Pregnancy FAQ

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Following are common questions about Pregnancy:
  1. How do you know if you are pregnant?
  2. What are the laboratory tests to confirm pregnancy?
  3. Can I get my periods even when I am pregnant?
  4. What is the normal duration of pregnancy?
  5. What happens during the first stage or trimester of pregnancy?
  6. What happens during the second stage or trimester of pregnancy?
  7. What happens during the third stage or trimester of pregnancy?
  8. What are the discomforts related to pregnancy that should not make you tensed?
  9. How do you deal with morning sickness?
  10. How do you deal with pica?
  11. How do you know if you are pregnant with twins?
  12. How much should a pregnant women weigh?
  13. What are the nutritional requirements during pregnancy?
  14. How do you take care during pregnancy?
  1. How do you know if you are pregnant?

    Following are few of the symptoms that help you know if you are pregnant. If you or anybody else is experiencing any of these symptoms, opting for a pregnancy test is recommended.

    Early signs of pregnancy are:

    An absent period:

    You have skipped one or two of your monthly periods and have been sexually active for the past few months can suggest conception. However this can be a little confusing as irregular menstrual cycles may even be a result of other ovarian issues.

    Feeling similar to beginning of your cycles:

    Every women, each month experiences few subtle symptoms that tell her she is about to start with her periods shortly. Many women experience similar symptoms when they conceive.

    Spotting:

    Just after 10 days of conception, few women observe light period or what is known as spotting. In this case, women experience scanty bleeding which is lighter in color as compared to normal conditions. Spotting is due to implantation of the fertilized egg with uterus, and is known as implantation bleeding.

    Frequent Urination:

    Women throughout pregnancy, feel an increased need of urination. However, frequent urge of urination may be indicative of other health disorders as well. So, visiting a doctor is essential.

    Sensitive breasts:

    Pregnancy results in hormonal variations that may make your breasts feel a little tender for the first few weeks. Hormonal changes also bring about unusual emotional stress and mood swings.

    Nausea:

    Nausea is mostly experienced by women during the first month of pregnancy. However, many women do develop morning sickness during the very early days of pregnancy; while others may not even have it during the entire pregnancy span.

    Abrupt changes in food choices and habits:

    Almost 80 percent of women suddenly start disliking food items they usually like, during pregnancy. Mostly these food stuffs never remain a matter of concern after the end of pregnancy span. Again, many women develop extreme weakness for other edibles such as tamarind. Sometimes, apart from food choices, odor preferences are also witnessed. Many women also find themselves craving for some food items and feeling hungry more than usual.

    NOTE: None of these symptoms guarantee conception. Therefore, if you are experiencing few of these symptoms, opting for pregnancy tests is highly recommended.

  2. What are the laboratory tests to confirm pregnancy?

    Two common laboratory tests are available for pregnancy confirmation - Blood test and Urine test. Both these tests look for HCG that is released after fertilized egg attaches to uterus wall. You may get a detailed information about pregnancy tests that confirm conception, as well as those needed throughout pregnancy period, here.

  3. Can I get my periods even when I am pregnant?

    Many women say that they have experienced some form of irregular and short period while they have already conceived. However, this is not something technically known as menstrual flow. This spotting that many women experience; mostly during early pregnancy, is a result of number of underlying aspects we remain unaware.

    The most common reason is Implantation bleeding or spotting as explained above. Cervical or Vaginal bleeding after indulging in sex while pregnant can lead to mild spotting. Besides, hormones can also be a causative behind bleeding that is thought to be a cycle that is slightly irregular. However, if you are experiencing heavy periods when confirmed to be pregnant, visit a gynecologist immediately.

  4. What is the normal duration of pregnancy?

    Duration of normal pregnancy ranges around 38 - 40 weeks. The entire span is divided into following three stages known as trimesters - First trimester, Second trimester and Third trimester. Each of these trimesters comes with vivid symptoms, as the child is slowly developing within the body. During these trimesters, women need to take utmost care and opt for several different tests to know how the developing fetus is doing.

  5. What happens during the first stage or trimester of pregnancy?

    The first trimester of pregnancy is the most crucial as well as significant part during which a lot of growth is noticed in the developing fetus. This span is characterized by the highest growth rate of the fetus.

    Following are few of the noticeable changes that take place during first trimester of pregnancy as the fetus develops week by week during this stage:

    • The first trimester of pregnancy lasts for around 1 - 12 or 13 weeks or the first three months
    • Fertilized egg undergoes multiple cell divisions, forming different cellular layers
    • Mid trimester, you would be able to hear the heart beat of your baby if you opt for a fetal ultrasound
    • Limbs and hands start developing roughly. Arms remain longer than legs.
    • Sense organs - eyes, ears and nose are seen to form roughly
    • Eyelids also develop, but remain closed now
    • Fingers and toes take a rough form and some even show vague formation of nails
    • Skin remains thin and almost transparent
    • Bones, muscles and intestines start forming
  6. What happens during the second stage or trimester of pregnancy?

    Following are few of the noticeable changes that take place during second trimester of pregnancy as the fetus develops week by week during this stage:

    • The second trimester of pregnancy begins with the 13th week and lasts up to the 27th week
    • The fetus is now capable of hearing as well as swallowing
    • Thin eyelashes and eyebrows appear
    • Reproductive organs develop. Testicles in male babies descend from the abdomen. Ovum development begins in female fetuses.
    • Kidneys form and are functional. Small amount of urine is produced.
    • Lungs also develop, but are yet not functional
    • Skin development is significant in this stage. Vernix covers the surface of skin and body hair appears.
    • Bile is produced by gallbladder that digests nutrients
    • Your baby is occasionally sleeping during this stage
    • The brain continues to develop
    • Your baby is now sucking the newly formed fingers, which is continued even after birth
  7. What happens during the third stage or trimester of pregnancy?

    Following are few of the noticeable changes that takes place during third trimester of pregnancy as the fetus develops week by week during this stage:

    • The third trimester begins with 28th week and ends with the birth of your baby
    • The fetus now starts showing movement that is experienced as kicks around your abdomen
    • Fetuses become extremely sensitive to light and sound
    • The wrinkles of skin in the second stage now begin to reduce. Body hair also reduces to normal.
    • Lungs slowly prepare to become functional
    • Kicks become more prominent and frequent
    • Taste buds form
    • All vital organs are almost developed at this stage and the baby prepares to take birth anytime now
    • The fetus pushes down and is mostly having the head upside down; thus it prepares for a vaginal delivery
  8. What are the discomforts related to pregnancy that should not make you tensed?

    Every women throughout her pregnancy experiences some common symptoms. These although disturbing, need to be endured and should never be a reason of worry. Let's see a few of those:

    • Morning sickness
    • Extreme fatigue where you feel drained out of energy
    • Indigestion and lack of appetite
    • Sudden craving of food and extreme hunger
    • Craving to eat substances other than edibles, such as dirt, clay or coal. This is not very normal and may be discussed with doctor.
    • Stretch marks around thighs, breasts and lower back
    • Headache and dizziness
    • Back pain
    • Changes in bowel habit
    • Slight loss of hair
    • Mood swings
  9. How do you deal with morning sickness?

    Morning sickness mostly begins in the first trimester of pregnancy. Every women can have unique measures of dealing with morning sickness and other pregnancy related symptoms. However, a few suggestion could be:

    • Small and frequent meals
    • Have someone to serve you something delicious and nutritious to eat early morning as soon as you wake up and are still in bed
    • Protein diet can be friends to fight morning sickness
    • Sniff lemons
    • Drink tea with a taste of ginger
    • Drink plenty of water
    • Satisfy all your food cravings as long as they are not very unhealthy and have a little nutrition quotient added. However, if you are longing to eat items like coal or clay, you will have to stop yourself and find other solutions.
    • Not eating hot served meals and rather consuming cold
    • Some prescribed multivitamins can come handy
  10. How do you deal with pica?

    Pica is the medical term for the extreme urge of eating non food items as explained above. This is common in women during pregnancy and indicates iron and nutritional deficiency. This needs to be discussed with the doctor who may conduct a few laboratory tests or prescribe medicines to counteract.

    Besides pregnant ladies, non pregnant women and a very thin population of men may also suffer from pica. This is a medical condition and needs to be reported.

  11. How do you know if you are pregnant with twins?

    All pregnant women are needed to opt for few mandatory tests in each trimester of pregnancy until delivery. These tests apart from giving an overall idea about the fetal development, can also serve to tell if you you are pregnant with twins. Some of these laboratory tests include:

    • Testing of HCG levels:

      Range of HCG is definitive of each trimester. An increased HCG level may indicate the presence of two or more fetal development.

    • Doppler Ultrasound

      A procedure similar to normal ultrasounds using doppler mechanism can help your gynecologist determine presence of twin fetus.

    • Alpha FetoProtein Test:

      This is a normal blood test that checks for the presence of AFP traces. Elevated and abnormal levels suggest presence of twins. However, other examinations are also required to confirm.

      Besides these, every women should take sufficient care of not skipping any of the regular tests during pregnancy such as - Glucose Tolerance, HIV and amniocentesis. Find the nearest diagnostic test centers here.

  12. How much should a pregnant women weigh?

    • A woman of healthy weight needs to add just 13-15 kgs during pregnancy
    • A woman who has been underweight needs to add around 18 Kgs at the least
    • A woman who is overweight needs to add around 10 kgs

    However, your doctor would be the best person to suggest how much weight you actually need to gain. Therefore, every time you visit your doctor, weigh yourself and know if it is fine.

  13. What are the nutritional requirements during pregnancy?

    Following are recommended nutritional requirements during pregnancy. However, always discuss these with your doctor before eliminating or adding food items. As every female is different, every pregnancy is also unique and has varied requirements.

    • Protein: 70 - 78 grams per day
    • Calcium: 1000 - 1200 milligrams per day
    • Fiber: 25 grams per day along with 2- 3 liters of water
    • Iron: 27 - 34 milligrams
    • Folic acid: 0.4 - 0.8 miligrams
  14. How do you take care during pregnancy?

    Following are some of the general tips that can lead you to a healthy pregnancy:

    • Never miss your scheduled trimester testings
    • Drink plenty of water
    • Eat healthy and opt for a mixed diet
    • Skip food items that cause irritation even when they are the greatest nutrient sources. Do not exert yourself to consume food items that are making you feel sick. Talk to your doctor to find alternatives.
    • Refrain from alcohol and smoke
    • Go out for evening walks
    • Follow steps to control morning sickness as explained above
    • Take all your medicines carefully
    • Do not wear tight fitted clothes. This disturbs your baby's normal breathing.
    • Have someone to drive you to and from workplace; especially during the later stages of pregnancy
    • Take sufficient rest and sleep
    • Don't get panicky with your mood swings. You now know that these are normal.
    • Lastly, stay happy and cheerful

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