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Six Questions All Women Ask About Pregnancy

Pregnancy can be an apprehensive time for any mother – especially if this is your first baby. There will be legions of people who will give you advice, whether you want it or not. Of course, the best person to answer your questions is your health care provider, but here are the answers to some of the more common questions you’ll undoubtedly ask.

1. Will it hurt to give birth? In a word, yes. How painful it will be varies greatly from one woman to another. However, there are a few decisions that YOU can make, including your delivery method, that can impact this greatly. The good news is: the better prepared you are, the easier it is going to be to deal with the pain. Also, if you want an idea of how your pregnancy and delivery may go, talk to your closest female relatives and ask them about their birthing experience . chances are that you'll have a similar one. And above all, remember this . the pain of childbirth is manageable. You will have several options when it comes to pain management and it is important you discuss them with your physician to find out which is best for you. You can be without any anesthesia at all (tough it out!) or have different levels of anesthesia (for example, from your mid-chest down). Also, if this is not your first pregnancy, each delivery is usually easier than the one before!

2. How will I know my baby is healthy? This is where your choice of a health care provider comes into play. Not only do they have access to all those wonderful diagnostic tools, you'll also have access to the best tool of all . their professional judgment. You can ask them about any of the symptoms you may be experiencing and they can reassure you it is part of normal pregnancy or figure out the cause. You can also ask them about which medications to take. And lastly, do not forget your judgment is your last and best asset. Women have been having babies for thousands of years and both have gotten through pregnancy and delivery just fine!

3. How much weight will I and should I gain? Unfortunately, it is not one-size-fits-all. There is not a magic number that you should expect. There are many variables including your pre-pregnancy weight, your health, the health of your baby, and whether or not you have twins. However, there is a good rule-of-thumb for how much weight you should gain based on your weight:

  • Underweight: 28 - 40 Pounds
  • Normal Weight: 25 - 35 Pounds
  • Overweight: 15 - 25 Pounds
  • Obese: 11 - 20 Pounds

Also, it is important that you not try to shed the weight and hit the gym as soon as you get home from the hospital! To have a healthy baby, you need to keep your calorie count up high in order to breast feed. Also, a special weight-loss hint you probably did not know about! Adequate breastfeeding makes your uterus shrink down faster (and lose that extra weight!) and is also nature's form of birth control! A win-win!

4. Do I need to change my diet during pregnancy? The answer is yes. There are certain foods and drinks that you should avoid during your pregnancy. Many women like to wake up and have a cup of coffee with breakfast or a cup of tea in the afternoon - as far as caffeine goes, it is recommended that pregnant women avoid consuming more than 200 milligrams of caffeine (equal to a 12-ounce cup of coffee). As far as which foods to avoid, it is recommended that pregnant women avoid all uncooked seafood (sushi, shellfish), undercooked meats and poultry, and unpasteurized dairy products (brie, feta, blue cheese, and Mexican-style cheeses). As far as which seafood is considered okay...the FDA and EPA say pregnant women can safely eat up 12 ounces a week (or two average-sized portions) of salmon, catfish, cod, and canned light tuna.

5. Will using a seat belt hurt me or the baby? If worn properly, a seat belt will not only not hurt, but will be one of the best protections the two of you can have in the case of an automobile accident. When you’re pregnant, it’s especially essential to wear your seat belt low across your hip bones and under your baby bump. As your tummy gets larger, you may need a seat belt extender to be comfortable. And always see your health care provider after any automobile accident, even just a minor fender bender.

6. Is it safe to have sex while I am pregnant? This is a question that a lot of pregnant women want answered but may feel uncomfortable asking their physician or friends/family. That is why we are here to answer the question for you...and the answer may surprise you. YES you can. Sex will not harm your baby. Early miscarriages are due to problems with the baby's DNA (and NOTHING you did!). Also, your baby has very special protection called the amniotic sac that is inside your uterus - sexual activity will not affect it. There is a caveat, however. During your first trimester, your hormones will be fluctuating and it may actually decrease your desire. You may also have less desire during the third trimester as you may be experiencing back pain or other symptoms associated with your weight gain.

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