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Month-by -Month guide for pregnant woman

Posted by Elizebath Bijoy Thursday, February 10, 2011


Learning you are pregnant is a joyous occasion. For the next nine months, you will go through many changes. Although each woman’s pregnancy is different, this month-by-month guide can help you plan for some of the changes that may occur.

Months One, Two, and Three

Your body
By the end of the third month, you may have gained several pounds. You may feel very tired due to hormonal changes. Plan to get extra rest, sneaking in naps when you can, and slow down. You should feel more energetic by the end of the third month.

You may need to urinate more frequently now. This is common during the first trimester of pregnancy and again right before your baby is born.

For greater comfort, start wearing loosely fitting clothes.

See your health care provider by the second month to confirm your pregnancy. Regular check-ups will be scheduled for your prenatal care.

Your diet
Calcium is very important for both your and your baby’s bones and teeth. An easy way to include calcium in your diet is to drink and eat pasteurized dairy products, such as milk, cheese, yogurt and ice cream.

Eat plenty of raw fruits and vegetables, whole grain breads and bran cereal to make sure your bowel movements are regular. Be sure to drink plenty of water.

Your feelings
Talk to your partner about how you are feeling. Ask for help, especially if you are tired. During this time you may feel overweight and clumsy. Remember the extra weight is preparing your body for pregnancy and breastfeeding.

During pregnancy, it is common to have mood swings in your feelings about sex. It is not harmful to have sexual relations during pregnancy, but check with your health care provider about sexual activity during this time.

From our health libary
Pregnancy: First Trimester

Month Four

Your body
You may notice that you have more energy. Nausea and fatigue may stop. You may also notice that your belly looks larger because the baby has grown.

Your diet
During pregnancy, your need for iron increases. To be sure you get enough iron, eat lean, red meats, leafy green vegetables, whole grain breads, dried fruits and beans.

Childbirth preparation classes
Childbirth classes should begin in month seven. Register now since classes often fill up early.

Month Five

Your body
Changes in your circulation require that you stand and move often. Continue to do this throughout the remainder of your pregnancy. Your breasts may begin to leak a yellowish fluid called colostrum in preparation for breastfeeding. You may begin to feel the baby move during this month.

Your diet
Be sure to eat food rich in Vitamin C. Your body does not store Vitamin C, so it is important to get a fresh supply every day. Good sources of Vitamin C are oranges, broccoli and tomatoes.

Choosing a health care provider for your baby
Before you are admitted to the hospital, you need to decide who will care for your baby after the delivery. This is a good time in your pregnancy to start looking for a health care provider for your baby if you have not already chosen one. Talk to your friends and ask them if they are happy with the health care provider who cares for their children. Many pediatricians and family care physicians will meet with you before your baby is born and let you interview them. It is a good idea to select someone close to where you live.

Month Six

Your body
You may gain 3 to 4 pounds this month. Your feet may swell during the latter stages of pregnancy. Putting your feet up may help reduce any ankle swelling. Shop for wide, comfortable shoes, preferably with a flat heel.

Your diet
You may crave certain foods or find that other foods smell or taste bad, even if you liked them before you were pregnant. If this happens, try to find substitutes that provide the right nutrients.

Hospital pre-registration
If you have not already pre-registered at the hospital where you will deliver, this is a good time to do so. If you are delivering at a Sutter Health hospital, you can pre-register online at www.babies.sutterhealth.org/delivering/onlinereg.html. If you are delivering at a non-Sutter Health hospital, check with your health care provider or call the hospital directly for pre-registration information.

From our health libary
Pregnancy: Second Trimester

Month Seven

Your body
You may gain 3 to 4 pounds this month. You may tire more easily. Again, ask for help. If you work, try to work shorter hours or arrange for a more flexible schedule if possible. Rest when you can.

Your feelings
Mood swings and increased irritability are common during the last three months of pregnancy. Be sure to discuss your feelings with your partner.

Childbirth preparation classes
Begin childbirth preparation classes with your partner. These classes provide useful information on labor and birth and what to expect during your delivery.

From our health libary
Pregnancy: Third Trimester

Month Eight

Your body
You may gain 3 to 4 pounds this month. Increases in frequency of urination, backaches, anxiety, heartburn and shortness of breath occur at this time. Shop for larger maternity clothes, if necessary. You will be growing quite a bit these last few weeks.

Your diet
What you eat is still important. If you have trouble sleeping, try drinking something warm and lying on your side with pillows to support your body. Taking a warm shower before bed can also help you relax and make you sleepy.

Month Nine

Your body
You may gain 3 to 4 pounds this month. Your stomach may change shape as the baby begins to position itself for birth. It may be easier to breathe now, but you may have to urinate more often. Get plenty of rest!

Hospital stay
Make arrangements for your hospital stay. Keep important phone numbers and papers close by. Pack your bag for the hospital, and plan how you will get there at different times of the day or night. Make sure you have everything you will need when you come home from the hospital, such as food and diapers.

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