Daily Pregnancy Information
Pregnancy is an exciting time. Each day during your pregnancy your can make choices about your nutrition and your behavior that will affect your baby. Staying informed about your health needs and the baby’s development will help you enjoy a healthy pregnancy and childbirth.
Your First Doctor Visit
As soon as you think you are pregnant you should see your doctor. Your doctor will determine your due date and give you all the information you need to begin a healthy pregnancy. At this first prenatal visit, your doctor will check your blood pressure, height and weight. He will perform a breast and cervical exam to ensure all is normal. He will want to know your medical and psychological history and about any previous pregnancies. He will ask if you have any allergies to medications and if you are taking any medications at this time. The physical exam will also include some blood tests to determine your blood type, your hemoglobin and your immunity to certain diseases such as rubella, chicken pox and hepatitis. Another blood test will be done to see if the baby has a chance of being born with cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, Tay-Sachs or HIV.
Unsafe Foods and Exercise
Your doctor should discuss with you what to expect during your pregnancy each day, week and month. He should advise you about weight gain during pregnancy, which is usually expected to be about 25 to 35 pounds. During your pregnancy you should avoid the following foods: uncooked or rare beef, poultry, seafood and eggs; deli meats, soft imported cheeses, smoked meat, kippers, pate, meat spreads, unpasteurized milk and beef jerky. These foods may contain the bacteria listeria, which can lead to miscarriage. Drinking alcohol and smoking is not safe during pregnancy.
You will have a healthier, more comfortable pregnancy and childbirth experience if you find time to exercise every day. It is best to discuss with your doctor what types of exercises are safe during each stage of your pregnancy.
Your pregnancy is broken down into three trimesters, or three-month blocks of time. During the first trimester you may experience morning sickness and extreme tiredness. Morning sickness does not mean you will feel nauseated only in the morning, although generally that is when it occurs most often. Morning sickness includes nausea and possibly vomiting at any time of the day. It is best to eat properly and avoid triggers to keep morning sickness at bay. If you find that you get sick when you are hungry, eat frequent small meals or healthy snacks. Snacks that can help ease morning sickness include almonds, crackers, pretzels, peanut butter, fruit, rice cakes or cereal. Excessive vomiting during morning sickness should be reported to your doctor, as you can get dehydrated. Your first trimester is thought to be the most crucial time in your baby’s brain development, so make sure to take your prenatal vitamins and eat healthy foods daily.
During your second trimester, your morning sickness should subside and you should feel more energetic. During this trimester you should begin to feel your baby moving around in your uterus. Your body will undergo changes to accommodate the growing baby, such as a larger belly. You will visit your doctor once a month during the first and second trimester. He may order an ultrasound to gauge the baby’s development. He will discuss with you the results of the blood tests done early in your pregnancy and order more tests if needed.
During your third trimester you may start to experience extreme tiredness again. You may have a lot of discomfort in your back and abdomen. Your feet and hands may swell. You may be uncomfortable lying down, standing up or sitting for very long. You may experience breast tenderness, and pre-milk may leak from your nipples. You will see your doctor once a week during the last part of this trimester. The doctor will perform a vaginal exam at each appointment to determine how close you are to delivering the baby.