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Pregnancy

Duration of Pregnancy

Pregnancy lasts about 40 weeks, counting from the first day of the last normal period.
The weeks are grouped into three trimesters.
It is important to remember that due dates are not exact. It is common for women to deliver from two weeks before to two weeks after their due date.
<h4>What are the early signs of pregnancy?</h4>

  •  Missed period
  • Fatigue
  • Food aversions
  • Sensitivity to smells
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Breast swelling and tenderness
  • Frequent urination
  • Shortness of breath
  • Mood swings
  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Weight gain or loss

Make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible!

</h4>Prenatal Care</h4>

During pregnancy, regular prenatal visits are very important.
Typically, routine checkups occur:
Once each month for weeks four through 28
Twice a month for weeks 28 through 36
Weekly for weeks 36 to birth
Women with high-risk pregnancies need to see their doctors more often.

During the first prenatal visit, you can expect your doctor to:

  •  Ask about your health history and your family´s health history
  • Do a complete physical exam, including a pelvic exam and Pap test
  • Take your blood and urine for lab work
  • Check your blood pressure, height, and weight
  • Calculate your due date
  • Provide you with lifestyle advices

Later prenatal visits will probably be shorter. Most prenatal visits will include:

  •  Checking your blood pressure
  • Measuring your weight gain
  • Measuring your abdomen to check your baby’s growth
  • Checking the baby´s heart rate
  • Urine testings

Routine tests during pregnancy:

  •   Blood type
  • Complete blood count
  • Screening for Hepatitis B and C, HIV and syphilis
  • Rubella and Toxoplasmosis Antibodies
  • Cervical Cytology – PAP smear
  • Screening for chlamydia and gonorrhea
  • Screening for group B Streptococcus
  • Urinalysis with culture

Special Tests During Pregnancy:

First trimester screening

  •  Between 11 and 14 weeks of pregnancy
  • Detect the risk of Down syndrome, trisomy 18 and other fetal defects
  • The blood tests measure the level of two substances in the mother´s blood:
    Pregnancy–associated plasma protein–A (PAPP–A)
    Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG)
  • The ultrasound exam measures the nuchal translucency

Second Trimester Screening

  •   Between 15 and 18 weeks of pregnancy
  •   Screen for Down syndrome, trisomy 18, and neural tube defects
  • The test measures the level of three or four of the following substances in the blood:
  1. Alpha–fetoprotein (AFP)—A substance made by a growing fetus
  2. Estriol—A hormone made by the placenta and the liver of the fetus
  3. hCG
  4. Inhibin–A–A hormone produced by the placenta.
  • The triple screen test detects Down syndrome in 70% of the cases
  • The quad screen detects Down syndrome in 80% of the cases
  • The AFP test detects neural tube defects in 80% of the cases

Amniocentesis
A procedure wich may be performed to obtain fluid from the sac surrounding the baby.
Between the 15th and 20th week, this test can be done for genetic purposes.
Later in pregnancy, it may provide information about the maturity of the baby.

Non-Stress Test (NST)
This painless test is sometimes done later in pregnancy to evaluate the health of the baby.
A fetal monitor is used to see how the baby’s heart beat responds to its’ own movements.

Ultrasound
Ultrasound can be very helpful in determining the baby’s size, position, and due date.
It also can locate the placenta and determine the amount of amniotic fluid present.
In some circumstances, it can evaluate fetal structures.
<h4>Emergencies</h4>

The following are reasons to seek immediate medical advice during pregnancy:

  •   Any fluid leaking from the vagina
  • Vaginal bleeding of any kind
  •  Bad headaches or headaches that don?t go away with simple remedies
  • Changes in vision (blurred, flashes of light or spots before your eyes)
  • Sudden weight gain
  • Severe or continual abdominal pain, not relieved by a bowel movement
  • Fever
  •  Contractions every 10 minutes or more often
  • Vomiting lasting 24 hours or more
  •  Decrease in fetal movement after the 28th week

<h4>Lifestyle advices</h4>

Drugs and safe medication
Do not take any drugs, street drugs, pills or medicines without checking first with your doctor. During the first 4 months of the pregnancy, you should avoid any medication unless approved by the doctor.
You should continue to take essential medication such as thyroid medication, anticonvulsants, and insulin, if you have been taking these prior to your becoming pregnant.
Avoid complementary therapies; few have been proven as being safe and effective during pregnancy.

Alcohol
Alcohol is a toxic substance. Avoid alcohol entirely during your pregnancy.

Smoking
Don’t smoke during pregnancy. You will avoid most of the pregnancy problems associated with smoking.

Nutritional
Supplementation with folic acid is recommended before conception and throughout the first 12 weeks.
Vitamin D intake is important during pregnancy and breastfeeding (10 micrograms per day).
Vitamin A supplementation (above 700 micrograms) is associated with an increase risk of birth defects.

Toxoplasmosis
Toxoplasmosis is an infection that may cause serious birth defects to the unborn baby. A pregnant woman may become infected if she eats raw meat or if she comes into contact with the feces of cats infected with the disease. Always cook meat thoroughly and avoid contact with cat litter boxes.

Work
It is usually safe to continue working.

Exercise
There is no risk associated with starting or continuing moderate exercise.
However, sports that may cause abdominal trauma, falls or excessive joint stress should be avoided.

Sexual intercourse
For normal pregnancies, sexual relations may be safely continued throughout pregnancy.

Air travel
Long-haul air travel is associated with an increased risk of venous thrombosis.
In the general population, compression stockings are effective in reducing the risk.

Car travel
The seat belt should go above and below the bump, not over it.

Duration of Pregnancy

Pregnancy lasts about 40 weeks, counting from the first day of the last normal period.
The weeks are grouped into three trimesters.
It is important to remember that due dates are not exact. It is common for women to deliver from two weeks before to two weeks after their due date.

What are the early signs of pregnancy?

• Missed period
• Fatigue
• Food aversions
• Sensitivity to smells
• Nausea and vomiting
• Breast swelling and tenderness
• Frequent urination
• Shortness of breath
• Mood swings
• Constipation
• Headache
• Weight gain or loss

Make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible!

Prenatal Care

During pregnancy, regular prenatal visits are very important.
Typically, routine checkups occur:
Once each month for weeks four through 28
Twice a month for weeks 28 through 36
Weekly for weeks 36 to birth
Women with high-risk pregnancies need to see their doctors more often.

During the first prenatal visit, you can expect your doctor to:
• Ask about your health history and your family´s health history
• Do a complete physical exam, including a pelvic exam and Pap test
• Take your blood and urine for lab work
• Check your blood pressure, height, and weight
• Calculate your due date
• Provide you with lifestyle advices

Later prenatal visits will probably be shorter. Most prenatal visits will include:
• Checking your blood pressure
• Measuring your weight gain
• Measuring your abdomen to check your baby’s growth
• Checking the baby´s heart rate
• Urine testing

Routine tests during pregnancy:
• Blood type
• Complete blood count
• Screening for Hepatitis B and C, HIV and syphilis
• Rubella and Toxoplasmosis Antibodies
• Cervical Cytology – PAP smear
• Screening for chlamydia and gonorrhea
• Screening for group B Streptococcus
• Urinalysis with culture

Special Tests During Pregnancy:

First trimester screening
• Between 11 and 14 weeks of pregnancy
• Detect the risk of Down syndrome, trisomy 18 and other fetal defects
• The blood tests measure the level of two substances in the mother´s blood:
Pregnancy–associated plasma protein–A (PAPP–A)
Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG)
• The ultrasound exam measures the nuchal translucency
• The combined test detects Down syndrome in about 85% of cases

Second Trimester Screening
• Between 15 and 18 weeks of pregnancy
• Screen for Down syndrome, trisomy 18, and neural tube defects
• The test measures the level of three or four of the following substances in the blood:
1. Alpha–fetoprotein (AFP)—A substance made by a growing fetus
2. Estriol—A hormone made by the placenta and the liver of the fetus
3. hCG
4. Inhibin–A–A hormone produced by the placenta.
• The triple screen test detects Down syndrome in 70% of the cases
• The quad screen detects Down syndrome in 80% of the cases
• The AFP test detects neural tube defects in 80% of the cases

Amniocentesis
A procedure wich may be performed to obtain fluid from the sac surrounding the baby.
Between the 15th and 20th week, this test can be done for genetic purposes.
Later in pregnancy, it may provide information about the maturity of the baby.

Non-Stress Test (NST)
This painless test is sometimes done later in pregnancy to evaluate the health of the baby.
A fetal monitor is used to see how the baby’s heart beat responds to its’ own movements.

Ultrasound
Ultrasound can be very helpful in determining the baby’s size, position, and due date.
It also can locate the placenta and determine the amount of amniotic fluid present.
In some circumstances, it can evaluate fetal structures.

Emergencies

The following are reasons to seek immediate medical advice during pregnancy:
• Any fluid leaking from the vagina
• Vaginal bleeding of any kind
• Bad headaches or headaches that don?t go away with simple remedies
• Changes in vision (blurred, flashes of light or spots before your eyes)
• Sudden weight gain
• Severe or continual abdominal pain, not relieved by a bowel movement
• Fever
• Burning sensation while urinating
• Contractions every 10 minutes or more often
• Vomiting lasting 24 hours or more
• Decrease in fetal movement after the 28th week

Lifestyle advices

Drugs and safe medication
Do not take any drugs, street drugs, pills or medicines without checking first with your doctor. During the first 4 months of the pregnancy, you should avoid any medication unless approved by the doctor.
You should continue to take essential medication such as thyroid medication, anticonvulsants, and insulin, if you have been taking these prior to your becoming pregnant.
Avoid complementary therapies; few have been proven as being safe and effective during pregnancy.

Alcohol
Alcohol is a toxic substance. Avoid alcohol entirely during your pregnancy.

Smoking
Don’t smoke during pregnancy. You will avoid most of the pregnancy problems associated with smoking.

Nutritional
Supplementation with folic acid is recommended before conception and throughout the first 12 weeks.
Vitamin D intake is important during pregnancy and breastfeeding (10 micrograms per day).
Vitamin A supplementation (above 700 micrograms) is associated with an increase risk of birth defects.

Toxoplasmosis
Toxoplasmosis is an infection that may cause serious birth defects to the unborn baby. A pregnant woman may become infected if she eats raw meat or if she comes into contact with the feces of cats infected with the disease. Always cook meat thoroughly and avoid contact with cat litter boxes.

Work
It is usually safe to continue working.

Exercise
There is no risk associated with starting or continuing moderate exercise.
However, sports that may cause abdominal trauma, falls or excessive joint stress should be avoided.

Sexual intercourse
For normal pregnancies, sexual relations may be safely continued throughout pregnancy.

Air travel
Long-haul air travel is associated with an increased risk of venous thrombosis.
In the general population, compression stockings are effective in reducing the risk.

Car travel
The seat belt should go above and below the bump, not over it.