ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Take Care of a Yourself During Pregnancy

Updated on October 12, 2014

Pregnancy Exercise Tips

After a woman finds out that she is pregnant, she might be confused about what is next. With all the rumors that exist on what to do, or not do, it can be overwhelming. With proper research, and guidance from a doctor, a woman can figure how she can take care of herself during pregnancy.

When a woman suspects that she is pregnant, she should take an at-home pregnancy test or set up an appointment at her doctor's office. If the at-home pregnancy test is positive, or if it is negative and that seems doubtful, that is also a good time to set up an appointment at the doctor's office. Even if a woman takes multiple at-home pregnancy tests, there is nothing like the good old fashion blood test. The blood test at the doctor's will measure certain levels of hormones (HCG) found in the blood, and until the woman gets to the doctor's, she shouldn't engage in any risky behavior.

Now that a doctor's appointment is scheduled, a woman might be hesitant about what they are going to do at the doctor's office. As was said in the previous paragraph, they are going to first give a blood test. The blood test will take a few hours to process, so it might be a good idea to bring a book. When the doctor comes out with the great (or bad) news that she is pregnant, here comes the paperwork.

The next thing that the doctor will do is get a family medical history, and her partner's medical history (Murkoff 21). The reason being, if a woman had/has certain sexually transmitted diseases, multiple abortions, or if she or her partner has genetic complications running in their families this may pose a risk for the unborn child. If she has had any major abdominal surgeries, have endometriosis, or history of ectopic pregnancies, they are more than likely going to give an ultrasound.

The ultrasound will be able to see where the gestational sac (it isn't even called a fetus yet) is located. If it is located in the uterus, the pregnancy is capable of continuing; if it is located outside of the uterus it is called an ectopic pregnancy. Usually located in the Fallopian tubes, the ectopic gestational sac would need to be removed right away, sometimes the doctor is capable of doing this by medicine or close supervision (surgery is a common method, however). The reason why an ectopic pregnancy is not allowed to continue is doctors can not move the gestational sac and it will sooner of later rupture a Fallopian tube. This would be certain death for the mother if she is not hospitalized in time.


Now that pregnancy is certain, a woman is in her first trimester. The first trimester is one of three, and last for twelve weeks. During the first trimester, it is very common to have frequent urination, enlarged breasts, faintness, headaches, morning sickness, fatigue, and feeling downright atrocious (Verrilli 26). There isn't much to do about many of these symptoms. With frequent urination she should just make sure there is a bathroom near, and with enlarged breasts the only thing to do is enjoy them (they are just loners).

When a pregnant woman feels faint, that is a sign that it's time to slow down and rest. There are many theories about why a woman has morning sickness. Some think that is is psychological; that when a woman is more anxious she is more likely to get it (Broder 74). Also, it could be cultural; women are somewhat expected to get morning sickness. But most likely it is just hormonal, a pregnant woman has enraged hormones. Some ways to combat this lovely morning friend is eating crackers before bed and before a woman gets up out of bed in the morning. Some other home remedies include eating lemon wedges, or Lemon Heads.

With all the symptoms a pregnant person may feel it might be easy to reach for some Ibuprofen or just get liquored up, but for the next nine months there are many things that a woman isn't allowed to do. Drinking, cigarette smoking, illegal drug use, certain prescription drug use, excess amounts of caffeine can cause low birth weight (Murkoff 69). Avoiding taboos are especially vital during the first three months because the unborn baby is fundamentally developing, it's going through the most important stages of rectification. Some other important no-nos are hot tubs, saunas and electric heating blankets, these can cause the baby to overheat, and that can cause brain damage or birth defects. It is warmer inside the woman's stomach, so she might not realize that she is overheating her baby. Some other things to be weary of being household cleaning items, air pollution, occupational hazards, and loud noises (69).

Next is the second trimester, this is the twelfth through twenty-fourth week. Some symptoms that appear during this trimester include: skin changes, ligament pain, nipples darkening, and extreme moodiness (Picone 36). During the second trimester, many lab tests are performed to make sure that there are no problems with the fetus. Usually, in the first trimester an ultrasound is performed to make sure that the pregnancy isn't an ectopic one, but if this hasn't been performed yet it will be during the second trimester. Other popular tests include an Alpha-Protein's (AFP) Screening, genetic screening, Chronic Villi Sampling (CVS) and amniocentesis. The AFP tests measure the amount of protein in the liver, this could be important in determining if there are any neural tube defects. Genetics screenings, CVS and amniocentesis all check for hereditary diseases (36).

Many women during the second trimester notice their belly growing, at accelerated rates. It is average for a woman to gain around thirty five pounds during her pregnancy (Martin 59). It is very important to remember that not gaining enough weight during pregnancy can cause low birth weight, and gaining too much weight during pregnancy can cause a difficulty breastfeeding. During the first trimester it is common not to gain any weight because of morning sickness. Some women gain great amounts of weight because eating is the only thing that calms their morning sickness. During the second trimester, gaining around a pound a week is the norm, but gaining no weight one wthanthen two pounds the next is not uncommon.


During the third trimester, women gain around a pound to two pounds a week. Around the last three weeks some women loseoose weight since the hormones in their body is steadily decreasing. The breakdown on weight gain is as follows: baby: 7 pounds, placenta: 1 ½ pounds, amniotic fluid: 2 pounds, uterine enlargement: 2 pounds, maternal breast tissue: 2 pounds, maternal blood volume: 4 pounds, fluids in maternal tissue: 4 pounds, maternal fat stores: 7 pounds (Levine 31). With all this necessary weight added up it equals thirty pounds, but if a person gains five more or five less, that is healthy as well.

One major way not to gain too much weight is eating right. During the first trimester it is essential for the mother-to-be to eat an additional five hundred calories on top of her pre-pregnancy caloric requirements (Molnar 76). Being pregnant does not give a woman an unlimited access to junk food; in fact a pregnant woman should eat healthier than when she was not pregnant (easier said than done). ​

The foods that she should be focusedbeing are carbohydrates, proteins and fats. The carbohydrates are not the carbohydrates found in a cheese pizza, but the ones that are found in brown rice, and whole-grain breads. Healthy proteins and fats are found in eggs, meats, fish, olive and sunflower oils (76). The reason why a woman doesn't need junk fis, its it consists of empty calories, and empty calories are not what the baby needs. During the second and third trimesters a woman no longer needs five hundred calories, but now only three hundred. These three hundred calories are easy to use; in fact, a large glass of milk consists of approximately three hundred calories. Some women may find it difficult to eat the recommended three snacks a day, and eat only three hundred calories. Some smart ideas for snacks would be fresh fruits, vegetables, eggs, yogurt, and small amounts of nuts.

Some other ideas for not gaining too much weight includes getting plenty of exercise. If a woman did not exercise before she pregnant, itt it would be a smart idea to talk to her obstetrician or midwife before starting an exercise regiment. This does not mean that it isn't feasible for a woman to start exercising during pregnancy, she would just have to start at a slow level and progress at small increments. If a woman was exercising before pregnancy, she can continue to do the same activity; unless the woman was a marathon runner. Some healthy tips for staying active is to keep at a moderate level, and make sure to always include stretching, warm up and cool down in the exercise regiment (Broder 137).


Also, a woman needs to remember to keep hydrated during physical activity and always speak to a doctor if there are any questions. Always keep in mind to use common sense, a pregnant woman should not continue to play full contact sports, anything where she could fall, or anything dangerous. Recommended ways of getting plenty of healthy exercise include: walking, yoga, and swimming. Ways to tell if a woman is exercising too intense include: dizziness, shortness of breath, blurred vision, fainting or faintness, and contractions. Most importantly, a pregnant women's heart beat should never go above 140 beats per minute, this can cause fetal distress (137).


Finally, a woman reached home stretchetch: the third trimester. The third trimester includes the twenty-seven through forty; a woman is technically pregnant for ten months (Weintraub 139). Some symptoms that appear during the third trimester include: back ache, worsening of bladder problems, enlarged breasts, leaking breasfaintingness, constipation getting worse, gums bleeding, headaches, heart pounding, heartburn/indigestion, hemorrhoids, leg cramps, and during the last month it's normal for morning sickness to return (Verrilli Messiereser 36).


Also, it's common for a woman to feel nosebleeds, pelvic pain, excesssalivationtion, shortness of breath, skin blotching, swelling of hands, feet, legs and finally stretch marks (36). The best way to relieve much of the pain of these symptoms is proppiHer
her legs up, taking a Tylenol, and relaxing. If a sympathetic partner is on hand, then a back massage or foot massage might be appropriate.


Once ready, it might be a good idea to attend sprenatalatal educational classes. It isn't a big deal if they areattendingnded before the third trimester, because most classes won't enroll someone in the first or second trimester. Most hospitals offer after-hour tours of the labor and delivery unit and the nursery. If a woman is going to breastfeed, most hospitals offer classes on how and the benefits of. The reason why childbirth classes are a gidea, isa is it lets a person know what to do during childbirth and what a woman's options are. It is ea good ideaidea for a woman who has already had a chattendingtend one, things could have changed from the last pregnancy. Many hospitals off Lamaze classes.

When attending childbirth education classes, a woman may find out that she needs to arrange a “birth plan”. A woman has many options when it comes to birthing her child. The most common approach to birthing is Lamaze (Murkoff 256). The Lamaze technique includes relaxation and breathing techniques.. Another option is the Bradley technique, this technique is specially designed for a “husband coach deliver” (256). With the Bradley technique, a woman is mimicking how she sleeps.


​The woman gets in the same position and slows down her breathing as if she is sleeping, with the room darkened and quiet for more relaxation. Another birth plan thas gottenting more attention recentlyHypnobirthinghing (256). WHypnobirthinghing, a woman is placed in a highly suggestible state so pain is reduced as much as possible. A popular option for many women is pain medication; she should contact her doctor before birth because some women are allergic to certain pain medications.

Throughout the pregnancy and especially during the last trimester there are certain warning signs a woman should look for. A woman may spot during pregnancy, but but if it gets heavy enough to be a period, this is not normal. Vaginal discharge is also common during pregnancy, but it should never be a gush, this could be a sign that a woman's water broke (Broder 184). Most women feel some cramping during pregnancy, this is a usual sign of the uterus stretching, but it should never be severe. If a woman gets sick and has a high fever, she should go to her doctor immediately. Some women may feel contractions early in pregnancy or toward the end, but if they ever get to be every five to seven minutes she should go to the hospital (184). It is never normal for a woman to get sudden blurred vision, spots befthe eyeseyes, or sudden swelling of face, hands or feet (184).

In conclusion, pregnancy is a life altering ordeal. With common sense, and possibly a pregnanciesancy parentingntal handbooks, it's doable. The major things to remember are: eat right, exercise, don't get stressed out, be prepared, and have good communication with your doctor. Wohave hadving children since the beginning and time, it is the most natural act. If possible, a pregnant woman should always keep her partner informed and involved; because who else is going to get the chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream in middle of the night?


Work Cited


Brooks, Michael S. The Panic-Free Pregnancy. New York: Berkley Group, 2004. 1-292.

Brott, Armin A., and Jennifer Ash. The Expectant Father. New York: Abbeville, 1995. 1-215.

Hales, Dianne. Pregnancy and Birth. Philadelphia: Chelsea House, 1999. 1-105.

Levine, Ellen. The Good Housekeeping Illustrated BookPregnancy, BabyBaby Care. Edd ed. New York: Hearst Books, 1999. 1-256.

Martin, Margaret. The Illustrated Book of Pregnancy and Childbirth. New York: Facts On File, 1991. 1-123.

Molnar, Felicia E. Guide To Pregnancy. New York: Dorling Kindersley, 2001. 1-350.

Murkoff, Heidi, Arlene Eisenberg, and Sandee Hathaway. What To Expect WYouru're Expecting. Edd ed. New York: Workman, 2002. 1-597.

Picone, Linda. The Expectant Family. Minneapolis: Fairview P, 2004. 1-92.Vernyerny, ThomNurturingring The Unborn Child. New York: Dell Trade, 1991. 1-218.Verrilliilli, George E., and AnneMousereser. While Waiting. New York: St. Martin's Griffin, 2002. 1-184.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • CatherineGiordano profile image

      Catherine Giordano 3 years ago from Orlando Florida

      I'm way past menopause, but this is a great article for moms-to-be. Voted up and useful.