First pregnancy is the most exciting and at the same time worrying period of life for every woman. Carrying a baby, being responsible for your child and dealing with the changes in your body may be quite complicated and exhausting. It seems even harder when you are carrying your first child as you may feel confused and even helpless sometimes.
However, understanding the changes in your body and future delivery may help you to get through easier and deal with your nervousness.
Gestational age and your due date
Gestational age – the age of a pregnancy calculated wih a help of several methods. Pregnancy lasts from 37 to 42 weeks. The average pregnancy tm when the delivery happens is 40 weeks. If a child is born before the 37 week of pregnancy it is called a preterm/premature birth. The pregnancy which last longer than 42 weeks is called postterm/postmature.
The main mathods for calculating a pregnancy include:
- Last menstrual period – calculating the days since the beginning of the last menstrual period;
- Obstetric ultrasound – performed early in the pregnancy obstretric ulasound is able to measure the gestational age more accurately.
Due date (also known as the Estimated Date of Confinement or expected date of delivery) may be predicted according to the gestational age –average birth happens at a gestational age of 280 days that corresponds 40 weeks.
- Naegele’s rule is a formula to calculate the predictable due date.
Due Date = Last menstruation period + 9 months + 7 days
- Parikh’s formula is thought to be more accurate than Naegele’s rule as it considers the duration of menstrual cycle.
Due Date = Last menstruation period + 9 months – 21 day + the last cycle duration
It is believed that a woman will feel the baby’s moveents at 22 week of pregnancy when she is pregnant for the first time.
Recommendations for healthy pregnancy
- It is recommended to consume 400 mg of folate every day for at least 1 month befoe pregnancy and during pregnancy;
- Alcohol is known to cause fetus alcoholic syndrome, so a pregnant woman should avoid alcoholic beverages;
- Drugs and smoking affect the fetus, so a pregnant woman should avoid any drugs and quit smoking;
- Medicines should also be avoided especially during the first trimester. However, if a mother-to-be has any chronic medical condition she should get the appropriate treatment.
Coping with tiredness
Usually tiredness is most prominent during the first trimester (the first 12 weeks). High progesterone level is linked to the feeling of sleepiness. On the other hand a woman suffers from a lack of sleep due to backache, frequent urination and mood swings and depressive thoughts. However, by the end of the first trimester a mother-to-be feels better.
In the third trimester the condition worsens again as it becomes harder for a woman to fall asleep because of the severe back pain, frequent urination and inability to lie down comfortably. Frequent urination in the third trimester is caused by the pressure of the pregnant womb on the bladder. Iron-deficiency anemia is common in pregnant women, especially late in the pregnancy, due to the needs of the growing fetus, insufficient oxygen supply therefore causes fatigue.
As your body nourishes the fetus during pregnancy, it is very important for a mother-to-be to adhere to a healthy diet. It doesn’t mean that you have to try not to gain weight, but rather eating various foods full of vitamins and vital nutrients. At the same time you should avoid or minimize the consumption of foods high in sugars and trans fats as you may develop gestational diabetes.
It is recommended to drink at least 8 glasses of water (about 2 liters) per day.
It was estimated that a pregnant woman doesn’t need the extra calories in the first trimester, in the second trimester she should consume additionally about 300-350 calories per day – about 500 calories. When a woman is expecting several children, she should consume extra 300 calories per day for every fetus. Usually a woman gains approximately 10 – 16 kilograms during pregnancy.
It is very important for pregnant women to stay physically active and perform some light exercises. Doctors believe that exercising during the pregnancy may help to prepare your body and muscles for the delivery, reduce the pain in the back, and decrease the risk to gain too much weight. However, a woman should perform exercises very gently and to know when to stop.