Body Changes |
Self Care | Second
By the end of this trimester, your baby is about three inches
long and weighs about half an ounce. The eyes move closer together
into their positions, and the ears also are in position. The liver
is making bile, and the kidneys are secreting urine into the bladder.
Even though you can't feel your baby move yet, your baby will
move inside you in response to pushing on your abdomen.
During the first 3 months of pregnancy, or the first
trimester, your body is undergoing many changes. As your body
adjusts to the growing baby, you may have nausea, fatigue, backaches,
mood swings, and stress. Just remember that these things are normal
during pregnancy, as your body changes. Most of these discomforts
will go away as your pregnancy progresses. And some women might
not have any discomforts! If you have been pregnant before, you
might feel differently with this pregnancy. Just as each woman
is different, so is each pregnancy. And, as your body changes,
you might need to make changes to your normal, everyday routine.
During your pregnancy, you might feel tired even when you've had
a lot of sleep at night. Many women find they're exhausted in
the first trimester. Don't worry, this is normal! This is your
body's way of telling you that you need more rest. After all,
your body is working very hard to develop a whole new life. Tiredness
will pass over time and be replaced with a feeling of well being
and more energy. When you are tired, get some rest. Try to get
eight hours of sleep every night, and a nap during the day if
you can. If you feel stressed, try to find a way to relax. You
might want to start sleeping on your left side, if you find it
more comfortable. This will relieve pressure on major blood vessels
that supply oxygen and nutrients to the fetus. If you have high
blood pressure during pregnancy, it is even more important to
be on your left side when you are lying down.
Morning Sickness, nausea and vomiting, is common during early
pregnancy. For many women, though, it isn't limited to just the
morning. Although it can seem like it will last forever, nausea
and vomiting usually go away after the first trimester. Try some
of these tips to help your nausea:
- Eat frequent, small meals (6 to 8 small meals a day, rather
than 3 large meals).
- Avoid fatty, fried, or spicy foods.
- Try starchy foods, like toast, saltines, cheerios, or other
dry cereals. Keep some by your bed and eat them before you get
out of bed in the morning and when you get up in the middle
of the night. Also keep some with you at all times, in case
you feel nauseous.
- Try drinking carbonated drinks like ginger ale or seltzer
in between meals.
- Ask your health care provider if you should stop taking your
prenatal vitamin for a while if it adds to your morning sickness.
- Ask your health care provider if you should take vitamin B6
treatments for severe nausea and vomiting that doesn't get better
with the dietary changes listed above.
Frequency of Urination
Frequent urination is common during pregnancy. Early in pregnancy,
the growing uterus presses on your bladder. If you notice pain,
burning, pus or blood in your urine see your health care provider
right away. You might have a urinary tract infection that needs
Dizziness, feeling lightheaded, and even fainting can occur at
any stage of pregnancy, since there now is extra blood going down
towards your uterus and legs. You can help relieve these symptoms
by lying down on your left side. Or to help prevent them, try
moving around more instead of sitting or standing in one position
for a long time.
As your uterus begins to expand, you might notice you're constipated.
To prevent constipation, try to eat fresh or dried fruit, raw
vegetables, and whole grain cereals or breads everyday. Also,
try to drink eight to ten glasses of water everyday. Some of these
servings can be substituted with fruit or vegetable juice. Try
to avoid caffeinated drinks (coffee, tea, colas, and some other
sodas), since caffeine makes your body lose fluid and won't help
Varicose Veins and Hemorrhoids
During pregnancy, pressure on the large veins behind the uterus
causes the blood to slow in its return to the heart. This can
lead to varicose veins in the legs and hemorrhoids (varicose veins
in the vagina or around the anus). Varicose veins look like swollen
veins raised above the surface of the skin. They can be twisted
or bulging, and are dark purple or blue in color. They are found
most often on the backs of the calves or on the inside of the
leg, anywhere from the groin to the ankle. You can try to prevent
varicose veins during pregnancy by:
- Sitting with your legs and feet raised when possible. If you
work at a desk, you can prop your feet up on a footstool, box
or several books. Or when relaxing at home, keep your feet up
on a footstool, some pillows on the couch, or another chair.
- Avoiding tight knee-highs or garters.
Nosebleeds, Nasal Stuffiness, Bleeding Gums
These are the result of hormonal effects on the tissues of your
throat, mouth, and nose. They usually are not serious, and you
might not even notice them. When you blow your nose, you might
see a small amount of blood in the tissue. Blow gently, and stop
a nosebleed by just squeezing your nose between your thumb and
finger for a few minutes. See your health care provider, though,
if you have nosebleeds that do not stop in a few minutes or happen
often. Any nasal stuffiness that you have during pregnancy should
not be extreme and can be helped by drinking extra water, or with
using a cool mist humidifier in your bedroom. Talk with your health
care provider before taking any over-the-counter or prescription
medicines for colds or nasal stuffiness. You can help bleeding
gums by brushing with a soft-bristled toothbrush and flossing
At different times during your pregnancy, you might have cramps
in your legs or feet. This is due to a change in the way your
body processes, or metabolizes, calcium. One way to prevent these
cramps is to make sure to get enough calcium through nonfat or
lowfat milk, and calcium-rich foods. You also get some calcium
in your prenatal vitamin, but you might need to take a calcium
supplement if you don't get enough through your diet. Talk with
your health care provider first about taking calcium supplements.
You can relieve leg and foot cramps by gently stretching the
muscle. If you have a sudden leg cramp, flex your foot towards
your body. If you point your foot to stretch your leg, the cramp
could worsen. Wrapping a warm heating pad or warm, moist towel
around the muscle also can help the muscle to relax.