Expectations for the Expecting

ExpectingPregnancy

Women who are entering pregnancy, especially the first timers, typically have a long list of questions concerning what to expect in the weeks and months ahead. Fear, anxiety and uncertainty about which pains and sensations are normal and which are not are common. Pregnancy is a learning experience for the mother and all involved, and knowing lifestyle tips surrounding pregnancy can provide a peace of mind to expecting mothers and their families.

Caffeine
Many of the prevailing pregnancy myths tell pregnant women what they shouldn’t do to keep their fetuses healthy and safe. We know alcohol and cigarette smoke can have adverse effects on a developing baby, but what about that morning cup of Joe?

It is always good to be cautious, but assuming everything is toxic to the child may have you walking on eggshells. Many doctors agree that drinking less than 200 milligrams of caffeine per day is safe and will not risk a preterm birth or contribute to low fetal birth weight.

Tooth Health
During pregnancy, increased acidity in the mouth as well as morning sickness increases the risk of tooth decay. The Mayo Clinic advises that high levels of progesterone and estrogen can affect the bones and ligaments that support the teeth, causing teeth to loosen. Hormonal changes can also lead to bleeding gums and gingivitis. Although dental health may not come up in routine prenatal exams, it is important to stay current with dental appointments during the entire pregnancy.

Super Smell
In addition to physical body changes, pregnant women may notice that their sense of smell has improved. Scientists hypothesize that this improved sense of smell helps keep pregnant women from eating small levels of toxins that may not be dangerous to an adult but could potentially prove harmful to a developing baby. Whether this is true or not, strong odors can complicate feelings of sickness.

Morning Sickness
According to PregnancyStatistics.org, about 75 percent of all pregnant women experience the unfortunate side effect of morning sickness during the beginning of their pregnancy. These feelings of nausea and uneasiness may not be reserved for the morning, either. They can occur at any time of the day. In many cases, as the pregnancy progresses and hormones level out, symptoms of morning sickness cease.

Growing Feet and More
A woman’s stomach is not the only thing that will grow during her pregnancy. Increased bra size is due to hormones preparing for lactation, which causes swelling of the mammary glands and increased blood flow to the breasts. The medical advisory board of BabyCenter.com says it’s common to go up one or two cup sizes, especially when a woman is pregnant for the first time. The breasts also may feel itchy as the skin stretches, and stretch marks can form on the breasts.

The feet also can grow while pregnant. Ligaments loosen to help with the birthing process, and this can affect ligaments in other areas of the body, including the feet. Feet may flatten and stretch out on the sides from added weight, and the resulting loosening of ligaments can cause a change in shoe size.

Fun Facts

  • Tuesday is the most popular day for babies to arrive. It could be in part to the growing number of planned cesarean deliveries. Saturdays are the slowest day for births.
  • In 1970, the average age of a first-time mother in the United States was 21. By 2012, that figure had changed to between 25 and 29.
  • The average woman’s uterus expands up to five hundred times its normal size during pregnancy.
  • Pregnancy can be a miracle and scary at the same time. Getting the facts helps reduce some of the fear and anxiety many expecting women feel during pregnancy.

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