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Pregnancy: The Basics

  • All
  • Pregnancy
  • Second Trimester
  • Third Trimester
  • COVID-19

How do I know if I’m pregnant?

You may have noticed some changes in your body that lead you to think you might be pregnant. The most noticeable is often that you’ve missed a period. Other common signs include feeling sick or nauseous, tiredness, frequent urination, constipation, or changes in your breasts (enlarged breasts, darkened nipples). To know for sure if you’re pregnant or not, you can take a home pregnancy test. Though these tests are believed to be 99% accurate when used correctly, you’ll want to confirm the results with your healthcare provider. 

Will I gain any weight during my pregnancy?

Yes. Weight gain in pregnancy is common and expected. Your body is nourishing a whole other being, so you need to make sure you are eating an extra-healthy diet full of healthy fats and other nutrients. Most women gain 22 to 26 pounds over the course of their pregnancy. Too little weight gain can negatively impact your unborn child; too much weight gain can lead to increased complications for you and the baby, such as gestational diabetes, high blood pressure problems, and increased need for a C-section. Check with your healthcare provider throughout your pregnancy to make sure you are maintaining a healthy weight for you and your baby. 

Can I exercise during my pregnancy?

Yes, with some precautions, most pregnant women can continue to do any exercise they have been doing. In fact, exercise is encouraged, as it can help you stay in top shape for labor and delivery and benefit your baby as well. Some examples of good exercises to do while pregnant include yoga, walking, jogging, and pilates. Just make sure to avoid contact sports like football, martial arts, or tennis, as well as some forms of gymnastics. This might not be a great time to start any new types of exercise, but check with your healthcare provider if you want to vary your routine.

Are there any tests that I should have during the second trimester?

Several tests that are commonly run during this time include a test for gestational diabetes, a blood count, and an ultrasound examination to monitor the baby’s development. 

Are there any physical symptoms I should be worried about?

Some warning signs during your second trimester include having more than six contractions per hour, contractions that last more than 2 hours, heavy bleeding, severe abdominal pain or headache, painful urination, shortness of breath, or chest pain. If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your healthcare provider.

Do any physical changes occur in the second trimester?

Typically, during the second trimester of pregnancy, you can expect to have mild contractions, leg cramps, lower back pain, or sometimes increased vaginal discharge.  These changes are normal and are no cause for concern. 

What should new mothers and fathers know about parenthood?

This is a question best directed towards your healthcare provider as well as family and friends. But some general advice includes stocking up on baby supplies (food, toys, diapers) as well as purchasing a baby car seat. Making sure the baby has a comfortable environment to come home to after delivery is important too. 

What are some common physical changes that happen during this time?

In the third trimester, lots of physical changes can be expected! These include hemorrhoids, swelling of the fingers and ankles, Braxton Hicks (irregular) contractions, even more frequent urination, shortness of breath, and pain or numbness in the legs. If any of these changes worry you, be sure to discuss them with your healthcare provider.

Will my emotional state change during the third trimester?

Pregnant women in their third trimester tend to have feelings of anxiousness and fear about the upcoming birth. Mood swings are common. Discuss your worries with your healthcare provider and/or with other women, as this can help calm your fears.

Can I get vaccinated for COVID-19 if I’m pregnant?

The main COVID vaccines being administered use a technology called mRNA which has not been tested in pregnant women. Experts believe that mRNA COVID-19 vaccines are not likely to pose a risk to pregnant women, but nonetheless, the pros and potential cons should be weighed with your healthcare provider. 

Can I safely deliver my baby in a hospital?

Hospitals take precautions to make sure the delivery room is germ-free, and COVID-19 patients are in a different part of the hospital from labor and delivery. You don’t have to worry about being exposed to the virus, although your hospital may not allow outside visitors to see you after delivery. 

As a pregnant woman, am I at risk for severe COVID-19?

Although COVID-19 is a new illness, research has shown that pregnant women may in fact be at higher risk for developing a severe case of COVID-19 as well as at higher risk for adverse birth outcomes. To reduce your risk of contracting COVID-19, wear a mask, avoid interacting with others, and wash your hands often. 

If I’m COVID positive and pregnant, is my child at risk?

The data suggests that while there have been cases of newborns infected with COVID-19, the vast majority do not suffer severe illness. To date, there is not enough research to determine if COVID-19 can be transmitted to an unborn child in the womb. 

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