What to expect when you're expecting
Pregnancy is undoubtedly one of the most exciting times in a woman's life, but it can also be a little overwhelming. We've put together answers to the most common questions that expecting moms ask. Pregnancy should be fun and when you get the answers to your questions it will alleviate your worries and allow you to simply enjoy your bundle of joy that's growing inside you.
1.) What are the most common symptoms of pregnancy?
Don't be alarmed if you experience slight bleeding or cramping. A small amount of spotting or vaginal bleeding is often one of the first symptoms of pregnancy. Tender or swollen breasts and fatigue also top the list and can be attributed to all the hormonal changes taking place.
2.) Now that I'm pregnant, are there certain things I should avoid?
From the obvious to the not so obvious (think fish), you need to be aware of the many different things that can have a potentially adverse affect on your unborn child. Some fish have high mercury levels that can cause harm to your unborn fetus. Do some research about fish and pregnancy if you're a seafood enthusiast. Avoid alcohol and smoking. They contribute to a myriad of problems from miscarriage and stillbirth to physical defects and low birth weight. The jury is still out on how much caffeine is too much, so be sure to check with your doctor before drinking or eating caffeine-infused beverages and foods.
3.) What is morning sickness? What can I do to alleviate it?
Morning sickness is one of those unfortunate symptoms that affect some pregnant women making them feel nauseous, sometimes to the point of vomiting. It can hit at any time of the day (or night) and can begin as early as two weeks after conception. Some women experience a heightened sense of smell that can make nausea even worse. Luckily, morning sickness usually dissipates after the first trimester. Sometimes symptoms can be lessened by eating smaller meals, sucking on peppermint or drinking ginger tea. If you're morning sickness is really bad you should talk with your doctor.
4.) How often do I need to see the doctor?
During the first six months of pregnancy, you will generally see your doctor once per month. Once you hit your seventh month, every two weeks. In the final month, your appointments will be weekly.
5.) Should I exercise during pregnancy?
Exercise is beneficial for numerous reasons, but mostly will help prepare you for the physical challenge of labor and delivery. Avoid contact sports or exercise that gets you too over heated. As with all exercise, be sure to check with your healthcare provider first.
6.) Is it normal to get abdominal pains during pregnancy?
When you hit week 20, it is normal to experience pain in the lower part of the abdomen. The ligaments that support the uterus are starting to stretch. Although occasional discomfort is a common complaint, severe or persistent abdominal pain should be checked out by your healthcare provider.
7.) Why am I so moody?
Blame it on the hormones. The most dramatic hormone shifts occur between the sixth and tenth week of pregnancy and in the final weeks leading up to the delivery. While hormones are the main culprits, sudden mood shifts can also be traced to fatigue, physical stress, and changes in metabolism.
8.) When should I stop having sex? Is it dangerous for the baby?
Provided your pregnancy is normal, you can continue having sex right up until your water breaks or you go into labor. You don't have to worry about hurting the baby – the amniotic sac protects your baby, and a thick mucus plug seals the cervix to guard against any possible infection.
9.) How will I know when I'm in labor?
Labor is different for every woman. But, here are some general characteristics:
• Contractions are regular and follow a predictable pattern
• They become progressively closer, longer, and stronger
• Changing your position or activity will not slow down the contractions
• There may be a bloody discharge and membranes may rupture
10.) How long should I wait before going to the hospital if I think I'm in labor?
A contraction is considered strong if you can't talk through it. If you are having strong contractions that are coming every four to five minutes for one or two hours, it's probably a good idea to call your doctor or midwife. And, if your water breaks, you should get to the hosptial immediately to avoid any risk of infection. If your cervix is open to approximately 4 centimters and is effaced, you are in active labor. Congratulations!
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About the Author
Kim Proulx knows lots about kids, parenting and strengthening the family bond. As a Certified Parent Coach she vows that surrounding your baby in a safe and comfortable environment is the first step in creating a happy family. To set up the ideal baby environment she recommends you check out the Nursery Sets at SimplyBabyFurniture.com.
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