The early weeks of pregnancy are fragile—and confusing. Here, the answers to your questions.
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Terry has a headache. Poor girl had a migraine last week, too. She’s six-weeks pregnant and feels lousy. She asks, “Is this normal?” Yep, Terry, unfortunately it is. Headaches are one of the most common yet underpublicized symptoms of pregnancy. Nausea gets all the glory and fatigue comes in second place but headaches are right up there on the top of the symptom-list for many women.
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.
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.
I got another sad email this week from a grandmother. Kristen's daughter is pregnant with her second baby. The first, I'm very sad to report, died at birth. Kristen says the baby was born very underweight (only 4 pounds) but not premature. There was a lot of meconium and the placenta was very small. Kristen's daughter has hypothyroidism but took excellent care of her health throughout her pregnancy. Still, tragedy hit hard. Now that she's expecting her second baby, it's impossible not to feel anxious about losing another baby.
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.
Here's one of those questions everyone wants answered but so few are brave enough to ask. Because it's a rather sensitive subject, I'm not including my reader's name but honey, thank you for this one. She's seven months along and has, in her words: piles. Yep, those are hemorrhoids. They are oh-so-common during pregnancy and delivery and oh-so-uncomfortable.
Last week I answered some of Kirsa's questions. This week we'll cover Group Beta Strep. Apparently, Kirsa tested positive and was told she'd receive antibiotics while in labor to prevent transmitting this bacteria to her newborn. She wonders if this will keep her confined to bed since she'll have an IV and what problems this poses for her baby. These are really good questions. We can cover a lot of ground answering these.
Michelle's riding the roller coaster. She had an ultrasound this week because of spotting, thinking she was around nine weeks pregnant. The technician gave her sad news. There was a sac (amniotic membrane) but nothing in it. Michelle and her husband were obviously upset until an obstetrician told her the reason the sac was empty was because she was only six weeks along—not nine. Her blood hormone levels were adequate and appropriate for a six-week pregnancy. Sometimes we can see a beating heart on a six-week ultrasound but not always.
Kim Six weeks into her pregnancy, Kim Schuler thought all was lost. After learning she was pregnant with her second child, Schuler, now 41 and 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, Meredith.
Odds are you’re thrilled about being pregnant. But pregnancy can also be a pain — literally. In fact, on some days labor might sound more appealing than another bout of constipation, swollen ankles or back pain. Nevertheless, it’s all worth it in the end, and in the meantime there are lots of simple things you can do to relieve these common discomforts, says Marion McCartney, director of professional services at the American College of Nurse-Midwives. Of course, you may be one of the lucky ones who sails through the whole nine months with barely a gripe.
Lisa McKinney figured that she was the perfect candidate for a trouble-free pregnancy. “I was so healthy. I went hiking, ate right, gave up coffee. I was enrolled in a prenatal fitness class. I took water aerobics. And still I got it,” she says.
It was preeclampsia, a mysterious and serious complication of pregnancy as old as history and still not well understood, despite major new studies to try to figure out its cause and to find ways to prevent it.
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot that forms in the venous system. The clot may stay in one area, such as the legs, causing pain and swelling; or it may migrate to another part of the body and become life threatening. Most serious of these scenarios is a pulmonary embolism, a blood clot that lodges in the lung. Since you have a history of DVT, you are at slightly greater risk of developing it during your pregnancy.