Smoking during pregnancy is more than an unhealthy habit. It can cause serious complications for the mother, such as placental abruption, as well as lifelong complications for the baby. Cigarettes contain more than 4,000 toxic chemicals including cyanide, lead and numerous cancer-causing compounds, such as nicotine. These chemicals pose dangerous health risks that every mother should take seriously.
According to William Sears, M.D., and Martha Sears, R.N., authors of “The Pregnancy Book,” a woman’s heart rate increases during pregnancy by 20 percent. Even without planned exercise, she is already performing a low level of aerobic exercise daily. Whether you are a seasoned expert or just beginning an exercise program, exercising during pregnancy is beneficial for both mother and baby.
During pregnancy, your baby is active. There are no positions your baby cannot wiggle into, and most positions are temporary. While fetal positioning does not matter much during pregnancy, it becomes important when you go into labor. Delivering a baby who is head down is the preferred position by most health care providers. You should talk with your provider about what positions of delivery he is comfortable with before you go into labor.
You have likely heard many horror stories about the process of labor and birth. People are quick to tell you how long it lasted and how painful it was. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be extremely painful or last forever. There are many things you can and should do to make labor as quick and painless as possible. And, it just might be easier than you think.
During your ninth month, you are eager to hold your baby. Every time you feel the slightest twinge, you may think, “this is it,” but the feeling goes away and you realize you have longer to wait. Some mothers start labor suddenly with painful contractions, yet others begin with progressive signs, such as a backache and contractions that last for days. While each labor is different, there are typical stages that each woman goes through when her birth time is near.
The first trimester of pregnancy is filled with many emotions, physical changes and discomforts for most pregnant women. Although some of your body’s changes are uncomfortable in the first trimester, you can do much to alleviate them. As the pregnancy progresses, most discomforts will often disappear or improve on their own.
As you enter into your third trimester of pregnancy, you are well aware of pregnancy discomforts. Some discomforts that disappeared in the second trimester may now return, and some new discomforts are likely to develop. However, the third trimester of pregnancy is the last trimester before delivery and, before long, you will be holding your baby.
Although delaying pregnancy until you are older may be a good idea for security and financial reasons, it may also carry considerable health risks to you and the baby. It is known in the obstetrical field that mothers who are over the age of 35 are considered to be of advanced maternal age. While the risks for some conditions become higher as you get older, most older women are still delivering healthy babies.
Epidural analgesia is the most popular form of pain relief for laboring moms in the United States. The medication is given continuously through a catheter that is inserted in the epidural space in the back. It provides effective pain relief during labor and birth, but it can have numerous side effects. All risks and benefits of an epidural should be carefully considered before a decision is made.
Throughout your pregnancy, you will see a health care provider who will check for routine things, such as blood pressure and fetal movement, to determine that both of you are healthy. However, there are times when you may feel that symptoms are out of the normal range. Trust your instincts. If you feel that something is not OK with you or your baby, and you are concerned, it should be checked. Most things, if caught early enough, can be treated without further complications.