Undoubtedly pregnancy is the most important period in a woman’s life. It is a special and unique event in a couple’s life, an unforgettable and astonishing experience. Every expectant mother reacts differently, which is absolutely natural. During these 9 months a woman’s organism changes, as do her habits and daily routine.
A normal pregnancy lasts for about 38 weeks after the fertilization of the ovum (egg). The expectant mother should be extremely cautious, especially during the first 3 months, since this period is critical for the development of the embryo and the pregnancy’s overall course. Prenatal testing, which is imperative, is a major ally in her attempt to give birth to a healthy baby.
Prior to pregnancy
Once a couple decides to have a child, they need to take certain necessary measures, which will lead to a safe and untroubled pregnancy.
The prospective mother, in case of obesity, should make an effort to lose weight through exercise and diet. Given that pregnancy is accompanied by weight gain, there are more chances of complications if a woman is obese.
Additionally, the future mother should give up smoking, and alcohol consumption should be limited to two or three glasses of wine per week.
If the woman suffers from high blood pressure, diabetes or other chronic disease, she ought to let her gynaecologist know immediately, in order for him to be informed about any possible complications and therefore, administer specific treatment.
As it has already been mentioned, a woman goes through major changes during pregnancy. Here is some practical advice that could be followed in order for painful symptoms to be avoided:
- washing her hands carefully before meals
- good cooking of meat, especially poultry
- consuming only pasteurized milk and hard cheese
- having small and regular meals rich in carbohydrates
- lying down with her legs elevated to avoid swollen feet
- consuming plenty of fruit and water
- vitamin intake
- not resting immediately after meals- letting some time to pass
- walking regularly
- quitting smoking and alcohol immediately
By adhering to the points listed above, and doing all the necessary prenatal tests consistently, a woman can considerably increase her chances of having a successful and smooth pregnancy. On average, a woman gains 10 to 12.5 kg during pregnancy. Each case, however, is examined separately since weight gain varies and depends on the expectant mother’s weight prior to conception.
Problems during pregnancy
Being pregnant means sweet anticipation of a new life, and at the same time it entails physical change and increased demands. An ideal pregnancy leads to the birth of a healthy baby without causing the mother great discomfort. Nevertheless, difficulties are quite often encountered during these 9 months.
The moment a couple decides to have a baby, they need to be informed in detail about any problems, risks or complications that might arise, so that they can deal with an unpleasant situation calmly and effectively in consultation with their doctor.
Major changes take place in a woman’s body during pregnancy. These changes often cause irritation and discomfort. Nausea and morning sickness are two very common signs of pregnancy that are not, however, observed in all cases.
Even though the causes of these symptoms are not perfectly clear, they mainly appear in periods of tiredness or emotional distress. An expectant mother should be worried in case of vaginal bleeding. Despite the bleeding the woman could have a normal pregnancy but she should be closely monitored by her doctor, since this could pose danger to her or her baby.
Most miscarriages occur during the first trimester. Unfortunately, 20% of all pregnancies come to an end due to either placental insufficiency or cervical weakness. Signs of miscarriage appear in the form of menstruation, bleeding and pain similar to menstrual pain.
What is essential is that a woman bleeding needs to contact her doctor immediately. While most times the bleeding stops and the pregnancy progresses normally, there are cases in which blood flow continues; hence, a miscarriage is inevitable.
The most serious problems that may arise during this two-month period are listed below:
- Foetal growth retardation
- Preeclampsia and high blood pressure
- Vaginal bleeding
- Obstetric cholestasis
The first four problems are the most common ones. Receiving medical attention and following the doctor’s advice precisely are essential in order to eliminate any chances of miscarriage.
Many times a series of tests is required in order to examine all parameters and decide on a future course of action (bed rest, medication, premature labour, caesarean section, etc). Obstetric cholestasis is a rare liver condition and could result in premature labour, stillbirth or grave health issues for both the mother and her baby
Problems related to the second trimester of pregnancy, listed above, can be seen during the final stages of pregnancy as well. In the 8th or 9th month, however, a woman is likely to face certain conditions, which are treatable yet unpleasant. The most frequent are the following:
- Changes in skin and hair
- Stretch marks
- Swollen feet and toes
- Tiredness and cramps due to additional weight
- Gingival bleeding
- Vaginal discharge