The early weeks of pregnancy are fragile—and confusing. Here, the answers to your questions.
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Most expectant moms spring for new undies: not sexy ones, but practical “granny panties.” They not only accommodate a growing belly, but they can also be good throwaways considering all the unexpected things that are going on down below during pregnancy.
Telling a mother not to worry is silly. It’s in our nature. It’s what we do. That said, that’s exactly what I’m going to say this week. Quit worrying, my dears. It’s not good for you.
It’s the little things that really get us worked up. Things like a weird discharge, a spot of blood, a wet pair of underwear or an annoying itch that just won’t go away. These little things create big worries for a lot of mothers and are the source of many emails I receive from women all over the world. Let’s tick these off our TMI (Too Much Information) list one at a time:
Every week, a few women email to ask if their early-pregnancy spotting or discharge means they’re going to miscarry. They’re terrified and looking for reassurance and a guarantee that everything will be OK with their pregnancies. I have plenty of reassurance to offer and I wish I could offer that guarantee, but the best I can do is tell my readers that probably, everything will be OK.
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are a common ailment during pregnancy, because your expanded uterus—which sits atop your bladder—sometimes can block urine drainage, causing the infection.
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.
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.
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.
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'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.
Before my first pregnancy, I enjoyed a glass of wine with dinner and an occasional big, juicy chili dog. But even in those very first days after I conceived, the wine tasted flat and the hot dog repulsed me. Fast-forward a few weeks. With a positive pregnancy test in hand, I realized that my body knew I was pregnant before my mind did. Of course, the earliest symptoms of pregnancy wax and wane and are different for each woman; in fact, some women may experience (or notice) none of them. But several can crop up well before you even miss a period.