There is a reason why women are revered and honored in different cultures. Only women have the power of bringing new life into this world. A woman carries a new life in her womb for nine months, before giving birth. Pregnancy is a life-changing experience for a woman. The excitement of carrying a new life and, at the same time, the fear of not knowing what to expect next can overwhelm an expecting woman. Women experience several physical and emotional changes during pregnancy including experience mood swings. To ensure your pregnancy does not take a toll on your body and mind, it is good to come up with a pregnancy plan comprising of your healthcare professional and loved ones you can fall back on. Your support network will be your biggest strength, helping you stay strong and sane during pregnancy. A pregnancy can test your mental strength. Here is a guide to help you come through with flying colors and rock your pregnancy.
Know What to Expect During Your Health Checkups
Many expecting women do not know what to expect during their appointment with their gynecologist. They have too many unanswered questions in their minds. Here are a few things that will happen during your prenatal care checkups:
- Your health care professional will check your height, body weight, and blood pressure. To ensure safe and healthy prenatal development, the healthcare provider will hear your child’s heartbeat.
- Most healthcare professionals conduct an ultrasound in the first trimester, and repeat at 18-20 weeks. Your healthcare professional will recommend additional follow-up scans as your pregnancy progresses.
- During one of your initial visits, your healthcare professional will conduct a pelvic exam, a PAP test, and screening for STDs or diseases, plus take blood samples for other tests.
- The professional will take a look at the list of medications/supplements you are currently using. If you are already not using prenatal vitamins, you will be advised to take a folic acid supplement every day.
- Different tests will be conducted at different times to check the growth of the baby.
Prenatal care checkups are usually scheduled:
- Once every month until the 28th week of pregnancy
- Twice a month until the 36th week of pregnancy
- Every week after 36 weeks until delivery
Know When to Call Your Prenatal Caregiver
Many women write off muscle cramps and other issues as minor problems. You need to steer clear of this pitfall. Discuss a health issue with your doctor as soon as you experience weird symptoms. To steer clear of complications, talk to your doctor right away, if you:
- Feel exhausted and fatigued or experience shortness of breath or feel dizzy.
- Feel extremely sad or hopeless without any apparent reason, or have negative thoughts of hurting yourself or the baby.
- Have fever, or are experiencing chills or abdominal pain.
- Experience pelvic cramping or notice abnormal vaginal discharge (can be blood).
- Have swollen feet, hands, or face.
- Experience blurred vision or your water intake has suddenly increased. Another symptom that you shouldn’t ignore is a sudden and inexplicable increase in trips to the bathroom.
Learn What Not to Do During Pregnancy
You need to make lifestyle changes during pregnancy. Remember that you are no longer responsible for just your well-being, but also your baby’s health, and must take every decision keeping their safety in mind. When you are carrying a baby, your doctor may prohibit you from performing certain tasks or partaking in certain activities. For a healthy pregnancy:
- Steer clear of hot tubs. Spending just 10 minutes in a hot tub can increase the temperature in the uterus to 38.3 degrees Celsius. There is a small increased risk of neural defects due to an increase in body temperature. Additionally, relaxing in a hot tub puts you at the risk of dehydration.
- Avoid raw and uncooked meats and eggs because of the risk of contamination with salmonella, coliform bacteria, and toxoplasmosis.
- Avoid changing cat litter boxes. Studies show that cat litter and cat poop can contain a parasite that causes toxoplasmosis infection. Though this is rare, you don’t want to take any chances.
- Stay away from sources of gases and fumes such as paints, cleaning supplies, and exhausts. You don’t need a doctor to tell you that toxic gases and fumes are not good for your baby.
- Avoid getting an X-ray unless recommended by your doctor. Studies show that exposure to radiation can increase the risk of fetal growth restrictions or congenital defects.
- Stop taking over-the-counter medication, unless recommended by your doctor as they may affect the unborn baby.
Weight Gain During Pregnancy
The amount of weight that you will gain during pregnancy will depend on a number of factors. Usually women with normal weight gain 25-35 lbs, underweight women gain 28-40 lbs, and overweight women gain 15-25 lbs during pregnancy.
Financial Assistance Programs for Pregnant Women
Having a baby can cost up to as much as $30,000. To ensure expecting parents on a shoestring budget are able to take steps to ensure a healthy pregnancy, the federal and state governments runs these financial assistance programs for pregnant women:
- Assistance programs under Medicaid that assist with pregnancy costs.
- Every U.S. state has an assistance program for pregnant women. To learn about your state’s assistance program, call your local health department.
- States offer health insurance programs that cover the baby’s medical costs.
- Support programs under the Women, Infants, and Children Program.
- SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) managed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Are you looking for a trustworthy women’s health services provider that can provide you resources and support for a healthy pregnancy? Look no further than The Center for Life Choices. Our team is comprised of highly trained and experienced professionals who provide professional care to our patients free of cost. To learn more about us, call us at (707) 463-1436 for free medical consultation.