Early Pregnancy Concerns
By Joan Whetzel
For those who want to get pregnant, the minute you find out you’re pregnant, you begin to plan for what’s ahead. But there are many things that you may be concerned about as well.
Telling People You're Pregnant
Most of the time women can’t wait to tell everyone they know that a baby is on the way. And why not? It’s exciting news.
However, it’s not so uncommon for women to miscarry in the first trimester of pregnancy. So, the next time you get pregnant, you’re way more hesitant to share the news because it’s so difficult to share the another loss. For some of us, sharing the loss so publicly is the worst part. So when do you share the news about a new pregnancy, after such a devastating loss? Well, it can vary from woman to woman. Many women will wait until after the point at which they miscarried the last time. Of course, you may choose to start out telling only the most important people – your spouse and parents – telling them you’d like to keep it under wraps a little longer until you’re sure you won’t miscarry again. When you tell the world at large is largely a matter of when it feels right to you. When you feel the time is right, when you are comfortable about sharing the news with those outside your inner circle, you’ll know it’s time to share the exciting news.
Alcohol and Pregnancy
According to the March of Dimes, there is no safe level of alcohol use during pregnancy. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome will occur with chronic alcohol use – 4 to5 drinks a day or more. It has been known to occur in women who drink less than this. Behavioral and neurological disorders have been known to occur from even light to moderate alcohol use during pregnancy. While one glass of wine may do no harm, why take the chance?
Smoking During Pregnancy
Smoking during pregnancy has been linked to small birth weight, premature birth, stillbirths, asthma and other respiratory problems, and SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Smoking constricts blood vessels in the woman’s body – including those running through the umbilical cords, which controls the amounts of nutrients and oxygen that reaches the developing baby. Not to mention all the problems associated with second-hand smoke once the baby is born.
Vitamins and Herbal Supplements During Pregnancy
On the plus side, vitamins are a good thing for all pregnant women. If you haven’t been to a doctor yet and received a prescription for prenatal vitamins, a good over-the-counter vitamin for women will be sufficient until you get an appointment. Make sure it has a good amount of folic acid, as this is an vital nutrient for developing fetuses. As far as herbal supplements, it’s best to talk to your doctor first since the herbal remedy market is not regulated by the FDA. One herbal remedy that you should stay away from is called black cohosh. It’s used mainly for controlling menopausal symptoms, but it’s been linked with miscarriages.
Exercise During Pregnancy
OB doctors always recommend exercise during pregnancy. It helps prevent too much weight gain, increases blood flow through the umbilical cord, and tends to make labor a little bit easier and shorter. However, there are some caveats here. If you have not been doing any regular exercise prior to becoming pregnant, take it easy. Keep it to walking, gentle stair climbing, and maybe some swimming or gentle cycling. All pregnant women should try to avoid high impact exercises. A few other excursuses that should be avoided include:
- Weight training or sit-ups after the first trimester.
- Contact sports.
- Scuba Diving.
- Any sports that involve jumping, jarring, or bouncing (i.e. horseback riding or aerobics).
- Anything involving a sudden change in directions like skiing.
Lots of women suffer from morning sickness, particularly in the first trimester. Some feel the nausea and vomiting all day long and some suffer the entire pregnancy. These symptoms are a product of the higher hormone levels of pregnancy. The non-medicinal approach to easing the symptoms is to make sure you always have a supply of decaf tea and crackers on hand. They’re fairly good at helping to settle the stomach. Also make sure you don’t eat high fat foods or really spicy foods, as these can sometimes lead to stomach problems, or make them worse. If these simple methods aren’t helping, always talk to your doctor. Too much vomiting can lead to dehydration and malnutrition, which is good for mommy or baby.
This is probably the most asked question from any newly expectant mother. How much weight gain is the right amount? It is generally recommended that women gain about 25 to 35 pounds during their pregnancy. Your recommended weight gain may depend in part on your body weight before you got pregnant, your height, your basic body shape, and your build. Your doctor may suggest something different for your specific needs, so always follow his or her recommendations. A little fat gain during pregnancy is not a bad thing. The extra supply of fat ensures a ready source of calories for the baby should you not be able to eat for a short while due to morning sickness.
Weight Loss During Pregnancy
Yes, it is possible to lose a little weight during pregnancy. Women with morning sickness – or all day sickness – will be taking in less calories for a time, so they may find they are losing weight. With my second pregnancy, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes and had to go on an 1800 calorie diet and take insulin for most of the pregnancy. The diet was lower in calories and fat than what I had been eating before I got pregnant, so I lost some weight.
A little bit of weight loss is not a major concern as long as it only involves a few pounds and doesn’t last for an extended period. If it continues for too long or the weight loss is severe, your physician may want to put you in the hospital so the baby can be monitored and to prevent both mommy and baby from suffering nutritional deficits.
Food and Nutrition
If you are put on a diabetic diet due to gestational diabetes, and follow it religiously, you will be on a highly nutritious diet plan that benefits both you and your baby. Diabetic diets regulate your intake of all the food groups – including fats like butter, margarine, sour cream and the like. If you’re not on a diabetic diet, all doctors will recommend that you eat a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits and veggies, lean meats, dairy, some starches, and of course, fats (some vitamins need fat to absorbed and used properly in the body). If you have been on a vegetarian or vegan diet, talk to your doctor about your diet preferably before you get pregnant just in case you may need to make any adjustments in preparation for pregnancy.
Spotting Early in the Pregnancy
Sometimes women experience a small amount of blood spotting. Spotting can occur any time during the pregnancy, and while it may be scary, there could be a good explanation for it. Early in pregnancy, it could merely be the sign of the fertilized egg implanting in the uterus. Sometimes it occurs after sex or an internal exam at the doctor’s office. It could also be the sign of something more serious like an ectopic pregnancy or an impending miscarriage. Any time you notice spotting, make note of what was going on at the time you had the spotting and immediately beforehand. ALWAYS let your doctor know about the spotting episodes. They may be something serious, or they may be nothing. This another case of “better safe than sorry.”
No matter what your concerns, never be afraid to bring them to your doctor’s attention. That’s why you're paying him or her the big bucks. The concerns may well turn out to be nothing to worry about, but at least you will ease your mind by having the answers.
Baby Med. Food and Nutrition: During Pregnancy and Beyond.
American Pregnancy Association. Concerns Regarding Early Fetal Development.
Just Mommies. Spotting During Early Pregnancy.
Pregnancy and Children. Common Concerns of Pregnancy.
Web MD. Morning Sickness.
Healthline. Common Concerns During Pregnancy.
Ask Dr. Sears. 9 Common Questions About Weight Gain During Pregnancy.
Pregnancy and Baby. Is It Okay to Lose Weight During Pregnancy.