November 2nd, 2009
Here are some more pregnancy symptoms to consider.
Frequency. Having to pass urine frequently due to the uterus pressing on the bladder may be noticed first when the woman who usually sleeps through finds herself getting up two or three times during the night.
Tiredness. This can be out of proportion to the amount of energy being used and some women, to their husband’s irritation, find themselves nodding off early in the evening.
Strange tastes and loss of appetite. Some women often have a strange metallic taste in their mouths and go off some foods. Loss of appetite is particularly associated with nausea and vomiting. Coffee and alcohol may be abhorent, while smokers may stop and even find themselves leaving the room if someone lights up.
Cravings. A desire for certain foods such as strawberries or pineapples usually occurs later in pregnancy. Potato chips may be consumed in large quantities, while even coal and garden soil can seem appealing.
Beside these signs there are others which become prominent as pregnancy continues. An increasing amount of grayish white vaginal discharge is common after a month or two as the body responds to hormones made by the placenta. By three months the abdomen has started to swell, resulting in underclothes feeling tight. Women who are already overweight may mistakenly think that they are just becoming fatter, however, in most the shape is distinctive. Friends do not usually notice pregnancy until the fifth month even if you are quite slim. Paint flutterings or little bubbly wind-like feelings, called movements, start low down during the fifth month in first pregnancies, but may be felt several weeks earlier in subsequent pregnancies.
If you think you are pregnant, see a doctor. He will carry out or arrange for a pregnancy test and he may examine you.
October 30th, 2009
What leads a woman to think she is pregnant? Those who are anxious for (or fearful of) a pregnancy may seize on any unusual feeling. Others who do not think about it and in whom pregnancy produces little disturbance may not realize they have ‘clicked’ until a relatively advanced stage. Pregnancy should be considered if one or more of the following symptoms occurs.
Missed periods (amenorrhoea). Although there are many reasons for missing a period, pregnancy should be one of the first to come to mind. Sometimes the period is not completely missed but may be late, with a light loss which does not last long. A slight loss or spotting is quite common at the time of the first missed period and may continue off and on for several weeks, to be followed by a perfectly normal pregnancy. Women who usually have irregular or infrequent periods may take some months to realize that they have stopped, especially when there are no other symptoms.
Nausea. Vomiting and upset stomach affect nearly 80 percent of pregnant women. They are usually more troublesome in the mornings and are therefore known as ‘morning sickness’. But they may occur at any time or be confined just to the evenings and be aggravated by cooking smells. Sickness usually starts in the ten days following the missed period but it may come on even before the period is due.
Breast changes. Particularly with first pregnancies the breasts may feel sore and full and also tingle or itch. The nipples and surrounding pigmerited areas (areolae) darken by eight weeks. Pimple-like elevations (Montgomery’s tubercles) appear on the areolae and extra veins may be noticeable leading away from them. By 12 weeks a small amount of watery yellowish fluid may be squeezed from the nipple.
Congestion. This is a dull dragging ache or heaviness in the lower abdomen or pelvis, which gives the feeling that a period is due but that it will not start. The feeling may persist well into the third month but it does not mean that a miscarriage is likely.
Moods. These may change unaccountably in early pregnancy and bouts of depression, listlessness, vagueness and irritability are quite common. Tears seem to well up and there is a sense of hopelessness at minor frustrations.
October 27th, 2009
To have a baby is to undertake the important responsibility of creating and nurturing a new life. Reliable contraceptive techniques give couples much greater scope for planning a family. Now they can consciously decide when to have a baby. As a result each child should be a wanted child and pregnancy not just something that ‘happened’. It is far better for a baby to be brought up in a loving environment and not in one of resentment, because parenthood has been thrust on an unwilling couple.
Pregnancy marks the start of a period of reorientation in a couple’s life. Understanding the physical and emotional changes that take place can lead to a deepening of the relationship. In turn this will add to the excitement and satisfaction of having children and building a united and emotionally stable family.
With the coming of the first child, there are many adjustments to be made by both the woman and the man. Life is moving into a new phase with many rewards, but also sacrifices and disappointments. However, there are also times of intense anxiety about the baby, labor and parenthood.
In contrast to the current openness, there was a time when pregnancy was almost taken as proof of a shameful sexual relationship. People tried not to notice pregnant women. Consequently the mother-to-be felt lonely and isolated. Nowadays there are plenty of opportunities for discussion in classes and in meeting other people. Pregnancy is a time for sharing—finding that other women have the same fears, anxieties and strange thoughts can give a great sense of relief and reassurance. Often life-long friends are made through meeting in hospital or at classes where experiences are shared.
Some aspects of modern living can lead to difficulties. The change of pace from a busy, active life to the relative tranquility of late pregnancy may come as a welcome change, but it can lead to frustration and even boredom. Career-minded women may be reluctant to interrupt their work to give their babies the security so vital to early development. Some mothers continue on a limited part-time basis. But problems arise if relatives are not close by to baby-sit or if there is no creche available to look after the baby during the day.
By taking the trouble to learn about the experience of having a baby you can do much to build up confidence and morale, and overcome any self-doubt about your ability to cope as parents.