Saturday, November 15, 2008

Top 10 Signs of Pregnancy

Am I pregnant? Pregnancy symptoms start to occur one week after the conception when the fertilized egg attaches itself to the uterine wall. But it is possible to not see any pregnancy signs for several weeks and only notice it when you miss your period and start wondering “Could I be pregnant”? Here is a list of top 10 signs of pregnancy which will help you figure out if you are pregnant. You may not notice all or any of the symptoms but the more symptoms means there are more chances of you being pregnant.

1. Positive Home pregnancy test – If you have done a home pregnancy test and it turns out to be positive then you are most likely to be pregnant. A home pregnancy test works by testing the pregnancy hormone hcg (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) in the urine. It can be accurate as early as 10 to 14 days after conception. Since the first pee in the morning is most concentrated, it gives the best results of pregnancy test.

2. Missed periods – This is the most common first sign of the pregnancy that women notice. A missed period might be for other reasons including any hormone imbalance, sickness, stress, fatigue, medications, but if you are the one who always have regular periods then its good time to take a home pregnancy test. It should be done one week after you have missed your periods for most accuracy.

3. Nausea – Nausea and vomiting are other common symptoms of pregnancy. While it is called “Morning Sickness” also, it can occur any time of the day. It generally occurs after a month of conception and lasts till the first trimester is over. But many women report no nausea at all in the whole pregnancy and for some it appears late.

4. Sore Breasts – If you are pregnant, then your breasts will be very sensitive in the first trimester. They become tender and swollen similar to the way they feel before periods. It is normal to feel pain to the touch.

5. Darker Areolas – An areola is the dark area around the nipple. It becomes darker soon after the conception. You might see some bumps also on the areola which is also normal.

6. Feeling exhausted – Feeling tired and fatigued all the time is one more sign of pregnancy. Though It might not be seen as much of a sign alone, it might make you say more often “not now honey, I m tired”. It is caused by rapidly changing hormones in the body.

7. What’s that nasty smell? – Do you say that every time you go near the kitchen? Pregnancy can increase the sensitivity to smell and it might be in a funny way. You might not like the odor of your favorite food now and may be craving for something you hated before. Luckily, this sign also lasts till first trimester is over and then the food cravings start in the 2nd trimester.

8. Implantation Bleeding – As the egg implants itself to the uterine lining, it might discharge some blood. Don’t confuse it with periods. The implantation bleeding is very light and slightly pink or brown in color. It might cause some cramping and bloated feeling too as it feels in periods.

9. Frequent Urination – The release of pregnancy hormone “hcg” caused by the implantation of embryo results in the frequent urge to urinate. As the baby grows in the uterus, the bladder becomes smaller and the trips to the restroom increases.

10. Constipation – This is another sign of pregnancy. Due to the change in hormones the intestines relax and the digestive system does not function properly. You might consider taking some laxatives.

If you are able to relate to one or more of the symptoms stated above, you are most likely to be in the family way. It’s time to make an appointment with your doctor to confirm the good news.

What happens in the first prenatal visit?

Monday, November 3, 2008

Pregnancy Exam - first prenatal visit

If you have missed your period, feel nauseous, experiencing frequent mood swings, having loss of appetite and feeling tired very often then Congratulations! You are pregnant. Still not sure about it? A Home pregnancy test should help.

Pregnancy is the most wonderful experience in a woman’s life. The day I noticed I had missed my periods, I knew I was pregnant as I had never missed it by a single day. I remember how excited I was to have a tiny life in my belly. But at the same time very nervous and anxious too. My husband was overjoyed with the news. He called his insurance provider to find out an in-network provider near our place and took an appointment for one week after. We didn’t want to tell anyone else before confirming with the doctor. I was wondering how my pregnancy exam is going to be. Let me share with you my experience of my first prenatal visit.

1. General Info - As you go to the clinic or hospital and ask the attendant about your appointment, she will give a detailed form to fill which requires a lot of information about you. This includes some general information as your age, weight, height etc.

2. Date of the last menstrual cycle - is needed to calculate the due date. As per the pregnancy calculator the due date is calculated as 3 months back from the date of first day of the last menstrual cycle and adding 7 days to it or in other words 40 weeks after the first day of the last menstrual cycle. Click here to know your due date.

3. Insurance details - like insurance provider name, address and your insurance plan. Keep the insurance card handy for this. You might need to pay the copay also if it is in the plan. However for pregnancy, some insurance plans require a global payment to be made only once after the delivery of the baby that includes the payment of all visits as well as the labor and delivery charges. My husband had this option in his plan so we didn’t have to pay any copay in any visit. So just try to get as much info about your plan as possible.

4. Medical history - As your doctor will be your point of contact for most of the queries in future, this is the time to give all your hgbmedical history incluing your family history and the father’s side family history of chronicle illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure., allergy to any drugs, mental disorder etc.

5. Weight Check & Urine Sample- After you fill the detailed form, the nurse will measure your weight which btw is checked in each visit to know if the growth of the baby is normal Total weight gain in a pregnancy is usually between 25 to 35 pounds.
Then you will provide your urine sample that they test immediately to confirm the pregnancy and to test the presence of any bacterial infection. Urine sample is also taken in each visit.

6. Physical Exam - After that your clinician will do a complete physical exam of breasts and reproductive organs i.e. vagina, cervix, and uterus to check the symptoms of pregnancy and the strength of reproductive organs to hold the baby. Soon after the conception the breasts become soft to the touch and fuller as well. The cervix also softens as it starts retaining more fluid.

7. Pap Test - She might also take a pap smear or a pap test as it is called if it was not done in the last one year.

8. Blood Test - Your blood sample will be taken to test the count of hemoglobin. As the baby gets oxygen from the hemoglobin in your blood if the count is low or in other words you are anemic, your physician might suggest some iron supplements. If there is not a lab in the same facility, your physician will prescribe to take a blood test elsewhere.

There might be some more or less procedures according to your age, medical history or other factors. So be prepared with the information your clinician will need in your first visit and any specific questions you would like to ask. Once again, many congratulations and best wishes to soon to be mom.