A few weeks into a missed period and a positive test and suddenly everything is out of whack. Whether it is the miracle mom has been trying for years to happen, the next stage of her life, or something completely unplanned, mom's life is now turned upside down.
At that, there are a lot of things she knows she needs to change... but what are they? The internet has a lot of advice, but so does the grandma-to-be and so do all of mom's friends, and a lot of it contradicts each other. With a rush of hormones, this has become more stress than mom had anticipated. Getting pregnant is one thing, getting through a pregnancy and having it all go well is a whole other story. And then there is the birth....Okay, so motherhood is a whole world of worry, just ask any mother.
The reality is that this is normal. The fact that mom is actually worrying is a tell tale sign that her maternal instincts are kicking in, and that she has already become proactive in trying to make sure that she is doing it all right, and wants the best for her baby. Asking questions is good. Lots of newly pregnant (or not so newly pregnant women) have questions and they want those questions answered right now! Here are some of those answers.
The first twelve weeks of a pregnancy, or two months after you make the discovery if you haven’t been planning, are tense. When you find out you are pregnant, the next thing becomes making it over that 12 week hurdle to find out whether or not your pregnancy is viable. For that matter, getting through those first 12 weeks is particularly difficult because not only does 10-25% of all clinically recognized pregnancies will end early but then there is also the baby's health to consider?
What happens if you discover upon your 12 week scan that your baby is going to have a serious issue? That is the thing about getting pregnant, it is a non-stop roller coaster of "is my baby going to be okay???" Before those twelve weeks are up you want to bring home that Doppler, you want to go back for a scan. You want to take five more pregnancy tests to be sure. It is insanely nerve wracking!!!! After those twelve weeks, you find something new to worry about. Then once their born......
It almost seems like punishment to make you wait until 20 weeks to find out whether it’s a boy or a girl! Some mommies get lucky on their twelve week scan and get a glimpse based on how the baby is positioned at what it likely will be. On average, most mommies get to find out at 20 weeks and that is the time to have those fun gender surprise parties that have become so trendy of late. Some moms have the misfortune of having to wait until a 37 week scan or until the delivery because baby just wasn’t in the right position. That can happen too. And then there are those crazy people who decide that they want to go the old fashioned route and wait for a delivery surprise? There are also a lot of incredibly weird, folksy ways of trying to predict a baby's gender such as with rings, the Chinese gender chart, a really, really peculiar trick with cabbage and whatnot but what is most important is that baby is healthy and mommy has a safe delivery!
This one is a really hard call because every family is different. Some families like to get a very decorative, sturdy crib but scarcely end up using it because mom is breastfeeding and baby ends up in mom and dad’s bed until he or she is two. Some instead opt for one of those very convertible playpens that you can move around for the different stages of baby’s life but find it inconvenient to have in their bedroom.
Some parents find that a really fancy swing is what they need to get them through the first 3-4 month stage, some want to invest in a brand new Ergo baby carrier. While everyone needs to prepare a nursery, complete with a changing station because that is totally unavoidable, taking in all of your friends hand-me-downs to try out during your first month at home may just be the ticket as you don't really know what is going to work for you until you are in there and seeing what works and what doesn't. There is always Amazon!
Is it worth shelling out extra to go for the 3D or now 4D ultrasound? If you can afford to do it and are really at a point where you are dying to find out what baby will look like, go for it! It's a few hundred extra and sometimes its great for when baby wouldn't reveal the gender during the 20 week ultrasound. While pricey, as this is not standard in or even offered in most hospitals, it can be a fun experience for the family.
Particularly in those cases where baby has been reluctant when it comes to being in the right position to show its gender, this sort of thing can be really, really handy. But, if you are on a budget, it’s not a big deal. You are just weeks away from meeting baby; he or she will look a lot better in your arms.
For new parents, the idea of taking home with their bundle of joy, not knowing the ins and outs of caring for a baby may sound a little bit daunting, especially if you have never spent that much time around children before. If you were never a babysitter, never had younger siblings and never spent time around your friends new babies, taking a baby class with your partner might be a good idea because it will help you get to know what to do and when.
Depending on where you live, some hospitals have now begun talking to parents of newborns about how much crying they can expect from their newborn, how to care for their newborn and how to hold their newborn, all using a doll, while mommy and baby are still in the hospital. This is not only about avoiding things like shaken baby syndrome but so that parents know the little things like what constitutes an extra trip to the doctor and what warrants a little bit of Tempra.
While airlines have their own policies about when they will allow a pregnant woman to fly, up to so many weeks, you too will want to nest towards the end of your pregnancy. The second trimester and even the beginning of your third are about the right time to take off somewhere relaxing to enjoy some special couple time for the last time. Picking the destination is very important however.
With outbreaks of things like the Zika Virus and the need to keep yourself in top health, travelling to resort destinations below the US border aren’t as ideal anymore. Instead, try and think resort/spa or hotel and show tickets or pursuing whatever it is that makes you happy but in a safe context. It could be a comic-con out of town if that is what makes you happy or an inn in New England but just go with something safe and comfy that won’t put any strain on you.
Will I be able to wear my favorite shoes again? Maybe and maybe not. What happens when you are pregnant is that your feet expand and flatten out to be able to support the extra weight you are carrying because of a hormone called “relaxin” which prepares a woman’s body by relaxing all of the ligaments before she gives birth. For some women this can mean permanently wider feet, say by about a half inch and for some it doesn’t, they just go back to normal. It unfortunately just really depends on the person and only time will tell.
When you are pregnant, you can get all kinds of weird pains. Your back can hurt from the weight, you might need a support band for your lower stomach, you can suddenly feel sharp pain at seven or eight months in the pelvis that aren’t contractions at all but really, really hurt and you don’t know what’s happening but you aren’t sure if you should go to the emergency room?
According to the closingthegap.com blog, pelvic pain is quite natural during pregnancy as your pelvis is reforming to accommodate a new function. The most normal of these pains is from growth spurts of the fetus and uterus. There is also “Symphysis pubis dysfunction” where inflammation and pain occurs in your joints pre and post birth. Pain in the pelvis can also occur from baby’s weight, happen as a result of relaxin, or softening of the ligaments to prepare your ligaments.
Braxton Hicks Contraction are irregular contractions that happen throughout your pregnancy that you probably won’t notice up until the third trimester. Named for Dr John Braxton Hicks back in 1872, these are actual contractions but are not the push giving birth contractions. They are instead intermittent and sometimes women don’t notice them at all. Towards the end of the pregnancy they can become hard to distinguish between regular contractions but what is tell tale about them is that they are never regular, unpredictable, non-rhythmic and don't become more rhythmic or intense. For that matter, they will show up and then just disappear as though nothing happened.
Do any of those stretch mark oils and creams that promise to keep them away or heal them afterwards work? In brief, No! They may keep your skin hydrated and feeling soft and could give you the feeling of being pampered but it is literally impossible for a topical product to prevent stretch marks or treat them afterwards. What happens with stretch marks is happening way below the skin's surface.
According to a study for the British Journal of Dermatology, stretch marks are caused when the “elastic fiber network appeared markedly disrupted” below the skin’s surface. So, no matter what you put on your skin, it isn’t going to address what is below it. If you are stretched beyond a certain capacity at a rapid rate, stretch marks will occur. The good news is that they will fade and eventually become far less noticeable.
It really depends on what your diet is like but for the most part it is fiction. According to The Guardian, in a recent interview with Serena Williams, the tennis mogul called out the myth because in order to keep a woman’s milk supply up, the amount of calories necessary make it difficult to diet and simultaneously lose weight. The article stated to lose a kilogram or 2.2 pounds, a woman needs to create a diet that is at 7,7000-calorie deficit.
“Exclusive breastfeeding eats up about 595 calories a day during the first two months of a baby’s life, increasing to 695 calories a day as the baby gets bigger.” The article went on to say that theoretically this sounds very feasible but then reality sets in and those kinds of calories are easily consumed in a trip to Starbucks for a latte and a muffin. The focus needs to be put on being healthy while breastfeeding instead of losing weight because there is time for that later.
Whether you planned the pregnancy or didn’t, are married and are going down a planned life path or are single and blazing your own trail, everyone asks themselves if they are going to be good at this? Fortunately this is why “maternal instinct” exists and, for that matter, the fact that you are showing concern about this shows that your “maternal instinct” is kicking in.
Even those who don’t show any evidence of being interested in babies or being “baby people” become quite different when they have their own baby because of the way hormones will make a woman feel when it comes to caring for their own child. So, because Mother Nature has your back, you can kick back and relax because, you’ve got this one and it’s going to be okay. You will be sleep deprived and maybe not feel so great for a couple of months but you will be okay.
Preterm labor is defined as anyone who goes into labor before 37 weeks, resulting in changes in the cervix, including effacement and dilation which can mean that the baby can get into the birthing canal. Preterm births are considered births that take place anywhere between 20 and 37 weeks and can lead to a number of complications for the baby simply because it did not have enough time to develop in utero. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists's website, the greatest risk is to those born prior to 34 weeks but that doesn’t mean that those born between 34-37 weeks don’t have their own risks.
What if my baby is late? Unlike the way the world used to work, just sitting around and waiting for baby, the medical community will induce a pregnant woman if she hits 41 weeks or give her the option of a cesarean section birth. Generally the first thing that will happen is that a woman will be called into the maternity ward as soon as there is a spot available for her, if it is her first child, they will often call for an induction.
An induction is when doctors will try a number of different procedures to get a woman to go into natural labor. This can range from ripening of the cervix, popping the amniotic sac or using IV medications like Pictosin or Oxytosin to bring a patient into full blown labor, while monitoring the baby's vital signs so that the contractions, once started, are not too strenuous for it. If the induction fails however the baby will be born via emergency c-section.
While doctors may be mandated to try and keep births as natural as possible because of the cost difference between a natural birth and the surgical procedure of a C-section in Canada, the mandate is the reverse in the US. At the same time, malpractice suits also have huge impact on a birth going wrong in the United States.
Regardless, the number Cesarean Section births has risen significantly in the last thirty years and its hard to put a finger on one specific cause. While there is some research that points to complications and the fear surrounding it, there are other statistics that look at how much how much women need them and either do get them and don't get them globally. One theory on why they are so popular now is because women want more control over their births and this way they get to pick a day and know what they are in for and they feel safer with it.
Some pregnant women will splurge on the most expensive vitamins possible when eating for two but do they really need to? According to a report out of the United Kingdom, women don’t need so much dietary supplements as they need to pay attention to what they eat and ensure they are getting the nutrients they need on their plates.
Lots of dark leafy greens like kale and spinach, colorful fruit, low fat dairy like yogurt, whole grains like multigrain bread, fish once a week like salmon, a small handful of almonds or sweet potato fries are all great add-ons or meal suggestions for women who need extra calories during the last two trimesters and want to make sure they get foods that are nutrient rich instead of just popping vitamins. You can do your best by staying away from processed foods, eating as fresh and organic as you can!
Hours after you give birth your belly will look like a half inflated basketball. It can take a whole 5-6 weeks for your uterus to shrink back down to its normal size. But, depending on how you gave birth, you may want to cling on to those maternity leggings a little longer. Some women, post c-section, don't want any kind of band or pressure put on the area where they had the incision because of the numbness sensation around the incision is just uncomfortable.
Other women keep wearing their maternity tops for a long time because while their bellies may have shrunk down quite a bit, they are now dealing with very large chests from nursing and know that they aren't going to stay that size so they will wear the larger garments for a while. It really depends on the person and how much weight they may have gained during their pregnancy and how their body is healing but having looser garments while healing and the first stage of nursing is handy.
A few months in you may notice that you feel a lot bigger but it isn’t that you are actually that bigger; your blood volume has increased significantly to support your pregnancy. Throughout your pregnancy your blood volume will increase a full fifty percent from your original blood volume to support the needs of your uterus.
At that, according to the Merck Manual "Cardiac output increases by 30 to 50%. As cardiac output increases, the heart rate at rest speeds up from a normal pre-pregnancy rate of about 70 beats per minute to 80 or 90 beats per minute." After giving birth it takes a while for your body to readjust to your regular blood levels so don't be surprised if you suddenly find yourself with swollen ankles as that extra fluid has to go somewhere. It takes a bit of time to eliminate the extra.
Everyone remembers those photos of celebrities like Coco Austin who only gained 13 pounds with her pregnancy and was wearing her regular clothes within a week or that other fit model Sarah Stage who looked like she had never been pregnant within just weeks of giving birth but, according to doctors, there are many different reasons as to why one woman will bounce back faster than another and it’s not all about just the mother.
How well and how quickly a woman bounces back after baby is multi-pronged; there are so many different moving parts to it. Things that need to be factored in are: her age, her weight prior, her genetics, the baby's temperament, sleep, how much support she gets, whether she is an active person, whether she is motivated, her diet, breastfeeding, strategic eating for breastfeeding and other factors. In other words, it is something that requires a lot of work and calculations, if she wants it, she can have it but it is about adapting a lifestyle.
When you are just about to hit that point where labor just won't start and a c-section or induction are looming, a lot of women turn to natural remedies to get those contractions rolling. According to mamanatural.com, there are a multitude of natural remedies that do have some scientific backup to them. Some of the recommendations are one-on-one time with a partner because of the natural hormones that can be produced, evening primrose oil, castor oil, raspberry tea leaf, and eating dates.
There was also a recommendation on that list for having a doctor try "membrane stripping," where the doctor separates the amniotic sac from the cervix. At the same time, the site also offered lots of other kinds of more folksy types of remedies that had no scientific backing but said they had other mother's swearing by them. Among them were suggestions like: eat a lot of pineapple, go for acupuncture, try guided meditation, eat some spicy food and getting pampered at the spa with some special foot reflexology to maybe get things rolling.