What to Expect during a Surrogate Pregnancy
At CSP, Inc., our surrogate mothers have the opportunity to help intended parents receive the greatest gift of all: a newborn baby. If you have been pregnant and given birth before, you know more or less what to expect as far as the actual pregnancy goes. But when you are a surrogate, there are also many differences you will experience during the process. Whether you are an intended parent or a surrogate mother, we want you to know exactly what to expect and we want you to have access to all the resources you need.
Once you are confirmed pregnant, it is a very exciting time for both you and your couple, but it is also very emotional. One of the most important aspects of the pregnancy is to maintain good communication with your counselor and your intended parents.
The doctor who helped you with the IVF process will usually continue to treat you until the 6th week, at which point you are free to choose your own obstetrician that is covered by your insurance.
This trimester (weeks 1-13) is typically when you will feel the most tired and when morning sickness could hit the hardest. Take it easy and maintain a healthy diet to help you feel your best. If you feel like something isn’t right or you need assistance with any part of your pregnancy, talk to your OB or counselor to get the help you need.
When the second trimester (weeks 14 to 26) rolls around, the miscarriage rate goes down dramatically, and you will start to have more energy. As your pregnancy progresses, it’s essential to keep up communication with your counselor and let them know of any discomfort or other worries or concerns you may have. If we don’t hear from you, we assume you are doing fine.
During the second trimester, your couple may begin to express concern regarding the health of the baby. If this occurs, please talk to your counselor so that you and your couple will be given proper guidance.
You will also now be able to hear the baby’s heartbeat at your appointments, as well as receive ultrasounds. Between 16-20 weeks, you will be able to start feeling the baby move inside you.
Although you’re still a ways away from delivery when the third trimester (weeks 27 to 40) starts, you should begin to communicate with your couple how you will notify them once labor begins. It’s also a good idea to take a tour of the hospital before the big day so you’re familiar with it and feel comfortable in the new setting.
As you near the end of the pregnancy, your OB appointments will be even more often. You will most likely return to the energy level you had in the first trimester, only this time you’re walking around with an extra 20-30 pounds. Keep your energy up by doing light exercise and eating healthy meals and snacks often.
When you get to the hospital, feel free to let the staff know you’re a surrogate if you wish. If you should have any questions or concerns regarding your time at the hospital, contact the hospital social worker or your OB charge nurse. They will already be aware of the situation and will be the most helpful.
Before you actually give birth, think about how you want to say goodbye to the baby and the parents. This varies with every surrogate mom, and it’s completely up to you. Don’t be shy about communicating how you want this process to go.
Intended parents should always remain helpful and supportive so that surrogate doesn’t feel worried and is able to have a pregnancy that is as stress-free as possible.
The intended parents will be able to meet with the OB as well as have the opportunity to attend appointments every so often.
The first trimester also comes with more risks than the other trimesters. The miscarriage rate is highest in the first trimester, and this rate is slightly higher than 20%.
During the second trimester, your surrogate will start to get more ultrasounds to check on the well-being of the baby. You may accompany the surrogate to the ultrasounds if you wish, but if you don’t live near her, it’s possible to receive a video of the ultrasound.
You and your partner may begin to feel concerned about the health of your baby during this stage, but avoid communicating these concerns with your surrogate. Talk to your counselor about what you are feeling and we will be able to give both parties the help and support they need.
This is the time when you start to establish parental rights with a lawyer, so it will all begin to feel much more real.
Now is the time to make sure you know how you’ll be notified when your surrogate mom goes into labor, and make travel arrangements if necessary. If you wish, you can also take a tour of the hospital with your surrogate to familiarize yourself.
Communicate with your surrogate mom regarding what role you will play in the delivery room. Many surrogates prefer that the father stays behind her shoulders during delivery, so it’s important to talk with her beforehand so there won’t be any surprises.
Upon arrival at the hospital, let the hospital social worker or OB charge nurse know who you are, as they will be aware of your situation and how to assist you.
While your emotions may be all over the board at this point, make sure to always remain positive around your surrogate mom and communicate any concerns to the counselor or nurse. The more relaxed your surrogate mom is, the potential for a smooth birthing process is much better.
After your child is born, the surrogate mother will want the chance to say goodbye to you and the baby. Be sure to openly communicate your appreciation for the large role she played in growing your family.
At CSP, we love seeing families grow and become more whole than they ever thought they could. We look forward to working with you!