You’ve succeeded in creating a tiny new life within you, congratulations! This is where the adventure begins. During pregnancy it’s a very exciting time and you may be wondering with anticipation or perhaps anxiety what is going to lie ahead for you; what can you expect?
Note: It is vitally important to protect the growing life within you as much as you can. Try this free online assessment, which will aid you in caring for your baby by helping you to determine health risks both at home and in the work place. http://www.caring4yourbaby.com
Firstly, now you are pregnant, don’t stop your good regime of healthy eating and moderate exercise. Or if you have just discovered to your surprise that you are pregnant and your diet and fitness leave something to be desired, try to think about adjusting your diet to include fruit, vegetables and less fat, start taking your 400mcg (micrograms) of folic acid and try and think of a low impact form of exercise you may be able to enjoy such as swimming or walking.
If you are not used to doing much exercise from before you got pregnant then it is not advisable to suddenly start exercising vigorously now you are pregnant.
However, if you have been doing regular vigorous exercise before becoming pregnant then you should be ok to continue exercising regularly, you may just want to ease off on pushing yourself too hard.
There are certain foods to avoid when pregnant to keep you and your baby healthy, so it's important to know about these.
You can expect to be much more tired than usual during pregnancy, especially for the first 12 weeks when most of your baby’s anatomy is forming.
Your body is working hard to make a little person in there so don’t be surprised to feel absolutely shattered and don’t resist the urge to rest when you can.
If you work full-time you will no doubt find you are extremely tired by the end of the day.
Try to make time in the evening to rest. Perhaps your partner could ease your load by taking on some of your household chores during this period.
Many women experience morning sickness during pregnancy. This can start right away, or can kick in a bit later around 7 weeks. It can be mild, with a feeling of general nausea that can come and go, or it can be intense causing repeated vomiting. Everyone is different, but about 8 out of 10 women suffer some form of pregnancy sickness and half of those actually vomit with it, so don’t be alarmed if you experience this. More about morning sickness here.
We all know that progesterone is a hormone that women produce - it keeps our female reproductive system in good working order. But what is the role of progesterone in pregnancy?
HCG Levels In Early Pregnancy
If you have started reading up about pregnancy, you will be aware of the pregnancy hormone Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, otherwise known as HCG. But what actually is HCG it and what does it do?
Once you know you are pregnant you will want to contact your local surgery and make an appointment with your doctor so that they can assign you a midwife, who will normally come and visit you at your home to give you some initial information, take your details and begin your pregnancy care.
Many women find themselves worrying during the first stages of pregnancy about things that might go wrong. After all, statistics say that the majority of miscarriages occur during that crucial first trimester.
You may experience certain symptoms that worry you, different aches, pains and cramps, perhaps bleeding or spotting. Try not to worry overly, most of these symptoms do not indicate a problem but are just part and parcel of the whole pregnancy experience. If you are worried though, don’t hesitate to contact your midwife or go to see your doctor who will likely put your mind at ease, or give you the necessary treatment or advice.
When I was around 12 weeks pregnant I was experiencing pains in my sides for a couple of days, they were quite intense so I rang my midwife who said it was likely to be just a symptom of generally feeling rough with the sickness and tiredness. She said I should see someone if it got worse, but after a short time the pains went and I was ok again.
During pregnancy our bodies are undergoing such changes that it’s quite normal to experience aches and pains and unusual symptoms.
At around 12 weeks you will have an appointment to have your first ultrasound scan where they will measure your baby and look for any signs of defects. It’s so exciting to actually see your little one for the first time. Until I’d had this scan it didn’t really feel real to me that I was pregnant, part of me thought I’d have the scan and they wouldn’t find anything in there. But the scan really confirms that it’s real.
All through your pregnancy you’ll be having regular appointments with your midwife to check your progress. Your blood pressure will always be taken because if this is high it is a sign that you could have pre-ecplampsia which, if left can harm you and your baby.
They will also want to test a urine sample each time to check for infections, so make sure you always take one with you. At around 20 weeks your blood will be taken for testing for certain viruses and diseases, check your iron levels and establish your blood group. Your checks will become more regular towards the end of your pregnancy, leading up to your labour.
Usually, from around 16 weeks pregnant, (but for some, not until they are around 20 weeks pregnant), you will likely start to feel your baby doing little kicks and movements (otherwise known as quickening). This will feel like a little flutter at first, as though you have a butterfly in your tummy, and will gradually become stronger and more obvious until later on you will see big lumps and bumps poking out and sometimes it may even be a little uncomfortable when your baby is strong and presses on certain areas inside you.
Whilst all of these bodily changes are going on you will want to be thinking about your work situation, when you want to start your maternity leave, whether you want to return to work. You will want to start preparing things for the arrival of the baby.
There is a lot that you will need, especially if this is your first baby, and it can cost a lot of money, but many things can be bought second hand.
To make life easier, I have put together some really helpful checklists covering items you will need once your new baby arrives.
I looked into different prams that were around and when I’d decided what I wanted I spent a few weeks checking Ebay for the one I wanted. I eventually found exactly what I wanted, it was second hand but in spotless condition, and I got it for a fraction of the original price. I have had dozens of compliments about my pram and people can’t believe that it’s second hand, so it’s definitely worth looking around if money is a bit tight.
You will want to think about where you want to have your baby, in a hospital, a community maternity unit, or at home.
Many women think of different things they would or would not like to happen during their labour, you can right these up in a birth plan so that your wishes are made clear. If you're not sure what to write, have a look at my sample birth plan to give you some ideas.
Towards the end of your pregnancy you will also have your hospital bag to pack ready for when you go into labour. It can be a worry when you are not sure what to include in this or what you will need so here is a useful list of items you will need for your labour.
If you go past your due date and nothing happens, you may start to feel fed up, just wanting your baby to arrive. You may consider some natural ways to induce labour.
As each week goes by it’s really nice to know what is going on with your baby and how things are developing. Have a look at my week by week guide to your pregnancy to help you to know what to expect and what is going on inside you as your pregnancy progresses.
So there is an overview of some of the things you will be experiencing and will need to keep in mind during your pregnancy. It’s a massive change you are undergoing and so many questions and worries can crop up, it’s good to know as much as you can about what to expect.
Some women really enjoy being pregnant, especially when the sickness and tiredness wear off and they feel that they are healthy and blooming.
When normally we would hate the thought of becoming increasingly thick around the waist, the appearance of the baby bump can be very exciting and a cause for pride. I know I wanted to show off my bump as much as possible.
There are some women, though, that really do not enjoy the whole experience. Just bear in mind that we are all different. Don’t feel bad if you are struggling to enjoy your pregnancy, just try to focus on the positive, that all these changes and symptoms are leading to a little miracle, a little person that your heart will be bound up with and will bring you so much joy.
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