How Can I Tell if My Symptoms Are Normal?

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Normal Pregnancy Symptoms and Symptoms that Might Indicate a Problem If you’re pregnant, especially for the first time, you might be experiencing an entirely new set of symptoms that you never expected. You might even be wondering if they are normal, or if there is something you should worry about for your own health or that of your unborn child. If you’re just not sure if that is normal or cause for concern, learn more about these 8 common pregnancy symptoms. 8 Normal Symptoms of Pregnancy 1. Abnormal menstruation – While many women have a missed period as their first sign of pregnancy, some women have a lighter period than typical that first month. Either one of these is generally a normal symptom of pregnancy. Cause for concern – Repeated bleeding or spotting during pregnancy might indicate a problem with the health of the pregnancy and you should consult your…

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Lightheadedness

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You may experience lightheadedness, dizziness, or just feeling out of sorts while you’re pregnant.  When you stand up from a chair you feel as though you are going to pass out.  If this occurs, please sit back down and ease out of the chair.  Sit on the edge, and then cautiously stand.  The reasons for lightheadedness are multiple.  You may be dehydrated and your blood pressure could be low because your hormones are making your blood vessels relax.  If you have low blood pressure, try eating more salty foods or simply add salt to your foods when appropriate.  Make sure you drink plenty of liquids so you don’t get dehydrated. Not getting enough sleep will result in lightheadedness and dizziness.  Get 8 hours of solid sleep every night, and don’t be afraid to rest in the afternoon.  Do not become a couch potato either, walking helps maintain the tone to…

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Is One Glass of Wine OK for the Baby During Pregnancy?

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There are many adjustments an expectant mother needs to make during the months she awaits the birth of her baby. She needs to pay attention to her diet, follow guidelines for exercising during pregnancy, and she might need to adjust her social activities as well. For some pregnant moms, giving up that glass of wine shared with girlfriends can seem like a hard adjustment to make, but there are many reasons why doctors strongly advise against drinking while pregnant. What Does Alcohol Do to a Developing Baby? When a pregnant mother drinks alcohol, the alcohol is passed on to her unborn baby through the blood and into the baby’s tissues and organs. Not only is the alcohol passed on to the baby, but then the baby’s organs have to process the chemicals in the alcohol, and this is done much more slowly in a baby than in an adult. This…

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Can My Baby Hear?

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An unborn baby has many experiences in the womb based on the actions of the mother – the foods she eats, exercises she does, and medications she uses all impact her developing baby. The senses of an unborn baby are also developing and interacting with the environment. There is much research that shows that babies can feel, taste, dream, and react to stimuli such as sound long before birth. So – does this mean your baby can hear? Yes. An Unborn Baby’s Ears and Hearing In the first trimester, just around the 8th week, a baby’s ears are forming, and as early as 18 weeks they begin to perceive the sounds of the womb (blood pumping, fluid moving, etc.) as the tiny bones of the inner ear mature and the auditory portion of the brain more fully develops. Research shows that infants recognize their mothers’ voices long before birth and…

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Preeclampsia – What is it and should I be concerned?

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You’re young, maybe even a little scared, but overall you are excited about this new addition but something just doesn’t seem right?  Maybe you’re gaining weight too quickly or your feet and legs appear to be swelling much more than you had expected.  Or, maybe your vision is blurry and you’re experiencing more headaches than before.  Any one of these symptoms could be a sign of Preeclampsia.  Preeclampsia occurs in 5% – 8% of all pregnancies.  This rapidly progressive condition typically occurs after your 20th week and has been known to occur up to 6 weeks after birth.  In cases where the disease has advanced rapidly, you may experience very few symptoms or may not notice anything at all.  This is why early and proper prenatal care is crucial in diagnosing and managing this disease.  You and your doctor will work together to ensure a safe and healthy delivery for…

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10 Things I Wish People Would Have Told Me When I Was Pregnant: PART TWO

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6. It’s a different kind of love.  People used to tell me “Just wait. When you have that baby, you’ll love it more than your husband.”  It scared me, honestly.  I didn’t want to love anyone more than my husband.  What they were saying is false.  I don’t love my kids more than my husband, but I also don’t love my husband more than my kids.  It’s a completely different kind of love.  You love your kids no matter what.  That’s why it’s called “unconditional love”; however, you love your husband more than you loved him before you had kids because you see what the two of you are capable of…bringing life into the world.  It’s an unbelievable thing.  You’ll love both your kids and your husband an extreme amount, but in different ways. 7.  Everyone loves giving pregnant women advice; don’t listen to most of it. I once had a…

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How can you prevent stretch marks?

Stretch Marks: What You Need to Know

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What causes stretch marks? You are thrilled to be growing a new life inside of you. Your body is accomplishing an amazing feat, but, unfortunately, growing a baby also comes with some not-so-pleasant by-products. One of these is stretch marks: the result of your body growing too fast for your skin to keep up. Essentially, stretch marks are the fibers of your skin breaking to accommodate your growing body. Since it is believed that 90% of women will get some stretch marks somewhere on their body during the pregnancy process, you may be relieved to know you are not alone. Most stretch marks usually appear on the stomach, but be prepared to also notice them on your breasts, buttocks, and thighs. Can I prevent stretch marks? The easy answer is no. There is no magic cream, lotion, or potion to prevent you from getting stretch marks, so don’t waste your…

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Constipation

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Constipation during pregnancy is common.  Your hormones cause the muscles in your small and large intestines to relax and this slows down passage of food and stool.  Many women who before pregnancy had a daily bowel movement report a reduced frequency with only 3 to 4 bowel movements per week.  There is some evidence that probiotics, beneficial bacteria in yogurt, can increase the frequency of bowel movements during pregnancy.  Look for yogurt with Bifidobacterium, this is seen in the Greek yogurts and some probiotic supplements.  You can also reduce constipation by increasing the fiber in your diet.  Start the morning with a high fiber cereal containing at least 6 grams of fiber per serving.  Be sure to check the cereal box and read the label.

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What to look for in your ob-gyn?

3 Things You Should Do When You Learn You Are Pregnant

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What is the First Thing to do When You Find Out You Are Pregnant? You have to begin thinking about how to prepare your body so that your baby can properly grow and develop. If aren’t eating a healthy diet, now is the time to start. Here are some important pregnancy facts about your diet: Make sure you have a varied diet so that you will be able to give your baby all of the nutrients he or she needs to develop. Consume a minimum of three servings daily of foods rich in iron, like red meat. Pregnant women need 100 mg of vitamin C daily, so be sure to include orange or grapefruit juice, broccoli, cauliflower, green peppers and Brussel sprouts in your diet. Getting a minimum of 0.4 milligrams of folic acid daily will help prevent birth defects, so eat plenty of green leafy vegetables and legumes, like…

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How can my body change after having a baby?

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Who knew having a baby could change your life in such dramatic ways?  Well, maybe you’ve heard of the emotional “life-changing” feeling of learning to love and care for a new baby, but what about learning to adjust to the physical changes in your own body?  Why are things out of place, drooping or “bigger but not better” than before?  Questions such as these are among those frequently asked at a six-week check-up.  Also, most importantly, women ask, “when will it return to normal?” Well, the good news is most bodily changes are temporary and reversible.  Even so, many postpartum body changes are annoying, frightening and oftentimes, embarrassing.  Some of the many changes women experience include incontinence, bleeding, looseness “down there,” and back and hip pain, amongst others unmentionables. Urinary incontinence is one’s inability to control her urine flow.  For many women, this incontinence begins during labor as their baby’s…

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Caffeine during pregnancy- Is it safe and how much?

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Whether it’s from coffee, soda, energy drinks, or chocolate, millions of Americans consume caffeine every day. There have long been concerns about the potential effects of caffeine on mothers and unborn children. Given these concerns, women are advised to avoid large amounts of caffeine when they are pregnant. Consuming a moderate amount of caffeine during pregnancy, however, is safe in most cases. Although conflicting information continues to emerge, this article provides some general information regarding pregnancy and caffeine. The (potential) Dangers of Caffeine Estimates suggest that between 75% and 93% of pregnant women consume caffeine on a daily basis (Kaiser & Allen, 2008). Given the prevalence of caffeine intake, it is no surprise that researchers have made a concerted effort to understand the potential effects of caffeine during pregnancy. The results of these studies have been mixed, but here are some potential dangers. Caffeine is a stimulant that increases your…

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Fluid Retention

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Fluid retention typically comes late in pregnancy.  It is the way your body prepares for delivery.  A lot of fluid will leave your body at the time of delivery between the amniotic fluid, and the placenta separating from your uterus.  The body stores extra fluid in preparation for this.  After you deliver, your body gets rid of the fluid and you will experience frequent urination at that time.  It’s important to stay hydrated during pregnancy.  Drink extra water between meals, have a glass of milk with every meal.  Fluid retention may make you feel sluggish and you’ll notice that your ankles will swell.  This swelling will go down at night when your feet are up while you’re sleeping.  This leads to frequent night time urination.

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I’m Always Tired. What Can I Do to Decrease My Fatigue During Pregnancy?

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It’s not uncommon for pregnant mothers to feel tired during pregnancy. But no one ever wants to be tired all the time, which is why I regularly get the question of “What can I do to decrease my fatigue?” My answer is always, focus on good sleep, 40 minutes of exercise 4 to 5 days a week, leave the bedroom only for sleep and sex, and create a consistent routine (warm bath, mint tea for example). When Does Fatigue During Pregnancy Occur? You can suffer from fatigue throughout your entire pregnancy; but the majority of women experience fatigued during the first and third trimesters. Causes of fatigue during your first trimester include: A sharp increase in progesterone level, which makes bodily functions like metabolism and digestion slow down, increasing the feeling of tiredness Continued sleep interruptions because of an increased need to urinate Lack of nutrition and dehydration resulting from…

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What to pack for hospital

What Do I Need to Pack for the Hospital?

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As the big day for labor and delivery approaches you’ll want to pack your bag with a few essential items. Waiting until your water breaks or your contractions are 3 minutes apart won’t give you the time you need (or the peace of mind) to make sure you have what you’ll need for one of the most physically demanding, emotionally charged, and memorable moments of your life. Start by checking with your healthcare provider to see what the average stay in the hospital is for patients. Each hospital has its own policy and set of procedures, but it is common that moms who have vaginal births remain in the hospital for 1-2 nights. If you have a cesarean you’ll likely be in the hospital for 5 days with your baby while you recover from the procedure. Of course there are certain unforeseen circumstances that might result in longer stays, but…

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What should I expect from an amnio?

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If your doctor has told you that you should consider an amniocentesis during your pregnancy, you probably have many concerns and questions about what to expect from this procedure. There are many different reasons why your physician might be suggesting this test, and understanding the basics of the procedure will help you to make an informed decision. The more you understand about what to expect, the calmer you will probably feel about your amniocentesis. What is an Amniocentesis? This procedure consists of drawing amniotic fluid from the uterus during pregnancy using a fine needle, and under the guidance of ultrasound images. The amniotic fluid, which has a consistency similar to water, is what surrounds the baby during pregnancy. It contains cells from your baby, as well as chemicals produced by your baby that indicate many things about his or her health. The fluid sample is then examined under a microscope….

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