Screening tests and birth defects
"We did the triple screen, which yielded funny results, so we worried about heart defects until week 18, when an ultrasound showed that everything was fine."
— Megan Keim, Vancouver, Wash., mother of Patrick, 11 months
What is a Kegel?
Your pelvic-floor muscles act as a sling for the bladder, uterus and rectum. One of the most important long-term health recommendations for healing and recovering after birth is to do Kegel exercises. Kegels help keep your pelvic-floor muscles strong during pregnancy, help get them back in shape after delivery and possibly prevent urinary incontinence.
Week 4 Four weeks from the start of your last period, a positive test shows you're pregnant.
Week 5 Measured from crown of head to rump, your baby is about 0.4 inch long—the size of a green pea.
Week 8 The baby is about 1 inch long—the size of a large olive. His features are already distinctly human.
Week 10 Your doctor will probably want to see you between eight and 10 weeks for your first appointment. That's when you'll get to view the heartbeat via ultrasound.
Many women experience vivid dreams during pregnancy, and no wonder—they're dealing with huge changes in their physical, emotional and spiritual selves, says Raina Manuel-Paris, Ph.D., author of The Mother-to-Be's Dream Book (Warner Books). Here are some common themes by trimester:
First Trimester: Women tend to dream about their past: childhood experiences, ex-boyfriends and parents. These dreams are a subconscious way of coming to terms with their new identity and letting go of the old.
Make sure nothing appears glossy or new, says Norm Wogan
of Norm Wogan Design in Los Angeles, who recently created
an aviation-themed nursery for the infant son of Extra co-host Dayna Devon. He used such treasures as a World War II-era propeller, faux hot-air balloon (above the crib), old-fashioned airplane seat belts (for curtain tiebacks) and vintage pilot goggles. An artist decorated the nursery with murals:
Perhaps. While "morning sickness" is most common in the first trimester, it can happen anytime during pregnancy. Prenatal vitamins may intensify your symptoms; if you suspect this is the case, try taking yours before going to bed to allow you to sleep through the discomfort. Using antacids also can be helpful, as can "grazing" on several small, healthy meals throughout the day. Additional vitamin B6 seems to curb nausea for some women; talk to your doctor about taking a supplement.
Since you've been taking less than 10,000 IU of vitamin A per day--the amount deemed safe for expecting women or those considering pregnancy--you don't need to be concerned. This is especially true if you've been taking vitamin A in the form of beta carotene, as it has not been shown to be harmful to fetal development in any dosage. One form of vitamin A that is of concern is isotretinoin (Accutane, an acne treatment), which is associated with severe birth defects when taken during pregnancy.
Pregnancy is a time for change. And for choices. And we're not just talking about whether you'll paint the nursery pink or yellow. "While you still have more time, re-evaluate what means most to you in life and what obligations you can let go of--for good," says Wendy Clarke Wilcox, M.D., M.P.H., professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. Read on for some points to ponder at this crucial juncture.
It was heartburn that got me in the end. I could take the swelling, the back pain, the constant trips to the bathroom, the itchy skin, the fatigue, the sweating, the sleeplessness, and even the psychological shock of seeing the scale tip 200 pounds.
Laura Randolph 30, California
Laura's tips for dealing with a potentially problematic pregnancy:
•Talk to friends about your situation--they may have dealt with a similar dilemma.
•If you're dealing with AFP test results, focus on the statistics that show a high number of false positives.
•Try not to let your emotions get the best of you or to allow worries to spiral out of control.
The more you read, watch and hear about pregnancy, the more confused and overwhelmed you're likely to become. We're here to help, with expert advice on the only 10 things you really need to do to have a healthy pregnancy and baby.
• Eat just 300 calories more per day Even though your appetite is noticeably increasing, your daily calorie intake should go up just a little during the second and third trimesters. (Note: Your total gain should be 25 to 35 pounds if you're of normal weight.)
• Give in to some cravings But try to eat healthfully overall by choosing nutrient-rich foods like low-fat dairy, legumes, poultry, lean meats and fish.
• If you "run hot," eat cold foods Chilled fruit, frozen yogurt, and cold, cooked wild salmon are good choices.