If you just found out you are expecting, you are probably both excited and horrified at the prospect of being a mother. It may be that you are scared of the pregnancy, and giving birth, and wonder exactly how you are going to handle it. Fortunately, many women have cut the path of a safe pregnancy for you.
Prenatal Care and Testing
To ensure a safe pregnancy and delivery, it is essential to schedule prenatal care and testing. Screening test and medical checkups will be necessary to keep your baby and you healthy throughout the entire pregnancy. Referred to as prenatal care, the health care provider will work with you by offering counseling and education about every aspect of being pregnant.
Throughout the visit, the doctor will likely discuss a variety of issues including maintaining physical activity, consuming a healthy diet, and routine screen testing to ensure an optimal labor and delivery.
Staying Safe and Healthy
While most pregnant women realize that their eating for two, that does not equate they can actually double the size of their daily food consumption. It simply refers to the fact that you need to consume a few more calories every day from healthy foods that are rich in calcium, iron, folic acid and protein. Consuming a healthy diet will help keep both the mother and the baby safe and healthy during the entire pregnancy.
If your weight before you were pregnant was normal, it is best to gain upwards of 30 extra pounds. Women that were underweight before becoming pregnant should gain up to nearly 40 pounds, while overweight or obese women need to gain no more than 20 to 25 pounds. Expect to gain approximately 2 to 4 pounds each month during the first trimester and an additional 3 to 4 pounds for every month in the second and third trimester.
Every woman during her pregnancy will notice obvious changes in her body and a significant elevation of her discomfort level caused by a variety of factors. Most pregnant women feel a variety of uncomfortable conditions and scenarios that include:
An achy body
Changes in breast tissue
Ongoing constipation and/or diarrhea
Light-headedness or dizziness
Fatigue then I going tiredness
Indigestion and heartburn
Morning sickness and/or nausea
Nasal issues and other respiratory conditions
Tingling or numb hands
Skin changes including stretch marks
Urinary leaking and increase frequency
Overall major discomfort
Often times women experience a variety of complications when pregnant, where significant health issues can occur unexpectedly. Usually, these complications involve the health of the mother, the health of the baby, or both. Many women with existing health issues before pregnancy could make the process even more complicated.
Common health issues before becoming pregnant include depression, asthma, diabetes, eating disorders, seizures including epilepsy, high blood pressure, migraine headaches, obesity, STDs (sexually transmitted diseases), thyroid problems and uterine fibroids.
Medical conditions related to pregnancy often include anemia where the mother feels weak or tired, has a fainting sensation, appears pale, or has a shortness of breath. Another condition includes suffering from an ectopic pregnancy, where the egg is fertilized and implanted on the outside of the uterus, typically implanting in the fallopian tube. Other women experience fetal problems, gestational diabetes, miscarriages, and placenta previa, or preeclampsia (toxemia) that causes high blood pressure and significant issues with the kidneys and other essential organs.
After spending nine months of feeling uncomfortable, excited and scared of becoming a mother, labor and delivery offers an amazing experience for every mom. Approaching the due date, mothers will begin looking for any minute sign indicating labor of delivering the baby is about to begin. Often times, the baby naturally drops moving into the lower portion of the pelvis. Sometimes, only the doctor can see any significant change in the cervix, indicating that the body is almost ready to give birth.
Many women prepare for pre-term labor, which can happen weeks before the actual due date. Soon-to-be moms will have contractions that get stronger at increasing and regular short intervals. Often times, there is extreme cramping and lower back pain that simply will not go away. Once the water breaks, either by a continuous trickle or a large gush, followed by a discharge of a red tinged or brownish bloody mucus indicates that the cervix is dilating, or opening wider and softening to make way for the newborn baby.
Some women experience false labor in the last few weeks of their pregnancy or even earlier. Contractions will often tighten the uterus and startle the mother, making her believe that this is the real moment when the baby will be born. However, false labor contractions do not follow a routine regular pattern, and often quickly taper off, minimize and disappear.
Women will birth the baby through either the vagina, or cesarean section, (C-section) through a surgery extracting the baby from the mothers abdomen. Nearly every cesarean birth will result in a healthy mother and newborn. However, cesarean sections are major surgeries and often increase the risk of giving birth. In addition, the healing process takes significantly longer when compared to a vaginal birth.
Being pregnant is a wonderful experience that brings with it major discomfort, confusion and changes in the body. However, with a little insight and maintenance of healthy eating habits and routine exercise, most women enjoy the experience that provides a lifelong lasting reward of bringing a young child into the world.