spend so much of their time and energy preparing for labor and birth and getting the nursery ready that they forget to plan for what life will be like once their baby is home.

Lots of people make a birth plan, but it’s just as important to make a postpartum plan. Taking a little bit of time to think about how you will get the rest, nourishment, and support you need after having a baby can make a big difference.

Here are five questions to ask yourselves in the final weeks of pregnancy so you can feel more rested, nourished, and able to enjoy the first weeks at home with your baby.

don't call my pregnancy a covid pregnancy

by Casey Manser

I think it’s pretty common knowledge now that there are just some things you don’t say to a pregnant woman. Of course, you have those outliers of people who say them anyway, but certain comments that allude to a woman’s changing body such as “Wow, you’re so big/small!” “Aren’t you too young/old to have a baby?” and “Are you sure it’s not twins?” are a big no, no.

This time around there is a new one I want to add to the list of things you shouldn’t say to a pregnant woman. This comment has come to the scene thanks to the recent global pandemic; can you guess what it is? Maybe you have heard it yourself: “So you’re having a COVID baby?!” With other versions such as “pandemic pregnancy” and jokes like “I guess you didn’t social distance.”

saving for an adoption: 10 tips to start now

by Erin Port

When my husband and I first talked about adopting in 2014, the financial obligation made us stop in our tracks.

We literally shelved the idea for another 4 years before reconvening and saying yes. With the average international adoption costing between 35,000 and 50,000 dollars and domestic adoptions in a similar price range, how does an average person successfully overcome the financial obstacle and adopt?

Every adoptive family before us said the same thing – don’t let finances be the obstacle that prevents you from adopting. Where there is a will, there’s a way. Children need families so let’s break down some ways we employed and you can too to prepare financially to adopt.

gender disappointment

Katie Nyberg

When I was pregnant with my first baby, I truly didn’t care whether I was having a boy or girl. I knew I wanted one boy and one girl, and I wouldn’t have any disappointment with either gender with my first baby. When I found out it was a boy at my 20 week ultrasound, I was so excited. I couldn’t wait to call everyone and tell them the good news! I loved being a mom to this little boy.

Not much later, people started asking when we were going to start “trying for a girl.” When I announced my second pregnancy, people asked if we were hoping for a girl. It seems that in our society, a perfect family needs to have at least one boy and one girl. It’s hard for me to admit that I completely bought in to that thinking, too.

my c-section birth story

by Shay Scholtes

My pregnancy was smooth. I truly enjoyed pregnancy and my growing bump. When the time came to create my birth plan, again, the idea it wouldn’t go this way never crossed my mind, I imagined a tranquil birth experience. I was open to pain management but wanted to keep my options open. During child birth classes I didn’t pay much attention when they talked about C-sections. I didn’t think I would need that.

I was induced because at my appointment on my due date, they couldn’t get a consistent blood pressure reading. At one point, it was leaning towards the high end. I was also starting to have contractions (irregular) as well during the non-stress test. Due to these factors, the doctor I saw that day scheduled an induction. I was so excited to be induced because I just wanted my baby here now.

new mom must-haves

by Andrea Cooley

Over the next weeks and months, you slowly start to learn your baby's rhythms. Life with a newborn is a series of slow dance moves that ebb and flow throughout the day. You discover the things you can and can’t eat if you want a happy, gas-free baby (broccoli and beans have never been good to my babies). You learn to discern his cries until you know when he’s gassy, hungry, wet, or just cranky.

You hear a lot about surviving pregnancy, but it’s easy to forget that adjusting to having a new baby can be just as hard! I like to call the first 10-12 weeks of a baby’s life the fourth trimester.

Friends are quick to tell you what you need for your baby when you come home from the hospital, but moms need things, too!

We Are Des Moines Mom

It's been eight years since we began connecting moms in the Des Moines Area. We are the #1 local resource for moms in and around Des Moines and Central Iowa. DMM is made up of more than 30 women driving community to connect, empower, and inspire local moms.