Pregnancy is an amazing milestone event in your life. Your body is about to go through a lot of change to house the baby within you. Some of it will not be so pleasant. Read about pregnancy, being informed will calm your fears and spring no surprises on you.

Symptoms
The fairly common symptoms include morning sickness or nausea in the morning, heart burn and fatigue. You may experience these symptoms early in your pregnancy.   A missed menstural period is a common alert for a pregnancy. 

Consult your doctor
Make an appointment with your doctor to confirm the pregnancy and determine a possible due date for your baby’s arrival.  You will be advised to see your doctor (a Gynaecologist) for monthly check ups to monitor the growth of your baby in the womb. In the third trimester you might be called more often.

Pregnancy in most cases lasts a period of 9 months or 40 weeks from the first day of your last period (LMP). These 9 months are divided into 3 trimesters; First Trimester: weeks 1-12, Second Trimester: weeks 13-26 and Third Trimester: weeks 27-42. Most women will deliver anytime after 36 weeks. Ultrasound examination will be performed at various stages to help you determine the due date, scan for major birth defects and status of your growing baby.

Physical changes
Your baby is growing, and you can’t hide that for too long.   Your belly region will grow, do not be worry some about how big your belly has become, as it is different for different women. Go shopping for maternity clothes. You are going to outgrow your clothes by the fourth or the fifth month of pregnancy.

Stretch marks are a common concern among women. They usually show up in the latter half of pregnancy as bright red lines on the lower abdomen. While majority will be on the lower abdomen they can also be found on the thighs, hips and buttocks of women. The stretching of the skin may cause a tingling or itchy sensation. A good lotion can help with the increased dryness or itchiness of the skin, but will not prevent stretch marks no matter how diligent you are or how much you spend on the cream. Eventually, they do fade partially after you have the baby over a period of time. Talk to your dermatologist or plastic surgeon if you are concerned.

Enjoy the good things
You will soon feel the baby move in your belly. Your husband won’t be able to feel the baby move until a bit later in the pregnancy.  Once the baby is born you will be too busy, so spend some quality time with your partner, rest as much as you can, read- if you like to and pamper yourself. Go ahead and enjoy picking out your baby’s name, planning the baby shower and setting up your baby’s nursery.  Capture some pictures of your bloated belly for keepsake.

Common fears
Most of the fears during pregnancy can be set aside by reading about it. Discuss your concerns with your doctor. Also ask him/her to suggest some books on pregnancy for more information. Keep your mind positive. Signing up for child birth classes is a good idea. You will be able to interact with other to-be-mothers and share your experiences and learn from theirs.

Some common medical concerns that we suggest you discuss in detail with your Gynaecologist are:

  •  Pregnancy Induced Hypertension (PIH)
  •  Gestational Diabetes (GD)
  •  Labor pain and birth choices
  •  Episiotomy
  •  Vaginal infections, anemia, backache, constipation and heartburn, piles and varicose.
  •  Comfort Measures in Labor
  •  Labor Positions
  •  Labor Complications

Nutrition
Eating well is the basic rule in pregnancy, as a pregnant woman requires about 300 extra calories everyday to the regular 2200 calories. Right through pregnancy, a balanced diet that takes care of your body’s and the growing baby’s needs are essential. Your doctor will recommend some vitamin supplements, be regular with them. Make sure you have your serving of fruits like oranges and banana. Eat vegetables rich in folic acid and vitaminB12 like spinach, cabbage, beetroot etc. Poultry, meat and eggs are also rich sources of these. Morning sickness in the first trimester will kill your appetite, be sure to try some interesting yet nutritious recipes. You will have cravings too but don’t indulge too much if you crave unhealthy junk food.  Snack often and eat small but nutritious meals. Drink plenty of water to feel good throughout pregnancy. A fiber-rich diet of leafy green vegetables and cereal avoids constipation. Consult your doctor for an ideal diet plan for you.

Be prepared
Keep a few things ready and packed in a bag near your door, you might have to rush to the hospital anytime. Here is a list of a few things you should put together:
• Important phone numbers, your doctor’s number should be top of the list.
• Your night dresses or loose shirts or tops, 2 or 3 maternity bras, sanitary napkins, some plastic bags and toiletries. Don’t forget to add a nice loose dress for homecoming with the newborn in your arms.
• If you are on medications, remember to put them in your bag.
• Make a bag for your partner, that should contain changes of clothes for him, toiletries, some light bites.
• Carry a few clothes, nappies and a warm blanket for your new born.
• If you have an older child, organize as to who will take care of him/her when you are in the hospital.

Labour
First time moms are worried about the intensity of labour pain, just relax thinking about it doesn’t help. Much before labour sets in there are a few warning signs that may help you to get ready. There is a ‘nesting instinct’ in many women. This is when you get an urge to clean up your home for the baby’s arrival. Close to the due date, the baby’s movements reduce. Contractions usually begin with severe cramps in the abdomen with pain radiating to the legs, back and abdomen. The frequency and intensity of Braxton Hicks contractions increases towards labour.

Sometimes there is rupture of membranes that causes leakage of amniotic fluid that leads to labour; bleeding and expulsion of the mucous plug in the cervix are few other signs that labour is approaching. If you are bleeding, call your doctor and if possible rush to the hospital.

Carry happy thoughts along and look forward to a beautiful beginning.

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