The early weeks of pregnancy are fragile—and confusing. Here, the answers to your questions.
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1. Wall Plie: Stand facing a wall, feet slightly farther than hip-width apart, knees turned out and legs straight. Place your hands on the wall. Tilt your pelvis so your tailbone points down. Bend your knees, lowering your torso toward the floor. Straighten legs, pressing upward through your heels, and repeat. Do 1–2 sets of 10–12 repetitions, resting 1 minute between sets.
2. Wall Push-Up: Stand facing a wall, feet hip-width apart. Place hands on the wall, arms straight. Pull your navel in toward your spine so your back is straight. Bend elbows, bringing chest toward the wall. Push back and repeat. Do 1–2 sets of 10–12 reps, resting 1 minute between sets.
At some point, the energy and good mood of the second trimester may start to dip. “As women begin to experience an anticipatory anxiety, things can take a downhill slide,” says Ann Dunnewold, Ph.D., a Dallas psychologist who specializes in the emotional aspects of reproductive issues. Mentally preparing for labor and delivery, as well as a newborn, can cause a great deal of uncertainty. Talk with other women who can offer realistic support for such decisions as whether to circumcise your baby or bank his cord blood. Don’t listen to horror stories or read every pregnancy book. Instead, find one author whose philosophy you like and stick with him or her.
It’s also easy to feel tired of being pregnant, and body-image issues are often to blame. “Many women are larger than they ever thought they’d be and feel unhappy with how they look,” says Rebecca Burpo, a certified nurse-midwife in Dallas. To get past any discomfort with your weight, first confirm with your doctor that you’re gaining pounds appropriately, then remind yourself that you’re doing the right thing. “It’s important to accept that this is what you need to weigh to make a healthy baby,” Burpo says. To feel good about your looks, choose clothing that skims the body rather than bunches or billows out.
Worry about weight stems from other issues as well. “When you’re pregnant, you have less control of your body,” Dunnewold says. The more you can let go of any illusion of control, the better you’ll feel about yourself. Spending a lot of time with your partner can help. “Often couples get closer as they try to eke out every last available minute alone together,” she says.
If your partner’s level of excitement and anticipation doesn’t match yours, it may be that the baby hasn’t become as much of a reality to him as it has to you. Involve him as much as possible in preparing for the delivery and bringing the baby home. If he’s happiest in his workshop, ask him to try his hand at building a toy chest or other nursery items.
Your doctor or midwife will want to see you every two to three weeks starting at around week 28, then every two weeks at weeks 36 and 37, and weekly at 38 weeks, says Russell Laros Jr., M.D., professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at the University of California, San Francisco. At 36 or 37 weeks, your doctor will order a culture for Group B strep, an infection that can affect the baby. (If you do have Group B strep, you will likely be treated with antibiotics during labor.) During these last visits, your doctor will be looking for potential problems with you or the baby, including preeclampsia (pregnancy-induced high blood pressure) and indications that you might go into premature labor. Fortunately, a child born as early as 28 weeks has an excellent chance of survival.