What To Expect When You’re Expecting- Things You Should Know About Pregnancy

What To Expect When You Are Pregnant

Introduction

Parents have always been found in a tight spot trying to explain to their children where babies come from. Well, say no more. It is high time they face their fear and avoid the embarrassment of having to answer hard question after another about the origin of babies.

Some parents have gone a step ahead and outwitted their kids. By coining a phrase that ‘babies come from heaven.’ Bravo to the genius parents, though for only a few years. As kids grow, their mind expands too. Boom! You are in the same tight spot again.

All you have to do is give a vivid explanation of the origin of babies to buy your freedom. How do fathers manage to explain to their kids that their mother is carrying a baby and that she does not have a protruding belly due to overfeeding?

What Is Pregnancy?

A woman is said to be pregnant when fertilization takes place and lead to the development of one or many embryos in the womb of the mother. It is estimated that at least 211 million pregnancy are recorded every year. With 220,000 cases of pregnancy, report filed every day.

Also, there is an estimation that there is a child born in every 3 seconds. The delivery of the fetus may take more or less than 40 weeks or about 280 days from the time of the last menstrual period (LMP). Scientist divides human pregnancy into three trimesters.

We use the term embryo to describe a developing offspring in the first eight weeks of pregnancy period. As from 9 weeks to conception, we use the term fetus should be applied.

When Does Pregnancy Start?

For pregnancy to occur, there is a need for sperms to meet with an egg. The pregnancy period starts explicitly when the fertilized egg implants itself in the lining of the uterus.

What Happens During Pregnancy?

Conception takes place when the male sperm penetrates a female egg. It takes place in the woman’s fallopian tube right away after ovulation. It triggers a zygote to form. Immediately the egg is fertilized, the zygote starts dividing itself to make a cluster of cells called embryo.

After 5 to 7 days of cell division and growth, the group of cells cling to the walls of the uterus and disperse their root-like veins known as villi. The purpose of the villi is to ensure that the embryo is attached to the lining of the uterus.

Pregnancy Start

They later grow and enlarge to become the placenta that is responsible for feeding and protecting the fetus as it develops. The placenta supplies the embryo with nutrients and oxygen and helps in the discharge of waste.

In the next 12 weeks, the muscles, blood, bones and nervous system and internal organs start to develop. After finishing, the embryo is called the fetus. The size of a fetus appears to be 1 inch long with the ears and facial features, fingers and toes start to appear.

The fetus is allowed to develop inside the uterus cushioned by the amniotic fluid. It is the water that breaks before a baby is born. Most pregnancies tend to last from 37 weeks to about 42 weeks. With the due date calculated from the first day of the last period.

Baby Development During Pregnancy

Month 1

As the fertilized egg continues to grow, an amniotic sac forms around it to cushion the embryo and give it a conducive environment to thrive. The placenta starts to develop too; it is a flat round organ responsible for transferring nutrients from the mother to the baby and remove* wastes from the baby.

A shape of a face will be formed with large dark circles to represent the eyes. Lower jaw, mouth, and throat develop at this month too. Blood cells also take shape and circulation starts. The tiny heart tube beats 65 times per minute by the end of week 4. At the end of this month, the baby is 1/4 inch long.

Month 2

Month 2

The facial features of the baby continue developing. Ears emerge as a folded skin on both sides of the tiny head. Tiny buds that later grow into arms and legs are formed. Toes, eyes, and fingers develop too. At this point, the neural tube which consists of the spinal cord, brain, and tissues of the nervous system is fully established.

The sensory organs and the digestive system start developing. Bones begin to replace cartilages. By the end of the second month, the baby is 1 inch long and weighs 1/30 of an ounce. At the 6th week, the heartbeat of the baby can be detected. After the 8th week, the baby is no longer an embryo it is called the fetus.

Month 3

At this stage, the arms, hands, feet, toes, and fingers are formed. The baby can open and close a fist and mouth. Fingernails and toenails start to grow at this month. The external ears are fully developed too. The teeth begin to emerge, not forgetting the reproductive organs.

Although, it is a hard task to determine the gender of the child on ultrasound. By the end of the first month, a baby is fully formed. With a size of 4 inches long and weigh at least 1 ounce. At this time the risk of a miscarriage is low because most of the critical development is finished.

Month 4

With the use of a Doppler, you can hear the heartbeat of your child. Fingers and toes are fully formed. Eyebrows, eyelids, eyelashes, nails, and hair have developed too. The teeth of the baby and bones become dense as compare to the cartilage the baby was born possessing.

The baby has the ability suck a thumb, yawn, make faces and even stretch. The nervous system start to function and the reproductive organs are fully formed. On this stage, you can be able to use an ultrasound to find out the sex of the child. The end of this month, the baby is 6 inches long and weighs 4 ounces.

Month 5

The infant can be felt moving this is because of muscle development and exercises it is undergoing. The movement is known as quickening. Hair starts to grow on the baby’s head. Soft hair called lanugo covers shoulders, back, and temples. The hair helps protect the baby.

It pills off at the end of the baby’s week of life. The skin of the baby is covered with vernix casesosa which is a whitish coating. The substance helps protect the baby’s skin from prolonged exposure to the amniotic fluid. It sheds before birth takes place. This month ends with the baby being 10 inches long and weighs 1/2 to 1 pound.

Month 6

Month 6

At this stage, the baby has a translucent skin that is reddish in color. Wrinkles and veins are visible. The fingers of the baby and toes are visible too. At this stage, the eyelids start to part and the eyes open.

The baby can respond to sounds by either increasing* impulse or move. In case the baby is born prematurely, it may survive after the 23rd week in intensive care. The end of this month marks with the baby being 12 inches long and weighs approximately 2 pounds.

Month 7

The maturity of the imp continues to develop as it also stores body fats. Baby’s hearing is fully developed. It may change position more frequently in response to stimuli.

At this stage, the amniotic fluid starts reducing*. By the end of the 7th month, the baby is 14 inches long and weighs 2-4 pounds. It may survive if it is born prematurely

Month 8

The baby continues to mature and store body fat. It may kick more often.This month, the stage development of the brain is usually quick. The baby can be able to see and hear.

Almost all the internal organs are well developed, but the lungs are still immature. The baby is 18 inches long and weighs at least 5 pounds.

Month 9

The growth and development continue; the lungs are almost fully developed. The baby’s reflex is well coordinated. It can blink, turn the head, close the eyes and even grasp firmly.

A mother may note that the movement of the baby is less due to tight space. At this stage, the baby positions itself for labor and delivery. It drops down to the pelvis with the head down facing toward the birth canal.

How Do Mothers Get Pregnant With Twins?

Pregnant With Twins

Twins can happen in two ways. Identical twins are made when one already fertilized egg divides to form two different embryos. Since identical twins come from the same sperm and egg, their genetic materials (DNA) look the same.

Non-identical twins (fraternal twins) exists when two different sperm and both fertilized eggs implant in the uterus. It takes place when a mother’s ovaries releases more than one egg. Non-identical twins tend to have diverse genetic materials, and they never resemble each other. They are the most prevalent type of twins.

Signs To Show A Woman Is Pregnant

  • Missed period/ Amenorrhea – It is the primary sign of pregnancy. In case a woman misses experiencing periods for two weeks, it is a high sign of pregnancy unless she is suffering from an underlying condition. To know you are pregnant, you need to buy a home pregnancy kit.
  • Feeling sick – It is the earliest sign of pregnancy and is accompanied by extreme fatigue.
  • Fainting – Pallor also serves as an earlier sign of pregnancy. Pregnant moms tend to get lightheadedness, and at some point, they may sweat a lot.
  • Changed sense of smell and nausea – Pregnant women may most of the time wake up with queasiness experience. Alternatively, even when they sense a kitchen odor.

Hormonal Changes During Pregnancy

Balanced hormones are essential for a fruitful pregnancy. They act as body messengers that send information and feedback responses between different tissues and organs. Hormones move through the body via blood and later attach to proteins on cells known as receptors.

This, in turn, triggers the target organs to change their functions to maintain pregnancy. The ovaries and the placenta are the ones that secrete hormones that are vital for the development of the pregnancy.

1. At The Early Stage Of pregnancy

Early Stage Of pregnancy

After conception, the new embryo sends a signal to the mother to allow her body to know that pregnancy has started. The fertilized egg travels and implants itself into the womb on the sixth day, and it leads to the release of human chorionic gonadotropin[1] hormone. The hormone penetrates into the maternal circulation and allows the mother to get familiar with the embryo and start to alter her body in support of the pregnancy.

As early as 7-9 days from fertilization, the presence of human gonadotropin can be seen in the urine. It is used to indicate pregnancy in most of the over the counter pregnant testing kits. The hormone is slightly responsible for the time to time urination experienced by pregnant women at the first trimester of pregnancy.

The reason behind it is that the rise in the level of human chorionic gonadotropin leads to more flow of blood to the pelvis and the kidney. Hence causes the kidney to get rid of body waste products faster, out of the body. The hormone passes through the blood of a mother to the ovaries to regulate estrogen, progesterone and pro-pregnancy hormones.

2.Role Of Progesterone And Estrogen During Pregnancy

High amounts of progesterone are needed until the birth of the baby. At the first week of pregnancy, progesterone released from the corpus luteum is enough to keep the pregnancy. At the first week’s progesterone has many small roles in the pregnancy establishment, they include:

  • They help in the stimulation of glands in womb lining to secrete nutrients to sustain early embryo.
  • They trigger growth and thickening of the endometrium to produce the decidua that supports attachment of placenta and embryo implantation.
  • Stimulate growth of blood vessels to increase* blood flow to the womb.
  • Help in the establishment of the placenta. The growth of the placenta allows it to produce hormones. Trophoblasts cells are responsible for making the placenta convert cholesterol from mother’s bloodstream to progesterone. At 6-9 weeks of the pregnancy, the placenta becomes the primary producer of progesterone. Also, it is essential in the development of the pregnancy. It has more other functions which are;

1. Prevention of the womb muscles from contracting until the onset of labor.
2. Correct fetal development
3. Prevent lactation until after giving birth
4. Strengthen the muscles of the pelvic wall in labor preparation.

Progesterone can Dominate

Throughout the pregnancy period, progesterone can dominate although estrogen is essential too. Most of the functions of progesterone need estrogen. The funny part of it all is that estrogen stimulates progesterone production from the placenta.

Corpus luteum is in charge of the releasing and production of estrogen[2]. The levels of the two hormones increase* all through until the birth of the baby. Some of their functions include:

  • Controlling, stimulation and maintenance of the production of all pregnancy hormones.
  • Vital for the best development of many fetal organs for instance liver, kidney, and lungs.
  • Stimulate the growth and functioning of the placenta
  • Are essential in the development of mothers’ breast tissue to prepare the mother for breastfeeding.

3. Other Hormones Produced By The Placenta

The placenta is responsible for the release of additional hormones like human placental lactogen and corticotrophin-releasing hormone. Human placental lactogen is thought to help in the growth of mammary glands[3] to prepare for lactation. It also helps regulate the mother’s metabolism by increasing* maternal blood levels of nutrients to be used by the fetus. Corticotrophin-releasing hormone is believed to help balance the duration of pregnancy and the rate of fetal maturation.

For instance, during the first trimester of pregnancy women tend to have stress. The placenta increases* the production of the corticotrophin-releasing hormone[4]. This hormone is responsible for suppressing the mother’s immune system and prevent it from attacking the fetus.

Later on, it is vital for blood flow between the placenta and the fetus. During the last week of pregnancy its level increases* and coincide with that of cortisol. The rise in the level of the two hormones helps the fetal organs to mature before labor.

Prenatal Care

The act of living a healthy lifestyle during the pregnant period is called prenatal care. It involves regular doctor visits and making right choices. Maintaining a healthy pregnancy leads to having a healthy birth. A mother should seek an appointment with the doctor immediately she realizes that she is pregnant.

At that point, the doctor will check your medical history and the symptoms. In each of the visits to the doctor, your weight and blood pressure will also be recorded. The data is vital for the tracking of your health during the pregnancy period.

On your first visit urine and blood samples will be taken. Moreover, more from the other visits to the doctor. A urine test will help the doctor to check on the presence of high sugar level (sign of diabetes), high protein level which is a sign for preeclampsia (a type of high blood pressure during pregnancy).

A blood test will enable the doctor to be able to determine iron levels (to avoid anemia), blood type, and communicable diseases like HIV and hepatitis. A mother may be subjected to other tests too at the first visit. The tests may be based on the background and risk for problems.

Ultrasound

Some of the tests include:

  • Pap smear for cervical cancer screening
  • Ultrasound to view the growth of the baby, and position ultrasound makes use of sound waves to create an image of the baby on a video screen. It also gives a closer prediction of the birth date of the infant. It can also show if it is one fetus, twins or even more.
  • Pelvic examination to check the size and shape of the uterus.

After mothers first visit they will need to avail themselves for prenatal examinations every four weeks. On the 7th and 8th month a visit of every two weeks is compulsory. Then at the last month of pregnancy, a mother needs to visit the doctor every week until the delivery of the baby.

In all the visits the same tests are taken; a mother’s weight and urine are analyzed to test blood pressure. Then the doctor takes time to listen to the heartbeat of your baby and take a measurement of the height of the uterus in a mother’s abdomen after the 20th week. In case of any weird feelings, a mother should be free to discuss it with the doctor.

How To Improve* Your Health As A Mother During Pregnancy

Prenatal care is vital. Therefore a mother should follow instructions given by the doctor to take care of the baby during the pregnancy period.

How Much Weight Should A Parent Gain During Pregnancy?

At this point, mothers should visit a doctor. The doctor will advise them on how much weight to gain. This is because everyone is different, but in most cases, women are allowed to gain at least 25 to 30 pounds.

In case a mother is underweight during the pregnant period, there will need to gain more weight. Moreover, in a situation you turn out to be overweight, there is need to reduce* your weight.

What Should A Mother Eat?

A balanced diet is essential for the baby. Mothers should be careful of the foods and drinks below during pregnancy.

  • Fish, eggs, and meat. Not fully cooked foods can put a pregnant mother at risk. It is advisable that they should not eat more than 2 to 3 servings of fish on a weekly basis. Shark, swordfish, and tilefish should not be available to the mother; they are rich in high mercury levels. Mercury can be dangerous to the health of the baby. In case a mother feels like eating tuna, she should make sure it is light tuna. Also, at no point should a mother eat 6 ounces of albacore tuna and steak per week. It is advisable to have at least 12 ounces of light canned tuna per week.
  • Caffeine. As a pregnant mother, you should not drink more than one coffee cups or any drink that contains caffeine on a daily basis.
  • Dairy. A mother should eat more of dairy servings on a regular basis. It is rich in calcium for both the mother and the baby. At no point should the mother drink unpasteurized milk or eat any of the unpasteurized products. They may contain bacteria that are responsible for infections. Some of the dairy products are soft cheese like feta and brie. Blue cheese like queso fresco.
  • Sugar substitutes. Pregnant moms can use artificial sweeteners but in moderation. Some of them include aspartame and sucralose. In case a mother has phenylketonuria (PKU), she should not use aspartame.
  • Vegetables and fruits. Wash them all before eating. Also, make sure cutting boards and dishes are clean before using.
12 Food For Pregnancy

Can A Pregnant Mother Take Medicine?

Before an expectant mother decides to take any medicine, she should check with her doctor first. Pain relievers, prescriptions and over the counter drugs may cause congenital disabilities.This situation may happen if the drugs are taken in the first three months of pregnancy.

Can Expectant Mother Take Vitamins?

It is advisable for them to take at least 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid on a daily basis. It helps prevents defects in the baby’s spinal cord and brain. If there is need to take more than 400 mcg of folic acid, a doctor should be at a better point of explaining it to you.

It is advisable to take taking folic acid before getting pregnant. Folic acid is also available in prenatal vitamin an expectant mother can use them too. She should adhere to taking the pills every day and avoid consuming other vitamins or supplement with no approval from the doctor.

How Long Can An Expectant Mother Keep On Working?

Job type and work environment play a significant role in determining how long expectant mother can keep on working. It will also vary with each mother. For example lead, radiation, mercury, and copper are harmful to the baby. If a mother has a job in such a place, she may need to stop working early.

Also, desk jobs may sound a good fit to work late because they cause no harm to the child. Although pregnant mothers are advised not to rest the PC on their stomach or uterus because computers release radiations and rays that may harm the child.

The overall health of an expectant mother plays a significant role in determining how late she can work. In case a mum is at risk she may be subjected to bed rest.

Should An Expectant Mother Exercise?

Exercise plays a significant role in the promotion of a healthy lifestyle. It can also help to relieve discomfort. An expectant mother should find time to exercise regularly unless if she has complications during pregnancy.

30 minutes of exercising is recommended on a daily basis. In case there is a condition that prevents you from exercising book an appointment with your doctor.

Some women believe that exercise helps the pregnant mother have a natural labor. Walking and swimming are a good pick of activity for the expectant mothers. In case a mum was not active before getting pregnant, she should start slowly.

Avoid Straining

Pay attention to your body and avoid straining it. It is advisable to take much water to prevent dehydration and overheating. Furthermore, mums should avoid exercise that may require them to fall like rock climbing and skiing. Contact sports like basketball and soccer are a no-go zone too.

In case a mother was active before pregnancy, she is safe to continue exercising. In case a mother observes the following symptoms. There is no need for alarm, but you need to call your doctor;

  • Chest pain
  • Stomach pain
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision.

Can Expectant Moms Have Sex?

It is safe for pregnant mothers to have sex. However, there is need to consult with the doctor first in case one is at risk for problems. It should be noted that not all women are the same.

In some women, the level of interest in sex may change when they are expecting. In case mothers enjoy having sex. They need to switch to a different position as the belly enlarges.

Common Side Effects Of Pregnancy And Tips On How To Manage Them

Tiredness

Feeling fatigue is a typical side effect in expectant moms. In case you feel this way, you need to have some sleep. In a situation where some other symptoms accompany fatigue, you should see a doctor. You may be suffering from anemia.

Leg Cramps

A mother needs to be active to avoid leg cramps. You should form a habit of stretching the calf of your leg by flexing your foot towards the knee.

Morning Sickness

Vomiting and nausea may appear any time of the day. The mother should exercise frequent eating of small meals. Also, they should keep off greasy, acidic and spicy foods. Some mothers may tend to be more nausea on an empty stomach.

In such cases, they should use crackers to prevent empty stomach. In case mothers start to lose* weight during the first three months of pregnancy. There is need to talk to the doctor for guidance.

Constipation

Constipation Avoid

Constipation can be avoided by drinking many fluids. Also eat foods with much fiber like fruits, bran cereals, and vegetables. Laxatives should be avoided unless you consult with your doctor first. Instead, use stool softeners rather than laxatives, they are safer.

Hemorrhoids

Mums should try all possible to avoid staying constipated. They should avoid straining during bowel movements and clean themselves thoroughly after the exercise. Wet wipes are recommended instead of toilet papers. It may also be necessary to take warm soaks (sitz baths).

Urinating More Often

There is a need for pregnant moms to urinate more frequently. As the baby grows in the womb, it puts pressure on the bladder. That is why expectant moms always have to answer a short call after a short time.

Varicose Veins

Mothers should avoid wearing tight clothes around their waist and legs. A habit of resting and putting their feet up should be adopted. Although, they should stay away from sitting for extended periods. Get doctor’s instructions on the use of compression and support hose. They may help reduce* varicose veins.

Moodiness

Having mood swings during the period is normal. It can be attributed to the fact that your whole life is changing. Mothers should avoid being too hard on themselves. In instances where they feel sad or hit with thoughts of suicide, mothers need to get help quickly.

Heartburn

Eat small meals frequently and avoid greasy, spicy and acidic foods. Also, there is need of sleeping right away after eating. In case the situation worsens you may ask your doctor about what antacids to take.

Skin Changes

Observe Stretch Marks

In case you observe stretch marks that may appear as red marks on your skin. Make use of Shea butter lotion; it may help to keep your skin moist and reduce* itchiness and dry skin. Although stretch marks cannot be avoided, they will naturally fade away after giving birth.

Some other skin changes may appear. For example, the darkening of the skin on the face and around your nipples. Some women may see a dark line at the bottom of their belly button. To help lessen these marks, it is advisable to stay out of the sun or use sunscreens. Most of these marks may fade away after pregnancy too.

Stuffed nose

The change of hormone estrogen level in a pregnant mother may lead to the stuffy nose. At times mothers may experience nosebleed too.

Yeast infections

Discharge from an expectant mother’s vagina may increase*. Yeast infection may be the cause. In case of unusual release, you are advised to see your doctor.

Bleeding Gums

Brush your teeth and use floss on a regular basis. Also, you need to see a dentist for cleaning. In case you visit a dentist, do not forget to tell him you are expectant.

Edema (Retaining Of Fluid)

While sleeping, you should rest your legs up and lie on your left side. The position lets blood to flow from legs and back to the heart at a better rate. Although, expectant mothers should avoid using water pills.

Habits To Avoid During Pregnancy

  • Pregnant mothers should avoid smoking because it may lead to miscarriage, low birth weight, preterm birth and more other health problems.
  • Pregnant mums should avoid the use of any drugs such as heroin, cocaine, and marijuana. They pose a high risk of causing miscarriage, congenital disabilities, and preterm birth. At some point, your baby may be born while already addicted to the drug you have been using (neonatal abstinence syndrome). It may cause serious health problems for your born child.
  • Mums should also avoid cleaning cat litter boxes and eating raw and undercooked meat. They can lead to toxoplasmosis a disease that can lead to congenital disabilities.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol. It is one of the primary causes of preventable congenital disabilities. Also the fetal alcohol disorder.
  • Avoid cleaning your vagina; it does not need additional cleaning in addition to the regular bathing. Touching it leads to the disruption of essential bacteria that can help clean your vagina.
Mother Dos And Dont Info

Situations Where You Should See A Doctor

The following instances may need you to call your doctor:

  • Fluid or blood oozing from your vagina
  • The mother’s fingers may swell or face.
  • Severe headaches that won’t stop
  • Feeling dizziness
  • Infection or illness
  • Burning when urinating or releasing less urine.
  • Fever or chills
  • Change in the movement of the developing baby
  • Vomiting and nausea that won’t stop
  • Blurry vision or dim
  • Severe pain or even cramps in the lower abdomen

What To Expect From Your Husband/Family During The Pregnancy

Pregnancy should not only be considered a mummy stuff. It is essential for family members to offer all the help they can get. An expectant mother needs it more than anything.

Below are some of the advice for a family on how to take care of an expectant mother:

Be Patient

Family members need to be patient. This is because the pregnant mother or wife is undergoing a lot of hormonal changes and mood swings. Hormonal changes may lead to her not liking certain foods or condoning the specific behavior.

The family should support her food cravings because many things may change regarding behavior and her body. It is advisable for the family to be welcoming, approachable and warm.

Be There

This period makes her body change a lot. Mothers will not feel attractive, and thus they may feel insecure all the time. It is important for dads and the family members make her feel beautiful and special. You must pamper her until she goes past the pregnancy period.

Be Supportive

You need to support her during labor. Most of the time she is exhausted at this stage. The best thing you can do to her is to do what she tells you. For instance, she may want to listen to music while delivering. Alternatively, if she asks you to leave her alone just do it. Most mothers need their husbands during the pregnancy period.

Be Strategic

A pregnant woman has thousands of worries. Family members or her partner need to be there for her and address the worries. Help on some things like accompanying her on the regular gynecologist’s check-ups, taking tests, deciding the name, preparing for birth and buying clothes.

Signs And Symptoms Of A Healthy Pregnancy

Expecting Child

An expectant first mum may have much anxiety because she is expecting the first child. A mother needs to keep all her appointments with her gynecologist. It gives them a chance to ask burning questions and also know the sign of healthy pregnancy.

Below are listed signs of healthy pregnancy:

First Trimester

First Trimester starts from the first day of the last period to 13 weeks later. Breast of an expectant mum may begin feeling tender; some mothers may find the tenderness to be painful. Morning sickness may turn up too, forcing pregnant mums to eat less low-fat meals throughout the day to stop nausea.

General body fatigue is normal as well as dizziness. Same with frequent urination and constipation. Some women may not gain any weight during this first trimester and thus causing morning sickness. In case of vomiting blood, severe nausea, dark urine and worrisome symptoms, there is need to contact a doctor.

Second Trimester

Second Trimester starts from week 14 to 26. A mother may gain at least 1 to 2 lbs per week. At the start of the fifth month, movement of the baby may be felt. Some women may start to have Braxton Hicks contraction in the lower part of the abdomen to help them strengthen their muscles during labor.

Short of breath may also experience because at this time a mother’s lungs work hard to bring in more air. A white vaginal discharge can occur to prevent bacterial infection. In case of painful contraction at regular intervals. It is an indication of preterm labor. There is need to see your gynecologist immediately. In case the vaginal discharge has color, odor, or blood a doctor should be informed.

Third Trimester

An expectant mother may gain at least 12 lbs. A mother may experience swelling of feet and ankles, leg cramps and hemorrhoids. This changes may make sleeping difficult use pillows to help you sleep comfortably.

Extra naps are also recommended to help reduce* fatigue. The baby’s movement should now be felt frequently especially the hard kicks. In case of bleeding or water like the flow from the vagina, you need to call a doctor.

Signs Of Labor

Sign of Labor

No one can predict the actual time labor will begin. It may start as early as three weeks, which is normal. Below are the signs of labor:

  • Diarrhea – Frequently having loose stool may indicate that labor is about to start
  • Bloody show – brownish discharge or blood-tinged from the cervix is the mucus that is released responsibly for sealing off the womb to avoid infection. It gets released a few days to onset labor.
  • Ruptured membranes – Fluids leaking from the vagina means the amniotic sac that was responsible for protecting your baby is ruptured. It occurs hours before the start of labor. Most of the women tend to go into labor within 24 hours. In case labor cannot take place in a natural way doctors can suggest an induced labor.
  • Lightening – It takes place when the head of the baby drops into the pelvis in preparation for delivery. At this point, a mother may find it easier to breathe as the baby is not crowding her lungs anymore.
  • Contractions – They don’t happen periodically but the irregular contract[5] appear as your labor starts

Stages Of Labor

Stage 1

It has three phases[6]; latent, active and transition.

Latent phase is the first stage although it is long and intense. This is because of frequent contraction that helps the cervix to dilate and enable the baby to pass through the birth canal. Although, it has minimal discomfort.

This stage makes your cervix to dilate or thins out. A mother with regular contractions should be admitted to the hospital to have a frequent pelvic examination to determine how much cervix is dilated.

During the active phase, the cervix starts to dilate more frequently. Intense pain in your back or abdomen[7] may accompany each contraction. In the transition phase, the cervix dilates fully to 10 cm. Contraction tends to be very strong, frequent and painful. They come every 3-4 minutes and last from 60-90 seconds.

Stage 2

It starts when the cervix is fully opened. Then the doctor will give you a sign that it is okay to push. As you push along with the force of your contraction your baby will be propelled through the birth canal. The soft spot on the head of your baby will allow it to fit through the narrow channel.

The head of the baby will be crowned after the broadest part reaches the vaginal opening. The moment the baby’s head is out the doctor will remove* the amniotic fluid[8], mucus, and blood from the nose and the mouth. The doctor may instruct you to continue pushing to deliver the baby’s body and shoulders. After the delivery, the umbilical cord is cut and clamped.

Stage 3

You will need to deliver the placenta and the organs that helped nourish your baby inside the womb. Labor is different for every woman. So the time spent in each labor may vary. In case it is the first delivery, labor and delivery may last at least 12 to 14 hours.

Labour Stages Info

Final Thought

The pregnant period is one of the delicate and most crucial stages in a family. Thus, there is to handle the stage with much care. The food and drinks, prescribed drugs and body changes should be monitored to avoid instances of consuming toxic products that may harm the unborn.

Mood swings, cravings, and change in behavior are the juicier part of the period that should be handled with care. All in all, nothing brings much joy than welcoming a new baby into our world. Dads and mums tend to be carried away with emotion at the glimpse of the little joy born to our world.

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In-Post Image: shutterstock.com, unitypoint.org, naturalon.com, pinterest.com

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Author

Contributor : Peony C Echavez (Consumer Health Digest)

Peony is a registered nurse, and former Director of Nursing services for a large nursing facility. She has written web content for a large health education website, and currently creates content for a number of health practisioners.

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