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Top 10 Early Pregnancy Signs

One of the biggest things aspiring moms want to know about is what pregnancy signs they should be watching out for when they are trying to get pregnant.  The simple answer is that there is no single answer for you because every woman will experience different symptoms of pregnancy.  However, there ARE some very common signs and symptoms that to know to watch for, so if you listen to your body and know what the common signs and symptoms to watch for are, you should have no problem recognizing that you may be pregnant.

early pregnancy signsChances are pretty good that you will experience 1 or more of the following 10 early pregnancy signs when you are pregnant. However, for the surest test, you will want to take an over the counter pregnancy test and/or make a visit to your doctor.  Experiencing these pregnancy symptoms are a good indicator that it is actually time to take one of those next steps.

Now, on with the list! (in no particular order):

1) Tiredness – If you are pregnant, your body is now working overtime to prepare itself for the next 9 months of pregnancy.  Your body is without a doubt using up more energy and there is a good chance you will feel tired and not really know why.  This could be a tell tale sign that you are pregnant when coupled with 1 or 2 of the other common pregnancy signs.

2) Nausea – The added stress on the body, increase in hormones and estrogen, a keener sense of smell and other body changes all seem to create a cocktail of misfortune for many pregnant women. Morning sickness is the most common form of nausea that is experienced, but it could be a certain smell or taste that sets it off as well.  Nobody is exactly sure what causes nausea and some women are lucky enough to not even get it.  But the bottom line is if you do experience it, it could be an early symptom of your pregnancy.

3) Frequent Urination – Due to the increase in size of your uterus, it may already be putting added pressure on your bladder which would cause a more frequent need to urinate, or even just the sensation that you need to urinate. This is one symptom that you will likely have during your entire pregnancy.

4) Swelling and Tenderness of the Breasts – The moment you become pregnant your body begins preparing itself for breastfeeding.  Your breasts may become swollen or very tender.  Your nipples may also become very sensitive to the touch.  This is often one of the first pregnancy symptoms you will notice.

5) Backaches – Lower back pains usually are dull and come and go as an early sign of pregnancy.  Sometimes it may not be a sign at all, but experiencing dull lower back pains coupled with one or two other of the common symptoms listed here will often be a sign that you are pregnant.

6) Missed Menstrual Cycle – There are many reasons a woman may miss a menstrual cycle such as stress or a change in birth control or other medications, but one of the biggest reasons is that she is pregnant.  If you miss a period, you will definitely want to watch for other pregnancy symptoms that your body may be experiencing.

7) Weight Gain – This can be a tough pregnancy symptom to notice due to the fact that most people’s weight tends to fluctuate a lot anyway.  Noticeable to some, the weight gain will mostly be due to water retention as the body prepares for the additional fluids it will need for the oncoming pregnancy.  Weight gain on it’s own is not a great indicator of pregnancy but coupled with other pregnancy symptoms, is a definite tell tale sign.

8) Headaches – An increase in headaches is a very common pregnancy symptom for women.  The increase is most during the first and third trimesters.  The headaches are believed to be caused by the sudden increase in hormones due to pregnancy as well as the increase in blood in the body.  If you start to notice you are having headaches or more frequent headaches, then it may be a sign of pregnancy.

9) Darkening of Areolas – In addition to tenderness and enlarging of the breasts, you may also see the areas around your nipples darkening and in some cases even tingling.  The color change can start to happen as early as the first or second week after conception.  If you notice this as well as tenderness of the breasts, it is a very good sign that you may be pregnant.

10) Food Cravings or Aversions – For many women, the increase in hormones due to pregnancy brings with it some seemingly very strange food cravings and food aversions.  In many cases it may follow the idea that your body craves what it needs, but there sometimes there really is no good explanation for the cravings or aversions you may experience.  Sometimes something as simple as a smell may be enough to give you a massive hunger attack or on the flip side make you nauseous for no particular reason.  So if you find yourself craving a peanut butter and pickle sandwich or some food that you have never craved before, then it may be a sign that you are pregnant.

I hope you enjoyed our top 10 list of early pregnancy signs.  If you experience just one of these, then it is not likely a clear sign that you are pregnant, but if you are experiencing 2, 3, or more of these symptoms, there is a good chance that you may in fact be pregnant.  But that leads me to my bonus symptom number 11!

11) A Positive Pregnancy Test – You don’t really have a reason to take a home pregnancy test unless you are experiencing some of these symptoms, which is why I saved this for last.  It isn’t really a symptom, but it is a pretty darn good indicator.  If you notice some symptoms and decide to take a home pregnancy test, it is a very exciting experience.  Especially if it comes back positive!  If you do take a home pregnancy test and get a positive result, the next step is to see your doctor and get an official answer that you are pregnant.  In the meantime, you may want to drop any bad eating, drinking or smoking habits and start preparing yourself for the next 9 months, just in case.

If you do find out that you are pregnant, you may find our articles on each week of pregnancy useful as well as what to expect during the first trimester.  Enjoy!

Must Have Foods for Fetal Development

Providing the fetus with vital nutrients will help the child live a healthy and normal life ahead. The baby may not be another Einstein but developing his cognitive skills will definitely be less of a parental chore if he is given a head start with foods that nourish the brain and develop vision and other vital organs while still in its developmental stage.

While milk and other synthetic supplements are available for pregnant women to ensure that the important nutrients are absorbed by the fetus, it is still better to ingest them simultaneously from the following natural food.

• Fish (whether fresh, farm-raised or canned) is among the top foods that pregnant women should take daily (but not to exceed 12 ounces per week). This is a good source of so many essential nutrients as follows: (1) Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) which form the brain cell’s building block, (2) protein for growing tissues, (3) Vitamin D for developing skeletal system, and (4) vitamin E for normal growth rate. Salmon is one good choice among available fish varieties because of its low mercury count.  Just do your research on the type of fish, as some high mercury containing fish can be harmful to a developing fetus.

• Eggs which are low-cost and easily available are another must-have food for pregnant women. An egg has high quality protein, choline, vitamins A, D, and B complex among other vitamins and minerals present in such a small food. All these contribute for normal growth or regulation of tissues, brain, skeletal and nervous system, and promotion of good eyesight and healthy skin.

• Foods with high folic acid content like spinach, legumes and other dark green leafy veggies are another must-have in the early phase of pregnancy to prevent brain and spinal defects.

• Calcium-rich foods such as milk, yogurt and cheese are also important for proper bone formation. Milk available for pregnant women also has folic acid and DHA for enhancing fetal brain development.

• Foods rich in iron such as peas, dried beans, lean red meats or even iron-fortified foodstuff should be taken to assist in red blood cell formation of the fetus.

• Sufficient consumption of foods loaded with Vitamin C found in tomatoes and citrus fruits are also a must because this vitamin helps iron to be absorbed efficiently by the body. It is also crucial for making collagen which partly makes up the cartilage, bones, tendons and skin.

Overall, pregnant women should eat daily all the food groups in proper ratio with increased intake of the above-mentioned food to meet the special needs of the developing fetus.

Check out more of our great articles at weeks pregnant

G.S. Lacdao is a freelancer who writes for Special Education Parents Action Community where you can find information about special education for children with special needs, and share your stories with other members via the online forum.

The Risk of Taking Psychoactive Drugs During Pregnancy

A psychoactive drug is any medication that affects the functioning of the brain, changing behavior, mood, cognition or consciousness. They are used to treat physical and psychological disorders but are also sometimes used recreationally. Many psychoactive drugs have a tendency towards being addictive.

Three Primary Classes of Psychoactive Drugs

Psychoactive drugs are grouped into three classes depending on their primary action on the central nervous system.

Depressants, like alcohol, barbiturates or benzodiazepines, sedatives, hypnotics and narcotics, slow down or inhibit the functioning of the central nervous system. Drugs that fit into this class are Valium, Xanax, Percocet, Ambien, morphine and codeine. They are often used to treat anxiety or panic disorders, sleep disorders and pain.

Caffeine, nicotine, amphetamines and cocaine are stimulants. They increase activity in the brain and nervous system and stimulate the mind. Stimulants are used to treat conditions like fatigue caused by multiple sclerosis or chronic fatigue syndrome, narcolepsy or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Prescription medications that fall into this category include Ritalin, Concerta, Adderall and Provigil.

Psychedelics or hallucinogens are drugs that alter mood, thinking and perception. Drugs in this class include marijuana, LSD, peyote and psilocybin, usually referred to as “magic mushrooms.” Prescription medication in this class includes nitrous oxide, a dissociative, often used for anesthesia during dental work and propofol, used to induce general anesthesia during surgery.

Common Usages for Psychoactive Drugs

Psychoactive drugs are used in a variety of medical settings. General anesthetics are used to block pain and induce unconsciousness so that patients can endure surgery without pain or trauma. Opiate narcotics treat severe pain. A second class of pain treatment, the analgesics, includes non-steroidal anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen and aspirin.

The field of psychiatry makes great use psychoactive medications. Psychiatric psychoactive medications fall into six major classes:

–Antidepressants, which treat clinical depression, eating disorders, anxiety and panic disorders
–Stimulants, which treat ADHD, narcolepsy and can be used as appetite suppressants
–Antipsychotics, which treat psychosis, schizophrenia and mania
–Mood stabilizers, which treat schizoaffective disorder and bipolar disorder
–Anxiolytics, which treat anxiety disorders
–Depressants, which include hypnotics, sedatives and anesthetics

Psychoactive Drugs in Pregnancy

Most psychoactive drugs do in fact cross the placenta and can have effects on the unborn child. Many are contraindicated in pregnancy, especially during the first trimester. It’s important to weigh the potential benefit to the mother against the potential risk to the fetus. For example, a pregnant woman with severe depression who is at risk of suicide without antidepressants would do well to continue taking her medication. This decision should be made in consultation with the woman’s medical provider. Most psychoactive drugs are listed at Class C by the Food & Drug Administration, which means that not enough information is present to determine their safety in pregnancy.

Possible Risks to the Fetus from Psychoactive Medication

— addiction
— premature birth
— spontaneous abortion, or miscarriage
— stillbirth
— malformations, such as clubfoot, improperly attached umbilical cord, and vascular pigmentation
— death after birth, due to malformations
— respiratory distress

Read more of our articles here at weeks pregnant

Some women who use birth control become pregnant without even knowing it. Many continue to take their birth control pills until they begin to have pregnancy symptoms. Doctors recommend that a woman stop taking her birth control pills if she believes she may be pregnant. They should take a pregnancy test if they begin to have symptoms.

Taking birth control pills while pregnant can affect not only you, but the health of your unborn child. You could have a miscarriage and miss out on your much needed prenatal care. Here are some of the potential side effects of taking birth control while pregnant.

Concerns of Miscarriage:

Using an oral contraceptive during early pregnancy usually won’t cause a miscarriage. Never induce a miscarriage with birth control. It’s not been known as an effective way to terminate a pregnancy. Nor is it a decent way either.

Birth Defects:

The Mayo Clinic states there is no scientific link proving that a woman’s child will have birth defects if the mother stays on her birth control pills in the early stages of pregnancy. Both estrogen and progesterone, the hormones found in birth control, have not been linked to any certain type of birth defect. However, birth control pills containing only progesterone have been known to cause an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy.

Pregnancy Symptoms:

Birth control pills don’t cover up pregnancy symptoms such as….

• Nausea
• Vomiting
• Headaches
• Breast Swelling
• Breast Tenderness

However, these same symptoms can also be associated with PMS or a normal menstrual cycle. If these symptoms occur without a period then a pregnancy test should be done. If you have taken your birth control pill normally and you’re period is late, chances are you’re not pregnant and you should continue with the pill. Some birth control pills actually make you miss your cycle. However, if you’re concerned, you can take an at home pregnancy test just to make sure. Birth control hormones don’t affect pregnancy tests since the test is looking for the hCg hormone. This hormone isn’t found in birth control pills.

Side Effects While Pregnant:

Pregnant women taking birth control pills usually have more pregnancy symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, bloating and fatigue than those who are not on the pill. Many women ignore these symptoms because they are similar to PMS. It’s best not to ignore any symptom. If you’re not sure, talk to your doctor.

Accidentally Ending a Pregnancy:

Accidentally ending a pregnancy can’t be done by taking your regular dose of birth control pills. The South Carolina Emergency Contraceptive Initiative claims that you could use a large dose of birth control pills as emergency contraceptive. However, it may only last a few days after you’ve had unprotected sex and not after the pregnancy test you took came back positive. If this is something you plan on trying, consult a doctor or pharmacist first so you can be sure to get the right dosage.

Children are a blessing, but if you’re not ready to be a parent, then birth control is a must. However, be careful when choosing the right birth control and listen to your body. It will let you know if you are pregnant or just having a reaction from the pill. Either way, it’s best to consult your doctor.

One of the greatest health issues that has become more prevalent nowadays is the onset of diabetes in pregnant women. This condition is called gestational diabetes and is characterized by women without any previous medical history of diabetes developing the condition during pregnancy.

Diabetes is a condition wherein the body is unable to properly produce the hormone insulin. Insulin is essential in the regulation of blood glucose in the body. A high concentration of blood glucose in a woman is a grave health issue as the body is unable to metabolize this essential fuel for most bodily functions. Furthermore, when blood glucose levels are high, this causes many organs of the body to improperly function and may lead to other health issues such as renal disease and cardiovascular problems.

Thus when this condition appears in a pregnant woman, there are many risks that can complicate the pregnancy for both the mother and the child. For the child, when the mother is suffering from gestational diabetes, it could lead to problems such as large for the gestational age (LGA), leading to birth delivery complications. The baby may also have low blood sugar levels, which may lead to improper organ functioning and jaundice, which may be symptomatic of liver and kidney problems during infancy. As the infant grows, the child may be prone to obesity and eventual development of Type 2 diabetes.

As for the mother, having gestational diabetes can lead to eventual development of Type 2 diabetes mellitus permanently. When this occurs, the body is unable to properly metabolize blood glucose in the body leading to organ complications. Also, the mother would be prone to pre-eclampsia, which is a cardiovascular condition that can create complications to both the mother and the child.

Gestational diabetes presents itself as increased insulin resistance in the mother during pregnancy. Insulin as a hormone that assists in the metabolization of glucose by the cells and inhibiting such entry leads to cell deterioration and death. This unprocessed glucose is retained in the bloodstream leading to internal organ problems in the long run. Also, since the developing fetus feeds off the bloodstream of the now insulin resistant mother, the fetus’ development faces increased level of glucose and would need to compensate for such high levels of glucose by an increased production of insulin. When the baby is born, this heightened insulin production leads to hypoglycemia during infancy and eventually throughout the baby’s life.

There are now many ways to screen the onset of gestational diabetes in pregnant mothers. The simplest way to determine such is through blood screening of the pregnant mother regularly, especially in the third trimester of the pregnancy. This is done through fasting glucose tests or random glucose testing for the mother in order to prevent long-term health issues with the mother and the development of diabetes in the infant as they mature. While there are still no fail-safe ways to prevent gestational diabetes from occurring, the only secure way to manage the condition, if ever it presents itself is through regular check ups of both the mother and the child during the childbearing period.

For more information on gestational diabetes and diabetes in general, do visit us at Diabetes Forum.

A study recently came out showing that there was a 4% drop in new pregnancies from 2007 to 2009. At first this might not seem like much, but it really is! There are a lot of factors that are likely affecting this, first and foremost the failing economy forcing people to tighten their proverbial belts. I would imagine that as the economy recovers, the amount of new pregnancies will rise again.

Original Article

You are now 9 weeks pregnant! Congratulations are in order, because if you are one of the unlucky mommy’s-to-be who suffer from morning sickness, this and the next weeks are your last of the worst! Although this pregnancy will last for forty weeks (or longer, in some cases ), a lot of things will be happening to both you and the baby each and every one of them! For the next 31 weeks, you and your body are going to be very busy trying to create the best environment for your baby to thrive, so if you’re wondering what’s going on in your body and with the baby, here’s some information on the goings on at 9 weeks pregnant.

If this is your first baby, you’re probably still fitting into your pre-maternity clothes… but they may be getting a bit snug. As long as you feel comfortable and are able to breathe and move without difficulty, your still able to sport your clothes with a little more curve and cleavage (hey, why not?). As stated earlier, morning sickness symptoms tend to peak around the 9th and 10th weeks of pregnancy, so if you suffer from nausea, you’re almost out of the woods. Fatigue is the most common symptom at 9 weeks pregnant, so try to stay as rested as possible. If you’re feeling overly tired, you can try naps, opting for certain foods, eliminating certain elements (like caffeine) of your diet, and starting a good exercise routine; it can be astounding the impact a 10-20 minute walk can have on your body and your mind!

In the 9th week of pregnancy, your baby is growing by leaps and bounds! At already 1” long, she is well on her way to filling out, and filling in your belly. If you’ve seen pictures of embryos at this stage, you’ve probably noticed the tadpole-like tail; at 9 weeks, your baby’s tail is starting to disappear and she is starting to look more like a real baby! This is her last week as an embryo, too. As of next week, she will have entered the “fetus” stage! The fingers and toes you dream about are also forming beautifully from what used to look like paddles. Another amazing point she’s reached is that she now has all of her major organs! Even her muscles and nerves are in place and ready to go!

At this point in your pregnancy, you’re still in your early stages. It can be easy to get caught up in “counting down”, but try to relish in the time you have being “one” with your baby. You will be the one to feel her move, know her schedules, and feel her likes and dislikes (eat spicy calamari in your 39th week and you’ll understand!). The time goes fast, so staying focused on getting everything done should be enough to keep you occupied. As long as you try to remain calm and stress-free throughout the many weeks ahead, the time will fly by soon enough and you’ll be looking back on today like it “was just yesterday.”

In case your “pregnancy brain” has kicked in already, here’s a recap of the goings-on while you’re 9 weeks pregnant. For you, morning sickness will start to subside over this week and next; you may not need maternity clothes just yet, but you’re probably sensing a change in your body shape; and you’re best bet to ensure a healthy pregnancy is to start a good diet, exercise program, and daily flossing regimen. For your little one, she’s losing her tadpole tail and is on her way to looking like an actual baby! All major organs and extremities are developing nicely, and she’s almost out of the embryonic stage.

Welcome to week #8 of your pregnancy! Congratulations, and hold on tight because, for many, this is an important and exciting week! More often than not, this is the week of your first appointment with your doctor or midwife. Taking a little longer than the average annual appointment, this meeting will allow you to confirm your pregnancy and do the blood and urine tests to ensure your body is responding to the pregnancy as it should. If you haven’t been informed as of yet, you’ll probably find out your due date. After going over your medical history and delving a little into the baby’s father’s family history to determine any risks, the events of your remaining pregnancy and prenatal appointments will be covered. Although this appointment may seem nerve-racking, just try to remain calm and comfortable and spend the time you have getting to know your doctor. If you think it will help, you can always prepare a list of questions or concerns that can be addressed in this appointment.

In addition to meeting the person who will most likely bring your child into this world, you may have the opportunity to hear the baby’s heartbeat or even see it on an ultrasound! Aside from the ultrasound performed between weeks 16 and 20 that will determine your baby’s sex, this first encounter with your little one will solidify the fact that you’re actually carrying around a little person who will change your life! Because most women don’t feel the baby moving at this point, actually hearing or seeing your little one can bring you the peace of mind that the little stick you pee’d on not long ago was telling the truth. There is, in fact, a tiny (very tiny) person in there!

Most women report unsettling feelings about the possibility of miscarrying throughout much of their pregnancy. Although the possibility is very real, your mind can be put at ease that your chances of miscarrying drop significantly after the eighth week. If still troubled by the possibility, you can take matters into your own hands as much as possible by taking precautionary measures; try to ensure that your baby has the healthiest environment in which to spend the next 32 weeks by eating a nutritious diet of iron-rich foods, taking a daily prenatal vitamin, engaging in daily exercise, getting more than enough rest, reducing your caffeine intake, and (of course!) living a life free of any bad habits – smoking, drinking, drugs- for the remainder of your pregnancy. Remember: your body has the task of creating a life over the course of just forty weeks! By taking the best care of yourself, you are taking the best care of your baby!

Do you think that you might be pregnant? Are you experiencing symptoms that you have never had before? There are a lot of things that could point to you being pregnant. Let us know your symptoms and what you are experiencing here and we can help as well as our vast number of readers. With the combined experience of everyone here, no one needs to be in the dark.

Leave a comment in the comments section letting us know.

31 weeks pregnant

At 31 weeks pregnant, pregnant women and their unborn babies start to vary dramatically. While some women have gained 25-35 pounds by the third trimester, others may have gained upwards of 65 or 70 pounds. The unborn babies can vary even more dramatically than the mommies; while some babies reach lengths of 17 inches and weigh in at almost 4 pounds by the 31st week of pregnancy, others may reach only 14 inches and just barely hit 3 pounds by the same point in time. These differences are just as common as the differences among newborns and everybody walking the Earth on any given day. Keep in mind that as long as mom and baby are healthy and on track, weight and size should be of little concern.

By 31 weeks pregnant, you may find your body has a mind of its own. Your bladder, lungs, and leaking nipples may make you feel completely out of control, but just hang in there! Your sudden inability to take deep breaths is due to your uterus and your baby’s growing size. While it may be scary to not be able to catch your breath right away or inhale as deeply, there’s no need to worry… and your breathing abilities will go back to normal once the baby is born. Your bladder, well, you dealt with the frequent urination thing in the first few weeks of this fiasco, remember? The increasingly excessive pressure (now every week) of your growing baby is pushing on your bladder in just the right way that you may feel the urge to urinate almost as soon as you drink a drop of anything. The remedy: don’t drink too much of anything without being close to a restroom, and limit fluids prior to bedtimes or movies. Last, but certainly not least, you may start to notice some leaking from your nipples and excessive cervical discharge as early as 31 weeks pregnant. The colostrum (the first milk) that can start leaking from your nipples at this point is just your body’s way of prepping for the baby’s milk supply needed immediately following the birth, and there is absolutely no need for concern. The excessive cervical discharge is your body’s way of preparing for the delivery by flushing; you may even notice the loss of your mucous plug from 31 weeks pregnant forward, which is just your body’s way of getting the birth canal ready for the birth. The remedy: nursing pads work wonders, and they’re a great investment for nursing moms’ leaking breastmilk after the baby’s birth.

Although all babies vary in size from 31 weeks pregnant, on, your baby is anywhere between 2½ and 3½ pounds (the weight of a cantaloupe), and has probably reached 15 to 17 inches in length (about the size of a stalk of celery). Notice the creative comparisons of your baby to fruits and veggies in order to keep your healthy nutrition in mind – you’re welcome! Your baby, no matter how heavy or long, is filling out from this 31st week of pregnancy until the bitter-sweet end. With all of the weight she’ll gain over these last 9 weeks, her skin will lose it’s wrinkly appearance and put on the baby-fat she’ll have at birth. You may notice her movements slowing down some at this point, and there is no need to worry unless you feel no movement for over an hour. Most midwives and doctors can help ease your mind about your baby’s positioning and movements by helping you figure out which part of her body is where in your belly. Also, your baby may be head down already, or she could wait until as close to the birth as the day of!

As long as mom and baby are feeling good at 31 weeks pregnant, everything is great! In the homestretch of this wonderful experience, now, you and your baby may find your discomfort and tight fitting quarters more of a nuisance than ever before. Keep your comfort level at its best by staying close to restrooms, avoiding uncomfortable positions that make breathing more difficult, and invest in some nursing pads or pantyliners in order to reduce the aggravation resulting from leaky nipples and excessive cervical discharge. If nothing else, this is definitely an educational week. Take the time and care to maintain as much of a placid and sane environment fro here on out, and you’ll be in good shape!

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