Pregnancy

PREGNANCY

Last Updated October 23rd, 2019

Accordion Sample Description• It is very important to maintain healthy weight during pregnancy. Too little or too much weight gain is an early indicator of pregnancy and fetal complications. Gaining too much weight could mean a high risk of diabetes (gestational diabetes) and high blood pressure. Both of these are strong risk factors leading to complicated labor and neonatal health. Most doctors recommend that no extra calories should ideally be consumed in the 1st trimester and during the last week of pregnancy. However, this rule may not apply to all. You must talk to your doctor before making any changes to your diet.
One must include nutrient-dense foods in their diet to ensure healthy fetal growth and maternal health. Fruits and vegetables are a must as they fulfill vitamin and fiber requirements. Opt for whole grains instead of refined. Calcium and vitamin D intake should be taken care of. Healthy proteins are equally important. Drink ample water. Avoid inflammatory foods such as sugary drinks and junk food.
Do not forget taking all the prescribed prenatal vitamins, especially folate as these are the #1 birth defect preventive measure. Make sure you are getting 400 mcg of folate daily.
If you are experiencing acid reflux (a common complaint during pregnancy) opt for smaller meals spread throughout the day. Cut down on oily and spicy foods. Indulge in healthy physical activities and exercises. It is important to ensure healthy fetal growth and reduced symptoms of backaches and cramps. Exercising can also cut down the risk of gestational diabetes and bloating. Walking is the best way to get some exercise on a daily basis.

What is Pregnancy?

Mammals, such as humans, are those animals that give birth to live young and feed them with milk produced by the mothers’ bodies. Offspring are conceived by sexual reproduction, following which they spend the earliest period of their development within the bodies of their mothers. They are only brought into the external environment once they have achieved a certain degree of growth and development.

PREGNANCY dietThis early period of growth spent being nurtured within the mother’s body is known as gestation or pregnancy. The length of pregnancy is variable across species. Human babies normally require a period of nine months from conception before they are ready to be born.

During the nine months of a full-term pregnancy, the woman’s body undergoes a number of biological and physical changes to accommodate and provide for the needs of the growing fetus. It must also prepare for the event of childbirth and for feeding the baby afterward. The entire process is marked by a range of hormonal changes.

How Does a Woman Become Pregnant?

In a fertile premenstrual woman, the ovaries take turns to release one mature ovum every month in order for it to become fertilized by a sperm. When the ovum becomes fertilized in this way (conception), it gets implanted in the specially prepared lining of the uterus or womb. Successful implantation marks the beginning of pregnancy. From this time, until the end of the pregnancy, the woman will no longer experience menstrual bleeding.

What Happens During Pregnancy?

The fetus develops in the womb within a fluid-filled enclosure known as the amniotic sac. The placenta is a structure that transfers nutrients and oxygen from the mother’s body to the developing embryo (fetus) through the umbilical cord.

Pregnancy in humans is broken into three equal stages or trimesters. Each of these stages involves certain changes in the woman’s body. This also involves hormonal changes which are responsible for some noticeable symptoms such as mood swings and changes in libido.

The First Trimester

PREGNANCYThe onset of pregnancy brings the following signs:

  • Missed menstrual period.
  • Slight spotting or minor bleeding is observed in some cases.
  • Nausea and vomiting. This is known as morning sickness.
  • Strong food cravings and aversions.
  • Fatigue.
  • Frequent urges to urinate.
  • Constipation.
  • Milky vaginal discharge.
  • Sore breasts.
  • Acid reflux and heartburn.
  • Mood changes.
  • Changes in libido.
  • Weight gain.

The Second Trimester

During this phase, the growth of the fetus causes a bulge in the mother’s belly. Symptoms such as morning sickness will no longer appear in this phase. As the fetus grows it begins to put pressure on other organs such as the stomach, causing acidic stomach contents to flow back up the esophagus. This is what causes heartburn. Increased weight and pressure from the growing fetus is also responsible for the appearance of varicose veins in the mother’s legs. Symptoms include:

  • Headaches.
  • Breathlessness.
  • Increased appetite.
  • Further weight gain.
  • The mother is able to feel some movements of the fetus.
  • Increased libido.
  • A backache.
  • Enlargement of breasts.
  • Constipation.
  • Acid reflux and heartburn.
  • Varicose veins.

The Third Trimester

As the fetus grows even larger, the pressure on the mother’s spine, bladder and other organs increases. Towards the end of the third trimester, the mother’s body begins to prepare for labor and childbirth. The final trimester produces the following symptoms:

  • Backache.
  • More weight gain.
  • Feeling short of breath.
  • Further enlargement of breasts.
  • Vaginal discharge.
  • Increased frequency of urination.
  • Heartburn.
  • Lack of sleep.
  • Fatigue.
  • Constipation.
  • Mild contractions.
  • Swollen ankles.
  • Swollen face.

Are There Different Types of Pregnancies?

PREGNANCY fitness Yes, there are.  The different types of pregnancy are:

  • Singlet pregnancy involves a single fetus developing in the womb.
  • When there is more than one fetus at a time, whether two, three or more, this is known as multiple pregnancies.
  • Normal pregnancies are also known as intrauterine This means that the embryo has become implanted within the uterus and this is where it develops until it is ready to be born.
  • Implantation of the embryo in locations other than the uterine cavity, such as the fallopian tubes, gives rise to an ectopic pregnancy. This can be fatal.

Pregnancy-Related Complications

Excessive bleeding, dizziness and abdominal pain at any stage of pregnancy warrant urgent medical attention. These are not normal symptoms. Pregnancy does not always reach full term and end in successful childbirth. There are many different problems that can occur during the process. The list below includes a few examples:

  • Gestational diabetes. Some women develop abnormally high levels of blood sugar during pregnancy. This can affect the mother as well as the fetus. Children born of such pregnancy are more likely to be obese and diabetic themselves.
  • Abortion or miscarriage is the termination of pregnancy before it reaches full term. This may be a spontaneous abortion or an artificial/induced abortion. Spontaneous abortions occur when the mother’s body rejects the embryo or fetus for a variety of reasons. The fetus may be incompatible with the mother’s body, for instance. Abortion can also occur on account of trauma or malnutrition. Artificial abortion by means of drugs or surgical intervention is a topic of much debate worldwide. It is legal in some places and illegal in others. In some countries, artificial abortion is considered a criminal offense after the fetus has attained a certain stage of development. However, depending on the specific legal provisions, some mitigating factors may be taken into account.
  • Preeclampsia is a condition usually involving high blood pressure and kidney damage. This can have fatal consequences for both mother and child.
  • Placenta previa refers to a condition where the placenta is positioned such that it partially or completely obstructs the cervix. There can be severe bleeding both before and after delivery. In order to avoid such complications, a Caesarean section may be performed.

What Tests Should Pregnant Women Undergo?

A urine test or blood test can confirm whether or not a woman is pregnant. Once pregnancy is confirmed, women must take care to go in for routine prenatal tests from time to time as well as any specialized tests that may be recommended. Typical tests include:

  • Physical examination.
  • Medical history and family history.
  • Blood tests to check hormone levels and blood sugar. These tests can also help diagnose conditions such as anemia or nutritional deficiencies.
  • Blood pressure. Hypertension is a common complication during pregnancy and needs to be monitored routinely once diagnosed.
  • Ultrasound to monitor the progress of the fetus.
  • Pap smear to check for cervical cancer or sexually transmitted infections.
  • Genetic amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling to look for genetic abnormalities in the fetus.

Management of Symptoms

  • Breast tenderness – This is one of the most common symptoms of pregnancy. Finding a well-fitting bra can help in easing the discomfort.
  • Fatigue – Getting a few naps in during the day, mild exercise and consuming protein snacks can help ward off this symptom.
  • Hemorrhoids – Increasing fiber intake and staying hydrated can help in managing this symptom.
  • Constipation – Due to the excess production of progestin in the body, pregnant women will feel bloated and gassy. Consuming fluids and moderate exercise can help in easing constipation.
  • Heartburn – Sitting in an upright position after meals, going for a walk can help in easing these symptoms.
  • Nausea and vomiting – To aid in the management of this symptom, pregnant women must consume bland foods, monitor their blood sugar levels and eat small meals can help curb this symptom.

Gestational diabetes 

Treatment 

  • Doctors recommend that pregnant women with gestational diabetes keep a close eye on their blood sugar levels. Checking their blood sugar early in the morning and after every meal, to make sure that it is in the normal range will help keep a track on the blood sugar levels in the body.
  • Maintaining a healthy diet during pregnancy is important. As eating foods that may increase the pregnant woman’s blood sugar can become a risk factor for the baby as well.
  • Regular exercise is important before and during pregnancy. This helps in maintaining a healthy body weight and ensuring that there is proper blood circulation throughout the body.
  • In case exercise and diet do not reduce the blood sugar levels in the body, insulin injections will be given to help bring back the blood sugar levels to their normal range.
  • The baby must be closely monitored, to ensure that there are no complications during the pregnancy.

Prevention 

  • Maintain a clean and healthy diet.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Maintain a healthy body weight, before pregnancy.

Miscarriage 

Treatment 

  • When healthcare specialists have determined the end of a pregnancy, miscarriages are left to carry out on their own, if there is no sign of infection. This process takes 3-4 weeks.
  • In some cases, medications can be prescribed for those who would like to speed up the process. These medications are given orally or inserted into the female body. Generally, doctors recommend inserting the medication to expel the pregnancy tissue.
  • In cases where the pregnancy tissue does not come out on its own, a surgical procedure is performed to remove a tissue from the cervix.

Prevention 

  • Visit the doctor regularly.
  • Avoid smoking and alcohol consumption.
  • Take the adequate multivitamins.
  • Restrict caffeine intake.

Preeclampsia 

Treatment 

  • Medication to lower blood pressure levels and avoid seizures will be prescribed.
  • Medications to help mature the baby’s lungs and improve placenta function to maintain the pregnancy will be prescribed.

Placenta previa 

Treatment 

  • In cases of mild bleeding, bed rest will be recommended along with a restriction on excessive physical activities.
  • If the bleeding is moderate, health care providers will monitor the condition of the baby and conduct a C-section if necessary.
  • If the bleeding does not stop, and the baby is in distress – an emergency C-section will be conducted.

Prevention 

  • Do not smoke.
  • Do not consume alcohol.
  • Refrain from the use of illicit drugs such as cocaine.

Facts

  • The uterus expands up to 500 times its original size during the course of pregnancy.
  • Pregnant women have a 40-50% higher blood plasma volume.
  • The longest pregnancy was 1 year and 10 days.

Facts

  • Pregnant women and mothers can lactate immediately if they hear a baby cry, even if it’s not their own baby.
  • 1 in every 2,000 babies is born with a tooth.

Facts

  • Pregnant women’s placenta tends to produce more estrogen in a day than what a non-pregnant woman would produce in 3 years.

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Accordion Sample Description• It is very important to maintain healthy weight during pregnancy. Too little or too much weight gain is an early indicator of pregnancy and fetal complications. Gaining too much weight could mean a high risk of diabetes (gestational diabetes) and high blood pressure. Both of these are strong risk factors leading to complicated labor and neonatal health. Most doctors recommend that no extra calories should ideally be consumed in the 1st trimester and during the last week of pregnancy. However, this rule may not apply to all. You must talk to your doctor before making any changes to your diet.
One must include nutrient-dense foods in their diet to ensure healthy fetal growth and maternal health. Fruits and vegetables are a must as they fulfill vitamin and fiber requirements. Opt for whole grains instead of refined. Calcium and vitamin D intake should be taken care of. Healthy proteins are equally important. Drink ample water. Avoid inflammatory foods such as sugary drinks and junk food.
Do not forget taking all the prescribed prenatal vitamins, especially folate as these are the #1 birth defect preventive measure. Make sure you are getting 400 mcg of folate daily.
If you are experiencing acid reflux (a common complaint during pregnancy) opt for smaller meals spread throughout the day. Cut down on oily and spicy foods. Indulge in healthy physical activities and exercises. It is important to ensure healthy fetal growth and reduced symptoms of backaches and cramps. Exercising can also cut down the risk of gestational diabetes and bloating. Walking is the best way to get some exercise on a daily basis.

 

Dos and Don'ts

Dos
  • Consume prenatal vitamins, these vitamins help in assisting fetus growth and development.
  • Partake in mild exercise; being active can cut down the risk of weight gain and gestational diabetes.
  • Consume seafood, it provides the baby and the mother with heart-healthy vitamins such as omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, and iron.
Don'ts
  • Indulge in smoking; doing so can harm the baby.
  • Consume alcohol as it can have a negative effect on the baby’s development.
  • Consume raw meat. Doing so can lead to serious infections causing birth defects and even miscarriages.

 

 

 

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Kava: Is it the healthy substitute for alcohol you have been waiting for? Native to the beautiful South Pacific islands, Kava is a famous beverage rooted in the local culture. It…
Astaxanthin: Why experts believe it could be 550x more potent than vitamin E! What is astaxanthin and why is this new supplement on the block touted as the most powerful antioxidant…
Erythritol: A healthy sugar substitute or yet another marketing ploy? Erythritol is a popular choice of a healthy alternative sweetening agent in foods. But how healthy can a…
Is bronchitis contagious? And how to prevent this infection? It is acute bronchitis that is contagious which means you can contract it from another person or you…
How to scrub away stress and fatigue with an Epsom salt bath? Epsom salt is a popular home remedy for many skin ailments. Though there is a lack of scientific…
ketoacidosis diabetes
HB1Ac Test HB1Ac test is an important blood test that is used to measure the levels of glycated hemoglobin in…
Anti-CCP Test – Anti-Cyclic Citrullinated Peptide Anti-ccp or ACCP test is a blood test that is primarily employed to diagnose the onset of rheumatoid…
erythropoetin test
Erythropoietin (EPO) Test Erythropoetin stimulates the production of RBCs in bone marrow thus an erythropoetin test is done to diagnose blood…
dance health benefits
5 unbelievable effects of dance on your overall health! You enjoy dancing, but did you know what else it does to your body? Dancing is not only…
yoga health benefits
How to practice yoga for astounding health benefits Can a 5000-year-old system be the ultimate body healer? Did you know yoga can make you smarter and…
Panera bread steak arugula
Panera Bread: The truth behind this “healthy” restaurant chain What to order and what to avoid when dining at Panera Bread ? Know more about this popular…
Jack in the box fast food
Jack In the Box : The perils of surging fast food culture in the USA Jack in the Box - How a culture of fast-food can clog your arteries, weaken your heart, fatten…
Fluoride: An indispensible mineral or a potential toxin ? Fluoride, the main ingredient of toothpaste, has shown a great potential as a cleanser. However, how much fluoride…
kefir bottle
Kefir: Top reasons why this probiotic drink should be consumed by you Yet another remarkable fermented food, kefir is a much healthier version of yogurt. These chewy white grains can…
Vitamin B12: The unknown repercussions of this nutrient deficiency Vitamin B12 is also known as cobalamine; involved in the development of red blood cells in the bone marrow.…
Bromelain: 11 reasons why you should start adding pineapple to your pizza! If you didn't love pineapples already, here are some of the top health benefits that bromelain can bring…
edamame
Edamame: How healthy are these green baby beans? Edamame or "immature" soybeans are soft and easily digestable forms of soybeans that are great as an eveyday…
Trisodium Phosphate: How a paint thinner made its way into your breakfast Ever thought how toxic chemicals find their way into our foods? How can they harm our body? And…
What to eat, what not to eat in the South Beach Diet? The South Beach Diet is one among the most popular weight loss programs that have been the talk…
Tattoo Aftercare: The best practices to follow once you get inked Planning getting permanently inked? Make sure you follow these critical tattoo aftercare techniques to avoid infectious agents attacking…
Colloidal silver benefits
Colloidal silver: An essential dietary supplement or yet another pharmaceutical hoax? Colloidal silver is hailed as an effective home remedy for infections. Many believe it can treat HIV and…
Lauric Acid: 8 health benefits you can derive from coconuts Appropriate use of saturated fats containing lauric acid can provide you numerous health benefits. This is the main…
Internal bleeding brain
Beware: Ignoring these tell-tale signs of stroke could cost a life The signs and symptoms of a stroke differ depending on which part of the brain has been affected.…
diabetes symptoms in women
FBS Test – Fasting Blood Sugar FBS or fasting blood sugar test is a blood test that is used to determine the level of…
Sputum test Sputum test is a commonly used diagnostic tool that is used to examine the presence of pathogens in…
ANTI-MICROSOMAL-ANTIBODY-(AMA)
Anti-Microsomal Antibody AMA Test AMA or anti-microsomal antibody test is a blood test that measures the activity of AMA in the body…
cardiolipin antibody igm
Cardiolipin Antibody (ACL) –IgM Test The types of cardiolipin antibodies are the IgG, IgA and IgM types and this particular test measures the…
copper serum test
Copper Serum Test Copper serum test checks for abnormal levels of copper in the body. Both high and low levels of…