The early weeks of pregnancy are fragile—and confusing. Here, the answers to your questions.
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Early in her pregnancy, Deborah Johnson (not her real name) started having on-and-off light bleeding. “At first I was really freaked out,” she recalls. “My immediate reaction was, ‘Oh, this can’t be good.’ ”
She called her doctor, who was concerned but calm. “She said she was going to play it safe by giving me progesterone, but that if the baby wasn’t meant to be, no amount of progesterone was going to make a difference,” Johnson says. Though the spotting continued throughout her entire first trimester, Johnson gave birth to a healthy baby boy six months later.
Because contractions generally signal that labor is starting, they can be viewed as a warning sign, a green light or a cue to ask, “Honey, the crib is set up, right?” But having contractions before you’re due doesn’t necessarily mean that Baby has requested an early checkout from Hotel Utero. Here’s what you need to know about uterine contractions—whenever they occur:
Fortified foods like vitamin D-enriched milk or calcium-added orange juice seem like an easy way to get the nutrients you need. But are they the best way to nourish you and your baby? The answer depends on the nutrient as well as the food it’s fortifying. “Adding nutrients can encourage people to look at a food as having a health halo when in reality it may be full of sodium, unhealthy fats or added sugars,” says Lisa Young, Ph.D., R.D., an adjunct professor of nutrition at New York University. Plus, too much of certain nutrients could cause unwanted side effects.
Six weeks into her second pregnancy, Kim Schuler Heinrichs thought all was lost. After learning she was pregnant, Schuler, now a mother of three in Allentown, Pa., started bleeding and cramping. "My husband and I were sure we were losing the baby," she says, "but soon the doctor found a heartbeat." A trouble-free seven months later, Schuler gave birth to a healthy girl.
1. You’re losing steam in the middle of the day. Sleepless nights are affecting your daytime performance and causing you to be sluggish, grouchy or forgetful. Plus, you find yourself stressing about all the neglected preparations waiting for you at home.
2. Sitting and standing are uncomfortable. Backaches, swollen legs and feet, and breathlessness are signs that you need more horizontal time, especially if your job requires spending a lot of time on your feet.
I’ve been deluged with reader questions lately that all share one thing. They all ask: Can you tell me if I’m OK? I’ve gotten questions about breastfeeding, stomach pain, spotting, missed periods, cramps, discharge and many other subjects. Readers range from “not sure they’re pregnant” to somewhere near the end of their pregnancy. They’re all confused about a symptom, feeling or piece of information they’ve picked up somewhere and just want me to tell them: You’re OK.
I've spent the last several days scouring the internet for various ways to get labor started. I can't help it. I want this baby out. I don't recall feeling quite so impatient with the girls. This time around, however, I'm driving myself a bit insane obsessing over ways to get labor started.
Readers are thinking about sex and stuff this week. No surprise there. It's cold outside and no one can afford any outside entertainment so...whatcha gonna do? I got two emails from ladies who are still early in their pregnancies and had a little bleeding and brownish, gunky discharge after sex. Neither one had cramps and both felt fine otherwise but, obviously, bleeding's a worrisome thing.
Let's talk about cramps. You thought you'd leave those suckers behind for nine months once you got pregnant. You figured you'd have a bunch of big whoppers when you went into labor but other than that, you'd be cramp-free. Along with no period, isn't that supposed to be one of the perks of pregnancy? But then you notice some twinges. A little aching that comes and goes. Maybe you're just a few weeks along and worried there's a miscarriage coming. Maybe you're in your second trimester and worried it's preterm labor.
Kelli wrote this week, very upset and having an all-around tough time of it. She apparently had a normal period in August but only a speck of spotting in early September. She's having abdominal pain, cramping and urinary frequency. She's taken a few pregnancy tests and they've all been negative. Smart girl that she is, Kelli saw her doctor who told her she isn't pregnant but has a urinary tract infection (UTI); commonly called a bladder infection. Yuck, I hate those things.
I've gotten quite a few emails lately with questions about miscarriage and first trimester bleeding. Nadine had an early miscarriage recently and was advised to wait three months before trying again. Amber had her first OB appointment and was told she wasn't nine weeks along as she thought but six weeks. Her placenta was big and there was no heartbeat. Kerri recently had her first prenatal appointment and reported a little spotting but didn't get any response or advice from her doctor.
As I was getting a patient ready for an induction this morning, she asked, "How bad is labor, really?" That's a classic question, ladies. "Bad" means, painful, scary, messy and gross. "Really" means, "come on, tell it to me straight—I can take it." OK, here it is, straight up. Most women find labor to be the most painful experience they've ever been through. On a scale of one to ten, one being almost no pain and ten being the most possible most will tell you that labor (before an epidural) becomes a ten.