Keeping You Healthy During Pregnancy

Learn more about what to expect throughout your pregnancy.

The Gestational Periods

A brand new life is developing within you. Whether you’re a new Mom or you’re expecting a second or third child, the thrill is always there. And no matter how large your family grows, it’s a new experience each time. New feelings. New concerns. New choices.

This chapter is devoted to the gestational periods of your pregnancy … the baby developing within you. Learn about what to expect throughout pregnancy and delivery, the healthiest diet for you and your baby, exercise and preparing your home for the newest family member.


Weeks 5 – 8

Your Body Beautiful

Because each pregnancy is different, it’s important to be aware of your body’s changes, to discuss them with your doctor and to read as much as possible from books, pamphlets and articles. The more you know of what to expect during your pregnancy, the more comfortable you’ll be with the wonderful experience that lies ahead. Here are some common changes experienced by most mothers:

  • Feeling more tired than usual
  • Frequent urination
  • Heavy feeling in the pelvic area
  • Breasts are fuller and more tender; darkening of the nipples
  • Changes in appetite, nausea, vomiting

Morning Sickness

Despite its name, morning sickness can occur at any time of day or night and affects about 50 percent of all pregnant women. Have patience! It usually disappears after the third month of pregnancy. Here are some suggestions to ease the discomfort:

  • Try to get more sleep at night
  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals
  • Eat crackers before getting out of bed
  • Avoid spicy, fried, fatty or rich foods

Nutrition During Pregnancy

Throughout your pregnancy, it's especially important to be aware of the necessary nutrients and components of a well-balanced diet.

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Making Sense of Your Moods

Along with the obvious physical changes in your body, there are also hormonal changes that might result in mood swings causing your moods to vary between “highs” and “lows.” The best defense is to be aware, take it one day at a time and try not to become stressed.

The Baby Developing Within You

Gestational age is counted in weeks from the first day of your last menstrual period. You were actually about four weeks pregnant when you missed your last period. Although an average pregnancy lasts about 40 weeks, full-term babies can be born at any time between 37 and 42 weeks.

At the sixth week of development, the tiny embryo doesn’t yet have a human shape. However, all the major organs are beginning to form as well as the brain and spinal cord. Teeth are beginning to form inside the gums and tiny buds that will become arms and legs are present on the body. There is also a “tail” which later disappears.

At eight weeks, your unborn baby is referred to as a fetus, coming from the Latin word meaning offspring. The fetus measures about one-half of an inch long and less than one-eighth of an ounce in weight.


Weeks 9 – 12

The Baby Developing Within You

At ten weeks, the embryo weighs about an ounce and measures approximately three inches long. Can you believe the heart has started beating? Lungs, kidneys and other organs have formed. At this stage, the baby is in very rapid growth.

Tests During Pregnancy

Early in your pregnancy, a series of tests is important for determining the health and wellbeing of both you and your baby. The test results will assist your doctor in providing you with the appropriate medical care.

CBC (Complete Blood Count)

This test determines whether you are anemic (iron deficient). A common condition during pregnancy, anemia is easily remedied with iron and dietary supplements. The CBC is sometimes repeated during the third trimester, immediately before and after delivery.

Blood Type

Type A, B, AB or O is determined.

RH Factor

If your RH is negative, most doctors would choose to inject you with immune globulin later in the pregnancy. This prevents your body from producing antibodies that could be harmful to the baby or future babies.

Rubella Immunity

Since German Measles (Rubella) can be harmful to a developing fetus, it’s best to check your immunity prior to pregnancy. Once pregnant, you cannot be vaccinated.

Blood Glucose

Testing for blood glucose is often prescribed early in pregnancy if the following conditions exist: a family history of diabetes, a previous loss of pregnancy, previous delivery of a large baby or glucose in the urine. Many doctors check all women at 28 weeks for the development of gestational diabetes. If it has developed, a special diet is prescribed to keep blood sugar at a normal level. This form of diabetes disappears after the birth.

Ultrasound

This exam focuses high frequency sound waves on the growing uterus and the surrounding area. The waves bounce off the fetus and an image of the fetus, placenta and surrounding tissue appears on the monitor.

Amniocentesis

This is usually performed in the first part of the pregnancy if the doctor is concerned about chromosomal problems particularly in older mothers or those with a history of genetic problems. A needle is inserted into the abdomen and fluid is withdrawn while the patient is monitored with ultrasound.


Weeks 13 – 16

Time to plan for childbirth classes! Call 561-798-9880 for more information. It’s also time to select a pediatrician. The best place to start is by surveying your family, friends and obstetrician, or call our physician referral line at 561-798-9880.

Childbirth and Parenting Classes

Wellington Regional Medical Center offers a wide range of childbirth and parenting classes to help you prepare for your new role as a parent. For more information or to reserve your place for any classes below, please call 561-798-9880.

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The Baby Developing Within You

Now weighing four to six ounces, the baby is growing rapidly and measures about 4 and a half inches long. The head is half the length. Muscles have developed, and the fetus can move all arm and leg joints although the mother cannot yet feel movement. Sex organs have formed and are recognizable.


Weeks 17 – 20

Feeling Your Baby Move for the First Time

Sometime between 18 and 20 weeks, you’ll begin to feel your baby move! It seems like a flutter in the lower abdomen. This is called “quickening.” First-time mothers sometimes mistake it for a gas bubble.

As your pregnancy progresses, your baby will be moving almost continuously, although, you won’t feel every movement. The position of the fetus and your own activity can make your baby’s movements indiscernible. You also may be asleep when your baby is most active — as many babies are at their peak of activity in the middle of the night. Different things may stimulate the baby’s movement: sounds, loud noises, gentle tapping or light directed at the abdomen.

Emotional “Roller Coaster”

Mood swings during pregnancy are very real, and you may experience feelings of “strangeness.” Hormonal changes are the major contributing factor, and they are to be expected with the changing phases of your pregnancy.

Childcare Options

Now that you’re halfway through your pregnancy, it’s important to begin investigating childcare options. It can take a while to find the type that best meets your baby’s needs and your financial situation. It’s also a common experience to be placed on a waiting list at many childcare facilities. Regarding sitters for occasional nights out or unexpected times away from home, it’s important to line up reliable, responsible people. The best candidates are family members, mature teenage neighbors and senior citizens.

If you will need extended permanent care, consider private home care or licensed daycare centers. The advantage to a private home setting is fewer children per adult, and it can be less expensive than a daycare center. Whichever you decide, check to be sure the caregiver is licensed, particularly if caring for five or more children. Request and contact references, and make sure that you and the caregiver share the same philosophies on child rearing. Some parents use licensed childcare centers operated by their employers, community organizations or daycare companies.

Suggested checklist for evaluating childcare centers:

Environment

  • Is it clean and appealing to children?
  • Are there sufficient emergency escape routes?
  • Are fire drills practiced regularly?
  • Are smoke detectors in place?
  • Are electrical outlets covered?
  • Are sharp edges and corners covered?
  • Do baby cribs, equipment and toys meet safety codes?
  • Is there appropriate security?

Staff

  • What are their qualifications?
  • Is there a nurse on staff?
  • Are parents allowed to visit?
  • Who does the meal planning? Is a nutritionist involved?
  • What is the philosophy on discipline? If there is a problem, how are parents notified?
  • Do parents receive written or verbal reports regarding their children’s care?

Activities and Education

  • What type of learning activities are planned?
  • Is there a curriculum?
  • Are activities and toys age-appropriate?

The Baby Developing Within You

Now measuring from 8” – 10” in length and weighing a half to one pound, your baby moves and turns freely in its amniotic fluid, and you can feel either gentle flutters or distinctive thumps. Hair has begun to grow on the baby’s head and eyebrows and eyelashes have begun to appear. Your baby can now open and close his or her eyes and blink. If you are carrying a baby girl, her ovaries are forming. Later, they’ll hold the eggs that may become her own children when she is of childbearing age.

Contact the Birthing Center

To schedule a tour, reserve your place for childbirth and parenting classes or get more information about the Birthing Center, please call 561-798-9880.

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