By Rachel Lower
Q: When will I show?
A: You should show around 12 weeks, or between months 3-4. Gas, bloating, etc., may have you looking pregnant before then. If you've been pregnant before you may "pop out" earlier.
Q: Is there any way I can tell if it is a girl or a boy?
A: Yes, ultrasounds are pretty accurate (surprisingly not 100%). Other prenatal tests provide DNA analysis that will be right on the dot. The other pre-delivery methods of deciphering the sex are myths, fun and games.
Q: How long will the morning sickness last? I'm so nauseous!
A: Morning sickness should occur less and less by the second trimester/4 months. Maybe sooner! On rare occasions it will stick around. Rare!
Q: How much weight will I gain?
A: If you are in your ideal weight zone you should gain 25-35 pounds. If you are overweight or obese, expect to gain around 15 pounds. If you are underweight, you will gain more like 30-40 lbs. Be sure to ask your doctor how many calories you should be consuming. If you take pregnancy as an OK to eat as much as your want, you could gain twice as much.
Q: When will I feel the baby kick? Can I interact with him?
A: Between 16 and 20 weeks you should feel that first noticeable kick. Babies respond to touch by week 26. Ask your doctor to show you the amount of pressure you can use to interact with your unborn child. In examination, he or she may be able to help you feel the head. Some parents have claimed they taught their unborn child to kick on request, by using a verbal cue whenever the baby would kick on its own.
Q: In what month does the baby start to see or hear? Can we interact?
A: Around week 29 the baby can turn its head to find the source of a bright light. Some research has shown reactive "listening" as early as 14 weeks gestational age. The baby should be able to hear the mothers voice at 20 weeks, certainly by 30. You can play music for your baby, talk to your baby and have hubby talk to your baby - long before month 8! It is good for you too. (For much more information on pre-birth senses, check out Life Before Birth from BirthPsychology.com (link to be replaced)!)
Q: Is spotting normal?
A: Spotting can be normal in the first trimester. Warning signs to call your doctor: cramps, heavy bleeding, passage of clots or tissue, increase in pain and/or fever, red spotting (instead of brown or pink). Otherwise don't panic, but be sure to mention it on your next visit.
Q: How can I help my labor along?
A: There are many tips online that can be dangerous if you're not being monitored, such as prolonged nipple stimulation. The best way to help your labor along is to relax during that first stage. Talk a shower, a walk, have an energy packed meal, and breathe. Stay upright so that gravity can help you. I've seen much disagreement on what helps, what is unsafe... You're body will do most of the work on it's own.
Q: What dangers should I watch out for? Is there anything unsafe in my house?
A: Here (link to be replaced) are a list of herbs to avoid.
Avoid strenuous, rough exercise: be kind to your joints and don't overdo it. No scuba diving or riding rollercoasters!
Avoid drugs and alcohol, second hand smoke, and always check with your doctor before taking any kind of medication. Check the labels on your dandruff shampoo, lotion treatments, etc. I was shocked when I read the small print on a free shampoo sample I got in the mail, "may cause birth defects".
Avoid eating raw fish, high-mercury fish, soft cheeses, deli meats, shellfish, unpasteurized milk and juice, undercooked meats, raw sprouts (because of bacteria), left out foods, 'fake' sugars, excesses of Vitamins A, C, or D, and junk foods.
Have someone else change the cat liter. Take precautions when you clean, wear gloves, check labels just to be sure of safety. If you've ever thought to switch from the chemical cleaners to greener products like baking soda and vinegar, you might as well go for it now. Stay away from chemicals, car exhaust fumes, and other potentially toxic fumes when possible.
Q: How do you calculate your due date?
A: See Due Date Calculation.
Q: What can I do about my fatigue?
A: Try to get 9 or so hours of sleep per night. If you're having trouble getting to sleep, get up and do something sleep inducing like watching late night TV or reading, until your eyes get droopy. If your mind is racing, get a note pad and write it out so you're mind can relax. Try to take 20-minute power naps during the day. Make sure you're eating well and exercising. Don't forget to relax!
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