When Will I Show, When Will I Go?

How long will it last? How much can I gain?


It's a good week to answer questions. I'll try to tackle a few. Amber wrote wondering when she should expect to start looking pregnant and when to go to the doctor. The doctor part is easy to answer. Call for an appointment as soon as you take a home-pregnancy test. They may have you come in right away if you have any medical conditions they're concerned about or, they may schedule for what they guess will be your 6-8th week of pregnancy. According to the March of Dimes, this is what you can expect for your prenatal schedule of appointments:

A typical prenatal care schedule for a low-risk woman with a normally progressing pregnancy is:

* Weeks 4 to 28: 1 visit per month (every 4 weeks) * Weeks 28 to 36: 2 visits per month (every 2 to 3 weeks) * Weeks 36 to birth: 1 visit per week

Since it may take a while to find the perfect doctor/midwife for you, ask around for recommendations and make appointments for meet-and-greets with a few. You'll be able to talk about your pregnancy and delivery hopes and goals and find out about their style.

When will Amber start to look pregnant? That really varies depending on how big your tummy is to start with. Very thin women tend to "show" early in their second trimester (around 12-15 weeks). Women with big tummies or those with very tight abdominal muscles might not "show" until later in the second trimester. There are those rare cases of women who don't look pregnant until they're well into their third trimester but that's pretty uncommon. Feel free to start wearing maternity clothes just as soon as your pants feel tight or whenever you feel like showing off your bump.

Jessica wrote with two questions: 1). What should she expect for her third labor? And 2). She's already starting out 40 lbs overweight. What should she eat to avoid gaining too much weight?

That third labor is totally variable. The first baby's generally the slow one. The second is generally fast. The third? Anyone's guess. It's almost always faster than the first, even if, like Jessica, you haven't had a baby in 8 years. But it isn't always as speedy-quick as the second. Our bodies have a lot of muscle-memory and the uterus is a muscle. It seems to pick up on what to do with all those contractions a little easier with seconds, thirds and subsequent babies but each baby and labor is different. So many factors go into pacing a labor: The baby's size and position; your size and how ready your cervix is when you go into labor. It's a crapshoot, Jessica, but it will almost definitely be a little smoother than the first since your body has already proved it can deliver a baby vaginally.

Your weight gain question makes me happy. I just love women who look themselves in the eye (or the belly) and say, "this is who I am, for better or worse," and then go on to deal with themselves kindly. Good for you Jessica that you're planning on taking good care of yourself and your little one. I spoke with an obstetrician yesterday who said, "Pregnant women only need 300 extra calories per day to grow a healthy baby. That's an orange, an egg and a big glass of milk." Vanilla and almond Haagen Dazs bars are 320 calories. A medium serving of McDonald's French fries is 380 calories. Two pieces of whole wheat bread with a tablespoon of peanut butter is about 300. Which of these is the better choice? I'll give you one guess.

Jessica, talk to your doctor about how to eat but follow all the usual guidelines: lots of fresh fruits and veggies, lean proteins, low fat dairy products and whole grains. Toss in an extra egg, orange and glass of milk and lay off the French fries and ice cream bars. If you exercise and drink lots of water, you'll be fine.

Good luck Jessica and Amber. I hope you both have wonderful, healthy and easy pregnancies that go on to become wonderful, healthy and easy to raise children.

Got a question for Jeanne? E-mail it to labornurse@fitpregnancy.com and it may be answered in a future blog post.

This Fit Pregnancy blog is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace medical advice from your physician. Before initiating any exercise program, diet or treatment provided by Fit Pregnancy, you should seek medical advice from your primary caregiver.