Your Pregnancy Step by Step

Your Pregnancy Step by Step

Pregnancy is a unique time in a woman’s life. There are a lot of physiological changes that take place to support a growing embryo or fetus. Pregnant women (and their placentas) produce different hormones that cause a broad range of changes like persistent nausea, breast pain, temporary darkening of your skin and many other common symptoms.

What happens to my body during pregnancy?

A full-term pregnancy typically lasts 40 weeks. During that time a woman’s body undergoes many temporary and sometimes unexpected transformations. The weeks are grouped into three trimesters:

  • First Trimester (Weeks 1-12)
    Hormonal changes during the first trimester affect every organ system in your body. During these first 12 weeks, your period will stop and you may experience extreme tiredness, tender breasts, nausea, constipation, frequent urination, headaches, heartburn, or mood swings. Your baby is also growing rapidly. His brain and spinal cord begin to develop as well as his major organs. This is a very crucial phase in your pregnancy and your baby’s development, and it is vital to meet your doctor as soon as possible.
  • Second Trimester (Weeks 13-28)
    The second trimester is often referred to as the ‘honeymoon period’ because nausea commonly subsides, emotions level out, and libido returns. During this time your abdomen begins to noticeably expand, making room for your growing baby. You will also start to gain weight, which is good for your growing baby but can mean aches, pains, and swelling for you. You will feel movement between 18-20 weeks as your baby’s arms and legs grow larger and stronger.
  • Third Trimester (Weeks 29-40)
    The third and final trimester often comes with insomnia and increased discomfort as your baby continues to grow and gain weight. Other common symptoms may include shortness of breath, heartburn, hemorrhoids, and swelling of the ankles, fingers, and face. Toward the end of this trimester you may notice your baby drop lower into your abdomen. Braxton Hicks or irregular contractions are very common during this trimester, but your doctor will educate you more on what is normal and what is not normal and should prompt you to go to the hospital.

As you move closer to your due date, your cervix will become thinner and softer and contractions will become stronger. This is a normal process that prepares your body for labor and delivery.

With all of these big, exciting changes happening in your body, it’s important to have a family doctor you feel comfortable with. Choosing a doctor that really knows you and your medical needs from puberty to pregnancy and beyond can provide you with uniquely individualized pregnancy care and services. Your doctor will likely care for your baby too, making this a unique experience for you and the family.

Pomona Valley Health Centers is proud to offer experienced, compassionate women’s health care at all four of our office locations. We provide pregnancy care, including for high-risk pregnancies, and have a multidisciplinary team approach to help you through this very important event in your life. If you’re in need of expert obstetric services for your pregnancy, trust your care to a board-certified Pomona Valley FM/OB doctor.

10 Tips For A Healthy Pregnancy

10 Tips For A Healthy Pregnancy

If you haven’t already discovered, there is a lot of information that the Internet, books and family and friends are eager to share with you about pregnancy. It can be overwhelming, to say the least. How can you know what is best for you and your baby? Luckily, the doctors at Pomona Valley Health Centers have put together a list of the 10 essential things you need to know to have a healthy pregnancy.

10 Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy

We understand you want to do what’s best for you and your baby during your pregnancy. Here are our essential tips to help give your baby a great start to life:

Get early prenatal care

If you are planning to start a family, or have just found out that you are expecting, good prenatal care is essential for you and your baby. During your first visit, your doctor will be able to confirm your pregnancy and screen for certain medical conditions that could lead to complications.

Maintain a healthy diet

While it’s okay to occasionally give in to your cravings during pregnancy, it’s important to keep in mind that you typically only need an additional 300 calories per day. Make sure you are getting enough protein and calcium each day and avoid deli meats to prevent yourself from consuming bacteria that could harm your baby.

Take prenatal vitamins

Ask your doctor which prenatal vitamins are best for you and your baby, particularly how much folic acid and calcium you’ll need. Prenatal vitamins ensure you are giving your baby the important vitamins and nutrients it needs, like folic acid, iron, calcium and DHA. These vitamins play an important role in bone, vision and brain development.

Exercise regularly

Regular daily exercise increases your chance of having a vaginal delivery and helps you manage the common discomforts of pregnancy. Exercise can also aid in postpartum recovery. However, if you did not exercise regularly before becoming pregnant, check with your doctor before starting an exercise regimen.

Listen to your body

The first and third trimesters come with fatigue, which is your body’s way of telling you to take it easy. So, listen to your body and sit back with a good book or take a nap when you are feeling tired.

Eliminate alcohol and limit caffeine

It’s important to take good care of your body during pregnancy. We recommend you avoid alcohol, limit your caffeine intake and steer clear of any nonprescription drugs throughout your pregnancy. Indulging in alcohol can adversely affect your baby’s brain or spinal development, too much caffeine has been linked to a higher instance of miscarriage, and nonprescription drugs can lead to birth defects or behavioral problems.

Limit your exposure

If you work around chemicals or other substances known to cause birth defects, it’s important to take the necessary steps to protect your baby. It’s also important to use non-toxic household cleaning solutions throughout your pregnancy to limit your risk of exposure.

Visit your dentist

Hormonal shifts during pregnancy can leave you with an increased risk of gingivitis. Increased progesterone and estrogen levels interact with the bacteria in plaque, leading to swollen, tender or bleeding gums.

Wear sunscreen

Your skin is more susceptible to sunburn and chloasma (dark, blotchy spots on the face) when you are pregnant, so it’s important to apply a sunscreen that is at least SPF 30 or higher and avoid tanning beds.

Know when to call the doctor

If you have any of the following symptoms, the Center for Disease Control recommends contacting your doctor:

  • Vaginal bleeding or leaking of fluid
  • Contractions that are 20 minutes apart or less
  • Pain of any kind
  • Strong cramps
  • Heart palpitations
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Decreased activity of the baby
  • Shortness of breath

Our team is dedicated to providing expert care for women during every stage of their lives — from adolescence, to preparing for childbirth, to menopause and beyond. For more information about our women’s health services, contact us today at 909-865-9152.