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Signs of a Healthy Pregnancy

Fetal Health And Care

Posted By Dr. Deepti Asthana on 21-04-2021


You are pregnant!

While you prepare to fall in love unconditionally for a lifetime, pregnancy can also bring a lot of anticipation. New mothers may be haunted by a series of questions like “how big is my baby? Can it hear me? When will I feel its first kick?”

For all such questions and many more, Dr. Deepti Asthana, the best Gynecologist in Gurgaon is here with us “to-be mummy guide” for every expecting mother. Be rest assured that this is not like the unsolicited advice that you get throughout your pregnancy, childbirth and throughout your life in general. So, step on board for the best journey or as many might call it, a roller coaster ride, of your life.

Generally pregnancy lasts for a period of 9 months and is divided into three equal parts, consisting of three months called trimesters.

The First Trimester

The time when you understand you are pregnant you might be already 4 weeks into your pregnancy. It is calculated from your first day of your last period. That means, even if you must have conceived just two weeks back, you still are considered to be pregnant for 4 weeks. The first trimester lasts from this first week to up to 12-13 weeks. At this time your baby is as small as a tiny speck and undergoes a plethora of changes during the coming months. The baby is called an embryo here. Symptoms like vomiting, bloating, breast pain, tiredness and mood change might be creating a ruckus in your body. You might feel the urge to urinate frequently. Morning sickness might also take a toll on your body. The Placenta starts to form around the embryo which is vital as it supplies oxygen, water, blood and other nutrients to your growing baby. Baby’s brain, spinal cord, heart, stomach, liver, kidney, digestive, circulatory, and nervous systems are forming rapidly. Around the sixth week, the baby becomes Comma shaped and starts developing tiny limbs. A USG scan at this time can ascertain the baby's heartbeat too. The mouth and tongue begin to develop and the baby might sprout fingers and toes too at around 7 weeks. Initially these digits are webbed. Genitals are also formed during this time. At around 8 weeks, this embryo is now a billion celled life form, ready to sprout ears and Islands eyelids. Load yourselves on the prenatal vitamins prescribed by your doctors like Folic acid and Calcium which will aid the development of the baby's brain. Changes in your diet to consume whole natural foods might be a good idea to provide nourishment to the growing baby. Hyperemesis Gravidarum or excessive vomiting can make you feel dehydrated. Keep sipping on the “miracle drink”, i.e,. water which is very essential for maintaining a fluid balance and the amniotic fluid around your baby. It is normal to lose a few kilos in the first trimester of your pregnancy. The average weight gain throughout your pregnancy can be between 9 to 20 kilos. Talk to your doctor for medicines which can be consumed safely during pregnancy. Bones and cartilage of the baby start developing around 10 week. Even if the baby kicks, it is not felt by the mother, as it is bundled up in thick layers of your uterus and surrounding pelvic muscles. The earlier formed organs are becoming functional now. Hair follicle and nail (check out the nail polish products) also start developing. The uterus starts growing rapidly to accommodate the ever growing baby. At around 11 weeks the baby is a bobble head having a big head compared to the body. It can swallow small amounts of amniotic fluid too. Around 12 weeks a nuchal translucency scan along with blood test can be done to rule out any chromosomal abnormalities like Downs syndrome or any e heart problems since birth. Exercising and staying fit at this time will not cause shaking up of the baby in your uterus. In fact, it might prepare you to endure the delivery pain by strengthening your back, pelvic and thigh muscles. Avoid strenuous exercises and heavy weight lifting. Joining a prenatal yoga class might be a good idea at this time. At the end of this trimester, the embryo takes up a miniature human look like form, having two legs, two hands, head, eyes, mouth and functional internal organs. Smoking and alcohol or drug consumption should be completely avoided it can retired your baby's growth it can lead to miscarriage or even stillbirth.

The Second Trimester

Also called as the honeymoon period of your pregnancy. Since the mother feels a significant relief from vomiting and nausea at this time, she might finally start enjoying her pregnancy. The key here is to not overdo and take adequate, frequent rest by listening to your body. 13 weeks onwards your baby can be called a fetus. It is almost 3 inches long and can be as small as 28 to 30 grams. The baby starts showing up considerable movement at around 15 to 18 weeks, which sadly cannot be felt by the mother. It also secretes a protective layer called vernix through its skin, so that it is protected from the surrounding amniotic fluid in which it lies 24/7. The baby also can grin, make facial movements, which might clearly appear on a 3-D ultrasound. At 20 weeks the middle ear is formed and now the baby can hear your voice, surrounding noise and the internal body sounds like that of your intestine, stomach and heartbeat. Some fat cells start developing below the skin of the baby which give it a chubby look. Vital organs like the liver and pancreas are still developing. The baby advances size-wise, to about 10 to 11 inches long and about half kilo in weight at the end of 24 weeks.

The Third Trimester

You are almost near your finish line! The baby can gain almost half a kilo, in every 2 weeks. It gains a lot of fat tissue to keep his internal organs cushioned, look chubbier and regulate body temperature after birth. As the baby is growing rapidly, your gynecologist might schedule frequent checkup checkups. Studies have shown that babies can start dreaming on their own, in utero, as early as 28 weeks. It sleeps for 90% of the time in the uterus. Higher levels of progesterone can make you feel breathless at this point. Plus, the pressure on your pelvic area is continuously increasing with the growing baby, indicating you to take things slowly. Mothers frequently experience heartburn, constipation, indigestion & headache in this trimester. This might be a good time to think about Stem Cell banking, to protect your baby from different diseases in the future. Kegels exercises can keep your pelvic muscles to not lose their tonicity. At the end of 28 weeks, the baby can be startled by the surrounding sounds or even detect bright lights outside the uterus. Baby's lungs are developed by the end of 34 week. If your doctor senses a chance of premature delivery then he or she might suggest you a corticosteroid injection for lung maturation. Your doctor might tell you how to keep a baby movement count to ensure its health. After 34 weeks the baby might go in a head down position and start to engage. At this time the movements are considerably lowered, as the baby has grown big enough and the uterus cannot expand anymore. Any weight after 36 weeks in between the range of 2.5 - 3.5 kilos is considered as healthy. The length of the baby is almost 19-20 inches. If the baby is not in the head down position doctors might suggest you means and methods to bring it in the head down position. Braxton Hicks contractions start during late pregnancy at this time. Doctors will tell you how to clearly demarcate between false contractions of labour and real contractions for labour. Try taking the pregnancy as far as possible, as close as possible to the expected date of delivery because studies have shown that the baby born even at 38 weeks has a weaker liver compared to a baby born at 40 weeks which is considered as full term. Such babies have a higher percentage for catching physiologic jaundice. A few things which you might be considered just before the labour starts is a bloody discharge of a mucus plug just when the cervix softens. The baby’s skull bones are still soft and pliable as they are not fused. This helps in compressing and passing the baby through the vaginal canal during birth.

All these pointers will help you to remain calm and help you to know what to expect in each stage of pregnancy.

Enjoy, you are going to be a great mum !!!

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