How soon can I find out the sex of my baby?

While some people prefer the old-fashioned element of surprise, others enjoy knowing ahead of time whether they’re having a girl or a boy. It does take the guess-work out of buying baby clothes!

So for those who are eager to know, how soon is it possible to find out your baby’s sex?

It’s basically just a question of how soon the ultrasound technician can see what needs to be seen, if you know what I mean. Using a standard ultrasound test, a baby’s gender may generally be determined between 15 and 25 weeks.

Another thing to factor in is the baby’s cooperation- some are just more modest than others and don’t let anyone get a good look! It is possible, during the earlier part of pregnancy, for mistakes to be made. Waiting until the middle of pregnancy will definitely give you a more accurate answer!

feature image: Carters

Energizing Foods for Pregnancy

Being pregnant… it’s exhausting! And in the early months, when there’s not much to show for it, your hard-working body may not get much appreciation or relaxation.

But what is making you so tired? How can that tiny little growing being inside you be sapping so much of your energy? To fuel the baby-making, your body is producing more blood, your heart rate is up, your metabolism is working overtime, and you’re using up more nutrients and water. It also takes four months until the baby’s placenta  is complete. So it’s no wonder you are always fighting fatigue!

So when a nap is not an option, and the show must go on, what kind of energy boost can you hope for?  Sugar and caffeine may give you a temporary high, but after the initial surge in blood sugar you’ll plummet lower than before. What you need are some nutritious, energy-boosting foods to help you get through the day.

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image credit: all diets review

Grazing (eating 5 or 6 small meals instead of 3 big ones) may be the best way to eat while pregnant. You’ll keep your energy levels even and avoid the nausea that may accompany a too-large meal. And be sure to drink plenty of water.

And while you’re not literally “eating for two,” your body does need about 300 extra calories per day.  Bon appétit!

Protein: Recommendation for pregnancy: 75 grams of it per day. Helps keep you energized and aids in the development of your baby’s rapidly reproducing cells.

  • milk, cheese, and yogurt
  • eggs
  • lean meat and poultry
  • fish and seafood
  • beans, lentils, split peas
  • quinoa
  • nuts and seeds

Complex Carbohydrates:

  • whole-grain breads, crackers, and cereals
  • fresh, dried, and frozen fruits
  • fresh vegetables
  • baked potatoes with skin
  • dried beans and peas

Iron: Fatigue can be related to iron-deficiency anemia, especially in pregnant women. Iron-rich foods will keep your irons stores elevated and help pump up your energy level.

  • dried fruit
  • spinach
  • soy products
  • lean red meat
  • duck
  • cooked shellfish
  • cooked dried beans
  • oatmeal
  • iron-fortified cereals

Putting it all together: Here are just a few meal and snack ideas to help you get that little extra energy-lift.

  • Sandwiches of whole-grain bread filled with grated cheese, tuna, lettuce and tomatoes.
  • Salads with fresh veges and feta cheese
  • Low-fat yogurt with dried fruit and granola
  • Hummus with bread or vegetable sticks
  • Fresh fruit
  • dried fruits and nuts
  • Hearty soups with veges, beans, legumes, chicken or meat
  • Oatmeal or unsweetened breakfast cereals
  • Fruit-shakes and fresh-squeezed juice
  • Chicken breast with baked potato and steamed veges
  • Whole-grain pasta topped with grilled veges and salmon

Misdiagnosed Miscarriage

When a woman is diagnosed with a miscarriage, she usually has three options: a D & C, an inducing medication, or wait for the miscarriage to happen naturally. However, after reading many personal stories at misdiagnosedmiscarriage.com it seems that the third way, the “wait and see” option may be the best one, offering real hope that your baby may be alive and well despite predictions to the contrary.

Here are a few reasons that you may have been diagnosed with a miscarriage, when there is actually a healthy, developing baby inside.

Misdiagnosed Blighted Ovum: Also known as “anembryonic pregnancy,” a blighted ovum happens when a fertilized egg attaches itself to the uterine wall, but the embryo does not develop. Cells develop to form the pregnancy sac, but not the embryo itself. A blighted ovum usually occurs within the first trimester and a woman’s body tends to miscarry naturally. (Read more here: American Pregnancy.org)

It is possible that what looks like a blighted ovum may in  fact contain a healthy fetus.  When a Blighted Ovum is Not a Blighted Ovum is the personal story of a woman who had an ultrasound at 51/2 weeks, 6 weeks, 7 weeks, and 8 weeks, was diagnosed with a blighted ovum, and whose doctor strongly recommended a D&C. However she held out, mainly out of fear of D&C complications, and at her 9 week ultrasound found a healthy baby with a strong heartbeat!

If you have been diagnosed with a blighted ovum but are not experiencing miscarriage symptoms, you can choose to wait it out. Women with similar experiences say that up until 10 weeks is still to early to confirm a blighted ovum.  Misdiagnosed Miscarriage.com has many more personal stories.

Vanishing Twin Syndrome: First recognized in 1945, vanishing twin syndrome is when one of a set of twin/multiple fetuses disappears in the uterus during pregnancy.  The most common symptoms include bleeding, uterine cramps and pelvic pain, which are generally associated with miscarriage. However, in this case there is still one living baby in the uterus. No special medical care is necessary with an uncomplicated vanishing twin in the first trimester.  If the fetal death is in the second or third trimester, the pregnancy may be treated as high-risk.  (For more information click here: American Pregnancy.org)

Fetus without Heartbeat: Early on in a pregnancy, up to 10 weeks, it is possible that an ultrasound will reveal a fetus, but will not detect a heartbeat. Keep in mind that when a doctor or technician tells you how far along in pregnancy you are, this can also be miscalculated. At your next visit there may in fact be a heartbeat and a healthy fetus.

These are just a few situations of misdiagnosed miscarriages. There are many more to be found at Misdiagnosed Miscarriage.com, including misdiagnosed ectopic pregnancies, misdiagnosis after light or heavy bleeding,  misdiagnosis after slow-rising or declining hCG levels, and more.

One of the site’s moderators has the following words of advice for anyone who may have been diagnosed with a miscarriage:

1. Many of the stories will overlap. Often times the women who have empty sacs with hCG levels over 10,000 will also be told the gestational sac is big enough that a baby should be seen. They will also find their babies between, on average, 8 to 10 weeks although, as you can see, a few are even further along.

2. Often women with a tilted uterus will fall into a number of these groups. They’ll have the higher hCGs that will not be doubling (really, despite what your doctor may say, they are NOT supposed to double in 48 hours at this time but instead 96 hours or even more). They will also almost always be told they are one to two weeks behind even when there is no possibility of conception to have taken place then. Don’t worry, in the second trimester when you have your abdominal ultrasound, dates will be more accurate.

3. For women who fall in the “No Heartbeat Seen” category during the first trimester, we have been told you should wait at least a week and have a follow-up ultrasound to verify. Unless you are showing signs of infection or something is seriously wrong, ask to wait that week. As you can see, those little heartbeats can on occasion show up.

4. Women who have ultrasounds done by doctors are also frequently misdiagnosed much too early. Women should always turn down ultrasounds done by their doctors and only have them done by fully-trained ultrasound technicians. Research is showing that ultrasounds may not be as safe for our babies as we’d like to believe and you really do want a technician who knows what they are doing.

5. If you finally believe there is no hope and schedule that D&C, please, ask for one final ultrasound right before the D&C. We’ve had too many babies turn up at that ultrasound now.

6. Keep in mind, a number of women who were given no hope found their babies at nine weeks or beyond. Unless you are showing signs of infection or have a serious condition, eight weeks may just be too soon to have a D&C for a blighted ovum.

I am still adding helpful stories to this post. We just have so many misdiagnosed women’s stories here now that this is quite an undertaking in itself. As I add more stories, I’ll add more helpful information to this post.

I hope women find this post helpful. I am also hoping that once we get these stories ‘categorized’, we’ll have an easier time figuring out how to get the ultrasound literature changed so it reflects more accurate information. Also, if we can get doctors to realize that they are misdiagnosing too many women, maybe they can examine how they might handle these pregnancies differently.

Prenatal Vitamins Help Prevent Autism

Another huge reason for taking prenatal vitamins! In addition to warding off birth defects and assisting with proper fetal growth, a new study shows that taking prenatal vitamins may help prevent autism and autism spectrum disorders, reducing the risk by some 40 percent.

According to researchers, the three months before conception and the first month of pregnancy are the most vital times for taking prenatal vitamins. So women who want to or may become pregnant should be particularly vigilant during this time frame.

Folic acid is one of the essential ingredients in prenatal vitamins, and plays a major role in healthy fetal development.  Talk to your doctor about a healthy diet and appropriate prenatal vitamins.

Am I Pregnant? 10 Early Signs

In the first few days and weeks of pregnancy, you might not know if you’re pregnant, but your body does! Pay attention for these early pregnancy indicators, even before you head to the doctor or the pharmacy for a pregnancy test!

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image credit: EU Mom

1. Missed menstrual period. Stress and other things can cause you to miss a period, but this is usually a main indication that you may be pregnant!

2. Slight spotting. It is possible that instead of a full-on period, you’re just spotting a bit. Bleeding at the time of implantation or in the early months of pregnancy can be confused with menstruation.

3. Fatigue – Suddenly feeling tired even though you had a full night’s sleep? Dozing off at work?  When you become pregnant, your body needs huge amounts of energy to adapt and nourish this new life.

4. Nausea –  It might be the flu– or it might be morning sickness!  If you’re feeling queasy or horribly nauseous,  vomiting or have dry heaves you may be experiencing Morning Sickness!

5. Aversions to strong smells. Anything at all might make you nauseous, even your own cooking! You could call it a baby-protective mechanism, since things like coffee, alcohol, and cigarette smoke, all things that you should avoid during pregnancy, seem to make you ill.

6. Food cravings. The pickles-and-ice cream jokes are getting old, but once you become pregnant you may crave foods that you hardly ate before. Your tastes may change from sweet to salty or vice versa.

7. Breast changes. Similar to premenstrual sensations, but often more dramatic:  tingling, tenderness, fullness; the areola begins to darken, and tiny glands on the areola enlarge.

8. Cramps. Also similar to the pelvic cramps you feel during menstruation. (Note that a sharp one-sided pain is not normal and your doctor should be notified.)

9. Frequent urination. In the beginning of pregnancy, it’s the hormones that cause you to urinate more often. Later on, there’s the additional pressure on the bladder from your enlarging uterus!

10. Constipation. Pregnancy hormones slow the action of your intestines. The slowing of your intestines plus their competition with the expanding uterus for room to work may leave you feeling constipated.

Get more information on what to expect during the FIRST MONTH at Dr. Sears.com!

Vitamin D Levels for Pregnant Women: Experts Recommend 8 Times Higher than FNB Levels

Thousands of studies over the last 10 years have shown that high doses of vitamin D are crucial to maintaining health in many areas. The Vitamin D Council, a highly regarded non-profit organization states: “Higher doses of Vitamin D help in many areas of health, among them: heart health, brain health, pancreatic health, muscle health, nerve health, eye health, immune health, colon health, liver health, mood health, skin health, and especially fetal health.” (emphasis added)

For this reason, the Institute of Medicine Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) has created a tumult for stating that the high levels of vitamin D currently being recommended by many health professionals are unnecessary and may even be toxic (November 2010). The FNB only slightly increased its recommended daily intake of vitamin D from 200 IU to 600 IU. In contrast, Harvard newsletter (December 2010) recommends 1,000-2,000 IU of vitamin D per day, while the Vitamin D Council recommends up to 5,000 IU a day.

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image credit: Mother Earth News

The fact that there is no difference between the amounts of D a 15 pound baby and a 300 pound man should take is deemed “absurd” by experts. When it comes to pregnant women, the FNB also makes no differentiation.  But respected vitamin D experts recommend at least 4,000 IU a day, and 6,000 for nursing mothers.

In response to the conclusions of the FNB panel, the Vitamin D Council statement responds:

“Disturbingly, this FNB committee focused on bone health… and ignored the thousands of studies from the last ten years… Tens of millions of pregnant women and their breast-feeding infants are severely vitamin D deficient, resulting in a great increase in the medieval disease, rickets. The FNB report seems to reason that if so many pregnant women have low vitamin D blood levels then it must be OK because such low levels are so common…

“Pregnant women taking 400 IU/day have the same blood levels as pregnant women not taking vitamin D; that is, 400 IU is a meaninglessly small dose for pregnant women. Even taking 2,000 IU/day of vitamin D will only increase the vitamin D levels of most pregnant women by about 10 points, depending mainly on their weight. Professor Bruce Hollis has shown that 2,000 IU/day does not raise vitamin D to healthy or natural levels in either pregnant or lactating women. Therefore supplementing with higher amounts — like 5000 IU/day — is crucial for those women who want their fetus to enjoy optimal vitamin D levels, and the future health benefits that go along with it.

“My advice, especially for pregnant women: continue taking 5,000 IU/day until your 25(OH)D is between 50–80 ng/mL (the vitamin D blood levels obtained by humans who live and work in the sun and the mid-point of the current reference ranges at all American laboratories).

“Gestational vitamin D deficiency is not only associated with rickets, but a significantly increased risk of neonatal pneumonia, a doubled risk for preeclampsia, a tripled risk for gestational diabetes, and a quadrupled risk for primary cesarean section.

“Today, the FNB has failed millions of pregnant women whose as yet unborn babies will pay the price. Let us hope the FNB will comply with the spirit of “transparency” by quickly responding to our Freedom of Information requests.”

How To Get Enough Vitamin D

There are 3 ways for adults to ensure adequate levels of vitamin D: (Vitamin D Council recommendations)

  • regularly receive midday sun exposure in the late spring, summer, and early fall, exposing as much of the skin as possible for 20–30 minutes (being careful to never burn). (Those with dark skin will need longer exposure time — up to six times longer.)
  • regularly use a sun bed (avoiding sunburn) during the colder months.
  • take 5,000 IU per day for 2–3 months, then obtain a 25-hydroxyvitamin D test. Adjust your dosage so that blood levels are between 50–80 ng/mL (or 125–200 nM/L) year-round.

Morning Sickness Remedies

My friend Diana is not having an easy time of her first trimester! She’s constantly nauseous, throwing up all the time, and over-all exhausted– the heat isn’t helping things!  Since morning sickness is caused by the hormones that support your pregnancy, she knows that feeling constantly nauseated is actually a good thing… well, her brain knows it but her stomach doesn’t!  Her personal remedy is sucking candies, my other friend Miriam relies on candied ginger. But there’s no one trick that works for everyone, so you may have to try a few different things before you find something that helps settle your stomach. Here are some foods that may help you feel a little less nauseous.

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Crackers: This is an old standby, but crackers were actually one of the things I could tolerate whenever I was hit by morning sickness.  Basically any bland, crunchy food works the same way: bread, toast, rice cakes, even potato chips (not that we recommend subsisting on potato chips throughout your first trimester).

Soft foods: Some women find that the chewing is what triggers nausea, so try some soft, bland foods that are nutritious, gentle on the stomach, and don’t necessitate much chewing.  Applesauce, oatmeal, yogurt, fruit smoothies, etc.
Ginger: Can be found pickled, candied, in a tea bag, or a capsule– whatever the format, ginger is a natural remedy for nausea.

Lemons & Peppermint: Simply take a whiff  to relieve nausea. Try putting a couple drops of peppermint oil in a bowl of hot water and inhale the steam. Some women also find the scent of lavender to be soothing.

Apple cider vinegar: Try taking 2-3 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar (not any other kind) in warm water first thing in the morning. Apple cider vinegar is pH neutral and may help to neutralize excess stomach acid.

Bananas in Coconut Milk: This remedy comes from iVillage:

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1/2 can coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon flaxseeds

Directions: Peel the bananas and cut each into one-inch segments. Combine the coconut milk, water and maple syrup in a medium saucepan. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Add the sliced bananas to the mixture and simmer for 10 minutes. Finally, add the salt and boil for 20 minutes. Serve topped with flaxseed.

Why it helps: The potassium in the bananas can help alleviate some of your body’s aches and pains. The coconut milk works to build body mass for your baby. The maple syrup is so much better for you than sugar, and flaxseeds are full of essential fatty acids. The flaxseeds also help with that other delightful digestive symptom of pregnancy: constipation.

Alternative therapies: Hypnosis,  acupressure wristbands, and homeopathic remedies have  helped some women cope with nausea.

Give in to your cravings: Satisfying food cravings during pregnancy, whether you’re hankering for pickles or a big, juicy steak, may actually be beneficial. If you have an urge to eat a particular type of food, this may be your body’s way of telling you what it needs.

Other tips:

  • Eat small, frequent meals or snacks, so that your stomach is never empty or too full at one time.
  • Chew food well.
  • Avoid fatty, fried, and spicy foods.
  • Try eating a few whole-grain crackers before getting out of bed in the morning. Low blood sugar early in the morning may contribute to morning sickness (hence the  name). Crackers are also helpful for middle-of-the-night hunger pangs.
  • Try drinking in between meals rather than with meals. It’s important to stay hydrated, especially if you’ve been vomiting a lot.
  • Identify your personal triggers and avoid them. This includes foods, odors, perfumes, and anything else that makes you nauseous.
  • Eat your food cold or room temperature; hot foods have a stronger aroma that may turn you off.
  • Nausea may become worse if you are tired or stressed out. So try to fit in a nap, some relaxation time, on an enjoyable activity.
  • Try taking your prenatal vitamin at night or with food. Also ask your doctor about a supplement that’s low-iron or iron-free at least during your first trimester. Iron can be hard on your digestive system.
  • Increase your intake of Vitamin B6. Ask your caretaker about dosage before taking any extra supplements.

As always, it is wise to consult with your doctor or midwife about any dietary changes, treatments, or supplements.

A Glass of Wine for Better Behaved Kids?

A study published last month from BJOG (an International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology) reported a link between women who drank moderately in the early months of pregnancy, and the behavior of their children years later. And what do you think they found? Well, they discovered that women who had 2-6 drinks per week early in their pregnancy tended to have children with more positive behavior than women who didn’t drink at all.

How’d they come up with that? And does it mean anything?

They enlisted 2900 women to provide data at 18 and 34 weeks of gestation on weekly alcohol intake: no drinking, occasional drinking (up to one standard drink per week), light drinking (2–6 standard drinks per week), moderate drinking (7–10 standard drinks per week), and heavy drinking (11 or more standard drinks per week).

Then, their children were followed up at ages 2, 5, 8, 10 and 14 years, using a standard checklist to measure behavior.

“This positive behavior meant that the children of light and moderate drinkers had less emotional and behavioral problems through childhood and adolescence,” Dr. Monique Robinson, from Telethon Institute for Child Health Research in West Perth, Western Australia, told Reuters Health.

If this report has you jumping out of your chair to pour yourself a glass of wine, you might want to stop and think about it for a moment. Good behavior is great, but the study addresses nothing relating to cognitive abilities or general health. It also seems to me that measuring something like “positive behavior” is incredibly subjective.

As one eloquent commenter at iVillage said:  “Maybe they are less emotional because the brain cells are dead.”

Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is a pattern of mental and physical defects which develops in some unborn babies when the mother drinks excessive alcohol during pregnancy.  Fetal alcohol exposure is the leading known cause of mental retardation in the Western world.  The current recommendation of both the US Surgeon General and the UK Department of Health is not to drink alcohol at all during pregnancy.  (Wikipedia)

Remember, while an occasional glass of wine may or may not have an affect on your unborn child, no amount of alcohol is proven safe for consumption during pregnancy. Sacrificing your baby’s mental and physical health for good behavior seems very silly indeed.

Your First Prenatal Visit

Missed a period? Feeling nauseous? Taken a pregnancy test that showed positive?  You’re probably feeling excited and a little anxious too, so if you want to know what to expect during the first steps of your journey through pregnancy, we can fill you in!

When to Schedule Your First Appointment

It’s best to call your doctor or midwife as soon as you find out you are pregnant.  If you’re feeling good, your caretaker probably won’t schedule a visit before you’re 8 weeks pregnant. But if you are experiencing any pain, severe nausea or vomiting, or vaginal bleeding, you need to let him/her know so they can see you right away.  If you have a medical condition, are taking any medications, or have had pregnancy-related problems in the past, they will probably want to see your sooner as well.

What to Expect at your First Appointment

The first visit is often the longest one, as your doctor wants to make sure all is well, and let you know what else

Determine your due date: This is often calculated based on the first day of your last period, so it helps if you can recall the date. The date can also be estimated using an early ultrasound of the fetus.

Take your health history: Your doctor will ask questions about your general health, chronic conditions and gynecological issues you may have, medications you take, regularity of your menstrual cycle, and details about previous pregnancies. She’ll also ask about your family’s medical history, health habits, drug allergies, surgeries, hospitalizations, and whether you have been the victim of abuse. She will also inquire about the medical history of the baby’s father and his family.

Discuss Options for Genetic Testing: There are a number of different screening tests that done to determine your baby’s risk for birth defects, chromosomal problems, and Down syndrome.

First trimester combined screening: This consists of a blood test and, if available in your area, an ultrasound called a nuchal translucency screening. It is done between 9 and 13 weeks. This screening assess your baby’s risk of having Down syndrome and some other chromosomal abnormalities as well as major congenital heart problems.

Multiple marker screening is a blood test done between 15 and 20 weeks. It screens for Down syndrome and trisomy 18, which are chromosomal abnormalities, and neural tube defects such as spina bifida.

Carrier screening: These tests are done depending on your ethnic background and medical history, in order to see if your baby is at risk for certain genetic disorders such as Tay-Sachs disease, cystic fibrosis, sickle cell disease, or thalassemia.

Genetic diagnostic tests include chorionic villus sampling (CVS), generally done at 11 to 12 weeks, and amniocentesis, usually done at 16 to 20 weeks. These tests can tell you for sure whether your baby has Down syndrome or certain other problems. These tests are usually administered only if there is a strong risk of chromosomal problems, after the results of the screening tests are known. They are invasive and carry a risk of miscarriage.

Physical exam: Your doctor may give you a thorough physical, including a pelvic exam, a Pap smear (if you haven’t had one recently), and sometimes a culture to check for chlamydia and gonorrhea.

Blood tests are done to identify your blood type, Rh status, and to check for anemia. The lab is also looking out for syphilis, hepatitis B, and immunity to rubella (German measles).  It’s also recommended that pregnant women be tested for HIV (the virus that causes AIDS) at their first prenatal visit. Being treated for AIDS during pregnancy is very important for reducing the likelihood of passing the infection to your baby.

Urine sample tests for urinary tract infections and other things.

Counsel: Your doctor should give you advice about proper nutrition, exercise, weight gain, common discomforts of early pregnancy, and symptoms that  require immediate attention.  She’ll remind you about the dangers of smoking, alcohol, drugs, and certain medications. If you are feeling anxious or depressed she can refer you to someone who can help with your emotional health.  If you have any questions or concerns don’t hesitate to share them with your doctor. Don’t worry, she’s heard and seen in all!

feature image from Rest Assured

Pregnancy Warning Signs You Should Never Ignore

Aches and pains, weird skin conditions, fatigue and mood swings are all part of a normal pregnancy. But sometimes you  may experience something that could be a potentially serious warning sign.  Most women don’t want to bother their doctor over every tiny thing, so how do you know what warrants immediate attention and what can wait until your next doctor’s visit?

WebMD consulted the experts, who say you’re always better safe than sorry. If you are concerned that something is not normal, call your doctor. And every pregnant woman should be aware that there are some symptoms during pregnancy that need immediate attention.

WebMD presents the seven top signs of a potentially serious pregnancy complication:

1. Bleeding During Any Trimester

Bleeding during pregnancy is serious and always needs to be evaluated immediately. Call your doctor or go to the emergency room. Some serious causes for bleeding include:

First trimester: Heavy bleeding, severe abdominal pain, menstrual-like cramps, and feeling like you might faint could be a sign of an ectopic pregnancy. This happens when a fertilized egg implants somewhere other than the uterus, and it can be life-threatening.

First and second trimester: Heavy bleeding with cramping could also be a sign of miscarriage.

Third trimester: Bleeding and abdominal pain may indicate placental abruption, which occurs when the placenta separates from the uterine lining.

2. Severe Nausea and Vomiting

If it gets to the point where you can’t keep anything down, you are at risk of becoming dehydrated and malnourished, which can cause serious complications ranging from birth defects to premature labor.  Proper nutrition is very important for you and your baby.  Your doctors can prescribe safe medications for controlling nausea, and may also advise some dietary changes to help you find food you can keep down.

3. Baby’s Activity Level Decreases Significantly

What does it mean if your previously active baby is not moving as much as it used to?  It is possible that he is not getting enough oxygen and nutrients from the placenta.  To find out if there really is a problem, eat something or take a cold drink. Then lie on your side to see if this gets the baby moving.

You can also count kicks, although “There is no optimal or critical number of movements.” As a general guideline, you should count at least 10 kicks in two hours. Anything less, call your doctor as soon as possible.

4. Early Contractions

Contractions could indicate preterm labor. First-time mothers may be confused by real labor and Braxton-Hicks contractions, which are false labor pains.  Braxton-Hicks are unpredictable and do not increase in intensity. They generally subside in an hour, with activity, or after drinking. On the other hand, regular contractions start off about 10 minutes apart, and over time increase in intensity while becoming closer together.

If you are feeling contractions and don’t know what they are, don’t take a chance! If it is too early for the baby to be born, your doctor has ways to stop labor.

5. Your Water Breaks

Sometimes water breaking is a dramatic gush of liquid, but other times it’s just a subtle trickle.  Then again, it could be urine leakage due to increased pressure on your bladder. One way to tell is to go to the bathroom and empty your bladder. If the fluid keeps coming , then your water has broken… time to call your doctor or go to the hospital!

6. Severe Headache, Abdominal Pain, Visual Disturbances, and Swelling

These are all symptoms of preeclampsia, a serious and potentially fatal condition. Other signs of preeclampsia are high blood pressure and excess protein in your urine. It usually occurs after the 20th week of pregnancy.  You need to call your doctor and get your blood pressure tested. With good prenatal care, you can catch and treat preeclampsia early.

7. Flu Symptoms

Pregnancy puts added stress on the immune system, so pregnant women are more likely to catch the flu when it’s going around. They are also at a higher risk for more serious flu complications.

Flu symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, sneezing, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. If you think you’ve got the flu, call your doctor first instead of rushing into his office where you could spread it to other pregnant women.

Something else to be aware of is that a fever greater than 101.4 degrees could indicate an infection. So even if you don’t have the flu, you should call your doctor so he can evaluate your condition.

For more information on health and pregnancy, visit WebMD

feature image from US Moms Today

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