Pregnancy is an exciting stage in a woman's life. It is the time when a woman undertakes a big responsibility to care for a new life that grows inside her. This whole journey lasts for 40 weeks, thus every woman should know the top twenty things about pregnancy. Whether it is your first time to get pregnant or you have been pregnant, it is a must that you know these things because these will greatly influence your ability to bring about the best for your baby.
Pregnancy Signs and Symptoms
If you are pregnant, you will experience some of these pregnancy signs and symptoms: nausea or morning sickness, headaches, dizziness and fainting spells, mood swings, fatigue, food cravings, tender or swollen breasts, and missed period.
Once you have experienced those signs and symptoms, you can undergo a pregnancy test to confirm your pregnancy. You can do this yourself since various pregnancy test kits are available over-the-counter or you can go to a clinic that offers this test.
After you confirmed that you are pregnant, you can schedule an appointment with your preferred obstetrician. During your first prenatal visit, information like the first day of your last menstrual period and your expected date of delivery will be given to you. Pregnancy vitamins will also be prescribed and you will be scheduled for a monthly prenatal visit to monitor your baby's development.
Other Tests and Procedures
Aside from the pregnancy test, you will also have to undergo other tests and procedures like urine test, complete blood count, blood type, Rh factor, and antibody screening, hepatitis B testing, ultrasound, and fetal monitoring.
There are actually three stages that you will have to go through during the entire course of your pregnancy: the first trimester, the second trimester, and the third trimester. In each stage, you will notice some changes in your body as your baby develops inside and you will even experience pregnancy discomforts.
As a pregnant woman, you have to know your nutritional needs. Take note that birth complications and abnormalities can arise from pregnancy malnutrition. So, you should eat a well-balanced diet and make sure that you take the vitamins prescribed by your doctor.
Family Medical History
It is also important that you know your family medical history to enhance preparedness. This can help you prepare for the possible illnesses and birth abnormalities that your baby can be at risk of. This can also help you determine if there is a chance for you to conceive twins or triplets.
Present Medical Conditions
You should also discuss your present medical conditions to your doctor like high blood pressure and diabetes. This can help you prevent pregnancy complications.
If you are exposed to environmental hazards at work or at home, this can increase the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, and deformities in your baby. So, make sure that you are not exposed to any of these like paint vapor during your pregnancy.
Weight gain is expected during pregnancy because of your baby's development. However, it is not advisable that you exceed the recommended weight gain because being overweight can increase your risk of diabetes and hypertension.
You will experience pregnancy discomforts all throughout your pregnancy. These however, vary from woman to woman, so make sure that you are aware of these and know their corresponding remedies.
Potential Problems and their Symptoms
Although most women have normal pregnancies with minor discomforts and no complications, it is important that you know the symptoms for potential problems like vaginal bleeding, pelvic or abdominal pain, swelling of the hands and feet, and no fetal movement. These symptoms could lead to miscarriage, ecclampsia, and stillbirth if ignored.
Pregnancy Do's and Don'ts
The do's and don'ts are different for each woman and each pregnancy. It is best that you discuss this with your doctor.
Exercise during pregnancy is recommended for most women, but only at a moderate speed. Walking, in particular, is highly recommended because this can help your body withstand the rigors of labor and delivery more easily.
Birthing class, which is considered a ritual of modern pregnancy, gives you and your spouse a chance to prepare together for the big day of labor.
Birthing Option and Place
Prior to your due date, you should discuss your birthing option, whether vaginal or caesarean delivery, to your obstetrician. You should also check the place where you will deliver your baby and see if it will be comfortable for you.
As your due date draws near, you would want to know exactly when labor will start. It would be best that you understand the whole process of labor and its different stages.
Before the arrival of your baby, perhaps you already have a name in mind. If you still do not have, you can check books or online for babies names or ask your relatives and friends for suggestions.
During your pregnancy, you can keep yourself busy by preparing all the baby things that you need. Shopping for these items with your husband would be better because this would be a great bonding time for both of you.
While taking care of the unborn child is important during pregnancy, this time also gives you the best opportunity to learn about basic childcare. You should know beforehand the best possible care and nutrition that you can give to your baby.
Pregnancy is indeed a challenging stage characterized by both anxiety and excitement. However, by learning these top twenty things that you should know about pregnancy, you can have the best of this journey and be on your way to a fruitful motherhood.