Pregnancy Tests

Onset of Pregnancy is a time that is approached by most women with a mixture of emotions- sometimes excitement, sometimes with worry. Whatever emotion you might feel, a simple pregnancy test lets you know conclusively whether you are pregnant or not.

The symptoms of pregnancy can confirm your suspicions. It can be a missed period, nausea, tenderness of breasts, and fatigue. A simple pregnancy test is designed to tell you if your urine or blood contains the hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin or hcg. This is produced immediately after a fertilized egg attaches itself to the uterus. This procedure happens six days after fertilization. If your pregnancy is confirmed, the levels of Hcg continue to increase doubling every two to three days.

Pregnancy Tests There are mainly two types of pregnancy tests- urine tests and blood tests. Urine tests can be conveniently done at home or in a doctor’s office. Most women prefer to conduct a home pregnancy test within a week of a missed period. These are most convenient and afford privacy. A home pregnancy test comes with instructions. If instructions can be followed closely, you are assured of getting accurate results. After the initial testing, you can consult your doctor to get more sensitive tests done to confirm pregnancy conclusively.

The most common types of home pregnancy involve use of a test strip or drip stick that is held in the urine stream or dipped into a sample of urine. An area on the end of the test strip changes color if hCG is present, confirming pregnancy. The second type makes use of a urine collection cup with a test device. In this test, you can place several drops of urine into a well in the test device or you may place the test device into urine collected in a cup. If an area of the device changes color, that means Hcg is present and you are pregnant. The first urine in the morning that has collected in the ladder over night is the most effective to use and gives accurate results. Most home detection pregnancy kits show accurate results about a week after a missed period.

There are two types of blood pregnancy tests. A qualitative hcg test just checks to see if hcg is present. Doctors order these tests to confirm pregnancy as early as ten days after a missed period. Some blood tests can detect Hcg much earlier.

A quantitative hcg test or beta hcg means the exact amount of hcg levels in the blood. It can detect even very low levels. This test can effectively rule out a tubal or ectopic pregnancy.

Child Birth – Start of a New Life

Child birth can be a very special time in your life. Most often, pregnant women are overcome with worry about the entire process. When you are ready for labour, contractions start and this can be quite startling. When these contractions are just five minutes apart, you are ready to start pushing the baby out.

During the first stage of labour, your cervix gradually opens, dilating up to four inches width. It becomes thinner as well. This process is called effacement. You should start bearing and pushing down only when the uterus is fully effaced and dilated. Only then does the delivery stage start.

Child Birth – Start of a New Life Crowning is when the baby’s head becomes visible. A few minutes later, the baby is born. The placenta that helped to nourish your baby while in the womb also comes out. Doctors monitor the baby and mother very closely during childbirth. Most women are healthy and have a baby through normal delivery without any surgical procedure. In case complications arise, the baby needs to be delivered by a caesarean section. This is a brief summary of the birthing process.

Every mother’s birth experience is different but the day a woman had her baby will remain deeply etched in memory throughout her life. Let’s look at a step by step procedure of approaching child birth and labour. A few days before the onset of labour, you might feel extremely energetic. This is nature’s nesting instinct at play. When the baby is ready to be born, hormonal changes in the foetus can cause the placenta to release a substance called corticotrophin. Once it is released the cervix becomes softer, thinner and the onset of contractions is triggered off.

The baby now descends down or drops lower into the pelvis, thereby reducing pressure in the upper abdomen and relaxes your lungs. Small capillaries in the thinning cervix rupture discharging a brown vaginal fluid. Once contractions commence, uterine muscle spasms occur becoming repeatedly severe and painful as labour progresses. Now the amniotic sac ruptures and flows out through the vagina.

In the second stage of labour, the baby is pushed out through the birth canal. This is the natural way of child birth. There may be instances when vaginal births are not possible or can be a threat to the safety and life of the mother and child. In such cases, caesarean section or c-section is performed on the mother’s abdomen and the child delivered.

Pregnancy Problems

Problems in pregnancy can at times be more serious than other common but unpleasant symptoms such as morning sickness or piles. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Your blood pressure needs to be constantly checked since high blood pressure can be a sign of preeclampsia. If not treated in time, it can develop into eclampsia which can be life threatening for both mother and child. Hence, be wary of symptoms like headaches, swollen ankles and wrists, visual disturbances and abdominal pain.

Bleeding at any point of time during pregnancy can be a danger signal. In early pregnancy, it can be a sign of miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy, although many women go on to have normal pregnancies. Vaginal infection can also cause a small amount of bleeding. Rarely, bleeding in later pregnancy can be a sign of complications with the placenta.

Pregnancy Problems Itching is common in pregnancy; but if you develop severe itching, accompanied by a rash specifically in the last trimester, get it checked by your doctor. It can be a sign of obstetric cholestasis that affects the liver and can have serious repercussions on the mother and baby.

If you have had a small baby earlier, or if you do smoke heavily, constant monitoring is required to keep tabs on the health of your baby. If it is detected that the baby is not growing well, you may be induced to have labour or advised to go in for a caesarean section. Keep a tab on your child’s movements inside the womb. If you feel it has become less frequent, slowed down or stopped, contact the doctor immediately. Nothing may be seriously wrong, but you need to trust your own judgment and get in touch with the doctor as soon as possible.

During pregnancy, the veins in the leg are most commonly affected. Avoid standing for long periods of time and try not to sit with your legs crossed. Keep close watch on your weight and sit with legs up to ease discomfort. Hormonal changes in the body can cause plaque to make your gums inflamed, swollen and bleed easily. To counter this, clean your teeth and gums carefully. Avoid sugary and fizzy drinks. Go to the dentist for a dental check up.

Stretch marks are pink or purplish lines that appear on the stomach, upper thighs or breasts. After delivery, these gradually fade and become less noticeable. You are more likely to get stretch marks if your weight gain is more than average. Headaches are common in pregnancy. Try to get more rest; paracetamol in recommended small doses is safe but it is better to avoid pain killers of any sort during pregnancy.

Pregnancy Symptoms

Symptoms of pregnancy differ from women to women. The most significant symptom is of course a delayed or missed menstrual cycle. Understanding the symptoms is vital since each may be related to something other than pregnancy.

Implantation bleeding can be one of the earliest symptoms. This happens when the embryo implants itself on the uterine wall and symptoms of cramping as well as spotting are noticed. Breasts become swollen or tender to the touch, or feel sore on touching. You can end up feeling fatigued or more tired during pregnancy. Nausea or morning sickness can commence. Some women are fortunate to not have to deal with morning sickness at all. Some women continue to feel nauseous throughout their pregnancy.

Pregnancy Symptoms Lower backaches may develop and may remain as a dull ache through the entire tenure of pregnancy. Sudden rise in hormones can cause mild to splitting headaches. Frequent urination with extra trips to the bathroom at night can be highly frustrating. You will also notice that the skin on your nipples turn darker.

Some women may have food cravings or food aversions. Most women will experience cravings for certain foods when they are pregnant. It need not necessarily be only for ice creams or pickles. This craving can persist through out pregnancy. Some women may develop an aversion for their favorite food!

Sometimes there might be a white milky discharge from the vagina. This is due to the increased growth cell lining the vagina causing the vaginal walls to thicken. If itching is experienced then it is mandatory to consult the doctor. It may be a symptom of bacterial infection too.

Increased levels of progesterone can cause constipation. To counter this drink plenty of water, exercise and consume plenty of high fiber foods.

Dizziness and fainting may be due to dilated blood vessels, low blood pressure and low blood sugar. There can be a phase of mood swings as well, especially during the first trimester. These are related to hormonal changes in the body.

Excess passing of gas is also a symptom of pregnancy. Pay close attention to your diet and cut out beans and broccoli as well as carbonated beverages. Pregnancy and incontinence do go hand in hand. It is due to your growing uterus pressing down on the bladder. Drink less fluids when you g out, do some muscle toning movements to help increase bladder control.

Pregnancy Facts

Whether you are pregnant or just about to conceive, there are some weird pregnancy facts you may never be informed about. These things may or may not happen during pregnancy and people generally prefer not to talk about it.

Most pregnancies last for about nine months and if it extends for more than that, doctors do induce labour. But it is possible to remain pregnant for a whole year. The world’s longest pregnancy lasted for about 375 days with the baby weighing just a little less than 7 pounds.

Pregnancy Facts Most moms refuse to think of their bay boys getting erections even when they grow up to be teenagers. But the fact remains that many boys have erections while still in the womb.

Nine out of ten women have some type of vaginal tearing during child birth. Some require only a few stitches or a little care, but the really bad cases tear up from the vagina all the way to the anus! Some do even affect the muscles beyond the anus. Massaging the area prior to delivery can reduce tearing.

At the time of delivery it is common for women to accidentally expel the contents of the bowel. This is because the muscles used to push the baby out are the same ones ordinarily used during a bowel movement. Even though enema is often administere3d prior to labor, it doesn’t stop the mess from happening.

Glowing skin is a very real thing when it comes to a pregnant woman. This is because when you are pregnant, the amount of blood in your body increases by 50 percent. The extra blood shows up through the skin, particularly the cheeks and you end up glowing beautifully.

While pregnant, your sense of smell increases manifold, and so does your sense of taste. Scientists opine that this is to help pregnant ladies avoid eating even small levels of toxins that can be dangerous to the foetus.

Most moms will still experience contractions for the first few days after childbirth. These muscle cramps are the body’s mechanism of stopping excess blood loss.

Do not listen to anyone tell you to eat for two. Most pregnant women need only an extra 300 calories a day. If you are tempted by an occasional dessert, do sneak up to have an extra!

The excess pressure on your feet paired with relaxed ligament on the body makes your feet to start losing their arch and stretch out on the sides. Your feet would grow up to one full shoe size.

In some cases, the father starts experiencing cramps in his lower abdomen. This is known as sympathetic pregnancy.

Tips To Consider When Baby Is Overdue

Most pregnant women go beyond the expected due date. A prolonged pregnancy is when it lasts longer than 42 weeks. A baby’s due date is decided upon by calculating 280 days from the first day of the mother’s last menstrual cycle. This works only if you have regular periods.

Most gynecologists worry about post maturity delivery since a small percentage of babies die while still inside the womb. Most doctors advice induction after forty one weeks. Your doctor can decide after an internal examination is done to check whether your cervix is ready for labour. The doctor may suggest sweeping of membrane to see if that will trigger labour naturally.

Tips To Consider When Baby Is Overdue If you decide against induction, you can ask for your pregnancy to be monitored every two to three days to check that everything is fine with the baby. After 40 weeks of pregnancy, instead of waiting for anything to happen, go about your normal routine; you can even go out but do not venture too far. Keep your friends and relatives posted about yourself and inform them that you will call them if help is needed. Spend time with your spouse; you may not get much free time together once your baby is born.

Take ample rest; if you find it bothersome to sleep at night, take short naps during the day. Listen to your favorite music, pamper yourself and put your feet up. Gradually build up your energy reserves for labour. If you feel that your labour has started, get in touch with your doctor immediately.

Go for daily walks. The pressure of the baby’s head on your cervix can stimulate the release of oxytocin, a hormone that causes contractions. A gentle stroll is the best bet and once contractions commence, stand upright and move around slowly as this can help labour to progress. Walking also encourages the baby to move into a better position.

Use this overdue period to finish up those last minute things you require for the baby. In order to keep you relaxed, take some time to meditate. Take slow deep breaths and relax your muscles. The most important thing is to keep yourself busy without getting yourself unduly tired out and stressed. Do something nice for yourself, go for a massage or a manicure or take a trip to the hair salon. After all, you need to look good for your baby!

Basics of Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a time of pure joy and ecstasy, as well as getting acquainted with the myriad bodily changes that accompanies getting pregnant. The human body can breathe, and regulate the heart beat without any conscious effort on our part. In the same way, our body is perfectly capable of conceiving, growing, bringing the baby to term, give birth and nourish it without any extra effort from our end. All we need to do is to trust our body and to trust the process implicitly.

Every woman trying to conceive or who is pregnant would benefit greatly from being aware of the basics of pregnancy. Starting with good nutrition, a pregnant lady needs to consume a prenatal vitamin each day. The folic acid is the most important vitamin and this helps to prevent neural tube defects in the growing embryo. A daily pill of folic acid, a protein shake along with a healthy wholesome diet can amply cover a pregnant lady’s nutritional needs quite well.

Basics of Pregnancy Yet another mineral /vitamin supplement that should be taken regularly is calcium/magnesium. In pregnant women, the body robs from itself to provide enough of calcium and magnesium for the growing baby. This is the cause of any woman coming out of pregnancy with teeth problems, thinning bones, muscle cramps and backache. In order for these minerals to be beneficial for the body, they need to get absorbed. Hence, calcium must be taken with magnesium and Vitamin D. Calcium should be taken at a different time from iron supplement since iron and calcium can bind together, rendering each unavailable. So take care to consume the daily dosage of iron in the morning to remain energetic throughout the day and take calcium plus magnesium at night to help relax and sleep well.

A good healthy diet including protein, fish, and lots of whole grains, fruits and vegetables are a must for a pregnant woman. Good hydration is as important: equally important is a healthy exercise regimen. Walking and prenatal yoga are wonderful exercises for pregnant women- the watchword is to avoid breathlessness and overheating.

A woman’s breasts increase in size as pregnancy advances. Hormone changes can cause them to get bigger in preparation for breast feeding. To stay comfortable, wear a soft comfortable maternity or nursing bra with extra support.

Dizziness and lightheadedness are common symptoms due to growth of more blood vessels, and the pressure of the expanding uterus on blood vessels. When feeling lightheaded, lie down on your left side and avoid sitting or standing in one position for a long time. To prevent hemorrhoids, drink lots of fluid and eat plenty of fiber rich foods. At varying times during pregnancy, cramps in legs and feet may develop due to a change in the way the body processes or metabolizes calcium. Get regular mild exercise and partake of low fat, calcium rich foods.

Maintain good posture, take deep long breaths. To keep swelling at bay, drink 8-10 glasses of water. Avoid salty foods and as often as possible, rest with feet elevated.

Weight Gain During Pregnancy

Your body tends to go through major changes during the course of pregnancy. It is very important to be careful about your weight gain during the tenure of pregnancy. Gaining too much weight can prove harmful to you and your baby as well.

Women who tend to gain very little weight are in danger of giving birth to a small baby weighing less than 5 ½ pounds. Similarly, over weight pregnant women tend to give birth prematurely or deliver large babies. Weight gain in pregnancy can unleash a host of health problems like diabetes, high blood pressure and varicose veins. Most pregnant women require around 300 extra calories each day. A balanced and healthy eating plan can easily provide the exact amount of calories needed during pregnancy.

Weight Gain During Pregnancy It is vital to know your body mass index before getting pregnant. BMI is a sure measure of body fat based on a person’s height and weight. Once the pre pregnancy BMI is known, a few guidelines need to be adhered to in order to control weight gain during pregnancy.

In case you commence pregnancy at a healthy weight, you need to gain 25-35 pounds over the nine month tenure. It is normal to gain 1- 4 ½ pounds in the first trimester and go on to gain 1 pound every week in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters. Underweight women are more likely to have small babies. Hence they need to gain slightly over a pound in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters. Overweight women need gain only slightly under half a pound every week.

Ensure that you gain weight slowly and steadily. The most important factor is to keep an eye on the overall weight gain during pregnancy. Contrary to popular belief, it is not necessary to eat for two during pregnancy. While extra calories from nutrient rich foods help the baby to grow, a woman needs to consume only 100 to 300 more calories than she did before getting pregnant to meet the needs of the growing baby.

Stick to eating five to six small frequent meals each day. Keep at hand easy to eat snacks like nuts, raisins, cheese, and yoghurt. Make sure to eat a variety of foods to get all the nutrients that is needed for both the mother and the baby. Avoid fried foods and stick to fat free cheese and curds. Limit consumption of sugary drinks and cut down on salt since it causes water retention in the body.

Moderate exercise is a must to burn excess calories. Walking is a safe mode of exercise for pregnant women.

Fatigue During Pregnancy

Most women tend to experience bouts of fatigue and lethargy during pregnancy. This is because the body is producing new hormones and making changes to prepare for the arduous labor ahead.

Early pregnancy is the time when the body makes more of a hormone called progesterone. This hormone tends to cause sluggishness and lethargy. More blood too is produced to carry nutrients for the baby, which inevitably means more work for the heart and other organs. Add to these the physical and psychological changes during pregnancy, causing mental and emotional stress. All these factors can lead to feelings of fatigue.

Fatigue During Pregnancy As the term of pregnancy advances, additional weight of the baby further saps the mother- to -be’s strength. There may be difficulty in sleeping, late night cramps and frequent urges to urinate at night. Anemia can also cause fatigue and it is very important to consume iron during pregnancy.

To counter symptoms of fatigue during pregnancy, take short naps during the day or before dinner. If at work, take frequent breaks to pace and renew energy. Make sure to go to bed early. In case symptoms of tiredness are experienced, go to bed immediately and do not wait for the usual bedtime.

Make sure to drink adequate fluids during the day and avoid drinking anything for 2-3 hours before bed time. Have early dinner to avoid symptoms of heart burn. Gently stretch legs before bed time to avoid night time cramps. Exercise in moderate levels can help to maintain good energy levels. Stick to moderate exercise regimen of thirty minutes per day on all days.

At all costs, avoid stressful situations. Cut back on social outings and events that may tire you out. Make a conscious effort to spend time on activities that are immensely soothing and relax you. Meditate and use relaxation techniques such as deep breathing to boost your energy levels and keep you calm and composed.

Do not think of taking on too many tasks to be done in a day. Ask your spouse, children, relatives and friends to help you out as much as possible to tackle household work. Open up to friends and relatives since talking out your fears and apprehensions can help relieve unwanted stress and calm you down. Tuck into foods that have ample iron and protein content. Take required dosages of vitamins and minerals as prescribed by your doctor.

Complications and Risks During Pregnancy

Most pregnancies have few or no complications but in certain cases, they do arise. Minor complications can range from nausea, vomiting, hemorrhoids, constipation, temporary hair loss and so on. A person’s overall health plays a vital role in the likelihood of complication developing during pregnancy. Women who are diabetic or those with history of heart, lung, kidney disease, seizure disorders or hepatitis have greater chances of facing complications and risks during pregnancy.

The risk is even higher for those who are overweight, alcoholic or addicted to drugs. Complications can turn crucial if there is incidence of high blood pressure during pregnancy. This worsens at the time of labor, and some might go into preterm labor.

Complications and Risks During Pregnancy Acute stress can prove harmful to the baby. Abnormal presentation problems with the umbilical cord, uterine inversion, prolonged labor and infection are some of the common complications encountered during pregnancy. Placental abruption and placental previa are causes of bleeding during pregnancy. Bleeding during late pregnancy can cause complications during childbirth.

Pregnant women need to take care not to contract bladder infections. This can be all the more serious if it spreads to the kidneys. Hence, it is imperative that any infection should be treated at once to avoid problems of premature delivery.

Gestational hypertension is common in pregnant women. If monitored carefully and controlled in time, it can help avoid complications affecting organs such as the brain. Preeclampsia is decreased blood flow to vital organs and can cause maternal and foetal death. Symptoms are high blood pressure, swelling of hands and face; in case this condition is detected, treatment involves careful monitoring of mother and foetus until the baby is delivered.

Ectopic pregnancy happens when the fertilized egg does not get implanted inside the uterus, but elsewhere. Placental abruption occurs when the placenta gets detached from the uterus very early. Immediate caesarean delivery should be performed to save mother and child.

Headaches are common in pregnant women. Solution lies in making healthy life style changes, reduce stress, get adequate sleep and eat a healthy diet. In case diarrhea occurs, see to it that the body does not get dehydrated. Bell’s palsy is a form of facial paralysis resulting from damage or trauma to a facial nerve. But thankfully, it gets rectified on its own and has no effect on the growing foetus.

Umbilical cord prolapsed is when the cord drops into the birth canal. Caesarean, forceps or vacuum delivery may be needed if it causes problems for the baby.