Pregnancy week by week




Q: What is healthy weight gain during pregnancy? How much should I expect to put on?

Weight gain during pregnancy should be slow and steady. Weight of the baby accounts for only a small part of your total weight gain; rest of it is contributed by an increasing blood volume, water retention, increasing breast size, placenta and the amniotic fluid.  The amount of weight you should gain depends on your weight and BMI (body mass index) before pregnancy. Recommended total weight gain ranges for singleton pregnancies are:

•If your pre-pregnancy BMI was low (BMI<19.8), meaning you were underweight; you should gain 12.5-18 kg (28-40 pounds) throughout your pregnancy.
•If your pre-pregnancy BMI was normal (BMI 19.8-26), meaning you were normal weight; you should gain 11.5-16 kg (25-35 pounds) throughout your pregnancy.

•If your pre-pregnancy BMI was high (BMI 26-29), meaning you were overweight; you should gain 7-11.5 kg (15-25 pounds) throughout your pregnancy.

•If your pre-pregnancy BMI was very high (BMI>29), meaning you were obese; you should gain less than 7 kg (<15 pounds) during your pregnancy.

•The range for women with twins is 16-20 kg or 35-45 pounds.

BMI is calculated as weight in kg divided by height in metre square (weight in kg/height in m2).

Q: Will my second birth be easier than my first?

A: Each pregnancy is different and while a second birth experience may have been relatively easy for some women, a third birth may be just as hard as the first. Some mothers have very easy first birth experiences whilst their second experiences have been difficult. Many factors can affect the perception of pain and the length of labour so rather prepare yourself for something a little more challenging than you expect, as opposed to the other way around.


Q: Is it safe to use a safety belt while pregnant?

A: Not only is it safe but it is a must. According to research the best way to protect your baby is to keep yourself out of harm’s way.  The belt should be positioned properly: the bottom part of the belt should go under your tummy, across your lap and the top part between your breasts.

Q: How soon can I test to find out if Iím pregnant?

A: This depends on two things – your personal cycle and the type of pregnancy test you use. Most available home test kits specify that you test one day or more after a missed period. The testing strength of each home pregnancy test differs from brand to brand, so be sure to read the instructions on the packaging of the pregnancy test and select your preferred choice. Home pregnancy tests are urine tests and these measure the amount of human chorionic gonadotropin (hcG), the pregnancy hormone, in your body.
Blood tests, as performed by your doctor, are able to detect even smaller levels of hcG in your bloodstream and are thus able to detect pregnancy much earlier than urine tests. Blood tests can only be performed by a medical professional, and this is why the home pregnancy test is the preferred first stop for anyone eager to confirm a pregnancy.



Q: What is morning sickness and why does it happen?

A:  Morning sickness is a misnomer i.e. it doesn't just happen in the mornings but can occur any part of the day as well. It does tend to be more common in the morning though and largely because of an empty tummy. Morning sickness doesn't necessarily mean that you will have both the nausea and the vomiting. One of the main causes of nausea or morning sickness in pregnancy is thought to be related to the surge of the hormone hcg in early pregnancy. Experts have linked the pregnancy hormone hcg, progesterone and estrogen with nausea. With high levels as in the case of multiple pregnancy, first pregnancies and molar pregnancies where the hormone level is raised, the frequency of vomiting and nausea escalates. Morning sickness is a part of pregnancy for many with about 80% of women suffering from it.

Q: What is Hyperemesis Gravidarum?

A: Severe form of vomiting and nausea and very strong aversions to most smells is called Hyperemesis Gravidarum and occurs in about 1% of pregnancies. You know you have got if you are vomiting several times a day, your urine is scant and dark yellow in color - a sure sign of dehydration and you are losing weight. Left untreated this can harm you and your baby. Explain to your doctor in clear terms on the severity of the situation to procure the help you need. Failure to treat can lead to complications such as preterm birth, prolonged hospitalization after delivery depending on the severity of the symptoms. Once timely medical help is provided in correct measures such as intravenous fluids which will contain the necessary nutrients and approved medication, there won't be any ill-effect on the baby or the mother.

Q: Why is labour painful?

A: Labor and contractions are painful and there are several reasons for it. First the fear and anxiety felt about delivery releases stress hormones into the system in excess which causes labor pain to be more pronounced and last longer. During each contraction the oxygen supply to the uterus muscles becomes restricted; when the intervals between contractions are short, the supply of oxygen reduces even further causing oxygen supply deprivation. So much of stretching takes place. Supporting ligaments of the uterus and pelvic joints stretch during contractions and when the baby descends. The cervix when it effaces and dilates gets stretched and this is painful. This is compounded by the stretching of the pelvic floor muscles and vaginal tissues. Weight of baby on nerves in and around the cervix and vagina, on the urethra, bladder and rectum causes great discomfort and are not easy to deal with. With all these changes going on with your body, pain is but natural.


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