Expecting? We have Been Expecting You

Hello! I’m Vanessa Merten, and I’ve been supporting expecting moms and partners with evidence-based information and resources to healthily and safely navigate pregnancy, birth, and newborn parenting since 2015.

With hundreds of episodes of the Pregnancy Podcast, involving thousands of hours of research, I’ve created tons of valuable content for you. To make things easier, I recommend you start with the following.

The last year of Pregnancy Podcast episodes is free and available wherever you listen to audio.

Are Dates the Key to a Shorter Labor?

Overview Dates are the fruit of the date palm tree. While dates are high in sugar, they also contain nutrients like fiber, potassium, magnesium, iron,…

Body Image During Pregnancy and Motherhood

Overview Your body will go through a more significant transformation during pregnancy than in any other period of your life. Although building and growing a…

Healthy Pregnancy Weight Gain

Overview Your doctor or midwife will monitor your weight as a metric of your health during pregnancy. Excessive weight gain or not gaining enough weight…

Troubleshooting Sleep Issues During Pregnancy and as a New Parent

Overview The growing body of research on sleep demonstrates the absolute necessity of sleep for every biological function. Your body goes through significant changes during pregnancy and…

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Plant-Based Diets During Pregnancy

Overview There are many reasons people choose to eat a plant-based diet, including environmental, ethical, or health reasons. Regardless of your reasons for eating a…

Sun Exposure and Tanning During Pregnancy

Overview The sun emits UV radiation that comes with both risks and benefits. An estimated 90% of our vitamin D comes from the sun. Vitamin…

Mentally Preparing for Motherhood

Overview There are a lot of physical demands during pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding. Motherhood is also incredibly mentally and emotionally demanding. You can do so…

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) During Pregnancy

Overview Physical and hormonal changes during pregnancy increase your risk for a urinary tract infection. UTIs are the most common bacterial infections during pregnancy. The…

Hair Changes and Treatments During and After Pregnancy

Overview You experience many physical changes during your pregnancy. Higher levels of hormones, like estrogen, can even change the texture, color, or amount of hair…

Group B Strep

Overview Group B streptococcus is a type of bacterial infection. This bacterium naturally lives in the gastrointestinal tract. GBS is common and is in 10%-30%…

The Benefits of Pregnancy Brain

Overview Pregnancy brain is a term used to describe forgetfulness during pregnancy, not being able to focus, or brain fog. This can also extend to…

Unmedicated Birth

Overview Unmedicated birth comes with many benefits but also has its challenges. If you plan to avoid interventions, including pain medications, you need to prepare…

COVID-19 Vaccine During Pregnancy

CLICK HERE FOR THE MOST RECENT EPISODE ON THE COVID-19 VACCINE. Overview Historically vaccines have taken a decade or longer to develop and get to…

Reframing How You Think About Labor Pain

Overview The simplest explanation of how we feel pain is that our bodies sense pain when nerves send messages to our spinal cord and our…

Other Pain Management Options During Labor

Overview You have several pain management options for labor and birth. The availability of specific methods may vary depending on where you give birth and…

Nitrous Oxide During Labor

Overview Nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas, was first used as a labor analgesic in 1881. Over 50% of births in Finland, Norway, England,…

Your birth plan is more than a document you hand out when you go into labor. Creating and writing your birth plan is a great way to get really clear on the birth experience you want. Here are some resources to help you along the way.

See Vanessa's Birth Plan

Want a copy of my birth plan? Although my preferences may not be right for you, you can use my birth plan as an example of how yours can be structured and worded. Click here to get a copy.

Episodes on Creating Your Birth Plan

Guide to Creating Your Birth Plan

Overview A birth plan is your plan of how you envision your birth and what happens directly following the birth of your baby. A birth…

Why You Need a Backup Plan

Overview This podcast covers a lot about preparing for the birth experience you want. If you listen to this podcast, you are educated about labor…

One Page Birth Plan

Overview Writing your birth plan is an integral part of preparing for the birth experience you want and getting clear about your preferences. One of…

Do I really need a written birth plan?

Overview The process you go through to create your birth plan, which includes educating yourself and working with your care provider, is fundamental to get…

A Step by Step Guide to Creating and Writing Your Birth Plan

This book walks you through step-by-step, showing you exactly how to create a birth plan that will lay the foundation for the birth experience you want.  You will find short sections with evidence-based information to help you decide your preferences from starting labor until you are home with your baby. There are sample plans for everything from home birth to a planned cesarean and everything in between, so this book has you covered no matter what type of birth you are planning.  Plus, the master template includes everything you could include in your birth plan, and it is super quick and easy to customize to fit your preferences.

More information on the book, including a preview, can be found here.

The 40 Weeks podcast has a short five-minute episode for each week of pregnancy. Learn what is going on with your body and your baby each week, plus get a tip for your partner. Available everywhere you listen to audio.

40 Weeks Introduction

Listen Now Welcome to the 40 Weeks podcast! This episode is the introduction to 40 Weeks and will give you everything you can expect from…

Week 1-2

Listen Now Welcome to weeks 1-2 of your pregnancy! This week your body is preparing to get pregnant. Resources Included in This Episode Check out…

Week 3

Listen Now Welcome to week 3 of your pregnancy! This week your egg is fertilized and the journey of your baby begins! Resources Included in This Episode…

Week 4

Listen Now Welcome to week 4 of your pregnancy! This week your baby is the size of a poppy seed. Resources Included in This Episode Check out…

Week 5

Listen Now Welcome to week 5 of your pregnancy! This week your baby is the size of an apple seed or a peppercorn.  They are .05…

Week 6

Listen Now Welcome to week 6 of your pregnancy! Your little apple seed sized baby has grown to be about the size of a sweet pea. …

Week 7

Listen Now Welcome to week 7 of your pregnancy! By the end of this week, the embryo will more than double its length to a half…

Week 8

Listen Now Welcome to week 8 of your pregnancy! At a length of about .6 inches right now, or 1.6 centimeters, your baby has graduated from…

Week 9

Listen Now Welcome to week 9 of your pregnancy! Your baby has graduated from an embryo and is now officially called a fetus, which literally means…

Week 10

Listen Now Welcome to week 10 of your pregnancy! Your little baby has grown to the size of a prune or a cotton ball.  This…

Week 11

Listen Now Welcome to week 11 of your pregnancy! Your little baby has grown to the size of a Brussels sprout this week.  They are…

Week 12

Listen Now Welcome to week 12 of your pregnancy! Your little baby has grown to the size of a plum.  They are just over 2 inches,…

Week 13

Listen Now Welcome to week 13 of your pregnancy! Your little baby has grown to the size of a peach.  They measure almost 3 inches, or…

Week 14

Listen Now Welcome to week 14 of your pregnancy! Your little baby has grown to the size of a lemon this week, or roughly the size of…

Week 15

Listen Now Welcome to week 15 of your pregnancy! Your little baby has grown to the size of an apple or a baseball.  Your little guy or…

Week 16

Listen Now Welcome to week 16 of your pregnancy! Your little baby has grown to the size of an avocado.  Your little one is about 4 1/2…

Week 17

Listen Now Welcome to week 17 of your pregnancy! Your little baby has grown to the size of a pear.  From crown to rump, your baby measures…

Week 18

Listen Now Welcome to week 18 of your pregnancy! Your little baby has grown to the size of a sweet potato this week.  At week 18 your…

Week 19

Listen Now Welcome to week 19 of your pregnancy! Your little baby has grown to the size of a mango this week.  Your baby measures approximately six…

Week 20

Listen Now Welcome to week 20 of your pregnancy! Your little baby has grown to the size of a small artichoke.  Up until now we have…

Week 21

Listen Now Welcome to week 21 of your pregnancy! Your little baby has grown to the size of a pomegranate.  That little one measures 10 inches, or…

Week 22

Listen Now Welcome to week 22 of your pregnancy! Your little baby has grown to the size of a papaya.  They measure 10.5 inches, or 26.5 centimeters…

Week 23

Listen Now Welcome to week 23 of your pregnancy! Your little baby has grown to the size of an eggplant.  Your baby measures almost 11 inches, or…

Week 24

Listen Now Welcome to week 24 of your pregnancy! Your little baby has grown to the size of an ear of corn this week.  That little one…

Week 25

Listen Now Welcome to week 25 of your pregnancy! Your little baby has grown to the size of an acorn squash this week.  That little one is…

Week 26

Listen Now Welcome to week 26 of your pregnancy! Your little baby has grown to the size of a zucchini this week.  That little one keeps getting…

Week 27

Listen Now Welcome to week 27 of your pregnancy! Your little baby has grown to the size of a head of cauliflower.  This week, your little one…

Week 28

Listen Now Welcome to week 28 of your pregnancy! Your little baby has grown to the size of a kabocha squash.  Not sure what that kind of…

Week 29

Listen Now Welcome to week 29 of your pregnancy! Your little baby has grown to the size of a butternut squash.  Let’s put that into perspective.  Your…

Week 30

Listen Now Welcome to week 30 of your pregnancy! Your little baby has grown to the size of a large head of cabbage.  Your little is measuring…

Week 31

Listen Now Welcome to week 31 of your pregnancy! Your little baby has grown to the length of a bunch of leeks.  How long is that?  Your…

Week 32

Listen Now Welcome to week 32 of your pregnancy! Your little baby has grown to the size of a head of Napa cabbage, which is bigger than…

Week 33

Listen Now Welcome to week 33 of your pregnancy! Your little baby has grown to the size of a pineapple.  Your little one measures 16.7 inches, or…

Week 34

Listen Now Welcome to week 34 of your pregnancy! Your little baby has grown to the size of a cantaloupe.  Your little one measures 17.2 inches, or…

Week 35

Listen Now Welcome to week 35 of your pregnancy! Your little baby has grown to the size of a honeydew melon this week.  Your little one measures…

Week 36

Listen Now Welcome to week 36 of your pregnancy! Your little baby has grown to the size of a canary melon this week.  That little cutie measures…

Week 37

Listen Now Welcome to week 37 of your pregnancy! Your little baby has grown as long as a stalk of Swiss chard this week.  Just how…

Week 38

Listen Now Welcome to week 38 of your pregnancy! Your little baby has grown as long as a stalk of rhubarb this week.  Just how long is…

Week 39

Listen Now Welcome to week 39 of your pregnancy! Your little baby has grown to the size of a mini watermelon.  Your little one is measuring 19.6…

Week 40

Listen Now Welcome to week 40 of your pregnancy! Your little baby has grown to the size of a pumpkin.  Your baby is measuring almost 20 inches,…

Week 41

Listen Now Welcome to week 41 of your pregnancy! If your little one isn’t quite ready to come out yet, they are measuring 20.16 inches,…

Week 42

Listen Now Welcome to week 42 of your pregnancy! If your little one is still hanging out in your belly, they are measuring 20.4 inches,…