## Pregnancy Journey

Pregnancy journey, also known as gestation, is the time during which one or more offspring develops inside a woman

## Your pregnancy in weeks and months

Calculating your pregnancy in weeks, months and trimesters can be pretty confusing for some mothers-to-be, especially if it is their first pregnancy. However, here are a few FAQs to help you understand this simple pregnancy math and calculate exactly how far you are in your pregnancy.     How many weeks, months and trimesters does a pregnancy have? A pregnancy has 40 weeks. The count of these weeks starts from the first day of your last period. Essentially, you do not come to know about week 1-4 as a pregnancy is usually detected in week 5, when mothers-to-be realize that they have missed their period. Though, there are other signs earlier on, this one is the most decisive one. A pregnancy is referred to as nine months. Four weeks is 28 days and each month, except February, is either 30 or 31 days, making it approximately 4.3 weeks long. So, if you divide 40 weeks by 4.3, you get approximately 9 months. A pregnancy has three trimesters of 13 or 14 weeks each. The first trimester is week 1-13; the second, week 14-27; and the third trimester, weeks 28-40. All pregnancies might not complete the designated 40 weeks. However, a baby born anywhere between week 37-41 would be considered a full-term baby. Why is the pregnancy counted from the first day of the last period? If possible, all pregnancies should be counted from the exact day when the baby was conceived, no? But this is not possible as most women do not know when they ovulate and on which date they had conceived the child. However, what they do know is the day when their last period began. Therefore, to simplify and universalize the count, this method of counting pregnancy weeks was adopted. What if my periods are irregular or I do not remember the date of my last period? In both these cases, the exact due date would then be provided by the first ultrasound scan, which would happen between week 10 and 12. The doctor would measure the growth of the baby to predict how far along you are in your pregnancy. Based on this, your due date would be calculated.   How is my due date calculated? The doctor counts 280 days or 40 weeks from the first day of your last period to arrive at your due date. However, remember that the due date is just an estimate and less than 5 percent of babies are actually born on their due date. Babies usually make an appearance between weeks 37 and 42. My doctor says that I am 14 weeks pregnant and my scan doctor says that I am in the 15th week of my pregnancy. Who is right? Actually, both are right. When you are in the 15th week of pregnancy, you have completed 14 weeks and are yet to complete the 15th week. Therefore, both, being 14 weeks pregnant and being in the 15th week of pregnancy, are correct. Featured Image Source

11 Saves

2 Saves

## Causes and prevention of varicose veins during pregnancy

Varicose veins, also known as varicoses or varicosities, occur when your veins become enlarged, dilated, and overfilled with blood. Varicose veins typically appear swollen and raised, and have a bluish-purple or red color. They are often painful. The condition is very common, especially in women. Around 25 percent of all adults have varicose veins. In most cases, varicose veins appear on the lower legs. Causes of varicose veins Varicose veins occur when veins aren’t functioning properly. Veins have one-way valves that prevent blood from flowing backward. When these valves fail, blood begins to collect in the veins rather than continuing toward your heart. The veins then enlarge. Varicose veins often affect the legs. The veins there are the farthest from your heart, and gravity makes it harder for the blood to flow upward. Some potential causes for varicose veins include: Pregnancy Menopause Age over 50 Standing for long periods of time Obesity Family history of varicose veins Symptoms of varicose veins The primary symptoms of varicose veins are highly visible, misshapen veins, usually on your legs. You may also have pain, swelling, heaviness, and achiness over or around the enlarged veins. In some cases, you can develop swelling and discoloration. In severe cases, the veins can bleed significantly, and ulcers can form. Diagnosing varicose veins Your doctor will likely examine your legs and visible veins while you’re sitting or standing to diagnose varicose veins. They may ask you about any pain or symptoms you’re having. Your doctor may also want to do an ultrasound to check your blood flow. This is a noninvasive test that uses high-frequency sound waves. It allows your doctor to see how blood is flowing in your veins. Home remedies Measures can be taken at home to improve pain and prevent varicose veins from worsening. These measures include the following given below:  Exercising Losing weight Raising the legs Avoiding prolonged standing or sitting There are also many over-the-counter natural treatments, usually topical creams and emollients. These can help soothe pain, and improve comfort and they may improve the general appearance of varicose veins. Prevention: To reduce the risk of developing varicose veins you need to do the following:   Exercise regularly  Maintain a healthy weight Avoid standing still for too long Do not sit with the legs crossed Sit or sleep with your feet raised on a pillow Anyone who has to stand for their job should try to move around at least once every 30 minutes  Content source Featured image source

1 Saves

## How to deal with hemorrhoids and varicose veins during pregnancy

Hemorrhoids and varicose veins might seem to be two different, unrelated problems, but they are actually quite similar. And, many women, especially those in the third trimester of pregnancy, have them. Both hemorrhoids and varicose veins can be defined as swollen, twisted veins. These veins can often be spotted in the legs, but they also can form in other parts of your body. When they form in the rectum, they are called hemorrhoids. What causes hemorrhoids and varicose veins in pregnancy? Normally, veins have one-way valves to help keep blood flowing toward the heart. Pressure or weakening of these valves allows blood to back up and pool in the veins. This causes them to enlarge and swell. Hemorrhoids result when rectal veins enlarge. Varicose veins occur when veins of the legs swell. Many changes in pregnancy can increase the risk of hemorrhoids and varicose veins, such as: Increased blood volume, which enlarges the veins The heavy weight of the growing baby, which presses on the large blood vessels in the pelvis, altering blood flow Hormone changes affecting blood vessels, which can slow the return of blood to the heart and cause the smaller veins in the pelvis and legs to swell Hemorrhoids can get worse with pushing or straining, especially with constipation. Being overweight and having hemorrhoids before pregnancy can also make them worse. Pushing during delivery tends to worsen hemorrhoids, too. Varicose veins tend to run in families. Sitting or standing in one position for a long time may force the veins to work harder to pump blood to the heart. This can result in swollen, varicose veins and can also worsen existing hemorrhoids. How are hemorrhoids and varicose veins in pregnancy treated? Hemorrhoids in pregnancy are a short-term problem, and they get better after your baby is born. Still, there are some things you can do to relieve the discomfort: To relieve pain, sit in a tub or take bath several times a day in plain, warm water for about 10 minutes each time. Use ice packs or cold compresses to reduce swelling. Ask your healthcare provider about creams or other medicines, such as stool softeners, that are safe to use during pregnancy. It’s important to prevent constipation by including lots of fiber and fluids in your diet. Also, try not to strain with bowel movements, and avoid sitting for a long time. Regular exercises, which involve squeezing and relaxing the muscles in your vaginal and rectal area, can help improve muscle tone. Most varicose veins that develop during pregnancy get better within the first year after birth. But for now, limit your standing or sitting for a long time without a break, and try not to cross your legs. Also try to raise your legs and feet whenever you’re sitting or lying down. Avoid tight clothing around your waist, thighs, and legs, as it can worsen varicose veins. Be sure to check with your healthcare provider if your symptoms worsen or you have excessive bleeding from hemorrhoids. And, remember that these problems are usually short-term and get better after delivery with time and treatment. Content source Featured image source

## A working woman's guide to pregnancy hormonal changes

The hormonal and physiological changes that come with pregnancy are unique. Pregnant women experience sudden and dramatic increases in estrogen and progesterone. They also experience changes in the amount and function of a number of other hormones. These changes don’t just affect mood. They can also: create the “glow” of pregnancy significantly aid in the development of the fetus alter the physical impact of exercise and physical activity on the body Estrogen and progesterone changes Estrogen and progesterone are the chief pregnancy hormones. A woman will produce more estrogen during one pregnancy than throughout her entire life when not pregnant. Pregnancy hormones and exercise injuries While these hormones are absolutely critical for a successful pregnancy, they also can make exercise more difficult. Because the ligaments are looser, pregnant women may be at greater risk for sprains and strains of the ankle or knee. Weight gain, fluid retention, and physical activity Weight gain in pregnant women increases the workload on the body from any physical activity. This additional weight and gravity slow down the circulation of blood and bodily fluids, particularly in the lower limbs.  Sensory changes Pregnancy can dramatically alter how a woman experiences the world through sight, taste, and smell. Breast and cervical changes Hormonal changes, which begin in the first trimester, will lead to many physiological changes throughout the body. These changes help prepare the mother’s body for pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding. Hair and nail changes Many women experience changes in hair and nail growth during pregnancy. Hormone changes can sometimes cause excessive hair shedding or hair loss. This is especially true in women with a family history of female alopecia. Stretch marks Stretch marks (striae gravidarum) are perhaps the most well-known skin change of pregnancy. They’re caused by a combination of physical stretching of the skin and the effects of hormone changes on the skin’s elasticity.  Blood pressure and exercise There are two types of circulatory changes that may have an impact on exercise during pregnancy. Pregnancy hormones can suddenly affect the tone in blood vessels. A sudden loss of tone may result in the feeling of dizziness and perhaps even a brief loss of consciousness. This is because the loss of pressure sends less blood to the brain and central nervous system. Dizziness and fainting Another form of dizziness can result from lying flat on the back. This dizziness is more common after 24 weeks. However, it can happen earlier during multi-fetal pregnancies or with conditions that increase amniotic fluid Respiratory and metabolic changes Pregnant women experience increases in the amount of oxygen they transport in their blood. This is because of increased demand for blood and the dilation of blood vessels. This growth forces increases in metabolic rates during pregnancy, requiring women to up energy intake and use caution during periods of physical exertion. Body temperature changes An increase in basal body temperature is one of the first hints of pregnancy. A slightly higher core temperature will be maintained through the duration of pregnancy. Women also have a greater need of water during pregnancy. They can be at higher risk of hyperthermia and dehydration without caution to exercise safely and remain hydrated. Dehydration Most women who exercise for 20 to 30 minutes or who exercise during hot and humid weather will sweat. In pregnant women, loss of bodily fluids from sweat can decrease the blood flow to the uterus, the muscles, and some organs. The developing fetus needs a constant supply of oxygen and nutrients carried through the blood, so injury may result from a lack of fluid.

1 Saves

39 Saves

13 Saves

2 Saves

## Fetal Movements: is your baby kicking?

Nothing reassures you more about the baby growing in your womb than the first kick. These tiny movements keep you guessing about what the baby would be doing at that time. Was what you felt actually a kick or just gas bubbles coursing through your body. Every pregnant woman waits for that moment when they would feel the first kick of their babies. When would I feel my baby kick? Most women feel their baby kick between week 18 and week 22, though some may report feeling it as early as week 13. Usually, second-timers feel it earlier as they know a kick when they feel a kick. Another reason why they might feel the kicks earlier is that their abdominal muscles are laxer. Further, thinner mothers also tend to feel a baby kick earlier as they lack the fat to cushion the movements. Actually, a first-time mother-to-be might have already felt the baby move but was unable to recognize the movement. Does this mean that the baby moves only at the time I feel the kick? No. The baby moves all the time in the amniotic fluid. But, because it is very small, one may not feel its movements. As the baby grows and becomes stronger, it is able to make more distinguishable movements and these are the ones you feel. What do the baby kicks feel like? Most mothers-to-be define the first movements of their babies as gas bubbles, butterflies flying or soft flutters. Medically, this is known as quickening. It would take some time for the quickening to graduate to firmer movements. Is it true that I would feel the baby moving less as my pregnancy progresses? Not exactly. There would definitely be down times when the baby is sleeping or resting and you might not feel any movements. However, the bigger the baby gets, the lesser the space it has to move and the more you should feel its movements. Once you have determined a pattern and understood their sleep cycle, you would be able to predict their movements and rest time. How often should I feel the baby kick? Before week 28, there is no need as such to record baby movement. At times, up to three days may pass between movements. Once you cross the 28th-week mark, you need to keep a watch on fetal movements. Your doctor would give you a rough estimate of how much movement you should feel. A healthy baby kicks around a lot. Apart from their sleep time, if you notice the baby’s activity levels reducing or weakened movements, talk to your doctor. Pregnancy is a beautiful time for any mother-to-be, therefore, sit back, relax and enjoy yours to the fullest. Featured Image Source

19 Saves

6 Saves

## Abdominal pain during pregnancy

Abdominal pain during pregnancy can happen quite often and can become very uncomfortable at times. But how do you decide what pain is acceptable and when it indicates something more serious? Here’s everything you need to know about abdominal pain during pregnancy.   Is abdominal pain during pregnancy normal? Abdominal pain is a common occurrence during pregnancy and is normal in a healthy pregnancy. Carrying a baby puts pressure on your muscles, joints, veins. As your baby grows, the uterus tilts to the right which causes pain in the right side. The ligaments on both sides of your body grow to accommodate your growing baby so you may feel pain on both sides of the stomach. Having sex may sometimes trigger abdominal pain and cramping, especially during the third trimester. It might be a good idea to keep the sex soft at this time.   How to deal with normal abdominal pain during pregnancy? Getting some rest is the best way to deal with the cramps. Other methods include sitting down with your feet up, lying on the side opposite to the one which hurts, taking a warm bath, and using a hot water bottle or a heated wheat bag on the area which hurts. When can abdominal pain mean something more? Abdominal pain can be an indicator of something more under the following circumstances.   Abdominal pain unrelated to pregnancy This could be gas, bloating, UTI, kidney stones or even appendicitis. You should contact your doctor if the pain is accompanied by pain or burning when you pee, spotting or bleeding, vomiting, unusual vaginal discharge, tenderness and pain, chills and fever.   Abdominal pain during an early miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy If abdominal pain is accompanied by bleeding in your first trimester it could be an early miscarriage. You may also have painful cramping and dark, watery blood if you have an ectopic pregnancy in your first trimester. In either case, it’s best to go to the doctor immediately.   Abdominal pain during a late miscarriage Abdominal pain in the second trimester is usually nothing to worry about. In rare cases, it may indicate a late miscarriage only if it’s accompanied by bleeding. It usually occurs between 12 and 24 weeks.   Abdominal pain in the third trimester Severe abdominal pain in the third trimester could be an indicator of premature labour. In this case, you would feel pain in your pelvic or lower tummy area, backache, mild tummy cramps and diarrhoea. You may even have your water breaking, and regular contractions, or uterus tightening. This may happen between 24 weeks and 37 weeks of pregnancy and your doctor should be consulted immediately.

6 Saves

## 7 Strategies to make labour easier

Labour is the hardest physical task that a woman experiences. Since a normal delivery takes less time to heal and doesn’t leave any visible scars on a woman’s body, most women aim to deliver vaginally. In order to do so, the mother needs to prepare her body accordingly. Although labour is a long and painful task, there are some things that you can definitely do to make it easier and smoother for you. 1. Do Squats Daily Squats is the most beneficial exercise for every woman looking forward to delivery close to their due date. Due to its role in facilitating smoother deliveries, squats are considered to be the best exercise for easy labour. The best way to do squats is using a medicine ball, keeping it between the lower back and the wall and rotating the toes and knees as wide apart as possible. It is recommended to do 15 squats daily in this position for expecting mothers to have a great delivery experience. 2. Practice Yoga After consulting your gynecologist, practice yoga during pregnancy regularly. Not only does it help to relax the body and make it flexible but also improves your breathing and prepares the body for labour. Various yoga asanas help to make the pelvic muscles more flexible to ease labour. It helps to get rid of stress and also provides relief from the aches and pains of pregnancy. Women who practice yoga during pregnancy suffer from fewer health problems. 3. Sleep Adequately and Regularly Among all the tips on how to make labour easier and faster, this is the easiest to follow and is the most effective. As discussed earlier, such a stressful and important event like labour requires calmness from the mother’s end. Only a well and adequately rested person can adapt to such a scenario seamlessly. An expecting mother should sleep at least seven hours or more every day for a faster and smoother labour experience. The sleeping experience should be enhanced with soft, skin-friendly pillows and recliner beds for the comfort of the mother and the child. 4. Massage Regular massage of the stomach along with perineal massage towards the end of the pregnancy helps to decrease discomfort and relax the muscles of the stomach and the vagina. Perineal massage helps to stretch the tissues of the vagina and this reduces the chances of vaginal tearing during birth. Massage also helps to increase the blood circulation in the perineal tissues and this in turn speeds up the process of healing after childbirth. Massaging of the thighs may also be done during labour to release tension between the contractions and to encourage the labour to progress. 5. Practice Breathing Techniques Labour is an extremely painful experience for any woman. Breathing helps the woman in labour to adapt to the pain better and also helps in relaxing her. Breathing also helps in setting rhythmic contractions and helping the woman to push better and more efficiently. Breathing also ensures that the body has enough oxygen and the mother does not pass out due to the astronomical labour pain and cramps due to her contractions. 6. Take a Childbirth Class Pregnancy is a mentally and physically taxing period for expecting parents where there is a lot of new things to be learnt and a lot of responsibilities to be understood as well as the do’s and don’ts of parenting. Hence, it is always good to be prepared for the moment of childbirth well in advance to make sure everything goes perfectly and according to plan. A childbirth class also relieves pressure that can be faced by dealing with the unknown and helps the partners be prepared for everything from the water-breaking to the cutting of the umbilical cord. A childbirth class can also be beneficial in providing easy labour tips to make the whole process simpler and faster. 7. Stay Upright during Labour Rather than lying down and trying to push, it is considered to be better to stay upright on the bed and push. This is because gravity plays to the advantage of the mother and child as the child’s head pressing against the cervix due to gravity helps it in dilating faster and more easily. A variety of positions can also be tried out, like kneeling, squatting and standing to see what gives the best results during labour. Movement of the body also helps widen the pelvis helping the baby’s head to pass through easily. Hope the above strategies help to make your labour shorter and easier!   Content Source Featured Image Source

11 Saves

## 7 reasons why you can't get sleep at night

One of the best things you can do to manage insomnia while you’re pregnant is to have a good sleep routine. Begin by trying to go to bed at the same time every night. Start your routine with something relaxing to help you unwind.  Avoid screen time at least an hour before bed. Blue light from the TV, your mobile phone, or tablet can have an impact on your body’s circadian rhythm. Try reading a book instead. Taking a soothing bath might also make you sleepy. Just be careful that the temperature isn’t too hot — that can be dangerous for your developing baby. This is especially true during early pregnancy. Being pregnant is the best phase of your life, this is the common term everyone says, but no one tells you about the challenges. There are also a lot of sleepless nights that a woman has to face. As, the reasons can vary as per your body but the most common ones are discussed below: Frequent visit to the bathroom: Holding a life inside you is not easy. As you eat you eat for two, similarly as you drink your water intake also increases. The more you drink the more you want to pee. Your bathroom visits can make you stay up during nights. Indigestion: The hormones play a major role in here, increase in hormones can lead to indigestion. Avoid eating spicy food and opting for a healthy diet can be of help here. On the other hand, avoid eating two hours before going to bed can be of help. Baby’s movement: Baby’s like to move in the womb when mothers are lying still. Movement in the rib cage is uncomfortable for mothers and can make you stay up for all time.   Even if you are not able to sleep after adequate efforts, see your doctor and get help rightaway. Feature Image Source

14 Saves

## 25 Foods to increase your breast milk: How your body produces nature's perfect baby food

After you become a mother, all you are worried about is your baby's food. That is, breast milk. Some women are lucky, while some struggle to produce the right amount of breast milk. But thankfully, there are certain foods that increase breast milk and enhance lactation. Breast milk contains all the prime nutrients required for an overall growth and brain development of a newborn. Here is a list of the top 25 foods that you must include in your diet to increase breast milk and also keep you healthy. 1. Oatmeal: Oats are easy to prepare as a meal. 2. Fennel Seeds: Fennel seeds boost the quantity of your breast milk. 3. Fenugreek Seeds: Fenugreek seeds are known for boosting breast milk supply. 4. Unripe Papayas: Unripe Papayas are part of the South Asian cuisine. 5. Spinach And Beet Leaves: Spinach and beet leaves contain iron, calcium and folic acid. 6. Garlic: Garlic is considered the best food to increase breast milk, as it is well-known for boosting lactation in nursing mothers. 7. Black Sesame Seeds: Black Sesame seeds are a rich source of calcium and believed to increase milk supply. 8. Carrots: A glass of carrot juice with breakfast or lunch will work wonders in lactation. 9. Water And Juices: Drinking water and juices is supposed to boost lactation. It increases the total milk volume per feed. 10. Barley: Barley not only boosts lactation, it also keeps you hydrated. 11. Asparagus: Asparagus is considered a must-have food for nursing mothers. 12. Brown Rice: Brown rice enhances breast milk production. It has hormone stimulants which boost lactation. It also gives nursing moms the extra energy that is required post delivery.  It also helps increase the appetite so as to enable the mother to eat nutritious food. 13. Apricots: During and post pregnancy, there are hormonal imbalance that takes place in your body. Dried apricots have certain chemicals which balance out the hormone levels in your body. 14. Salmon: Salmon is a great source of EFA (Essential Fatty acids) and Omega-3. 15. Cumin Seeds: Cumin seeds boost milk supply. Make sure you have them in moderation though. 16. Basil Leaves: Basil leaves are a great source of anti-oxidants.   17. Dill Leaves: Dill leaves look like a bunch of fine, dark green, silky hair. They have a distinct odor. 18. Bottle Gourd: Bottle gourd is generally not a preferred vegetable, but is high on nutrition. 19. Sweet Potato: Sweet potato is a major source of potassium. It has energy producing carbohydrate which is needed to fight the fatigue. 20. Almonds: Almonds are rich in Omega-3 and Vitamin E. 21. Chickpea: Chickpea is a protein snack and lactation booster for nursing mommies. 22. Drumstick: Drumstick has high iron and calcium content. 23. Poppy Seeds (Khuskhus): It is very important for nursing mothers to relax completely during lactation. Poppy seeds have sedative properties that help you relax and calm down. 24. Cow Milk: Cow milk has calcium and EFA. It promotes lactation. In fact, by consuming cow milk during lactation, you will help your child avoid developing an allergy to cow milk. 25. Oils And Fats: It is recommended to keep fats and oils in your diet to a minimum, post pregnancy. All the above foods have been traditionally used to improve milk flow in new moms. However, while some have scientific backing the others don’t. Consume the foods in limited quantities, and note the side-effects, if any. Also, go for organic products as the pesticide residue in the foods and herbs can increase the lead content in your milk. Feature Image Source

17 Saves