Natural Pregnancy — General Pregnancy Info

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Prenatal Testing and Ultrasound 0

prenatal testing and ultrasoundAuthor: Mandy Robinson With advances in technology, even if there was a problem with the prenatal development of your baby, doctors are able to respond sooner. This is all made possible due to technologies such as prenatal testing and ultrasound. It is a common misconception that pregnancy testing takes place only once, at the beginning of your pregnancy. Nothing could be further from the truth - from ultrasounds to blood tests, you will be bombarded with test after test up until even the very morning of your delivery date. 1. Primary Testing Quite a lot of blood work is performed initially for various reasons including whether you are Rh negative or positive, your immunity to viruses such as rubella, and whether you have a more serious condition such as hepatitis B, or HIV. At this initial visit you will also receive a physical and internal examination to check your capability for giving birth, and if necessary, a PAP smear. 2. Ultrasound Ultrasound, unfortunately, is not merely a tool that allows the mother to see her child before it is born, or to determine the sex of the child prior to childbirth. The real purpose of an ultrasound is to detect fetal development problems in advance or to pinpoint potential delivery problems such as placenta previa. Don't worry, however, this is actually a routine procedure carried out at 18 weeks for all pregnant women. Ultrasounds can:
  • Determine early the gender of the baby
  • Measure the placenta
  • Check embryonic fluid composition
  • Ensure the umbilical cord is not causing any complications
  • Ensure there is no internal bleeding
3. Gestational Diabetes Testing for gestational diabetes is carried out on all pregnant women during their second trimester. This primarily involves fasting until the test, then drinking a special glucose drink, waiting a specified period of time and then checking the blood sugar level with a simple finger prick blood test. If the blood sugar levels are off the charts then you will have to go for additional blood testing at a later date. 4. Amniocentesis You are only eligible for this level of testing if you are over 35 years of age or if you have a medical history in your family such as Down's syndrome. Usually carried out between 14 and 20 weeks of pregnancy, there is a slight risk of miscarriage as a result of this test so it is not compulsory. 5. Chorionic Villus Sampling The most feared and invasive of all pregnancy tests, this is an exhausting test for a woman to endure. Carried out between weeks 10 and 13 of pregnancy. This test is only carried out when there is an absolutely urgent need to determine the health status of the baby. About the author: For more great pregnancy related articles and resources check out great-pregnancy.info Sheryl's comment: Please do not assume that just because these tests are routine that they are safe. They are certainly not natural. If you love your child with your whole heart and there is no way you would terminate your pregnancy despite Down's syndrome or some other condition, then refuse the CVS or the amniocentisis (unless you are really concerned about your OBGYN's Mercedes payment).   Image Source: http://flickr.com/photos/sunshinedays/400372857/

Pregnancy Week By Week 4

There are three stages of pregnancy. These are the first, second and third trimesters. The first trimester runs from week one to week fourteen, the second covers weeks 15 - 26, then the third is weeks 27 - 40. Week 1 and 2: This is actually before you get pregnant. It's the stage where your body prepares itself by ovulating. It is right around day 14 that the egg is fertilized by the sperm Week 3: The fertilized egg now moves down the fallopian tubes, fluid passes into the ball of cells, dividing them into two. The inner cells will form your baby and the outer cells will form the placenta. Your body, at this stage, is still unaware that it is pregnant. The implantation begins as the cell ball reaches the wall of the uterus. In this process the cells actually bury into the uterus wall, which can sometimes lead to you having spotting. The implanted cell ball now becomes an embryo. Week 4: This is a week of rapid development, and your body now realizes it is pregnant. The amniotic sac and cavity begin to develop and also the Yoke sac appears (this will later form the baby's digestive system). The placenta now starts to form where implantation took place and blood from you will now go into the placenta. It is usually about day 27 that you start to feel morning sickness. Week 5: The primitive streak (the fore runner of the brain and spinal cord) is now developing. Through this primitive streak the cells will develop into three layers: * The endoderm: the bottom layer - develops the glands, lung linings, tongue, bladder, digestive tract, tonsils, urethra and associated glands. * The mesoderm: the middle layer - forms the muscles, bones, heart, lungs, spleen, blood cells, and the reproductive and excretory systems. * The ectoderm: the top layer - forming the skin, nails, hair, eye lens, nose, mouth, anus, tooth enamel, pituitary gland, mammary glands, and all parts of the nervous system. Other cells will be starting to develop the spine (called the notochord). The first steps towards forming the embryos head, and the first formation of the babies blood cells happen this week. Week 6: The first few days of this week is when your baby's heart starts beating. The aorta (the largest artery in the whole body) will be starting to form at around day 40. By mid week many organs are starting to form: eyes, arm buds, liver, gall bladder, stomach and intestines, lungs and pancreas. Week 7: This is a busy week for your growing baby. During this week your baby will double in size. The lenses of the eyes are developing and there is also a recognizable tongue. The legs and arms are developing into paddles, the jaws are now visible. Week 8: The cerebellum starts to form this week. That's the part of the brain responsible for the movement of muscles. Also hand and foot plates, elbow and wrist areas are forming. Towards the end of the eight week the hand plate has formed ridges where the fingers will be. There is further development of the eye; pigment is now appearing on the retina. Teeth buds are now forming within the gums, along with the wind pipe, bronchi, and voice box. The heart is now starting to develop the four chambers. Week 9: Your baby is now starting to form cartilage and bones. During this week the ovaries will develop into the sex organ determining whether you're having a boy or a girl. The fingers and thumbs are now taking shape. Also the baby is now becoming more active. Week 10: It's now that your embryo has become a baby, all be it on a rather small scale. There is a fully formed upper lip. The development of the heart now slows as it is past the critical stage. By mid week the earlobes are fully formed. Toes start to develop on the foot plate. As the bones of the palate (roof of the mouth) start to fuse together, the tongue starts to develop taste buds. Week 11: As the morning sickness starts to subside, you may feel your appetite increase. Your baby's body starts to straighten. In males the penis is now distinguishable and in females the vagina is beginning to develop. This stage is where the baby starts to show individuality, as the muscle structure varies in each baby. Week 12: Your baby will start to develop fingernails over the next three weeks. The brain is now the same structure as it will be at birth. By the end of the week, the gall bladder and pancreas will be fully developed. Also the baby will now be opening and closing its mouth. Week 13: This week vocal chords will form in the larynx. Also the intestines will move from the umbilical cord into the abdomen, and will start to form folds and become lined with villi. Week 14: You may have noticed some changes to the areola (the area around your nipple); it may be getting larger and darker. Your baby's heart beat will now be able to be heard using a Doppler. Breathing, sucking and swallowing motions will be being practiced. The breathing practices will take the amniotic fluid in and out of the lungs. Baby's hand also becomes more functional. Week 15: The baby's neck is now defined, with the head now resting on the neck rather than the shoulders. The hair pattern of the baby will be defined by the 102nd day of the pregnancy your baby will now be able to turn its head, open its mouth, kick, press its lips together and turn its feet. Week 16: This week the baby's toe nails will start to grow. The muscles will be growing stronger and the neck and head are growing straighter. As the uterus starts moving upwards you may start showing more, but this does mean less pressure on your bladder, making you feel like urinating less. Week 17: Your baby will be working on more reflexes this week; blinking, sucking, and swallowing. Development is carrying on with all the existing structures. Through the course of this month your baby's weight will increase 6 times. Week 18: By mid week your baby's eyes and ears will now be in the right places. The finger tips and toes will develop pads, and toe and finger prints will start to develop later in the week. Myelinization, a process of coating the nerves with a fatty substance called myelin which speeds up nerve cell transmission and insulates nerves, will start happening this week. Also by the second day of this week meconium (faecal waste) will start developing in the baby's bowels. Week 19: A creamy looking substance that covers the baby's body, vernix coseosa, will start to form. This protects the baby and its developing glands and sensory cells. If you're having a baby girl primitive egg cells are now developed in the ovaries, in fact females are born with all the eggs their ovaries will ever have. Week 20: Most of the major development has now taken place, and the danger zone of the first three months is now over. Your baby will be waking and sleeping, just as newborns do. Also the formation of fine scalp hair and eyebrows will begin. Week 21: Your body is replacing the amniotic fluid very three hours at this stage of your pregnancy. Baby's leg and arm movements increase as the muscles and bones become stronger. By the end of the week a stethoscope will be able to detect the baby's heart beat. Week 22: If the baby is a boy, the testes will start to move from the pelvic area into the scrotum. The hair on the head and eyebrows is now visible as white and short. Week 23: The bones in the middle ear start hardening making the conduction of sound possible. The baby will start to gain some considerable weight between now and next month. The size of the baby's body will start to get into proportion though the head will remain larger than the rest of the body. Week 24: The skin of your baby is wrinkled, but will smooth out as fat is deposited. Also by the end of this week the baby's heart beat is so strong it is some times possible to hear it by placing an ear on your stomach. Week 25: Baby's skin is now turning a reddish/pink as capillaries start to develop. The nostrils will now start to open, as they have been plugged unto now. The lungs will start developing blood vessels and the finger and toe nails will now be covering half the nail bed. Week 26: With the nostrils now open, muscular breathing will start. By the end of the week the lungs will be secreting surfactant, a substance which prevents the lung tissue sticking together. Also with the formation of blood vessels in the lungs, they will now also be developing air sacks. Brain wave activity starts this week for auditory and visual activity. Week 27: Bumping and thumping is becoming stronger as your baby grows stronger, you should be feeling around 10 kicks in a two hour period. Baby's lungs are growing rapidly and there is continual development with brain patterns. Week 28: This is when the eyelids un-fuse and open up. Muscle tone is improving, and the lungs are capable of breathing air. The chances of a baby being born premature from now on, has a greatly improved chance of surviving. Week 29: Eye lashes have now grown, and although still unable to focus, baby's eyes are now sensitive to dark and light. At this stage of pregnancy the senses of sound, smell and taste are developing. By the end of the week your baby will be able to move its eyes in their sockets. Week 30: Baby is now storing up nutrients taken in by you. Calcium for skeletal development, protein for growth and iron for blood cells. By the end of the week the languno (the small hairs that covered the baby's body), is nearly all gone apart from some patches on the shoulders and back. Week 31: As the actual growth starts to slow down, the internal organs are still maturing, so make sure your still getting enough folic acid, iron and calcium. Should your baby be born this week they would have the ability to breath, see, listen learn and remember. Week 32: The baby's iris is now reacting to light. All five senses are now registering with your baby, although smell is limited as baby can't breathe air in the uterus. Week 33: Your baby may now be sucking its fingers. Constipation could be starting for you as your uterus puts more and more pressure on your bowels. Week 34: The pigment of the eyes is not quite fully developed yet, this leaves the eyes looking blue regardless of final colour. And this week your baby will start to develop its own immune system. Week 35: In baby boys the decent of the testes will complete any time now. Your baby may now shift into your pelvis in a head down position, but not all babies do this before birth. Week 36: Dimples on the elbows and knees will be forming as well as creases in the neck area due to continual deposits of fat. Also this fat will help baby maintain its body temperature. Week 37: Around 85% of babies are born within two weeks of their actual due date (either before or after), so as you enter this stage be aware for signs of labour. The baby is practicing being more aware of its surroundings; this is the 'orientating response'. This is where the baby will turn towards any source of light. The end of this week marks the end of development, growth will now slow down. Week 38: Meconium is accumulating in the intestines. Meconium is a dark green mass of waste product and cells from the gall bladder, liver and pancreas. Although shortly after birth this will all come out. Week 39: As the baby is settling into your pelvis, you maybe feeling clumsy and off balance. This is because your center of gravity shifts. Make sure you're prepared for your trip to the hospital. Week 40: Welcome to the final week, that's if you have not given birth already. Your body will be giving the baby antibodies so it can protect its self from many diseases. The baby will finish dropping into its resting place before birth. Congratulations and welcome to your newborn child. Author: Alien. About the author: Alien writes for pregnancy tests, eye stye, and women health blog Image Source: http://flickr.com/photos/stroudlisa/70570796/

Ten Skin Problems of Pregnancy 3

skin problems of pregnancyAuthor: Ally McNeal Pregnancy brings with it many changes, emotionally, physically, and mentally. From a mental and emotional standpoint, you're preparing to adopt a new role of parent, with all its accompanying responsibilities. Physically, of course, you're dealing with changes in the shape, function, and movement of your body. While we have a society-wide belief that pregnant women are always glowing, that, unfortunately, is not always the case. No where is this more evident than when you experience skin problems while you should be enjoying your pregnancy. You've probably heard the phrase, "the eyes are the window to the soul". If this is true, your skin is the window to your current state of health and the changes taking place on the inside. During pregnancy, aside from all the other issues, you may also have to deal with a variety of skin changes, including rashes, acne, stretch marks, breaking nails, hair growth or loss, and dark blotches on the skin. Most of these changes are directly linked to the enormous amount of hormonal fluctuations women experience during pregnancy. During pregnancy, there are all kinds of changes which can have impact on your skin, leading to new skin problems or worsening of existing ones. In some cases, pregnancy may actually help improve existing skin conditions. Let's look at various skin conditions in more detail, defining the main ten skin problems of pregnancy. 1) Rashes. Rashes appear due to irritation of the skin. One common pregnancy rash is called pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy (PUPPP). This is the most frequently seen condition specific to pregnancy. Women with PUPPP demonstrate a rash which starts on the abdomen and can spread to the breasts, arms, thighs, and buttocks. 2) Acne. Acne is another skin condition that may get better or worse during pregnancy. Acne is, at least in part, driven by hormones, so the hormones of pregnancy can lead to more breakouts for some women, and clearer skin for others. 3) Oily skin. Oily skin is third skin condition which may arise during pregnancy. This is related to increased levels of androgen, the male sex hormone, which causes an increase in sebum production. The more sebum produced, the oilier the skin. Many women report that their skin and hair becomes oilier during pregnancy. Most of the time, these issues can be addressed with over the counter oil controlling cleansers and products. 4) Stretch marks. The fourth skin problem of pregnancy, stretch marks arise when the under layers of the skin is stretched, resulting in visible striations on the surface of the skin. Stretch marks can be treated after the fact, but the best treatment is always prevention. Keeping your skin well moisturized, especially on your tummy, breasts, thighs, can help reduce the appearance of stretch marks. 5) Spider angiomas. These are another possible skin problem of pregnancy. Spider angiomas are groups of very tiny blood vessels which gather around a central point and radiate out like the legs of a spider. Pregnant women are likely to develop these on their chest, faces, arms, and sometimes on other places on the body. Most of these spider angiomas clear up after pregnancy. 6) Chloasma. Chloasma, also called melasma, or the "mask of pregnancy" is another skin condition which is diagnosed when certain areas of the skin turn darker because of excess pigmentation. Most often, this condition affects places of the skin which are most often exposed to sun, like the upper lip, forehead, cheeks. This condition is likely to clear up after pregnancy. Again, you can lessen your chances of chloasma by using a good (baby safe) doctor recommended sunscreen throughout the course of your pregnancy. 7) Excess hair. Changes in the hair are also common during pregnancy. Some women lose a lot of hair within a few months after delivery, while many are troubled with excess hair growth during pregnancy. Excess hair growth is most often seen on the lip and chin, and is triggered by an increase in androgen and other male hormones during pregnancy. 8) Brittle nails. Many women experience breaking, splitting, or brittleness to their nails during pregnancy. Physicians aren't quite sure why this occurs, but it may be managed with an over the counter nail hardening polish. Check with your doctor. 9) Skin tags. Skin tags are little pieces of skin which over-grow and hang from the neck. These can increase in number during pregnancy. If you have skin tags before pregnancy, then pregnancy may cause them to increase. 10) Atopic dermatitis. Also known as eczema, this skin condition may appear or worsen during pregnancy. Marked by extreme skin itchiness, too much scratching can lead to the skin become red, swollen, or cracked. If you are pregnant, be sure to watch for these ten skin problems of pregnancy. If you begin to develop any of these conditions, seek appropriate medical advice; you don't have to suffer through these conditions for the whole nine months. Chances are that your doctor will have recommendations which can address your skin problems so you can have healthy, beautiful skin, even while you're pregnant. About the author: Ally McNeal loves learning and teaching about skin care. Image Source: http://flickr.com/photos/cosmic_bandita/2272821483/

Should You Keep a Weekly Pregnancy Calendar? 4

weekly pregnancy calendarMotherhood is an exciting journey. There is so much to learn during this journey and at the same time there is so much to enjoy as well. A weekly pregnancy calendar can help you to understand the growth of your fetus in a better way. If you maintain a weekly calendar you are able to record the important dates - when the morning sickness arrived (or hopefully did not), the changes in your body and breasts, when you started feeling weary, when the baby started kicking, when your tentative due date is, etc. In fact, instead of being anxious you can start enjoying every sign of pregnancy if you maintain a pregnancy journal. There are many sites, which offer a free weekly pregnancy calendar, which help you chart the growth of your baby, week by week. They also guide you about the nutritious food you should eat at every juncture of your pregnancy. They often offer prenatal fitness instructions and tips as well. One site on the internet, Pregnancy.org, has divided pregnancy into trimesters. It guides you through all the important aspects of pregnancy. According to a Chinese calendar you can even predict the gender of your baby, if you calculate the date of delivery according to the calculation given there, using your age and the date of conception. A pregnancy journal can also be a revelation for the father of the baby. It entails all the physical symptoms experienced by the mother, during the nine months of pregnancy as well as records the week-by-week growth of the baby. A pregnancy calendar is a chronological record of the growth of the fetus into a baby, therefore a pregnancy calendar helps in the calculation of the due date of the baby. Usually, the calculation starts from the last period of the mother and extends for the next forty weeks. During the critical last weeks of the pregnancy when everybody is on tenterhooks with anxiety, if you are unsure of the delivery date, you may fall prey to a condition known as 'false labor', wherein, you experience false pains in the body and abdomen similar to when you actually deliver. These contractions can easily be mistaken for labor pains and a carefully maintained pregnancy calendar may help you distinguish between real and false labor. Keeping a pregnancy journal is not only fun but it can help you remember those fleeting magical moments of pregnancy forever. Try to remember to record what you are thinking and feeling and not just the time and date of the memorable moments. Your pregnancy journal can be something that you share with loved ones and even your child someday. You may choose to keep your pregnancy journal as an online blog or diary. Many services offer free blogs (like Blogger) and they are very easy to set up. That way you can keep digital photos of your changing body and make it easy to share with anyone who is interested, no matter how far away they live. One last benefit of a pregnancy journal is that it may come in handy if you are in need of medical care. While I advocate taking control of your pregnancy and even doing your own prenatal care, there are situations where some women will need to seek professional medical care and in that case they will most certainly be interested in your medical history. You can record your own blood pressure, weight and blood sugar levels right in your pregnancy journal. For instructions on how to do your own prenatal care, please visit Unhindered Living.com Author: Alien Sheng About the author: Alien writes for Early pregnancy signs Image Source: http://flickr.com/photos/ke-ta/484850435/

Those Miraculous Pregnancy Months 1

Pregnancy Months Learn what happens in this brief overview of the pregnancy months. Month One By the time you miss your period and find out that you are actually pregnant, a tiny embryo that will become your baby has formed and begins growing at an incredibly rapid rate. In fact, the embryo is now 10,000 times larger than a single fertilized egg. The placenta, baby's heart, spinal cord, and digestive system are all beginning to develop. Month Two By the end of this month, the embryo has grown to approximately 1 inch long. The heart is now functioning, and facial features are beginning to appear. While the embryo is moving, you will not feel anything for another couple of months. Month Three The embryo is officially called a fetus and measures almost 3 inches in length. His or her arms, legs, hands, and feet are fully formed. At this stage you can probably detect a heartbeat using a device called a Doppler. Month Four Growth continues rapidly, and your baby's gender is now determinable. While looking human in appearance at this point, your baby will still need much more time before he or she could survive outside of your body. Month Five At about 10 inches long, your baby is beginning to grow hair, eyelashes, and eyebrows. He or she is also growing a type of fine hair called lanugo that will cover the body until it is shed shortly before or after birth. Month Six Fetal movement is becoming more and more pronounced as muscles strengthen. Eyelids begin to part and the eyes will open occasionally. Also, hearing has developed to the point of being able to hear sounds from outside of the womb. Month Seven The average seven-month-old fetus is 15 inches long and over two lbs. in weight. If born at this stage, your baby would be premature but would have a good chance of survival. Month Eight Growth is especially rapid this month, with tremendous development of the brain, lungs, and other organs. Your baby will most likely turn head down during this time to prepare for delivery. Month Nine Congratulations! Your baby is ready to be born. He or she likely weighs between 6 and 9 lbs and measure 18 to 22 inches in length. The lungs and other organs are completely mature and the skin is pink and smooth. Don't forget that most babies are not born on their exact due date and there is no benefit to rushing it. Anytime from the 38th to the 42nd week of pregnancy is optimal. Author: Julian Hall About the author: Julian Hall of GiftBabies.co.uk and The Baby Gifts Company - The Most Unique, Innovative Gift Ideas for Babies, Christening Gifts, Newborn Gifts, Personalized Gifts, Organic Clothing, Nappies, Blankets, New Baby Gifts Image Source: http://flickr.com/photos/hennasooq/306640571/