Family > Pregnancy

Pregnancy normally lasts for 9 months (i.e. 40 weeks) and is typically divided into three trimesters.

The First Trimester

During the first three months of pregnancy, or the first trimester, you typically will experience a lot of discomfort, such as nausea, vomiting, tiredness, etc. These things are normal.Most of these discomforts will go away after the first trimester. Here are some advices during this phase:

  • Get at least eight hours of sleep every night. Take a nap during the day if possible.
  • Sleeping on your left side. This will help blood vessels to supply oxygen and nutrients to the baby (called fetus now).
  • Eat more often, but smaller meals. Avoid fatty, fried, or spicy foods.
  • Drink carbonated drinks such as ginger ale or seltzer water between meals.
  • Follow your OB/GYN (obstetrician/gynecologist) doctor's instructions to take prenatal vitamins.

It is important to keep all your doctor's appointments. Older women have higher risk of giving birth to babies with defects. There are several tests that will be recommended or required (if the mother will be at least 35 years old when the baby is born) to test for potential birth defects.

  • Nuchal Translucency Screening (NTS). This test can be done between 11 and 14 weeks of pregnancy. It uses an ultrasound and blood test to calculate the risk of some certain birth defects such as down syndrome.
  • Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS). This can be done between 10 and 12 weeks of pregnancy. In CVS, the doctor inserts a needle or similar device to reach the placenta. The sample of cells from the placenta is used to look for problems with the baby's chromosomes. About 1 in 200 women have a miscarriage as a result of this test.

The Second Trimester

The second trimester of pregnancy is usually easier than the first. Symptoms like nausea and vomiting should be gone in most cases. Your abdomen will expand significantly. At the end of this trimester, you will feel your baby beginning to move!

During this trimester, it is normal for you to gain about a pound of weight per week, or three to four pounds per month.

The following tests may be done during the second trimester:

  • Amniocentesis. This test is done after at least 16 weeks of pregnancy. It involves your doctor inserting a thin needle to get a small amount of amniotic fluid for testing. The cells from the fluid are grown in a lab to look for problems with chromosomes. About 1 in 200 women have a miscarriage as a result of this test.
  • Maternal Serum Screening Test. This is also called multiple marker screening test, triple test, or quad screen. It is usually given between 15 and 20 weeks of pregnancy. It checks for birth defects such as Down syndrome by taking a sample of your blood.
  • Targeted Ultrasound. The best time to get a targeted ultrasound is between 18 and 20 weeks of pregnancy.

The Third Trimester

Now your body is getting quite big. In this trimester, it is normal to gain about one pound per week, or three to four pounds per month. By the end of your pregnancy you probably have gained 25 to 30 pounds. About 7 1/2 pounds of that weight should be the baby.

You may have troubling sleeping. Here are some advice:

  • Do mild exercise such as walking.
  • Don't eat a large meals within three hours of sleeping.
  • Don't take long naps during the day.

Be sure to see your doctor regularly. From 30 weeks to 38 weeks of pregnancy, you typically have one office visit every two weeks. After 38 weeks, you should see your doctor every week until delivery.

Now is also the time to get ready for the arrival of the baby. Get some baby clothes, blankets, diapers, baby wipes, etc.

If you feel that you are in labor (in other words, the baby is ready to come out), call your doctor or, if you are quite sure you are in labor (e.g. if your water breaks), have your husband drive you to the hospital.

Labor

Once you arrive at the hospital for labor, your will be assigned a nurse. But it is important to tell them who your OB/GYN doctor is. Typically your OB/GYN doctor is part of a group. This means that whoever in the group works that day at that hospital will deliver the baby.

To deal with the intense pain during this process, you can ask the nurse to use Epidural, which is injected to your body to ease the pain. The side effect is that after using a significant amount of this medicine, you may later find it harder to control your muscles to push the baby out.

If you are giving birth to a boy, you will be asked whether to perform circumcision. Even though this procedure has a religious origin, almost 60% of boys in the U.S. get circumcised. So if you want your boy to look like most other boys, you may consider doing this.

 
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