Monthly Archives: September 2010

Weight Gain During Pregnancy – How Much Is Too Much?

One of the downside of getting pregnant is the weight gain.  While some women regain their figures easily, some of us have to work hard in order to fit into our old clothes months after giving birth.  But weight gain is not all that bad.  In fact, it is an essential part of pregnancy.  But women need to know how much weight gain during pregnancy is alright and when it is too much.

Pregnant women are notorious for their crazy food cravings.  Some find pregnancy as the convenient excuse to pig out on all the food “no-no’s” before pregnancy.  They call this “eating for two” and gorge themselves on chocolate, junk food and sweets.  This is probably how the term “eating like a pregnant woman” came to be.

It is perfectly normal to gain weight during pregnancy.  Most obstetricians say that a two pound weight gain is ideal every month a woman is pregnant.  This ensures that the baby inside is getting ample supplies of vitamins and minerals he needs in order to grow healthy and strong even while inside the womb.  In fact some underweight women are even required to gain more weight in order to properly sustain their babies during gestation.

But overeating can be bad for both the mom and the baby.  Women who gain too much weight while pregnant will usually have babies larger for their gestational age.  This makes it hard for mothers to have a normal delivery and a cesarean section will be needed.  Other birthing complications an also occur for women with severe weight gain during pregnancy.

Becoming “overweight” during a pregnancy can be avoided easily.  Weird food cravings aside, eating a healthy and balanced diet throughout the pregnancy can do wonders for keeping your weight in check.  While food cravings are the norm, be sure not to overindulge.  If you get a craving for some chocolate chip cookies with a side of mustard, eat some but not the whole box!  Eat just enough to satisfy and control your craving.  Once you’ve eaten a cookie or two, stop.  Management and control is the key if you want to satisfy your food cravings and keep weight gain the minimum.

Morning sickness is quite common during the first few months of pregnancy, so early on get a list of healthy foods that you should eat while pregnant.  If one kind of food makes you nauseous, find the next one you like and see if you can keep it down.  Eating healthy from the start can train you to eat healthy foods from the start.

Avoid fast foods as much as you can.  Fast food contains large amounts of salt and preservatives.  Salt can contribute to bloating and water retention.  Preservatives can contain harmful ingredients which can deter baby’s development.  So if you get a craving for some burger and fries, ask hubby to make you some from scratch instead of visiting the nearest McDonald’s.

Exercise even while pregnant.  Swimming comes highly recommended for pregnant women.  This is something pregnant women can do even during the late third trimester.  Swimming can help with breathing exercises as well as keep weight gain during pregnancy to a minimum by burning off the excess fat.

Simple Pregnancy Tips To Prepare Your Body For A Baby

Did you know that infertility in both men and women are becoming more common today?  Aside from age factors, women and men find it hard to get pregnant due to stress, unhealthy lifestyle and environmental factors.  If you want to prepare your body for a pregnancy, here are some simple pregnancy tips to make sure your body is baby friendly even before you conceive.

  1. Live a healthy lifestyle.  A healthy lifestyle does not mean just eating healthy food and a balanced diet.  It means getting ample rest and staying off harmful substances like drugs, alcohol and cigarettes.  In males, smoking can decrease sperm count significantly.  Studies show that males who give up smoking increase their sperm count by as much as 80% during the first few months of quitting!  Drugs and alcohol can screw up not only hormones inside the body but can have lingering effects on major organs especially with long term use.
  2. Eat healthy, don’t skip meals especially breakfast.  Eat lots of vegetables, fruits and protein to make your body baby friendly.  Eat meals regularly and eat breakfast everyday.  Eating three balanced meals everyday tunes up the body and regularizes the digestive rhythm.  Breakfast should consist of more than just coffee and toast.  Throw in some meats, cereal and fruit as well.
  3. Exercise to keep your body fit.  A pregnancy can drain a woman of her stamina and energy especially during the first few months.  As the body adjusts to providing energy for two, exercise can actually help the body power up as it releases adrenalin and endorphins.  Exercising before getting pregnant increases stamina and endurance so you won’t get tired easily when you are pregnant already.
  4. Drink lots of water.  Water should be the drink of choice regardless of baby status.  A dehydrated person usually feels weak as the water loss saps and drains energy.  Keep yourself hydrated all the time.  During pregnancy, constipation is quite common especially as towards the end as the baby’s weight presses on the intestines.  Water will keep pregnant women from being constipated.
  5. Lose or gain weight.  This pregnancy tip is sometimes overlooked.  Overweight as well as underweight people find it hard to get pregnant because of hormonal imbalance.  If you are a woman, hormonal imbalance contributes to irregular periods making it hard to pinpoint a possible ovulation date.  For males, this can mean lower sperm count.  Consult your doctor to know your optimum weight and gain or lose pounds to regulate hormones.
  6. Avoid or minimize stress wherever and whenever you can.  Stress is a great deterrent to conception.  A physically healthy but stressed person can find it hard to conceive.  Find relaxing ways of de-stressing such as taking walks, exercising and even meditating.
  7. Sleep 8 hours a day everyday.  Having a healthy bedtime habit is essential to a healthy body.  Sleep is the body’s way of rebooting the brain.  A tired brain means a tired body.  And since the brain is responsible for controlling organs, hormones and signals, a tired brain can misfire and cause miscommunication between the organs making it hard to get pregnant.  Sleep at the same time every night to keep your body and mind in synch.

Our pregnancy tips are pretty basic.  The gist of it is to be healthy even before a pregnancy to have a healthy pregnancy.  Remember that healthy parents mean healthy babies!

What To Expect During Your Pregnancy Week By Week

Expectant mothers are excited during the first few months of pregnancy.  This is when the greatest developments take place not only in the mother’s physical body but also for her child within.  Here are some of the most exciting changes outside and inside a mother’s womb during her pregnancy week by week.

Week 4: is when you realize you are pregnant.  Most women will have their first bouts with morning sickness during this time.  Inside the womb, the amniotic sac and cavity will begin to develop.  The placenta is beginning to grow as well.

Week 5: your baby’s brain and spinal cord will begin to develop.  Although they are still rudimentary, this forerunner of the brain will help develop the other organs such as the lung, digestive track, reproductive organs and the heart.

Week 6: Some mothers will feel tenderness in the breasts at around this time.  Most women also complain about feeling tired.  This is because the body is getting used to functioning for two people: the mother and the baby.  Inside, baby’s heart will begin to beat.  He will also start forming his eyes, arm buds and intestines.

Week 7: Baby will double in size during this age.  The lenses of his eyes are already developing and he will already have his tongue.  His arm buds have now become paddles and his jaws will become visible.

Week 8: The cerebellum which is responsible for muscle movement will begin to develop inside his brain.  His elbows and legs are developing as well as his retina.  At this age, your baby’s eye pigment is now appearing in his retina.

Week 9: you will be able to tell whether you are having a boy or a girl at this stage.  Your baby’s heart will have 4 chambers and is now busy pumping blood to his little body.  Muscles and the nervous system will begin communicating and your baby is now kicking and swimming inside his warm little sac.

Week 10: this is when your baby will start looking like a baby.  Your baby will have developed his upper lips.  Toes and fingers begin to form and his taste buds will begin to develop.

Week 11: Mom’s morning sickness will start to wear off at around this time.  Although most women still don’t have the baby bump yet, inside your baby’s muscle structure is developing.

Week 12:  Baby will now have his finger nails and toe nails.  The brain as well as the pancreas and gall bladder will be fully developed.

Week 13: During this stage of the pregnancy week by week development, vocal chords will begin to develop and your baby’s chest will begin to rise and fall preparing for the same movement outside the womb.

Week 14: Baby will now practice to suck and swallow inside your womb.  He will also begin to open and close his hands.

Week 15: Your baby will start to be active during this stage of the pregnancy.  He can now turn his head, open and close his mouth and kick!

Week 16:  At 16 weeks, mom will have a proud baby bump!  Inside, the neck is beginning to straighten and the head is steadily growing larger.

Week 17:  Baby is really starting to grow.  At this stage, he will have increased his weight by 6 times.  He is busy working on his reflexes like blinking, swallowing, sucking and breathing.

Week 18: During this week, your baby will begin developing his finger prints.   Baby’s eyes and ears will now be in their correct places.

Week 19: Vernix coseosa a creamy substance that protects your baby’s developing glands and sensory organs will begin to cover your baby’s body.  If you are having a girl, her egg cells will begin to develop in her ovaries.

Week 20: At this stage, all the major developments have taken place.  The baby inside your womb will be waking, sleeping and playing like most normal babies outside the womb do.    Scalp and hair begin to develop during this stage.

Week 21: During this phase, you will be able to hear your baby’s heart beat through a stethoscope.  Baby is becoming more active and muscles and bones are now stronger.

Week 22:  Your baby now has hair!  His hair on the head as well as his eyebrows will now be visible.  If the baby is a boy, then his testes will begin to move from the pelvic area to the scrotum.

Week23:  Your baby’s sense of hearing is now almost done developing.  Soon he will be able to hear and in some studies recognize your voice.

Week 24: You won’t need a stethoscope to hear your baby’s heart beat.  In most cases, you will be able to hear the heart beat by placing your ear on the mother’s stomach.

Week 25: Capillaries will start to develop and your baby is now reddish pink.    Your baby’s nostrils will also begin to open.

Week 26: With the nostrils open, your baby will start muscular breathing.  His lungs will begin to secrete surfactant, a substance that prevents the lung tissues from sticking together.  Blood vessels will begin to form inside the lungs and the development of the air sacs will begin.  The brain will start gearing up for visual as well as auditory activity.

Week 27:  Your baby will increasingly start to become more and more active at this stage of his development.  It’s not uncommon to feel 10 kicks per hour from your baby.

Week 28: At this phase, your baby’s chance of surviving a premature birth has improved greatly.  He is also now capable of opening his eyes and breathing in air.

Week 29:  Your baby will now have his eyelashes and will be able to move his eyes inside their sockets, though they are still unable to focus.

Week 30: Baby will now begin to store up some of the nutrients he has taken from your body.  He will stock up on calcium for bone growth, protein for muscular development and iron for blood.  Laguno or the small hairs surrounding his body will be nearly gone except for small patches in his back and shoulders.

Week 31: Though growth and development will begin to slow down, your baby’s internal organs will continue maturing, so make sure you get enough folic acid, iron and calcium

Week 32: Mom will be pretty heavy with baby at this stage.  Frequent trips to the bathroom, sore feet and back are common complaints at this stage.  Inside, baby’s irises are now able to respond to sight and all 5 senses are developed although the sense of smell is limited because baby can’t breathe inside the uterus.

Week 33: Baby is now able to suck his fingers.  Most moms feel constipated at this stage since the baby’s size will now be putting pressure on mom’s bowels.

Week 34: At this stage, the baby is preparing for birth and is now developing his immune system.  Eye pigment is not yet fully developed so baby’s eyes will look blue regardless of final eye color.

Week 35: In most cases, your baby will now shift his head to the pelvis, although not all babies do this.

Week 36: Your baby will now begin to develop dimples on his skin due to the continuous deposit of fat which he will need for insulation outside the womb.

Week 37: At this stage, be wary of signs of labor.  Around 85% of pregnant women give birth 2 weeks before their due date.  Start packing your hospital bag at this point.

Week 38: Meconium or the dark green substance that is a mass of waste from the pancreas, liver and gall bladder are now accumulating in the intestines.

Week 39:  Most women feel clumsy during this stage as the baby is now settling in the uterus.  You may feel off balance as your center of gravity shifts.

Week 40:  Be prepared to welcome your new baby if you have not given birth yet.  At this point it is now a waiting game for the mom.  Inside, development has slowed down and your baby is now getting ready to leave the uterus.

Now that you know what to expect during your pregnancy week by week, you are now armed with the know how of preparing your body for 40 weeks of pregnancy!

Pregnancy Stages – Know And Anticipate Your Body’s Needs

Women go through a lot during a pregnancy.  The most noticeable changes are on the outside but there are changes that go one inside the body as well.  During the typical 40 weeks of a pregnancy, the pregnancy stages are divided into three trimesters in order to separate the unique changes happening outside and inside the uterus.  Knowing what goes on during these different trimesters allow women to anticipate their body’s needs in order to fully nourish and take care of their growing babies inside their wombs.

First Trimester

The first trimester or the first three months can be nerve wracking especially for first time expectant moms.  This is when the body gets ready to shelter a baby and is making changes to accommodate the new occupant.  Morning sickness, fatigue, missing periods, urges to urinate and headaches are some of the most common early pregnancy symptoms women experience during the early days of the first trimester.  It is also during the first trimester that the most crucial developments are going on inside the mother’s womb.  Your baby’s organs are just starting to form during the first trimester.  Neural connections, the heart and the brain are some of the organs that develop first during the first few weeks of conception.  Fetal growth is also rapid at this stage, from the size of a pin’s head to the size of a hazelnut in just a 8 weeks.

Mothers at this stage usually have their first prenatal checkup and are prescribed with folic acid, calcium and iron as supplements to help nurture the baby inside.  Exercise like swimming and walking are also advised.

Second Trimester

During the second trimester or the 4th to the 6th month of pregnancy, more changes are still occurring outside and inside the uterus.  The baby bump is likely to become more prominent during the 4th month and will continue to grow.  Inside, baby is now becoming more active.  He is learning to swallow, suck and breathe.  His movements will now start to be felt by mom.  He can now kick and is happily swimming in his warm sac.  Organs and senses continue to mature and develop at this stage.  Late in the second trimester, baby will now learn to recognize your voice as his auditory senses develop.

For most mothers at this stage, the morning sickness has passed and an increase in appetite follows.  Weird cravings for exotic dishes will begin to surface.  At this stage, most mothers go in for a sonogram or ultra sound to see their baby for the first time.  At this part of the pregnancy stages, the baby’s sex organs can bee seen during a sonogram so it is now possible to know your baby’s gender!

Third Trimester

Organs are now developed and continue to mature during the last trimester of pregnancy.  At this stage, it is usually a waiting game for most mothers.  During this last trimester, your baby’s chances of surviving outside the womb should he be born prematurely has greatly increased.  He is more active and now behaves like a normal infant would outside the womb.  He can suck his thumb and wakes or sleeps periodically.

Moms at this stage now complain of back aches and swelling feet due to the increase in weight.  Some women also get clumsier due to the shift in their center of gravity.

Pregnancy stages are important because they can gauge the development of the fetus and monitor baby and mom’s health.  Knowing which milestones to expect at the different stages can help moms and dads better prepare for their impending parenthood.

Important Pregnancy Questions & Answers

A pregnancy can be one of the most special and at the same time, nerve wracking experience for women around the world.  The changes the human body undergoes during pregnancy can be exciting and at the same time scary for women.  Because of these changes some women feel uncertain during their pregnancy.  Here are some of the most common pregnancy questions plaguing women.

Q: Is a missing period a sure sign of pregnancy?

A: Usually but not all the time.  When a woman misses her period especially if she has been sexually active, it can mean that she is pregnant but not necessarily so.  There are a lot of things to consider as to why a woman misses her period.  Age is one of the most common reasons why a woman misses her period.  During the menopausal stage, women experience late or missing periods.  Stress also comes into play as well as hormones.  One of the ways to find out if you are pregnant after missing a period is to buy a pregnancy home test kit.

Q: I had spotting.  How is it that I am pregnant?

A:  It is possible to be pregnant even if you had spotting.  This can happen as the zygote implants itself in the uterine lining. Spotting is usually pinkish to brownish in color and.  It can be likened to a very light period.  It usually lasts a few days and then taper off.

Q: How long does “morning sickness” last and How come I feel nauseous even at night?

A: This is one of the most common pregnancy questions.  During the first months of pregnancy, the female body is awash with hormones.  This is one of the reasons for morning sickness.  Though it usually occurs during the morning, it can occur at any time of the day, and having “morning sickness” at night is quite common.

Q: Why is the reason for the increase in appetite?

A: The increase in appetite usually comes once the morning sickness is over.  Aside from the hormones kicking in, the body has to make adjustments for the new life within.  In order to compensate for the growing baby, the body needs more fuel to nourish both mother and baby during the 9 months of pregnancy.

Q: When do I start prenatal care?

A:  As soon as possible.  Prenatal care is not only for the baby but also for the mom.  During prenatal care, doctors discuss how important it is to take care of our bodies in order to make it baby friendly for the fetus inside.  Babies and mothers are monitored during prenatal care.  Diet and supplements are usually prescribed during the prenatal care.  Prenatal care can also help identify some possible problems that might occur and eliminate these problems before they become complications.

Not all women experience pregnancy in the same way.  Some women have an easy pregnancy while others have a hard time.  Lots of women have pregnancy questions regarding their pregnancy which only qualified professionals can answer.