Many first time mothers are nervous about the prospect of going through pregnancy and delivery. A normal pregnancy is relatively uneventful and results in a healthy baby. Doctors and midwives can offer support to help calm an expectant mother’s fears.
The First Trimester
The first trimester of pregnancy can be an exciting time as a woman adjusts to the idea of becoming a mother. Early pregnancy symptoms such as nausea, headaches, fatigue and mood swings can make the first trimester of pregnancy a trying time for many women, but most symptoms should begin to improve towards the second trimester. Bleeding during early pregnancy is common and does not necessarily indicate a problem with the pregnancy. Most doctors visits during the first trimester involve having blood work done, listening to the baby’s heart rate on a Doppler ultrasound machine and treating troublesome early pregnancy symptoms.
The Second Trimester
The second trimester of pregnancy is fairly pleasant for most women. Many pregnant women experience in increase in energy during the second trimester and have a renewed drive as they experience fewer early pregnancy symptoms. During the second trimester most women are not too uncomfortable and can go about their normal routines. Many women opt to find out the gender of their unborn baby during the second trimester.
The Third Trimester
The third trimester is exciting as a pregnant woman gets closer to her due date and the chance to meet her unborn baby, but it can also be uncomfortable for many women. Some women experience shortness of breath as the baby grows and pushes on her lungs. This should improve somewhat during the last month of pregnancy when the baby drops down to a lower position, but this also brings a return of frequent urination since the baby is pushing on the mother’s bladder. During the third trimester, pregnant mothers frequently feel their babies move and enjoy a growing bond with their unborn babies.
A full term pregnancy is considered any birth after the 37th week of pregnancy. A due date is just an educated guess of when to expect the baby to arrive. With no complications, the baby could arrive anytime between the 38th and 42nd week of pregnancy. Early labor symptoms include lower back pain, abdominal cramping, diarrhea, and a restless feeling. Braxton Hicks contractions (painless) may increase and a woman may experience sporadic contractions that slowly change the cervix.
Labor and Delivery
During labor, a pregnant woman’s cervix will go from being closed to dilated 10 cm. The baby will slowly move down and move into the ideal position for birth. After being admitted to the hospital, a pregnant mother will be monitored to be sure that her health and the health of the baby are not being threatened. Once a woman’s cervix has fully dilated, she will begin pushing. The pushing stage can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours depending on a number of factors including, the number of previous deliveries a woman has had, the size of a woman’s pelvis and the position and size of the baby. After delivery, the OBGYN will cut the umbilical cord and wait for the placenta to deliver.