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Pregnancy and falling pregnant with an analysis of problems in falling pregnant as well as a Pregnancy calculator and a discussion of foods to avoid during pregnancy and symptoms of pregnancy

 

Pregnancy lasts about 40 weeks, counting from the first day of your last normal period. The weeks are grouped into three trimesters

Pregnancy to bring an expanding waistline but there are also many other body changes that occur during the 9 months of pregnancy. The gestattion period is divided into three trimesters.

FIRST TRIMESTER - WEEK 1 TO WEEK 12

The female body undergoes many changes during the first trimester. Hormonal changes affect almost every organ system in the body.

Even in the very first weeks of pregnancy these changes can trigger symptoms such as :

  • The cessation of the menstrual period can be a clear sign of pregnancy.
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Tender, swollen breasts.
  • Nipples might also enlarge.
  • Mood swings
  • Need to pass urine more often
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Upset stomach with or without throwing up (morning sickness)
  • Cravings or distaste for certain foods
  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Heartburn

 

The pregnant woman might need to make changes to daily routines, such as going to bed earlier or eating frequent, small meals. Usually, most of these discomforts will disappear as pregnancy progresses. Some lucky women do not feel any discomfort at all, especially if they have been pregnant before.

 

Just as each woman is different, so is each pregnancy.

 

During pregnancy, the pregnant womam might experience body aches and pains in the back, abdomen, groin area, and thighs as your uterus expands. Many women also have backaches and aching near the pelvic bone due the pressure of the baby's head, increased weight, and loosening joints.

 

Some pregnant women complain of pain that runs from the lower back, down the back of one leg, to the knee or foot. This is called sciaticaand is thought to occur when the uterus puts pressure on the sciatic nerve. It might help to lie down.and rest or to apply heat.

If the pain does not get better it is always wise to contact your doctor just to make sure that there are no other underlying problems.

 

Breast changes

A woman's breasts increase in size and fullness during pregnancy. As the due date approaches, hormone changes will cause your breasts to get even bigger to prepare for breastfeeding. Your breasts may feel full, heavy, or tender.

 

In the third trimester, colostrum might begin to leak from the breasts. Colostrum is a thick, yellowish fluid containing antibodies that protect newborns from infectionis the first milk that your breasts produce for the baby.

 

Wear a maternity bra with good support. Put pads in the bra to absorb leakage.

 

Constipation

Many pregnant women complain of constipation. Higher levels of hormones due to pregnancy slow down digestion and relax muscles in the bowels and, also, the pressure of the expanding uterus on the bowels can contribute to constipation.

 

  • Drink 8 to 10 glasses of water daily.
  • Don't drink caffeine.
  • Eat fiber-rich foods, such as fresh or dried fruit, raw vegetables, and whole-grain cereals and breads.
  • Mild physical activity

 

Foods to avoid during pregnancy - and why

  • Raw Meat  - Raw meat can infect you with salmonella or toxoplasmosis.
    • Foods to avoid include:
      • sushi
      • rare meats.
  • Soft Cheeses - because of the way these cheeses are made, they may contain harmful bacteria.
    • Unpasteurized cheeses include
      • Brie
      • Feta
      • Camambert
      • Bleu cheese
      • Queso blanco
      • Queso fresco
      • Many other soft cheeses

 

  • Raw Eggs - Salmonella is the risk
    • Foods to avoid include
      • cake batter
      • raw cookie dough
      • homemade ice cream
      • custards
      • mayonaise
      • egg nog
      • Hollandaise sauce

 

  • Fish: - Mercury can be harmful to you baby because it can lead to brain damage
    • Foods to avoidinclude :
      • Tilefish
      • Kng mackerel
      • Shark
      • Sword fish.

     

  • Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) is associated with memory difficulties and lower IQs. Fish included in the PCB warning include:
    • Bluefish
    • Striped bass
    • Salmon
    • Pike
    • Trout

 

  • Foods That Require Special Attention
    • Deli Meats, due to the risk of listeriosis, ensure that all deli meats, including hot dogs, are thoroughly reheated. Listeria bacteria may cause miscarriage or even a stillbirth.The internal temperature of the meat should be 165 degrees
    • Liver - excessive amounts of vitamin A in non-beta-carotene form can cause birth defects.

 

  • Unpasteurized milk and juices
    • Raw milk and untreated juices.

 

  • Alcohol - many documented fetal abnormalities and birth defects have been associated with alcohol use during pregnancy.

 

Dizziness

Many pregnant women complain of dizziness and lightheadedness throughout their pregnancies. Even in some healthy pregnant women, fainting may occur

 

The growth of more blood vessels in early pregnancy, the pressure of the expanding uterus on blood vessels, and the body's increased need for food all can make a pregnant woman feel lightheaded and dizzy.

  • Don't skip meals.
  • Always s tand up slowly.
  • Avoid standing for too long.
  • Wear loose clothing.
  • Lie on your left side.

 

Fatigue and/or sleep problems

It is normal to often feel tired even after a good night's sleep. Many women find theyfeel absolutely exhausted in the first trimesterand this is quitre normal This is the body's way of ensuring more rest during this time of change and growth. Practice good sleep habits, such as going to bed and getting up at the same time each day and using your bed only for sleep and sex. Go to bed a little earlier. Nap if you are not able to get enough sleep at night.

 

Heartburn and indigestion

Hormones and the pressure of the growing uterus cause indigestion and heartburn. Pregnancy hormones slow down the muscles of the digestive tract and digestion is sluggish which causes many pregnant women to feel bloated.

 

Hormones also relax the valve that separates the esophagus from the stomach allowing food and acids to come back up from the stomach to the esophagus, which causes the burning feeling of heartburn. What might help is to :

  • eat several small meals instead of three large meals
  • eat slowly
  • don't eat greasy and fried foods
  • avoid citrus fruits or juices and spicy foods
  • drink fluids between meals -- not with meals.
  • do not eat or drink within a few hours of bedtime.
  • do not lie down right after meals.
  • ask the doctor about using an antacid.

 

Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids are swollen and bulging veins in the rectum. They can cause itching, pain, and bleeding. Up to 50 percent of pregnant women get hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids are common during pregnancy for many reasons.

  • During pregnancy blood volume increases greatly, which can cause veins to enlarge.
  • The expanding uterus also puts pressure on the veins in the rectum.
  • Constipation can worsen hemorrhoids.

 

What might help is to:

  • Drink lots of fluids
  • Eat fiber-rich foods, like whole grains, raw or cooked leafy green vegetables, and fruits.
  • Avoid becoming constipated
  • Use products such as witch hazel to soothe hemorrhoids. (Consult a doctor first)

 

Morning sickness

Morning sickness with nausea and vomiting can occur at any time of dayin spite of the name. Morning sickness can begin early in the pregnancy, and most women find that it eases during the second trimester. Some unlucky ones experience quite sever morning sickness throughout most of the pergnancy term.

SOME TIPS THAT MIGHT HELP

  • Avois sugary foods and opt for smaller, high protein meals, particularly at breakfast time.
  • Eat dry toast, crackers or dry cereals before getting out of bed in the morning.
  • Eat several small meals instead of three large meals. When the stomach is empty, nausea is often worse.
  • Eat bland foods that are low in fat and easy to digest, such as rice, and bananas.
  • Don't lie down after meals
  • Sip on water, weak tea, or clear soft drinks.
  • Eat ice chips
  • Avoid smells that upset your stomach.

 

Nasal problems

A blocked nose and / or nosebleeds are common during pregnancy and are caused by the increased amount of blood in your body and hormones acting on the tissues of your nose.

Consult a doctor and ask for a suitable nasal decongestant whcih is suitable for use during pregnancy.

 

Stretch marks

The dreaded stretch marks - red, pink, or brown streaks on the skin - usually appear on the thighs, buttocks, abdomen, and breasts. These scars are caused by the stretching of the skin, and usually appear in the second half of pregnancy.

 

Because stretch marks are primarily the result of hormonal changes—especially the very natural hormonal changes of pregnancy, it’s difficult to prevent their occurrence. The appearance of newly forming stretch marks can be sometimes minimized.

 

  • Eat a variety of foods that promote healthy skin such as foods rich in zinc, Vitamins A, C, and D, as well as sufficient amounts of protein.
  • Drink at least eight glasses of water daily. Water helps keep you skin more elastic to help prevent stretch mark formation.
  • Avoid caffeinated beverages. 
  • An exercise program keeps your entire body healthy which, in turn, promotes healthy skin.
  • Don't scratch the areas where you are likely to get stretch marks. Gently massage with oils or creams if it feels itchy as this promotes blood circulation and helps stimulate new cell growth, both of which are important in preventing stretch marks.
  • Try to stay within the healthy weight gain limits . Sudden weight gain ncrease your chances of stretch marks forming.
  • Massage tummy area daily with pure vitamin E oil - cold pressed, to reduce scarring.

 

Other skin changes during pregnancy. Often the nipples become darker and browner and some women develop a dark line called the linea nigra on the skin that runs from the belly button down to the pubic hairline.

 

Darker patches sometimes show over the cheeks, forehead, nose, or upper lip. These spots are called melasma or chloasma and are more common in darker-skinned women.

Varicose veins

Blood volume increases greatly during pregnancy which can cause veins to enlarge. Pressure on the large veins behind the uterus causes the blood to slow in its return to the heart. Because of the above reasons, varicose veins in the legs and hemorrhoids are more common in pregnancy. Varicose veins look like swollen veins raised above the surface of the skin. They can be twisted or bulging and are dark purple or blue in color.

  • Avoid tight knee-high stockings
  • Sit with your legs and feet raised.

 

SECOND TRIMESTER - WEEK 13 TO WEEK 28

In the second trimester, tiredness is usually replaced with a feeling of well being and energy and many women find the second trimester of pregnancy easier than the first.

 

Symptoms like nausea and fatigue often ease or completely disappear during the 2nd Trimester, but other noticeable changes to your body appear.

 

The abdomen expands as the baby continues to grow and nd before this trimester is over, the pregnant mother will feel your baby beginning to move.

 

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

  • Back, abdomen, groin, or thigh pains
  • 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.
  • 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.

 

THIRD TRIMESTER - WEEK 29 TO WEEK40

Some of the same discomforts of the second trimester will continue. and many women find breathing difficult and notice they have to go to the bathroom even more often.

 

The baby's movements, getting up often at night and an increase in the body's metabolism might interrupt or disturb sleep. Leg cramping can also interfere with a good night's sleep. As you get larger, sleeping may become more difficult. 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. Expect to veryy tired and try to rest during the day, with the legs elevated for a short time.

  • Lie on your left side
  • Use pillows for support, such as behind your back, tucked between your knees, and under your tummy.

Some new body changes you might 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
  • Bulging belly button
  • 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.
  • The final countdown has begun!

 

Pre-eclampsia

Pre-eclampsia is a medical condition in which hypertension arises in pregnancy in association with significant amounts of protein in the urine.

 

Pre-eclampsia refers to a set of symptoms rather than any causative factor, and there are many different causes for the condition. It appears likely that there are substances from the placenta that can cause endothelial dysfunction in the maternal blood vessels of susceptible women.

 

While blood pressure elevation is the most visible sign of the disease, it involves generalized damage to the maternal endothelium, kidneys, and liver, with the release of vasoconstrictive factors being secondary to the original damage.

 

Pre-eclampsia may develop from 20 weeks gestation (it is considered early onset before 32 weeks, which is associated with increased morbidity). Its progress differs among patients; most cases are diagnosed pre-term. Pre-eclampsia may also occur up to six weeks post-partum.

 

Infrequently, preeclampsia can lead to seizures, a condition called eclampsia. Eclampsia can have very serious consequences for both the mother and the baby.

The seizures may be preceded by symptoms such as severe or persistent headache, vision changes (blurred vision, seeing spots, or sensitivity to light), mental confusion, or intense upper abdominal pain. Sometimes, though, the seizures occur without warning. For this reason, all women with severe preeclampsia are given magnesium sulfate, an anti-seizure medication.

 

Some symptoms of preeclampsia, such as swelling and weight gain, may seem like normal pregnancy complaints. So the pregnant mother may not know that she has the condition until it's discovered at a routine prenatal visit. This is one of the reasons it's so important not to miss doctor's appointments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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