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.

What Your Birth Will Cost, Health Insurance, and Tax Savings

Overview In the United States, the average cost of vaginal birth is nearly $10,000, and the average price for a cesarean section is close to…

Birth Tools and Techniques

Overview A lot of things need to come together for you to have the birth experience you want. Your birth room environment should feel safe…

What to Pack in Your Birth Bag

Overview If you went into labor and showed up at the birth center or a hospital with nothing, it would not be the end of…

Your Pregnancy Timeline

Overview Review your pregnancy timeline from conception until your baby is born. This article overviews how your baby develops, what changes your body goes through,…

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Using a Rebozo for Pregnancy and Birth

Overview A rebozo is a long rectangular shawl that originated in Mexico. Like many non-western traditions, the art of rebozo is more than a tool….

Placenta Variations and Abnormalities

Overview The placenta is an organ with a highly specialized purpose, and that is to support the normal growth and development of your baby. Before…

Fever During Pregnancy

Overview A fever is part of your body’s immune response as a natural defense to infection. The risks and benefits of fever during pregnancy are…

COVID-19 Vaccine During Pregnancy

Overview The severity and spread of COVID-19 drove demand to create vaccines and get them to the public in record time. In the United States,…

Tdap Vaccine During Pregnancy

Overview A vaccine contains a weakened or killed form of a disease-causing micro-organism that causes your body to produce antibodies. This provides immunity without actually inducing the…

Erythromycin Eye Ointment

Overview Ophthalmia neonatorum is a newborn eye infection and in the United States occurs in 1-2% of newborns. This infection can be caused by sexually transmitted…

Vitamin K Shot

Overview At birth, babies naturally have low levels of vitamin K. The danger in having low levels of vitamin K is the risk of vitamin K deficiency bleeding. This…

Navigating Prenatal Care

Overview Prenatal care is healthcare from a medical professional for you and your baby during pregnancy. It is well established that women who receive prenatal…

Weaning from Breastfeeding

Overview Some of the best breastfeeding resources lack great information on weaning. What you find instead is information on why you should keep breastfeeding and…

Bottle Feeding and Infant Formula

Overview Even if you plan to breastfeed exclusively, there is value in learning about bottles and formula if you decide or need to incorporate them…

Pumping Breastmilk and Building a Stash

Overview Breast milk is liquid gold. It is so valuable and amazing that scientists cannot reproduce it in a lab, and only you can make…

Breastfeeding Troubleshooting

Overview Your newborn is hard-wired to breastfeed and is born with instincts to help them latch right after birth. Despite these instincts, breastfeeding doesn’t always…

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.

Weeks 1-2

Welcome to weeks one and two of your pregnancy. Listen Now You measure pregnancy in the weeks leading up to the birth of your baby….

Week 3

Welcome to week 3. This is the week of ovulation and fertilization. Listen Now Baby Week three is really when the journey of your baby…

Week 4

Welcome to week 4. 36 weeks to go! Listen Now Baby Your baby is the size of a poppy seed this week. Believe it or…

Week 5

Welcome to week 5. 35 weeks to go! Listen Now Baby This week your poppy seed-sized baby has grown to about the size of an…

Week 6

Welcome to week 6. 34 weeks to go! Listen Now Baby Your little apple seed-sized baby has grown to be about the size of a…

Week 7

Welcome to week 7. 33 weeks to go! Listen Now Baby Your little sweat pea is now the size of a small blueberry. They measure…

Week 8

Welcome to week 8. You are 20% of the way there! Listen Now Baby At about .6 inches (1.6 cm), your baby has graduated from…

Week 9

Welcome to week 9. 31 more weeks to go! Listen Now Baby Your baby has graduated from an embryo and is now officially called a…

Week 10

Welcome to week 10. 30 more weeks to go! Listen Now Baby Your little grape-sized baby has grown to the size of a kumquat this…

Week 11

Welcome to week 11. 29 more weeks to go! Listen Now Baby Your little kumquat-sized baby is roughly the size of a strawberry this week….

Week 12

Welcome to week 12, the last week of the first trimester. 28 more weeks to go! Listen Now Baby Your little strawberry-sized baby is now…

Week 13

Welcome to week 13. This is the start of the second trimester. Listen Now Baby Your little plum is now about the size of a…

Week 14

Welcome to week 14. 26 weeks to go! Listen Now Baby This week your little lemon is now about the size of a peach. From…

Week 15

Welcome to week 15. 25 weeks to go! Listen Now Baby Your baby peach grows in week 15 to about the size of an apple….

Week 16

Welcome to week 16 and the end of your fourth month. 24 weeks to go! Listen Now Baby Your little apple is growing, and this…

Week 17

Welcome to week 17. 23 weeks to go! Listen Now Baby Your avocado-sized baby is growing this week to the size of a pear. Your…

Week 18

Welcome to week 18. 22 weeks to go! Listen Now Baby Your pear-sized baby is growing to about the size of a bell pepper this…

Week 19

Welcome to week 19. 21 weeks to go! Listen Now Baby Your little bell pepper is growing to about the size of a mango this…

Week 20

Welcome to week 20. You are halfway there! Listen Now Baby This week your baby’s growth rate accelerates. Your little mango is growing to about…

Week 21

Welcome to week 21 and the second half of your pregnancy. 19 weeks to go! Listen Now Baby Your little sweet potato is growing to…

Week 22

Welcome to week 22. 18 weeks to go! Listen Now Baby Your banana-sized baby is growing to the size of a papaya this week. Your…

Week 23

Welcome to week 23. 17 weeks to go! Listen Now Baby Your little papaya-sized baby is getting bigger this week and will be about the…

Week 24

Welcome to week 24. 16 weeks to go! Listen Now Baby Your baby is growing from a grapefruit last week to the size of an…

Week 25

Welcome to week 25. 15 weeks to go! Listen Now Baby Your baby is growing from an ear of corn last week to the size…

Week 26

Welcome to week 26. 14 weeks to go! Listen Now Baby Last week your baby was the size of an acorn squash. This week they…

Week 27

Welcome to week 27. This is the last week of the second trimester. 13 weeks to go! Listen Now Baby Your baby that was the…

Week 28

Welcome to week 28, the start of the final and third trimester. Listen Now Baby Your baby that was the size of a cabbage last…

Week 29

Welcome to week 29. Only 11 weeks to go! Listen Now Baby Your baby eggplant is growing this week to the size of a cauliflower….

Week 30

Welcome to week 30. You are 75% of the way there! Listen Now Baby Your little cauliflower-sized baby is growing this week to the size…

Week 31

Welcome to week 31. Only nine weeks to go! Listen Now Baby Your broccoli-sized baby is growing this week and is about the size of…

Week 32

Welcome to week 32. Only eight weeks to go! Listen Now Baby Your asparagus-sized baby is growing to about the size of a cantaloupe. Your…

Week 33

Welcome to week 33. Only seven weeks to go! Listen Now Baby Your cantaloupe-sized baby is growing to about the size of a butternut squash….

Week 34

Welcome to week 34. Only six weeks to go! Listen Now Baby Your baby was as big as a butternut squash last week and is…

Week 35

Welcome to week 35. Only five weeks to go! Listen Now Baby Your baby is growing from the size of a pineapple last week to…

Week 36

Welcome to week 36. Only one more month to go! Listen Now Baby Your baby is growing from a spaghetti squash to about the size…

Week 37

Welcome to week 37. Only three weeks to go! Listen Now Baby Your baby was the size of a bunch of romaine lettuce and is…

Week 38

Welcome to week 38. Only two weeks to go! Listen Now Baby Your baby, who was as big as a canary melon, is growing to…

Week 39

Welcome to week 39. Only one more week to go! Listen Now Baby Your mini watermelon-sized baby is almost ready to make its debut into…

Week 40

Welcome to week 40. Your due date is here! Congratulations, you are almost there. Listen Now Baby Your baby was about the size of a…

Week 41

If you are still pregnant, welcome to week 41. You get to meet your baby any day now. Listen Now Baby Do not stress out…

Week 42

Welcome to week 42 and the last week of your pregnancy. Listen Now Baby It looks like your baby wants to take its time getting…