Frequently Asked Questions
It is common for a pregnant woman to have lots of questions. Below we have created a list of some of the questions you may be asking yourself and have provided the answers for you. There are many other questions not addressed on this list that will be answered as you read the information on this website and the other websites we have suggested you visit.
Questions and Answers about Pregnancy
How do I find out whether or not I am pregnant?
Whether your pregnancy has been planned or is an unplanned pregnancy, one of the first issues to address is to confirm the pregnancy by taking a pregnancy test. You can confirm the pregnancy by using one of the many home pregnancy tests or by going to your physician or midwives office.
What are the early signs and symptoms of being pregnant?
Symptoms of pregnancy are not the same for every woman. In fact, your own symptoms may actually be different from one pregnancy to another. Early pregnancy symptoms can also vary in their intensity, frequency and duration. Keep in mind that many of the earliest pregnancy symptoms can appear similar to routine pre-menstrual discomforts. Some of the early symptoms generally include a missed period, breast and nipple tenderness, swollen breasts, morning sickness and nausea, fatigue, mood swings and irritability.
Can a woman be pregnant and still have a period?
A pregnant women can have some light bleeding during pregnancy, but it usually is not like a “normal” period. Some women can confuse this for their period because often it can come right around the time she was expecting her normal period.
What is the best method of birth control (contraception)?
There is no best method of birth control. Each method of birth control has its own pros and cons. Some methods work better than others do at preventing pregnancy. There are several methods of contraception, some of which are created for women and others for men. Some methods are considered permanent while others are reversible. Bear in mind that no method of birth control prevents pregnancy all of the time.
Many of the pregnancy related terms used by my doctor, and in articles I read, are confusing. Where can I find clear definitions?
Many of the terms used by your doctor or on the articles you read are very medically oriented. A good dictionary or internet dictionary can be very helpful. We have also listed on this website several sources to help you with pregnancy terms and definitions and with infertility terms and definitions.
How should my diet change now that I'm pregnant?
To eat well during pregnancy you must do more than simply increase how much you eat. You must also consider what you eat. What you eat right before and during your pregnancy can affect the health of your growing baby. But what pregnant women eat is more important than how much. A pregnant woman needs more of many important vitamins, minerals and nutrients than she did pre-pregnancy. To get enough nutrients, pregnant women should take a multivitamin or prenatal vitamin and eat healthy foods from the four basic food groups everyday. See eating and nutrition link for additional information.
Should I be taking or avoiding any special vitamins or herbs during my pregnancy?
You should always consult with your health care provider for their recommendations. Supplements do not replace a healthy diet but rather ensure that a woman is receiving enough daily nutrients. Vitamins and minerals that are vital for proper fetal growth and development include iron, calcium, and folic acid. There are potentially dangerous vitamins and herbs that should be carefully avoided.
What Are the Benefits of Exercising During Pregnancy?
It is clear that exercise is a big plus for both you and your baby as long as complications do not limit your ability. The kinds of exercise depends on what interests you and what your doctor advises. Many women benefit from walking, dancing, swimming, water aerobics, yoga, pilates, or biking. See this pregnancy and exercise link for additional information.
Where can I find financial aid programs to help me with the costs of the pregnancy and the care of my child?
Financial aid and other programs are available for women in need and their babies. These programs may be through State and local health departments, community clinics, the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program, and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). See the pregnancy and financial help link for additional help.
What are dangerous substances I should avoid during my pregnancy?
When you are pregnant, what you don't put into your body (or expose it to) can be almost as important as what you do. The official, scary-sounding word for something that may cause birth defects or harm to a fetus is teratogen, and can include drugs, medications, infections, chemicals, etc. Among the top hazards include alcohol use and drug usage, cat litter boxes, certain foods, and several other hazardous materials. Then their are substances of less concern, but still a concern, i.e. caffeine and nicotine, prescription medications, and a variety of potentially dangerous herbs and vitamins.
Is it safe to have sexual intercourse during my pregnancy?
In general, with the proper precautions, sex during pregnancy is safe for you and the baby. Some women with high-risk pregnancies are advised to avoid intercourse during pregnancy. Of course, just because sex is safe during pregnancy doesn't mean you'll necessarily want to have it. Many expectant mothers find that their desire for sex fluctuates during certain stages in the pregnancy. Also, many women find that sex becomes uncomfortable as their bodies get larger. Fro additional information visit the pregnancy and sex link.
What are the "typical" problems my body will experience during the pregnancy?
Typical problems include sleep problems, the gaining of weight, other body changes, nausea and morning sickness, and constipation and heartburn. Other common problems include fatigue and mood swings as well as back pain, and bladder issues. For additional information please visit the pregnancy concerns and pregnancy issues links.
Should I get prenatal care or can I just wait until I need to go to the hospital?
Approximately 4 million U.S. women give birth every year. Nearly one third of them will have some kind of pregnancy-related complication. Babies born to mothers who received no prenatal care are three times more likely to be born at low birth weight, and five times more likely to die, than those whose mothers received prenatal care. These statistics are not meant to alarm you, but rather to convey the importance of starting prenatal care as early as possible. Visit the links prenatal care and pregnancy and prenatal testing and ultrasounds for additional information.
How common is depression during and after pregnancy?
Depression is a serious illness that interferes with a person’s ability to work, study, sleep, eat and enjoy oneself. It may appear once in a person’s life, but more often occurs several times. Depression that occurs during pregnancy or within a year after delivery is called perinatal depression. Depression after pregnancy is called postpartum depression or peripartum depression. The exact number of women with depression is unknown, but it is believed that depression is one of the most common complications during and after pregnancy.
How can I determine "How far along I am?" or "When I am due?"
How is meant by the "stages of pregnancy'?
The stages of pregnancy are discussed by the week (1 through 40), the month (1 through 9) or by the terms "trimester". The first three months of a pregnancy is referred to as the 1st trimester, months 4-6 are the 2nd trimester, and months 6-9 are the 3rd trimester.
What is meant by a birth plan?
A birth plan is a list of what you would ideally like regarding your labor and birth -- it is a list of birth related preferences. It allows you to determine exactly how the birth of your child will occur - because labor involves so many variables, you can't predict exactly what will happen. It can help you decide what hospital you want, whether you want a birth center, if you would like to use a midwife or doula, and what kind of help you want regarding the physical pain of delivery.
What is "labor"?
Labor is the process by which contractions of a pregnant uterus cause birth. Every labor is different. How long it lasts and how it progresses differ from woman to woman and from birth to birth. In order to know the differences between"false labor" and "true labor", visit the labor and birth and inducing labor and episiotomy links.
What exactly is a C-section?
During a cesarean section (c-section), the doctor makes a cut in the mother's abdomen and uterus and removes the baby. So, the baby is delivered through surgery instead of coming out of the vagina.
Should I have a Cesarean section (C-section)?
Most pregnant women have their babies vaginally. Still, the rate of babies born by cesarean section (C-section) in the United States is on the rise. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 1 in 3 babies in the United States is delivered by cesarean section. Many experts think that up to half of all c-sections are unnecessary. Please see the C-section link for additional information.
What are some of the important "after delivery" issues I should think about before my baby is born?
Several of the most important "after delivery issues" involve t to deciding if you are going to raise the child yourself or place the child for adoption. whether or not you want to bank the umbilical cord blood, whether you will use breastfeeding, bottle feeding and/or with formula feeding.
How can I determine when I am most fertile and when is the most likely time for me to get pregnant?
One of the best ways is to track your ovulation schedule on an ovulation calendar.
What exactly is infertility and what are the definitions of all those infertility terms?
Infertility is the inability to naturally conceive a child or the inability to carry a pregnancy to term. There are many reasons why a couple may not be infertile, or may not be able to conceive without medical assistance. There are male infertility factors, female infertility factors, and what are called "unknown" factors. For definitions of the many infertility terms, please visit the infertility terms and definitions link.
How common is it to have infertility problems?
Infertility is a condition that affects approximately one out of every six couples. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, infertility affects about 6.1 million people in the U.S., equivalent to ten percent of the reproductive age population. Male infertility factors contribute to approximately 50% of all infertility cases, and male infertility alone accounts for approximately one-third of all infertility cases.
I am trying to conceive but am having difficulty. What causes infertility?
It is not uncommon to have trouble becoming pregnant or to experience infertility. Female infertility accounts for one third of infertility cases, male infertility for another third, combined male and female infertility for another 15%, and the remainder of cases are "unexplained". For additional information about causes of infertility, please visit the trying to conceive, and the male infertility and female infertility links.
What options do I have rather than raising the baby myself?
What is adoption and is it permanent or can I get my child back?
Adoption is the legal process of permanently placing a child with a parent or parents other than the birth parents. Adoption results in the ending of the parental rights and responsibilities of the biological parents and the placing of those responsibilities and rights onto the adoptive parents. After the ending of parental rights and the finalization of an adoption, a birth mother or birth father can not get the child back. For additional information, please review the adoption overview and our adoption agency website.
I am thinking of placing my child for adoption, how can I find out more about the adoption process?
There are many sources to help. You can review the material on one of the other websites created specifically to help you: Our adoption agency website as well as Assistance for a Birth Mother or you can contact us.
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