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4 Essential Components of the Path to a Healthy Pregnancy

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.

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)

Trimester

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.

Preterm Labor

In preterm labor, the uterine contraction begins before 37 weeks of pregnancy.

High-risk 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:

1.   Start.

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.

2.   Trimester

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?

To know more about the path to a healthy pregnancy, visit http://www.FindaTopDoc.com. Also, gain unlimited access to a myriad of other benefits. Readers can find evidence-based health information with just a click. Driven by the aim to provide authentic information about diseases, drugs, supplements, medical procedures, and lifestyle tips to all its visitors, FindaTopDoc.com and CEO Anthony Casimano allow visitors to read about the best doctors locally. Readers can choose the doctor that best meets their unique health needs, and request to schedule an appointment instantly.

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How many Patients Don’t Show their Appointments?

A whopping 50% of patients walk out of a doctor’s office not knowing what they were told or what they are supposed to do! Interestingly enough, physicians often overestimate the topics and duration of what they have talked about with their patients. Data also shows that telling a patient once is usually not enough to get their complete attention. Patients filter what they hear from their doctor in a variety of ways that physicians usually know nothing about. 

How Many Patients Don't Show to Their Appointments_ Why_

Choosing effective patient education materials

Once you have assessed your patient’s needs, concerns, readiness to learn, preferences, support, and possible barriers to learning, you will need to:

  • Make a plan with your patient and his or her support person
  • Agree with the patient on realistic learning objectives
  • Select resources that fit the patient

The first step is to assess the patient’s current knowledge about their condition. Some patients need time to adjust to new information, master new skills, or make long-term lifestyle changes.

Benefits of patient education

To improve health care outcomes, doctors must spend more time with patients. The teaching physician’s interaction with the patient must be enthusiastic, motivated, and responsive to patient’s needs. For individual members of our society to realize the benefits of physician health education, there is a need for a robust, hearty engagement between patients and physicians. Here is what’s important for a better doctor-patient relationship:

  1. Increased patient understanding

Patient education ensures that patients are well-informed about their own health. This could mean teaching them about the side-effects of their condition, discussing their diagnosis, going through possible treatment plans or looking at ways to prevent their condition from deteriorating. This level of understanding could reduce a patient’s anxiety and could also build trust between patient and care provider. Moreover, an increased understanding puts patients in a much better position to make informed decisions regarding their healthcare.

  1. Active Patient Involvement

Proper information and education makes patients a member of their care team, which makes them accountable too. An educated patient may even be able to take over some parts of their care and recovery. Think about simple exercises, dietary changes and even full lifestyle changes. Of course, there will always be large parts of care that need to be performed by a professional caregiver. But there are definitely smaller elements that could be self-managed by the patient.

  1. Enhanced motivation and better outcomes

If a patient is well educated on their condition, they will clearly understand what goals they need to achieve in order to improve their health. In this case, educated patients could be more motivated to reach certain healthcare goals, which would in turn improve their overall health more quickly and more efficiently.

  1. It Improves the Overall Healthcare System

Patient education will not only improve patients’ health, but the healthcare industry as well. If patients know what they can do to improve their health, this will without a doubt have a positive effect on healthcare providers as a whole. Patient education helps reduce the amount of re-admissions, as well as the number of unnecessary phone calls or visits. Think about the amount of time and money these patient education benefits can save!

The partnership between a physician and patient requires dual responsibility. Physicians have a duty to inform patients how to achieve health and wellness, and patients have a responsibility to act on the information provided in their best health interest. Medical informed consent is essential to the physician’s ability to diagnose and treat patients, as well as the patient’s right to accept or reject clinical evaluation, treatment, or both.