Pregnancy and Prenatal Care

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HAVING A BABY?

 

Here’s What to Expect

 

Whether you’re pregnant or are planning to get pregnant, you’ll want to give your baby a healthy start.

It’s important to have regular visits with your healthcare provider. These prenatal care visits are very important for both your baby and own health.

Smoking, drinking, and even the use of some prescribed medications could harm your developing baby. Talk to a Doctor about which medications are okay and which ones you should avoid.

It’s important to drink plenty of fluids and eat a healthy diet when pregnant. You may also be very tired and need more rest than usual.

Your body will go through many changes as your baby grows during the nine months of pregnancy. Always trust your instincts and don’t hesitate to call your health care provider if you think you have a problem, or if something is bothering or worrying you.

WHAT TO EXPECT: 1ST TRIMESTER
(WEEK 1-WEEK 12)

Your body will undergo many changes during the first trimester, though you may not be showing just yet. Hormonal changes affect almost every organ system in your body which can trigger symptoms even in the very first weeks of pregnancy. Your period stopping is a clear sign that you may be pregnant, however you might also experience other symptoms.

Other changes may include:

  • Extreme tiredness
  • Tender, swollen breasts. Your nipples might also stick out.
  • Upset stomach with or without throwing up (morning sickness)
  • Cravings or distaste for certain foods
  • Mood swings
  • Constipation (trouble having bowel movements)
  • Need to pass urine more often
  • Headache
  • Heartburn
  • Weight gain or loss

As your body changes, you may need to make changes to your daily routine, such as going to bed earlier or eating frequent, small meals.

Fortunately, most of these discomforts will go away as your pregnancy progresses. Some women might not feel any discomfort at all! Even if you’ve been pregnant before, you might feel differently this time around. Just as each woman is different, so is each pregnancy.

WHAT TO EXPECT: 2ND TRIMESTER
(WEEK 13-WEEK 38)

 

Many women find the second trimester of pregnancy easier than the first. However, it is just as important to stay informed about your pregnancy during these months.

You might notice that symptoms like nausea and fatigue start to go away. Other new, more noticeable changes to your body are now happening. Your abdomen will expand as the baby continues to grow. Before this trimester is over, you will feel your baby beginning to move!10

As your body changes to make room for your growing baby, you may have:

  • Body aches, such as back, abdomen, groin, or thigh pain
  • Stretch marks on your abdomen, breasts, thighs, or buttocks
  • Darkening of the skin around your nipples
  • A line on the skin running from belly button to pubic hairline
  • Patches of darker skin, usually over the cheeks, forehead, nose, or upper lip. Patches often match on both sides of the face. This is sometimes called the mask of pregnancy.
  • Numb or tingling hands, called carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Itching on the abdomen, palms, and soles of the feet. (Call your doctor if you have nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting, jaundice or fatigue combined with itching. These can be signs of a serious liver problem.)
  • Swelling of the ankles, fingers, and face. (If you notice any sudden or extreme swelling or if you gain a lot of weight really quickly, call your doctor right away. This could be a sign of preeclampsia.)

2ND TRIMESTER
(WEEK 13-WEEK 38)

 

Most women find the second trimester of pregnancy easier than the first. However, it is just as important to stay informed about your pregnancy during these months.

You might notice that symptoms like nausea and fatigue are going away. Other new, more noticeable changes to your body are now happening. Your abdomen will expand as the baby continues to grow. Before this trimester is over, you will feel your baby beginning to move!10

As your body changes to make room for your growing baby, you may have:

  • Body aches, such as back, abdomen, groin, or thigh pain
  • Stretch marks on your abdomen, breasts, thighs, or buttocks
  • Darkening of the skin around your nipples
  • A line on the skin running from belly button to pubic hairline
  • Patches of darker skin, usually over the cheeks, forehead, nose, or upper lip. Patches often match on both sides of the face. This is sometimes called the mask of pregnancy.
  • Numb or tingling hands, called carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Itching on the abdomen, palms, and soles of the feet. (Call your doctor if you have nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting, jaundice or fatigue combined with itching. These can be signs of a serious liver problem.)
  • Swelling of the ankles, fingers, and face. (If you notice any sudden or extreme swelling or if you gain a lot of weight really quickly, call your doctor right away. This could be a sign of preeclampsia.)

WHAT TO EXPECT: 3rd TRIMESTER
(WEEK 29-WEEK 40)

You’re in the home stretch! Some of the same discomforts you had in your second trimester will continue. Many women find breathing difficult and notice they have to go to the bathroom more often; This is because the baby is getting bigger and it is putting more pressure on your organs. Don’t worry, your baby is fine and these problems will lessen once you give birth.
Some new body changes you may notice in the third trimester include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Heartburn
  • Swelling of the ankles, fingers, and face. (If you notice any sudden or extreme swelling or if you gain a lot of weight really quickly, call your doctor right away. This could be a sign of preeclampsia.)
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Tender breasts, which may leak a watery pre-milk called colostrum (kuh-LOSS-struhm)
  • Your belly button may stick out
  • Trouble sleeping
  • The baby “dropping” or moving lower in your abdomen
  • Contractions, which can be a sign of real or false labor

As you near your due date, your cervix becomes thinner and softer (called effacing). This is a normal, natural process that helps the birth canal (vagina) to open during the birthing process.

Your doctor will check your progress with a vaginal exam as you near your due date. Get excited — the final countdown has begun!

The Importance of Prenatal Care

 

 

Prenatal care is the health care you get while pregnant. It includes your checkups and prenatal testing.

Prenatal care can help keep you and your baby healthy by allowing your health care provider to spot health problems early on. Early treatment can cure many problems and prevent others.

Your doctor or midwife will give you a schedule for your prenatal visits. If you are over 35 years old or your pregnancy is high risk because of health problems like diabetes or high blood pressure, your doctor or midwife will probably want to see you more often.

You can also expect to see your health care provider more often as your due date gets closer.

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Pregnancy and Prenatal Care