Pregnancy

McWilliams joy

Pregnancy is a very exciting time for everyone involved in any part of the birthing process! It’s exciting whenever a new child enters a family. How amazing and wonderful to have another human being grow inside you!

We greatly encourage families to contact us as soon as they know they are pregnant, so that we can start prenatal care early, thus developing a close relationship with your family and helping to prevent early morning sickness.

Estimated Due Date Calculator

Signs & Symptoms of Pregnancy

Missed Period

This is probably one of the more reliable signs of pregnancy. Although some women will experience implantation bleeding about the time of their period, it is usually lighter and/or shorter than their normal period. This is why you are asked for the first day of your last normal period. There are even a few women who will have period throughout their pregnancy, although this is rare, it does happen.

If you’ve been planning for pregnancy, the day that you expect your period is probably well marked in your mind. It is the official day that you can take a home pregnancy test.

These tests measure the levels of HCG (hormone secreted during pregnancy) in your urine. The amount of urine each test can detect varies widely. The amount of hormone each woman secret may also vary, but not as widely. The better tests on the market will measure 25-50 mIUs of hCG, which is usually the amount found in urine between the 14th & 15th days of pregnancy. The levels of hCG in your urine and blood will be different.

First morning urine will always contain the highest concentration of hCG. However, most tests do not require that you use first morning urine. You can help better your chances of having enough hCG in your urine by waiting four hours after you last urinated to take the test. This will allow hCG to build up in your urine.

These tests rarely give false results. A negative answer that is later revealed to be a pregnancy is usually the result of the test being performed too early. A positive that later turns out the woman is not pregnant is usually a very early miscarriage. Talk to your practitioner if you have questions about your pregnancy tests and consider calling the toll-free number provided by the test manufacturer.

Blood tests are the most accurate and can be performed 7-10 days post-ovulation.

Morning Sickness
This lovely affliction affects many pregnant women, but by no means all. It’s estimated that only 50% of women will experience morning sickness. It is not very well named either. Any variation of sickness is applicable. Some women are sick only in the night, some are sick all day, other women it comes and goes with its own pattern. There is also a difference in whether it’s merely a queasy feeling or actual vomiting. Some women will actually have a severe form of morning sickness called hyperemesis gravidarum. This can lead to dehydration and other problems.

Breast Soreness

Ouch! Don’t touch that! Breast tenderness is experienced by many women, both during pregnancy and prior to their periods. This usually goes away during the second trimester, or it may be experienced as a heighten sensitivity. This can be a good thing for some women. Or you can do what I did: poke your breasts so often to check for tenderness that you can’t decide if you caused the tenderness or not.

Headaches

Headaches are more common in pregnancy due to the changes in hormones. This may be a pregnancy symptom, but it is not necessarily a pregnancy sign. There are many things that could cause this, including stress.

Bloating

Some women do begin to bloat nearly immediately. Again, this is a symptom of pregnancy, but not necessarily a sign. There are also women who will have bloating prior to a period.

Vaginal Discharge

Vaginal discharge, without itching or burning, may be a sign of pregnancy. The cervix is building your mucous plug to block the opening of the cervix to help protect your baby from infections, etc. You might notice a slight increase in vaginal secretions. Again, it’s shouldn’t smell, burn or itch. These would be signs of infection that would require proper medical treatment.

As I said before some women will sail through pregnancy with never a problem, while others seem to have it all. There are many things you can do to ease these symptoms of early pregnancy (and the later ones too!). Most of these will disappear by the early portion of your second trimester. The only time you should be concerned about disappearing symptoms is when they suddenly stop before the 10th week of pregnancy. This may be nothing, or it could indicate a problem with the pregnancy.

When will my baby be born?

Determining your due date can seem like a maze these days. How do you do it and what does it all mean? Let’s take a look at the history of determining due dates and how it affects when your baby will be born. Dr. Naegele, circa 1850, determined that the average length of human gestation was approximately 266 days from conception. He assumed that the average woman had cycles that lasted 28 days and that she ovulated on Day 14 of her cycle. He used his data to come up with a mathematical calculation for due dates:

((LMP + 7 days) – 3 months) = Due Date
EX: ((January 1, 1996 + 7 days) – 3 months) = October 8, 1996
However, Dr. Naegele did not consider certain factors in his calculation. For example: Not every woman ovulates on Day 14. Other situations that he did not factor in were ethnicity, parity (how many successful pregnancies), prenatal care, better nutrition, and screening factors.

Today we still use Naegele’s rule to determine due dates. However, there is a new rise to the discussion of the accuracy of Naegele’s findings. With the advent of true prenatal care, midwives and physicians are helping women educate themselves about risk factors, nutrition and prenatal screening. This extends the lengths of gestation for many women. One study indicates that we need to add 15 days to the Naegele EDC for Caucasian, first time moms, and 10 days for Caucasian moms having subsequent children. African American and Asian women tend to have shorter gestations. Nowadays, we use ultrasound, when available or if there is a question of menstrual history. Ultrasound can be an effective way of dating a pregnancy, but this accuracy is lost if not performed in the first half of pregnancy. Most authorities agree that there are many ways to date a pregnancy, and that not just one factor should be used to determine the final due date. Other events to factor in are:

  1. Quickening (first time mom feels the baby move)
  2. Fetal heart tones heard through doppler and stethoscope
  3. Fundal height (Measurement of the uterus done throughout pregnancy)
  4. Keep in mind that due dates are estimates of when your baby will arrive. We generally consider the normal time frame to be two weeks before your due date, until two weeks after your due date.

Just remember, no matter how many times your neighbors, strangers, mothers, etc. ask you when you are due, smile, because only the baby really knows.

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