Month by month pregnancy guide for expectant moms
Discovering you are pregnant is a joyous occasion. For the next nine months, you will go through many changes. Although each woman's pregnancy is different, this month-by-month guide to pregnancy may help you prepare for and manage some of the changes that may occur.
Month One, Two, and Three
By the end of the third month, you may have gained several pounds. You may be particularly tired due to hormonal changes. Plan to get extra rest, sneaking in naps when you can and slow down. You should feel more energetic by the end of the third month.
You may need to urinate more frequently now. This is common during the first trimester of pregnancy, and again right before the baby is born.
For comfort, start wearing loosely fitting clothes.
See your practitioner by the second month to confirm your pregnancy. Regular check-ups will be scheduled for your prenatal care.
During the first three months you may feel queasy and sick. This is commonly called "morning sickness," but you may feel nauseous anytime during the day and night.
You can try several of these suggestions until you find the ones that work for you:
- Eat a piece of bread or a few crackers before you get out of bed in the morning, or when you feel nauseated. Put them close to your bed the night before.
- Get out of bed slowly. Avoid sudden movements.
- Suck on a fresh lemon, or inhale the scent of a freshly cut lemon.
- Eat small meals several times during the day so your stomach does not remain empty for long periods of time (Six small meals instead of three).
- Eat high-protein meals (lean meats, vegetable proteins, beans, legumes), complex carbohydrate foods (crackers, breads, potatoes, rice) and fruit and fruit juices. Such foods help prevent low blood-sugar levels which can cause nausea.
- Drink soups and other liquids between meals, rather than with meals.
- Avoid greasy or fried foods. These foods are hard to digest and may cause nausea.
- Even cooking such foods for others can cause nausea in some women.
- Eat lightly seasoned foods and avoid spicy foods.
- Sip soda water (no sodium carbonated water or ginger ale) when you feel nauseated. Try plain cola syrup.
- Drink herbal teas such as spearmint, peppermint, raspberry leaf or ginger. Some herbs are contra-indicated for pregnancy.
- Fresh air may help. Take a short walk or try sleeping with a window open.
- While cooking, open windows or use the exhaust fan to get rid of odors.
- Try cold foods such as popsicles or ice.
Calcium is very important for both you and your baby's bones and teeth. An easy way to include calcium in your diet is to eat dairy products like milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream.
Eat plenty of raw fruits and vegetables, whole grain breads, and bran cereal to avoid constipation.
Be sure to drink plenty of water.
Talk to your partner about how you are feeling. Ask for help, especially if you are tired. During this time you may be feeling overweight and clumsy. Remember the extra weight is preparing your body for pregnancy and breastfeeding, not fat.
During pregnancy, it is common to have mood swings in your feelings about sex. It is not harmful to have sexual relations during pregnancy. But remember, it is very important to practice safe sex to protect you and your baby. Be sure to check with your healthcare provider about sexual activity during this time.
You may notice you have more energy. Nausea and fatigue may stop. You may also notice that your belly will look larger because the baby has grown.
During pregnancy, your need for iron increases. To be sure you are getting enough iron; eat meats, leafy green vegetables, whole grain breads, dried fruits, and beans.
Changes in your circulation require you to stand and move regularly. Continue to do this throughout the remainder of your pregnancy.
Your breasts may begin to secrete a yellowish fluid called colostrum in preparation for breastfeeding and you may begin to feel the baby move during this month.
Be sure to include food rich in Vitamin C in your diet. Your body does not store Vitamin C, so it is important to get a fresh supply every day. Good sources of Vitamin C are oranges, broccoli, and tomatoes.
Choosing a Doctor for your Baby
One thing you must think about before your admission to the hospital is who will take care of the baby after the delivery. This is a good time in your pregnancy to start looking for a physician for your baby if you do not already have one chosen. Talk to your friends and ask whom they use for their children and if they are happy with them. Many pediatricians and family care physicians will set appointments with you so that you can interview them. It is a good idea to try and select one that is close to where you live!
You may gain 3-4 pounds this month. Your feet may swell during the latter stages of pregnancy. Putting your feet up may help reduce any ankle swelling that may occur. Shop for wide, comfortable shoes, preferably with a flat heel.
You may crave certain foods or find other foods intolerable. If this happens, try to find substitutes that will provide the right nutrients.
If you have not already pre-registered at the hospital you will be delivering at, this is a good time to do so. You can find out how to do so by discussing it with your healthcare provider or calling the hospital directly.
You may gain 3-4 pounds this month. You may tire more easily. Again, ask for help. If you work, try to work shorter hours or a more flexible schedule if possible. Rest when you can.
Mood swings and increased irritability are common during the last three months of pregnancy. Be sure to discuss your feelings with your partner.
Begin childbirth preparation classes with your partner. These classes will offer useful information on labor and birth, and what to expect.
You may gain 3-4 pounds this month. Increases in frequency of urination, backaches, anxiety, heartburn, and shortness of breath occur at this time. Shop for larger maternity clothes, if necessary. You will be growing quite a bit these last few weeks.
What you eat is still important. If you have trouble sleeping, try drinking something warm and lying on your side with pillows to support your body. Taking a warm shower before bed also helps to relax you and make you sleepy.
You may gain 3-4 pounds this month. Your stomach may change shape as the baby begins to position itself for birth. It may be easier to breathe now, but you may have to urinate more often.
Get plenty of rest!
Make arrangements for your hospital stay. Keep important phone numbers and papers close by. Pack your bag for the hospital, and plan how you will get there at different times of the day or night. Make sure you have everything you will need when you come home from the hospital such as food and diapers.