Trying to get pregnant? Make sure you know the bottom line on baby-making—what you don't understand can affect your bub-to-be's health.
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If you're not having any complications, you can and should exercise every day for about 30 minutes, according to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. You can exercise at a similar intensity to your prepregnancy level as long as you stay well-hydrated and avoid overheating. A good rule of thumb is to not increase intensity or duration beyond what you are used to doing so you don't overexert yourself. Stop immediately if you feel lightheaded or have contractions or bleeding. Using the "talk test" is an easy way to monitor your intensity while exercising.
While doing abdominal exercises now won't give you abs of steel, they will strengthen your core (and back) and make you aware of all the muscles you will use during the pushing phase of labor. Strengthening your core muscles also can help relieve pregnancy-related back pain.
After your first trimester, lying supine (on your back) can cause your enlarged uterus and baby to compress your vena cava, the major vessel that returns blood to your heart. This reduces the amount of blood your heart has to pump back out, which can lower your blood pressure and reduce blood flow to the placenta, Shashoua explains. It also can cause you to feel dizzy, lightheaded or nauseated.
"There's a big link between dehydration and uterine contractions," Shashoua says. "The hormone released during dehydration is very similar to one that causes contractions." He says experiencing contractions is the most common reason pregnant women stop exercising, so drink well before, during and after your workouts.
There are a few issues I'd like to address here. First off, any doctor who laughs at you should be fired. Period. Now for the next issue: Yes, home birth can be a safe experience as long as you meet certain criteria: You must be in good health and carrying only one baby, with that baby in the vertex (head-down) position; you must have had no previous uterine surgery, such as a Cesarean section; and you must be ready to be an active partner in your labor experience.
Pregnant women are at higher risk of suffering from pneumonia and other complications of the flu, so you are specifically encouraged to get the influenza vaccine (so are the elderly, health-care workers and people with compromised immune systems). Getting immunized also may help protect your baby: The antibodies generated by the vaccine cross the placenta, so it's likely that the baby will have some degree of protection following birth. Ask your doctor about thimerosal-free vaccines.
Yes, you can safely enjoy being outdoors, watching your child's first venture on the slopes. In fact, because most pregnant women's bodies run a bit hotter than before pregnancy, you may even be more comfortable than usual. Just be sure to drink plenty of water to head off dehydration and altitude sickness. And be extra careful while walking in the snow; your shifting center of balance makes it easier to take a tumble. You're also more susceptible to sunburn during pregnancy, so use plenty of sunscreen and avoid prolonged exposure to the sun. This goes for your child, too.
Many women with inverted or flat nipples are able to nurse with great success. In fact, this may not even be a concern for you when it comes time to breastfeed, as changes that occur in your breasts contour during pregnancy may positively affect the shape of your nipples. Also, remember that your baby will be latching on to the areola (the dark skin circling the nipple)and not just the nipple itself, so inverted nipples may not be as much of a worry as you think.
All mucous membranes, including those in the vagina, produce more fluid in response to the increased estrogen of pregnancy. As long as the discharge is whitish and creamy in texture, you're probably fine. However, if the discharge has an unpleasant odor or is pinkish, or if you are experiencing vaginal itching or burning during urination, your doctor will need to make sure you don't have a vaginal infection. Also call your doctor if there is a sudden increase in discharge, regardless of its color or texture.
Rh disease is a possibility only when a mothers blood is Rh-negative, the father is Rh-positive and their baby is Rh-positive. Under those circumstances, if a pregnant woman's circulating blood is exposed to fetal blood cells such as during a medical procedure, an abdominal trauma or, most likely, during delivery her immune system may respond by producing antibodies to destroy the Rh-positive cells. Without treatment, this could put a developing baby at risk for serious anemia and other complications.
From the description of the precautions you took--wearing gloves and painting in a well-ventilated room--your baby is likely to be just fine. Although no studies specifically confirm this, experts believe that a pregnant woman's limited exposure to household or hobbyist paint (particularly acrylic paint--which, along with tempera or watercolor, is recommended over oil-based paint) shouldn't be a problem. My greater concern relative to paint is twofold:
While your aunt undoubtedly is thinking only of your best interests, swimming daily is a real gift to you and your unborn baby that poses no danger even as you approach your due date. If your water breaks while you are in the pool--or the bathtub, for that matter--you will feel the fluid leaking and should contact your doctor immediately. My real concern is that you take every precaution to steady yourself getting into and out of the pool or tub.
Yes, you can work with your doctor and a physical therapist to develop an exercise plan. Keep in mind, however, that this is not the time for aerobic workouts or muscle strengthening. The goal of exercise while on bed rest is to minimize the risk of developing blood clots in your extremities.