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As soon as you think you might be pregnant, visit your doctor or midwife. Your health in the early weeks of your pregnancy is particularly important.
During your pregnancy, you'll have regular checkups. These prenatal visits can help you have a safe and healthy pregnancy. Your doctor or midwife is watching for problems that can be found through these office visits.
At different times in your pregnancy, you will have exams and tests. Some are routine. Others are done only when there is a chance of a problem.
Your body will go through many changes during each trimester of pregnancy. So rest when you need it, ask for help from friends and family, and eat well.
Pregnancy changes can be different for every person and every pregnancy. Some of the most common changes during the first 13 weeks include feeling tired, feeling sick to your stomach, and having tender breasts. It's also common to need to urinate more often.
As you move into your second trimester (weeks 14 to 27), you may start to look pregnant. You may notice some differences in how you feel. You might feel less sick to your stomach and have more energy. And you may not have to urinate as often.
The third trimester lasts from week 28 to the birth. You may have some discomfort during this time. You may feel tired and have discomfort in many parts of your body. You may have trouble breathing and problems getting comfortable so you can sleep.
When you're pregnant, hormone changes can affect your emotions and how you feel. It's important to take care of yourself. Ask family and friends for support. Let them know how you're doing. Spend time doing things you enjoy, and find ways to manage stress. If you're overwhelmed, talk to your doctor or a counselor.
Taking great care of yourself is the best thing you can do to have a healthy pregnancy. Everything healthy that you do helps.
They are an important part of a healthy pregnancy. Your doctor or midwife will weigh you and measure your belly. You'll also have tests to watch for problems that could occur.
Choose foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, low-fat dairy, and healthy fats.
Drink plenty of water before, during, and after you're active, especially when it's hot out.
Go to bed earlier than usual and get up later, if you can. Take naps, unless napping makes you sleepless at night.
This includes tobacco, vaping, marijuana and other drugs, alcohol, strong chemicals, radiation (like X-rays), and risky sports.
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Regular prenatal visits are very important during any pregnancy. These quick office visits may seem simple and routine. But they can help you have a safe and healthy pregnancy. Your doctor is watching for problems that can only be found through regular checkups. The visits also give you and your doctor time to build a good relationship.
It's common to see your doctor every 4 weeks until week 28 of pregnancy. Then the visits will happen more often. From weeks 28 to 36, it's common to have visits every 2 to 3 weeks. In the final month of pregnancy, you likely will see your doctor every week. Your doctor may want to see you more or less often, depending on your health, your age, and if you've had a normal, full-term pregnancy before.
At different times in your pregnancy, you will have exams and tests. Some are routine. Others are done only when there is a chance of a problem. Everything healthy you do for your body helps you have a healthy pregnancy. Rest when you need it. Eat well, drink plenty of water, and exercise regularly.
At your first prenatal visit, your doctor or midwife will ask about your medical history and figure out your due date. You'll have a complete physical exam. You may also have some tests. This will provide information that can be used to check for any problems as your pregnancy progresses.
At each visit in your first trimester, you'll be weighed and have your blood pressure checked. You may also have a urine test. You can choose whether to have tests for birth defects. And your doctor or midwife may ask questions about your health and emotions.
At each visit in the second trimester, you'll be weighed and have your blood pressure checked. You may also have urine and blood tests. Your doctor or midwife will listen to your baby's heartbeat and track your baby's growth and position. And you may be asked about birth defect testing and how you feel emotionally.
At each visit in the third trimester, you'll be weighed, and your blood pressure and urine will be checked. Your doctor or midwife will track your baby's growth and position and see whether your baby is head-down. Your doctor may suggest other tests and ask how you feel emotionally.
Birth defects testing may be done during pregnancy to look for possible problems with the baby. Birth defects include:
There are two types of birth defects tests.
These are blood tests and ultrasounds. These tests show the chance that a baby has certain birth defects.
These tests involve taking some of the baby's cells to look at the genes and chromosomes. They can show if a baby has certain birth defects.
Your doctor can tell you which tests are available and which ones might be best for you. You may want to talk with a genetic counselor, who can discuss the reasons to have or not have a test.
Taking care of yourself is the best thing you can do to have a healthy pregnancy. Get regular checkups, and eat a variety of healthy foods. Try to get regular exercise and plenty of rest. And avoid things that could be harmful, including smoking, vaping, drinking alcohol, and using marijuana or other drugs.
Your nutrition needs increase during pregnancy. Your body needs protein, carbohydrate, and fats for energy. Good sources of these nutrients include:
Important vitamins and minerals during pregnancy include:
is found in dairy products and nonmilk sources such as tofu, broccoli, fortified orange juice or soy milk, and greens.
(or folate) is found in foods such as liver, vegetables (especially spinach, asparagus, and brussels sprouts), fruits (such as bananas and oranges), and beans and peas. Enriched products such as cereal, bread, pasta, and rice are also good sources.
Iron is found in foods such as red meat, shellfish, poultry, eggs, nuts, beans, raisins, whole-grain bread, and leafy green vegetables.
Even if you have good eating habits, your doctor may suggest a multivitamin to make sure you get enough iron and folic acid.
Exercise is good for you during a healthy pregnancy. It can help relieve back pain, swelling, and other discomforts. Exercise also prepares your muscles for childbirth. And it can improve your energy level and help you sleep better.
Activities that are recommended include:
Moderate exercise is safe for most pregnancies. But if you don't already exercise, be sure to talk with your doctor before you start a new exercise program.
If you exercised before getting pregnant, you should be able to stay with your same routine early in your pregnancy. Later in your pregnancy, you may want to switch to more gentle activities.
When you're pregnant, there's a lot to learn about what's okay and what's not. Some things that it's best to avoid include:
Going to work or school while pregnant is safe and keeps you active. You can probably continue up to your due date if you aren't having any problems with your pregnancy. But if you have to stand or walk a lot or be very active, talk with your doctor or midwife.
Guess what? Having sex during pregnancy is okay, unless your doctor tells you not to. But how sexy you feel may be a bit different than in the past. Pregnancy can be a chance to explore new ways to feel close, new sexual positions, and new ways to communicate.
Travel during pregnancy generally is safe if you're healthy and not at risk for problems. The safest time to travel is between 14 and 28 weeks, when your risks for miscarriage and early labor are lowest. Check with your doctor before you travel. Ask your doctor which vaccines you may need before traveling.
Your body will go through a lot during pregnancy. Common changes include tiredness, sleep problems, swelling or tender breasts, and back pain. Other changes include hemorrhoids, constipation, changes in vaginal discharge, and swelling of your feet and ankles.
Pregnancy changes can be different for every person and every pregnancy.
Here are some things you might notice during the first 13 weeks.
During your second trimester, you may start to look pregnant. And you may notice changes in how you feel. For example, you may feel less sick to your stomach and have more energy. And you might not have to urinate as much.
Here are some other things you may notice during weeks 14 to 27:
The third trimester lasts from week 28 to the birth. You may have some discomfort during this time as your belly gets bigger. You may have trouble breathing. Your uterus is now just below your rib cage, so your lungs have less room to expand. And you might have aches and pains.
You might have trouble getting comfortable so you can sleep. Later in pregnancy, it's best to lie on your left side. Lying on your back interferes with blood circulation, and lying on your stomach isn't possible. And when you lie on your right side or on your back, the weight of your uterus can partly block the large blood vessel in front of your backbone.
Symptoms that are common in the third trimester include:
Pregnancy is measured in trimesters, starting on the first day of your last menstrual period and totaling 40 weeks. Most babies are born at 37 to 42 weeks.
A lot of changes happen each week as the pregnancy develops and grows from embryo to fetus to the birth of a baby.
Even though you can't feel it, there's a lot happening during the first 13 weeks of pregnancy.
Weeks 14 to 27
bring growth you can actually see and feel.
Here are some things that happen during the second trimester:
The third trimester of pregnancy spans from week 28 to the birth. Here is what happens during this time:
At the end of the third trimester, a baby's head will usually settle into a head-down position for delivery.
Being pregnant can be an exciting time. But it can also be a stressful and emotional time. There's a lot you need to think about and plan for, which can be overwhelming. You may notice your moods changing often. And when you're pregnant, your body goes through lots of hormone changes, which can affect your emotions and how you feel.
It's important to take care of your body—and your emotions—during pregnancy. So don't hesitate to ask friends and family for support.
Check in often with your partner, close friends, or loved ones. Let them know how you're doing. What are your biggest fears? What makes you the most stressed? How can they help?
Take time for yourself every day. Watch a favorite movie. Go for walks with a friend. Or find some time for your favorite hobby.
Make time for a stress-relieving activity each day. Find what works best for you. Maybe you'd like to try yoga, meditation, or guided imagery.
It may help to write down your fears about having a baby or becoming a parent. Share this with someone you trust. Decide which worries are actually small, and try to let them go.
If you feel overwhelmed, talk to your doctor or a counselor. Consider joining a support group for pregnant women or new moms.
The stronger your relationship with your partner is now, the better prepared you'll be to parent together.
Try these tips for bonding with your partner.
Try to simply listen, rather than fix or judge. Pregnancy is a different experience, so expect new feelings.
Your partner can help ask questions and give you support.
They may find great advice, tips, and support online or from others who've "been there."
Go for walks, play a game, or watch a movie. Hug and hold hands.
Maybe you both could cut back on caffeine or fried foods?
Some health problems or concerns come up before someone is pregnant. Other times, problems may come up during pregnancy. Your doctor or midwife will work with you to prevent or manage these problems to help you have a healthy pregnancy.
If you have a health problem or concern, you may have a high-risk pregnancy. This means that your doctor or midwife needs to follow you closely. It doesn't mean that something will go wrong during your pregnancy.
Many things can make a pregnancy high-risk. Your health plan may have its own list of what makes a pregnancy high-risk, but here are some general risk factors.
Your pregnancy is high-risk if you have:
Your pregnancy is high-risk if you are either:
Your pregnancy is high-risk if you:
These include a history of:
As your baby's birth gets closer, you can still take steps that will help you have a healthy labor and birth. For example, you can take classes to help you prepare for the birth. Talk to your doctor ahead of time about what you would like to happen during your labor.
A birth plan lets you write down your vision of an ideal birth and share it with your support person, the hospital or birth center, and your doctor or midwife.
Your birth may not go as planned. But the process of making a plan can be a great way to get everyone on the same page about what you think you'd prefer.
Here are some ideas for making a birth plan.
It could be a hospital, a birthing center, or your home. The setting may depend on your level of risk for problems during delivery, and if you're working with a doctor or midwife.
Think breathing techniques, laboring in water, or trying different positions.
Think about pain medicine you'd want, even if you don't think you'll need it. And think about your options if you end up needing a C-section.
Maybe you want family and friends in the room, or maybe you only want the baby's other parent or a support person like a doula.
As you think about your plan, give yourself permission to be flexible. It's hard to know what will happen. The most important thing is to make sure you and your baby are healthy and safe.
At any time during your pregnancy, call 911 if you think you have symptoms of a blood clot in your lung (called a pulmonary embolism). These may include:
At any time during your pregnancy, call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if you:
At any time during your pregnancy, call your doctor or midwife now if you:
At any time during your pregnancy, call your doctor or midwife today if you:
If you are between 20 and 37 weeks pregnant, call 911 or other emergency services immediately if you:
If you are between 20 and 37 weeks pregnant, call your doctor or midwife now or go to the hospital if you:
After 37 weeks, call
or other emergency services immediately if you:
After 37 weeks of pregnancy, call your doctor or midwife now or go the hospital if you:
Current as of:
July 11, 2023
Author: Healthwise StaffClinical Review Board: All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.
Current as of: July 11, 2023
Clinical Review Board:
All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2023 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
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