10 frequently asked questions about pregnancy

When we get pregnant or trying to get pregnant, many questions come to mind. When do we have to go to the doctor? How much weight did we gain? Can we know if we are pregnant before the period is missing? It is time to clear the most frequently doubts about pregnancy.

Frequent questions in pregnancy:

1. Is it possible to detect pregnancy before the period is missed?

The gynecologist Susana Haquet Santana, academic of the Department of Embryology and Genetics of the Faculty of Medicine, of the UNAM answers, “There could be a little pain or tension in the mammary glands. Maybe a slight nausea, but there are no other symptoms before the missed period.

2. When is it advisable to go to the doctor?

“The ideal is to go before pregnancy. If a woman is trying to get pregnant, I think she should start seeing her gynecologist about six months earlier”.

“Both man and woman should have laboratory tests done, take their blood pressure, analyze the risk factors they have for a normal pregnancy, or detect the risk of any pregnancy disease such as diabetes, preeclampsia and depression. It is good to take prenatal vitamins that contain folic acid and iron before trying to get pregnant”.

3. Why do you feel so sleepy during pregnancy?

“During pregnancy the metabolism increases and the body stores cholesterol, glucose, etc. Yes, there is some tiredness and sleep. This is because the metabolism is saving up. Progesterone also increases in levels, so you feel sleepy”.

4. Why does nausea occur? Can it be avoided?

“Nausea occurs since the beginning of pregnancy, even before there is a menstrual delay and goes on during the first three months. It occurs because the pregnancy hormone (human chorionic gonadotropin hormone or hCG) increases too much and peaks between weeks 10 and 12. That is what makes us very nauseated”.

“It can be avoided by removing highly seasoned and fatty foods. Broths also cause a lot of nausea, chicken broth, for example. The ideal would be to take a dry diet, fruit, toast, etc. And try to eat small meals, at least five times a day to not have an empty stomach, but not overloaded either. Crackers can help and there are doctor-prescribed medications that can help as well”.

5. Is vaginal discharge normal during pregnancy?

“There should be no discharge during pregnancy. Some women detect cervical mucus, which all women have, but during pregnancy it becomes thicker, whitish, but there should be no discomfort such as itching, bad smell, or burning. The cervical mucus may stain the panties, it looks thick, but that’s it. If vaginal discharge occurs, it is a symptom of infection that requires medical treatment”.

6. Why do breasts grow during pregnancy?

“Breast swelling also starts from the beginning of pregnancy. The increase in estrogen and progesterone causes the mammary glands to mature, then they begin to get ready for the child birth and milk production can occur”.

This begins in the moment the embryo is implanted, and this increase in estrogen and progesterone causes the breasts grow in size and may feel painful and sensitive. Obviously the change is well noticed by the woman since the beginning of pregnancy. In the end, from week 36.

7. How much weight should a woman gain during pregnancy?

According to Mayo Clinic there is no single approach to weight gain during pregnancy and it depends on several factors such as the woman’s weight before getting pregnant and her body mass index.

Women with normal weight can put on between 17 and 25 kilograms, overweighed ones between 14 and 23 kilos and obese women between 11 and 19 kilos. In general, an increase between 10 and 15 kilos is considered healthy.  

At the beginning there is very little gain. Most pregnant women gain one to five pounds throughout the first trimester, and then a pound a week for the rest of the pregnancy. It is important that they eat a balanced diet, rich in nutrients.

8. When do I start to feel my baby?

“Midway through your pregnancy, or as early as 18 weeks after conception, you may feel your baby move (first fetal movements). The baby sleeps and wakes regularly. He can be woken up by noises or your movements. At this point, the baby could measure about 6 inches (160 millimeters) from crown to rump, and weigh more than 11 ounces (320 g)”, says Mayo Clinic.

9. What complications are there during pregnancy?

The National Institute of Health explains that the most frequent complications (that should be monitored) are high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, infections, preeclampsia, premature labor and risk of pregnancy loss or miscarriage.

10. How do I recognize contractions?

During the last few months of pregnancy, you may have the occasional, sometimes painful sensation of your uterus contracting and relaxing, known as a contraction. “These are called Braxton-Hicks contractions”.

To tell the difference between Braxton-Hicks contractions and true labor, the Mayo Clinic recommends: Calculate the time of the contractions from the beginning of one to the beginning of the next.

Look for a regular pattern, they progressively get stronger and more regular. False labor contractions are irregular.  

How long do they last? Figure out the duration of each contraction. True contractions last between 30 and 70 seconds.  

Do the contractions stop? True contractions keep going regardless of activity level or position. With false labor, contractions may stop when you walk, rest, or change positions.

Translated by: Ligia M. Oliver Manrique de Lara

Spanish version: Here

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