Each month of pregnancy is different, not just for you and your family but also for the baby that’s growing inside your body. Make sure to make the most of your pregnancy by following the right path to a healthy pregnancy.
Pregnancy is a time of joy and stress. Once you reveal the news of the pregnancy, your friends, family members and relatives gather around you to offer their experience, suggestions, and gifts. Many of them will surely suggest eating certain foods, exercising, thinking positively and the list never ends.
While the suggestions from your loved ones are precious, you should also understand that your case might be different from theirs. In addition, there is no one-size-fits-all formula when it comes to taking care of your body and the baby during pregnancy. That said, following certain guidelines from experts could go a long way in helping you and your baby stay healthy during and after the pregnancy.
In this article, you will find expert-recommended tips that comprise the path to a healthy pregnancy.
A Quick Overview of Pregnancy: Know the Early Signs and Symptoms, and Related Terms
Pregnancy starts with the fertilization of an egg by sperm, continues with the formation of an embryo inside a woman’s womb and then a fetus, and ends with the delivery of a fully-grown baby. An embryo refers to a fertilized egg during the first nine weeks of pregnancy.
The early signs and symptoms of pregnancy include:
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Tender breast.
- Missed periods or an abnormal period.
- Weight gain
- Enlarged breast and darkening of nipples.
- More frequent urination than usual.
- Sensations of fetal movement in the abdomen (generally after 20 weeks)
A trimester is a three-month period during which specific events and characteristic developmental changes happen inside the womb. There are three trimesters in an individual pregnancy.
Estimated date of delivery (EDD)
Also called the estimated date of confinement, EDD refers to the date at which a pregnant woman is most likely to give birth to the baby. It is calculated by counting forward 280 days from the first day of the woman’s last period.
In preterm labor, the uterine contraction begins before 37 weeks of pregnancy.
A high-risk pregnancy can refer to any condition in which a woman is likely to have certain complications during pregnancy. Diabetic or hypertensive women and women 35 years or older are prone to complications during pregnancy.
The Path to A Healthy Pregnancy: Here is What It Looks Like
The path to a healthy pregnancy is more than just eating healthy foods, getting enough nutrients and exercising daily. Because pregnancy lasts 9 months and every event is crucial, you should think beyond healthy diets and exercise.
The path to a healthy pregnancy consists of:
Pregnancy occurs when the sperm fertilizes an egg. For this reason, the start of the pregnancy is from the date of your last menstrual period. This is exactly where the pregnancy duration is divided into three 3-month periods called the trimesters.
The first trimester extends from week 1 to week 12. During this period, a fertilized egg enters the embryonic stage and gradually transforms from a tiny seed into a more human-like mass. Most major body organs are developed in the embryonic stage. Keep in mind that your baby is more prone to the damages by radiation, alcohol, certain medications, and infections during the embryonic stage.
In addition, from week 4 – 8, start taking prenatal vitamins along with a nutritious diet, schedule a visit with an OB/GYN and have your first prenatal checkup.
After your first prenatal checkup, schedule monthly prenatal checkups with your OB/GYN. Because now, you are taking care of yourself as well as the little baby growing inside you, take at least 300 calories more than what you would take normally each day.
Talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking any medications, both OTC and prescription, and supplements. Because this is a crucial phase of pregnancy where organs develop in the embryo, any wrong medication can lead to complications or deformity.
From week 9 – 13, talk to the OB/GYN to detect fetal heart tones. Fetal heart tones indicate well-being of the fetus and are audible using ultrasound or fetoscope. The baby’s heart starts beating by the sixth week and becomes detectable from week 8 to 14.
Also, ask the OB/GYN whether to go for the chorionic villus sampling (CVS) or not. CVS is a prenatal diagnostic test that determines if the fetus has any chromosomal or genetic disorder.
3. Trimester 2.
The second trimester typically starts at week 13 through week 27. Most pregnant women feel fetal movements at about week 18 to week 22.
From week 14 – 18, start doing a kind of exercise that strengthens the pelvic floor muscles called Kegel exercises. If you are 35 years or more, consult your doctor if you need a specific test called amniocentesis. From week 19 – 23, go for a mid-pregnancy ultrasound examination. Before week 24, start the baby registry and consider umbilical cord banking.
From week 24 – 27, get your blood sugar tested to detect a type of diabetes called gestational diabetes. In the meantime, think of getting a life insurance policy.
4. Trimester 3.
The third or the final trimester spans from week 28 – 37. During this period, prepare yourself for the forthcoming delivery by taking a childbirth class. Talk to a pediatrician and learn tips for newborn care. As you move nearer the delivery, watch your uterine contractions.
On the delivery day, seek an immediate medical attention once the labor starts.
Want To Know More?
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