What To Look For In A Prenatal Vitamin
- Folic Acid: This helps prevent neural tube birth defects . The body absorbs folate from supplements more efficiently than from foods that you eat, so consider the healthy foods that are high in folate a supplement to, well, your supplement.
- Iodine: This is critical for the optimal development of your baby’s brain and nervous system. Iodine regulates the baby’s metabolism and plays an important role in regulating the mother’s thyroid gland.
- Calcium: A growing baby needs calcium to build strong bones and teeth. It helps the development of a healthy heart, nerves, and muscles. It’s good for moms as well, as calcium can also reduce the risk of hypertension and high blood pressure.
What Developments Have Been Made In Pregnancy Blood Tests
There are exciting new developments in prenatal blood tests, which expand the scope of their benefits. New research has shown that blood tests can predict premature birth and may identify the risk of gestational diabetes in the first trimester. In both cases, forewarned is forearmed: The sooner doctors can begin preparing for a potentially risky pregnancy, the better the overall outcomes. By addressing risks earlier in the pregnancy, you may be able to deal with concerns and make lifestyle changes before reaching a health-related crisis.
Recent research out of Australia also indicates that blood tests may be used to determine a mothers risk of preeclampsia, a severe and possibly life-threatening pregnancy complication related to high blood pressure that effects 3 8% of pregnant women. Although the test for preeclampsia is not currently available in the United States, its use in Australiawhere it accurately predicted preeclampsia in 95% of casesindicates that positive steps are being taken. Be sure to ask your doctor about the latest available tests.
What Changes Can You Expect In Your Body And Your Emotions
You will go through some amazing changes during pregnancy. Your body, emotions, and relationships will all do some growing. These changes are common, but some may be a challenge.
Every woman feels these changes in her own way. Even the way she changes can change. In the beginning of your pregnancy, you may feel so tired that you can barely keep your head up. But at other times, you may have trouble sleeping.
Many women feel nauseated in the morning or at other times of day in the early part of pregnancy. But some women never have this problem. Your breasts will get larger and may feel tender. Throughout your pregnancy, you may get heartburn or crave certain foods, and you may have aches and pains. You also may enjoy the flutters of your baby moving and kicking.
Your emotions may move around too. Even women who are happy about their pregnancy may worry a lot about their babies. They may even feel some sadness at the coming changes in their lifestyles.
Your relationship with your partner and other children you may have also may change. Talk with your partner and with your doctor if you have concerns about how you’re feeling.
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You’re Under 35 And Healthy
Wait a year. Believe it or not, it can take a normal young couple up to 12 months to get pregnant. “We usually recommend patients in their 20s and early 30s try to conceive or at least not use birth control for 12 months ,” says Dr. William Schoolcraft, founder and medical director of the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine. Conception is a delicate dance of sperm and egg, so it’s not a guarantee even if you’re timing things right.
Questions To Ask During Prenatal Appointments
In addition to asking about all the changes your body is going through, what to expect each month and during labor and delivery, you should also feel free to share any concerns you have with your doctor or midwife. If something hurts, itches, nags or worries you in any way, bring it up at your next appointment .
And if youre having your baby in a hospital, dont wait until the very end of your pregnancy to learn about the strengths and weaknesses of the institution where your doctor practices. For example, some hospitals are not well-equipped to handle very premature infants, so if youre at risk for this outcome, this type of medical facility may not be ideal.
Honesty is also critical when youre asking and answering questions during your prenatal appointments. Dont be reluctant to bring up any stress, depression or anxiety youre feeling, or to admit to drug or alcohol use, as this information is vital for the doctor to know and for the healthiest outcomes for you and your child.
From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. What to Expect follows strict reporting guidelines and uses only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and highly respected health organizations. Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.
- What to Expect When Youre Expecting, 5th edition, Heidi Murkoff.
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Bring A List Of Your Meds
Some medications are not considered safe to take during pregnancy. For some medications, you might need to stop taking them before you start trying to conceive, while others might be fine to take up until you actually get pregnant. Your provider might also switch you to a different medication.
There are also medications that can interfere with fertility. This is another reason to tell your health care provider about all the medications you are takingeven if it’s “only” an over-the-counter product or supplement.
Do not stop taking any medication without discussing it with your provider. Some drugs, like antidepressants, may need to be slowly reduced over time .
Your provider might decide that the risks of stopping your medication are greater for you than those associated with continuing to take it while you are trying to conceive.
Make sure that your provider knows about any health conditions you have. There are several chronic medical conditions that can affect pregnancy, and it’s best that they are optimally managed before you get pregnant.
Ask your provider if there are any travel precautions, testing, and immunizations that you need before you become pregnant.
What Questions Should You Ask
During your first visit , you’ll want to get a sense of how the practice is run, what services the doctor provides, the hours of operation, and the fee structure or payment plan. Here are some general questions to ask:
- Does the doctor or his nurse have a call-in time when we can bring up questions or concerns?
- Will we be seeing only one doctor or several doctors in a group practice?
- Are the lab and ultrasound offices open on weekends and holidays?
- Can procedures such as inseminations be done on the weekends if needed?
- Which hospital is the doctor affiliated with, and what types of operating privileges does she have?
- Does the doctor perform assisted reproductive technologies, such as IVF and GIFT? If so, are they done at the office or at a different location?
- If the doctor does IVF, is the clinic a member of the Society of Assisted Reproductive Technologies?
- What percentage of live births and multiple pregnancies have resulted from the doctor’s treatments?
- What other services, such as support groups or counselors, does the doctor’s office provide?
- What are the costs involved, and are there payment plans? Which insurance is accepted?
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Your First Prenatal Visit
If you did not meet with your health care provider before you were pregnant, your first prenatal visit will generally be around 8 weeks after your LMP . If this applies to you, you should schedule a prenatal visit as soon as you know you are pregnant!
Even if you are not a first-time mother, prenatal visits are still important since every pregnancy is different. This initial visit will probably be one of the longest. It will be helpful if you arrive prepared with vital dates and information. This is also a good opportunity to bring a list of questions that you and your partner have about your pregnancy, prenatal care, and birth options.
Tests Your Gp Can Organise
Your GP can order blood tests to check the following:
- blood group and iron levels
- immunity to rubella
- whether you have been exposed to hepatitis
- sexually transmitted diseases such as syphilis and HIV
- Thalassaemia .
- your risk for having a baby with Down syndrome and other genetic disorders
For women who are at risk a blood test is also offered to check for:
Your GP can also do or organise the following tests:
Urine test – to check for infection.
Cervical Screening Test – if you are due, this can be done safely in pregnancy.
Ultrasound which can look for a number of problems in your baby like spina bifida, heart and limb defects and to check your due date.
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Where Can I Go For A Prenatal Care Visit
Make an appointment with a doctor, midwife, or nurse for your care during pregnancy. Some people just go to their regular family doctor or obstetrician. Others choose to see a midwife or nurse practitioner who specializes in prenatal care. You can also get prenatal care at some Planned Parenthood health centers.
What Can You Do To Have A Healthy Pregnancy
You may be happy and excited to find out that you’re pregnant. And you may be a little nervous or worried. If this will be your first child, you may even feel overwhelmed by all of the things you need to know about having a baby. There is a lot to learn. But you don’t have to know everything right away. You can read all about pregnancy now, or you can learn about each stage as your pregnancy goes on.
Pregnancy is measured in trimesters from the first day of your last menstrual period, totalling 40 weeks. Most babies are born at 37 to 42 weeks.
During your pregnancy, you’ll have tests to watch for certain problems that could occur. With all the tests you’ll have, you may worry that something will go wrong. But most women have healthy pregnancies. If there is a problem, these tests can find it early so that you and your doctor or midwife can treat it or watch it to help improve your chance of having a healthy baby.
Taking great care of yourself is the best thing you can do for yourself and your baby. Everything healthy that you do for your body helps your growing baby. Rest when you need it, eat well, and exercise regularly. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after you are active. This is very important when it’s hot out.
You’ll need to have regular checkups. At every visit, your doctor or midwife will weigh you and measure your belly to check your baby’s growth. You’ll also get blood and urine tests and have your blood pressure checked.
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Write Down Your Contact And Medical Information
As your pregnancy wears on, you’ll find yourself spending a lot of time in uncomfortable chairs under the glow of bad waiting room lights, being asked over and over for pertinent information. Believe me, you’re going to forget your birthday more than once.
One of the kindest things you can do for yourself as soon as you find out you’re pregnant is to record all of your important information and bring it with you to appointments:
Type up or clearly jot down your numbers and dates, these include:
- Your social security number
- Best phone numbers to reach you at
- Your birthday
Your Bmi Is High Or Low
Before you start trying Your weight can impact the reproductive functions and the hormonal balance of your body.
“Women with a BMI under 18 or over 30 may be at higher risk for infertility and also complications during pregnancy,” Dr. Maguire says. Check your BMI using this calculator: if you’re underweight or overweight, it’s worth talking to your doctor about how to achieve a better BMI for your overall health even before you try to conceive although it may be possible for you to get pregnant if you’re ovulating regularly.
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Routine Visits And Testing
You should call to schedule your first checkup during the first 6 to 8 weeks of your pregnancy, or when your period is 2 to 4 weeks late. Many health care providers will not schedule the first visit before 8 weeks, unless there is a problem.
If you’re healthy and have no complicating risk factors, you can expect to see your health care provider:
- every 4 weeks until the 28th week of pregnancy
- then, every 2 weeks until 36 weeks
- then, once a week until delivery
At each checkup, your weight and blood pressure are usually recorded. The size and shape of your uterus may also be measured, starting at the 22nd week, to see whether the fetus is growing and developing normally.
During one or more of your visits, you’ll provide a small urine sample to be tested for sugar and protein.
Glucose screening usually takes place at 12 weeks for women who are at higher risk for gestational diabetes. That includes women who:
- previously had a baby that weighed more than 9 pounds
- have a family history of diabetes
- are obese
All other pregnant women are tested for diabetes at 24 to 28 weeks. They’ll drink a sugary liquid and have blood drawn after an hour for a blood glucose test. If the blood sugar level is high, more testing can confirm whether it’s gestational diabetes.
What To Do After A Positive Pregnancy Test
After getting a positive pregnancy test, you need to get a doctors appointment for a wide range of tests.
If you are above 35 years, then your doctor will test whether your baby is at risk of Downs Syndrome.
Gestational diabetes is another pregnancy complication that needs a glucose tolerance test. It is also called the oral glucose tolerance test.
A karyotype of the chromosome of babys cells will identify any genetic abnormalities.
The doctor will also make sure that you dont have a tubal pregnancy. The embryo needs to attach to the wall of the uterus for deriving nutrition and protection. A tubal pregnancy is when the baby attaches inside the tubes instead.
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What Is Pregnancy Care
This is the care you have while you’re pregnant to make sure you and your baby are as well as possible.
The NHS in England will offer you:
- 10 pregnancy appointments to check the health and development of you and your baby
- screening tests to find out the chance of your baby having certain conditions, such as Down’s syndrome
- blood tests to check for syphilis, HIV and hepatitis B
- screening for inherited blood disorders
You’ll be offered more appointments if you or your baby need them.
Depending on your health and where you live, you may see:
- a midwife for all your appointments
- a midwife for some appointments and a GP for others
How Do I Tell My Parents That Im Pregnant
Even though it might feel scary, talking with your parents can really help. They can talk through your options with you, and make sure you get the health care you need.
Many people worry that their parents will freak out, but thats not always what happens. If you can, try to be open and honest. Start by telling your parents that you trust them and need their help and support. Most of the time, they just want to make sure youre healthy and safe. If your parents do get upset, they may just need some time to calm down.
Sometimes parents are shocked or angry, and sometimes they’re understanding. Theres really no way to know how your parents will feel unless you talk with them about it. It might help to find a time when you can talk in private and there are no distractions. If youre feeling really nervous or scared to talk to your parents, you can always ask a friend or other family member to be there with you during the conversation. That way, youll have support no matter what happens.
If you really feel like you cant talk to your parents, try talking to another adult who you trust . If youre worried that telling your parents youre pregnant may put you in danger, tell a teacher, nurse or doctor, or other adult you trust.
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Other Concerns During Pregnancy
- Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of problems such as low birth weight, preterm labour, and miscarriage.
- Pregnancy over age 35 poses some risks, but most older women have healthy pregnancies.
- Medicine use during pregnancy should always be approved by your doctor or midwife, to prevent harm to the fetus.
- Immunizations help protect you and your baby from certain health problems. The influenza vaccine and the tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis vaccine are recommended for all pregnant women. It is safe to get these vaccines during your pregnancy. You may need to get other vaccines before or soon after your pregnancy.
- Pregnancy after bariatric surgery may mean that you keep seeing the doctor who did your weight-loss surgery, along with seeing the doctor or midwife who is caring for you during pregnancy.
- Domestic violence can happen more often and/or get worse when women are pregnant. It is dangerous for both the mother and the baby. For more information and to learn how to get help, see the topic Domestic Violence.