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Your searched on: pregnancy and childbirth

Pregnancy and Childbirth
Provides links to info on pregnancy, labor and delivery, and the postpartum period. Offers interactive tool to calculate your due date. Also links to interactive tool that shows how an embryo grows into a baby.

Asthma During Pregnancy
Covers questions about asthma during pregnancy and labor. Looks at treatment with medicines. Includes treatment of allergies. Covers safety of steroids for pregnant mother and baby.

Childbirth Classes
A childbirth education class can teach you and your partner a lot. This is especially true if it's your first pregnancy. If a friend is going to be your labor coach, they can come too. A good time to start the class is in your sixth or seventh month of pregnancy. Most childbirth education classes will: Give you good...

Childbirth: Epidurals
An epidural for childbirth, called an "epidural" for short, is a tiny tube that puts pain medicine directly into the area in your back around your spinal cord. This area is called the epidural space. An epidural can be used during childbirth to partly or fully numb the lower body. The amount of medicine you get will...

Spinal Block for Childbirth
Spinal anesthesia (spinal block) is a way to control pain using anesthetic medicine. It causes complete loss of feeling and muscle control below the waist. A spinal block is often used for an assisted delivery (such as a cesarean section or a delivery with forceps). Or it can be used when a delivery is happening fast...

Childbirth: Pudendal Block
To relieve pain during the second (pushing) stage of labor, an injection called a pudendal block can be given through the vaginal wall and into the pudendal nerve in the pelvis. This numbs the area between the vagina and anus. It doesn't relieve the pain of contractions. A pudendal block works fast, is easily given, and...

Childbirth Afterpains
Afterpains are sharp pains in the belly that occur in the first few days after childbirth. They may cause some discomfort. But afterpains help reduce uterine bleeding. They also help shrink the uterus back to the size it was before you were pregnant. You are most likely to notice these pains when you breastfeed...

Childbirth: Opioid Pain Medicines
To help control the pain and stress of labor, you may get opioid pain medicines. The medicine can be put into a vein or into the muscle. Examples include fentanyl, morphine, and nalbuphine. Opioids can help suppress how you perceive pain and calm your emotional response to pain. They do this by reducing the number of...

Pregnancy: Should I Have an Epidural During Childbirth?
Guides you through decision to have an epidural during childbirth. Lists benefits and risks. Lists other ways to control labor pain. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.

After Childbirth: Pelvic Bone Problems
Separated pubic symphysis The left and right bones of your pelvic girdle are joined at the front by a narrow section of cartilage and ligament. This is called the pubic symphysis, or symphysis pubis. As the pelvic bones loosen during pregnancy, the pubic symphysis can temporarily separate. This is not a dangerous...

Molar Pregnancy
What is a molar pregnancy? A molar pregnancy means that tissue that normally becomes a fetus instead becomes an abnormal growth in your uterus. Even though it isn't an embryo, this growth triggers symptoms of pregnancy. This tissue can cause serious problems in some cases. So a molar pregnancy should be treated right...

Childbirth: Perineal Massage Before Labor
In women, the perineum is the muscle and tissue between the anus and the vulva. During childbirth, the perineum stretches and sometimes tears. One way to help prevent tearing is to stretch and massage the perineum for a few weeks before your due date. Studies show that women who did regular perineal massage reported...

Childbirth: Laboring in Water and Water Delivery
Laboring in water Some hospitals and birthing centers offer tubs or whirlpools for labor. If yours does, talk to your doctor or midwife about laboring in water. The warm water supports your body. It also helps you to relax. For many women, laboring in water has been proved to: Reduce labor pain. Reduce the use of or...

Sex After Childbirth
For a while after childbirth, don't be surprised if you have little interest in sex. Physical recovery, exhaustion, and hormonal changes often affect sexuality after childbirth. Each woman's experience is different. Together, you and your partner can connect emotionally and physically by knowing ahead of time what...

Breathing Techniques for Childbirth
As your due date draws nearer, learn and practice controlled breathing techniques for pain management during childbirth. Concentrating on your breathing can help distract you from pain, relax both your muscles and your mind, and keep your oxygen supply up. If you haven't learned specific breathing techniques (such as...

Childbirth: Strep Infections During Delivery
Group B strep infection is caused by a type of bacteria. It's a different kind of bacteria than the kind that causes strep throat. You may have this kind of bacteria in your body. Sometimes it may cause an infection, but most of the time it doesn't make you sick or cause symptoms. But if you pass the bacteria to your...

Local Anesthesia for Childbirth
Local anesthesia for childbirth is most commonly given as a shot that numbs the area around the vagina just before an episiotomy is done. An episiotomy is a cut made in the tissue between the vagina and anus just before the baby's head starts to emerge. (The tissue is called the perineum.) The cut makes the vaginal...

Pregnancy: Blood Clots
Learn what blood clots are and how they can happen during and after pregnancy.

Pregnancy
Is this topic for you? This topic covers pregnancy information, including planning for labor and delivery. If you aren't pregnant yet, see the topic Preparing for a Healthy Pregnancy. For more information on labor and delivery, see the topic Labor and Delivery. What can you do to have a healthy pregnancy? You may be...

After Childbirth: Coping and Adjusting
You can take measures to make your life easier in the days and weeks after childbirth (postpartum period). Accept help, seek help You may be exhausted from the delivery and from being up at night with your baby. Don't expect that you'll be able to keep the house spotless and do all the household...

Doulas and Support During Childbirth
How does support help during labor and childbirth? Having support while you're in labor and delivering your baby can be a very positive experience. Your support person may be your partner, a loved one, or a friend. You may get support from hospital nurses, a midwife, or a birth coach, also known as a doula. Doulas give...

Home Pregnancy Tests
Home pregnancy tests can find the presence of a pregnancy hormone (called human chorionic gonadotropin, or hCG) in a sample of urine. High levels of hCG are made during pregnancy. The home tests have similar results to the pregnancy tests done on urine in most doctors' offices if they are used exactly as instructed...

After Childbirth: Urination and Bowel Problems
You may have some difficulty urinating for a day or two after delivery. Your first bowel movement may be quite painful if you have had an incision ( episiotomy) or a tear in your vagina. You may also have constipation or discomfort with bowel movements for a few days after delivery. Drink plenty of water and juices and...

Symptoms of Pregnancy
You may be pregnant if you: Have had sexual intercourse and you have not used any method of birth control. Have missed one or more periods. Have your period, but there is a lot less bleeding than usual. Take birth control pills, but you missed a...

Pregnancy and Diabetes: Planning for Pregnancy
If you have diabetes and are planning to become pregnant, meet with your doctor. Things to discuss include: Your A1c goal, your medicine for diabetes, and your weight. Whether your immunizations are up-to-date and whether you're getting enough folic acid. The safety of any prescription and over-the-counter medicines and...

Cholestasis of Pregnancy
Learn about cholestasis of pregnancy, a liver problem that can happen when you're pregnant. Includes info on symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and self-care.

Obesity and Pregnancy
How does your weight affect your pregnancy? Most pregnant women have healthy babies—and that includes women who are obese. But being very heavy does increase the chance of problems. Babies born to mothers who are obese have a higher risk of: Birth defects, such as a heart defect or neural tube defects. Being too large...

Schizophrenia and Pregnancy
People with schizophrenia have goals and desires just like people who do not have the illness. These may include starting a family. You can have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby if you have schizophrenia. But there are some things to know. You will want people to help you during your pregnancy and when you are...

Lupus and Pregnancy
Lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus) doesn't usually affect a woman's ability to conceive. But if you are having a lupus flare or are taking corticosteroid medicines, you may have irregular menstrual cycles. This can make it hard to plan a pregnancy. If you plan to have a baby or are already pregnant, it's very...

Pregnancy: Deciding Where to Deliver
You have a choice of where to deliver your baby. Unless you have a high-risk pregnancy, you can decide to have your baby in a hospital, in a birthing center, or at home. Each of these options has pros and cons. Things you may want to think about include: Who you want to deliver your baby. What pain-relief options you...

Preparing for a Healthy Pregnancy
Even before you get pregnant, you can help make your pregnancy as healthy as possible. Take these steps: See a doctor or certified nurse-midwife for an exam. Talk about the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Discuss any health problems or concerns you have. Don't take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)...

HIV and Pregnancy
The United States Preventive Services Task Force, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Academy of Pediatrics, and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend that all pregnant women be screened for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. This is because early detection and...

Travel During Pregnancy
Travel during pregnancy generally is safe if you're healthy and not at risk for problems. The safest time to travel is between 14 and 28 weeks, when your risks for miscarriage and early labor are lowest. Check with your doctor before you travel. Ask your doctor which vaccines you may need before traveling. Traveling by...

Pregnancy and Epilepsy
Most women who have epilepsy deliver healthy babies. But the risk of birth defects, stillbirth, and seizure-related problems is higher for babies born to women with epilepsy. Most antiepileptic medicines increase the risk even more. If you have...

Pregnancy-Related Problems
Briefly discusses symptoms that may show a serious problem during pregnancy. Covers vaginal bleeding, fever, and swelling. Describes emergency symptoms like shock, seizures, and leaks from your vagina. Offers interactive tool to help decide when to seek care. Also offers home treatment tips.

Swelling During Pregnancy
You may have some mild swelling because of normal fluid buildup during pregnancy. It's most common in your face, hands, or feet. As your pregnancy continues, your uterus puts pressure on blood vessels that go to your legs. This may cause swelling in your feet and ankles. Normally, foot swelling gets worse during the day...

Pregnancy: Varicose Veins
Varicose veins are enlarged, swollen veins near the surface of the skin. They're caused by faulty valves in the veins or weak vein walls. Varicose veins usually occur on the legs, but they can also affect the vulva. They are common during pregnancy. When the growing uterus puts pressure on the veins that return blood...

Pregnancy: Hemorrhoids and Constipation
Hemorrhoids are swollen veins at the end of the large intestine (anus). They often stick out from the anus (external hemorrhoids). They can also be located on the inside of the lower intestine (internal hemorrhoids). Bleeding, itching, and pain are...

Exercise During Pregnancy
Exercise is good for healthy pregnant women who are receiving prenatal care. Try to do at least 2½ hours a week of moderate exercise. One way to do this is to be active 30 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week. It's fine to be active in blocks of 10 minutes or more throughout your day and week. Exercise can improve your...

Pregnancy: Dropping (Lightening)
At the end of the third trimester, the baby settles, or drops lower, into the mother's pelvis. This is known as dropping or lightening. Dropping is not a good predictor of when labor will begin. In first-time mothers, dropping usually occurs 2 to 4 weeks before delivery, but it can happen earlier. In women who have...

Post-Term Pregnancy
Most pregnancies last 37 to 42 weeks. Your pregnancy is post-term (or post-date) when you are at 42 or more weeks. When you get to 40 weeks, your doctor will look at your health and the baby's health and decide whether to wait for natural labor. You may have tests to make sure everything is okay. If you and the baby...

Pregnancy: Relationship Changes
Pregnancy starts a new phase of your relationship with your partner. You can expect a natural shift in roles as well as attention to and expectations of each other. If you are new to parenthood as a couple, you will notice that your focus on each other is evolving into something new—attention to a third party, your...

Caffeine During Pregnancy
Many women have caffeine during pregnancy. And in small amounts, caffeine is safe for the baby. It's a good idea to keep your caffeine intake below 200 mg a day, because: More caffeine may be connected to a higher rate of miscarriage....

Toxoplasmosis During Pregnancy
Discusses risks to the fetus of a woman who gets toxoplasmosis during pregnancy. Covers common symptoms like swollen glands. Discusses treatment with antibiotics. Covers how to avoid toxoplasmosis, including avoiding raw meat and contact with cat feces.

Fatigue During Pregnancy
Most women struggle with feeling very tired when they are pregnant. This tiredness, or fatigue, is most common during the first and third trimesters. During the first trimester, your developing baby (fetus) is growing quickly. Your body is producing higher levels of progesterone. This hormone has been linked to...

Pregnancy: Vegetarian Diet
A balanced vegetarian diet can provide all the nutrients you need for a healthy pregnancy. If you eat a vegetarian diet, pay special attention to getting enough protein, vitamin B12, calcium, vitamin D, zinc, and iron while you are pregnant. These nutrients are vital to your baby's cell growth, brain and organ...

Pregnancy: Hair Changes
Hormonal changes during pregnancy can affect how your hair looks and feels. Hair loss slows down, and hair growth can increase. You may notice that your hair is thicker and healthier-looking than usual. But some women find that their hair is more limp and lifeless during pregnancy. Hair may appear on other parts of your...

Anemia During Pregnancy
Anemia during a healthy pregnancy is common. Anemia means your red blood cell level is low. It can happen when you're pregnant because your body is working hard to make more blood to help your baby grow. Sometimes anemia during pregnancy can be...

Medicines During Pregnancy
Medicines you can take during pregnancy It can be hard to know if a medicine is safe for your baby. Most medicines are not studied in pregnant women. That's because researchers worry about how the medicines might affect the baby. But some medicines have been taken for so long by so many women that doctors have a good...

Bed Rest in Pregnancy
What is bed rest? Bed rest is limiting physical activity during your pregnancy. It can last a few weeks or even months. It may be at home or in the hospital. Your doctor may put you on partial bed rest or full bed rest. Partial bed rest usually means it's usually okay to sit, stand, or walk around for short...

Nutrition During Pregnancy
Your nutrition needs increase during pregnancy. Your body needs protein, carbohydrate, and fats for energy. Good sources of these nutrients include: Lean protein. Examples include fish that are low in mercury, poultry without skin, low-fat milk products, and beans and peas (legumes). Fish that are low in mercury include...

Pregnancy: Hand Changes
During pregnancy, changes in the hands are common. Mild swelling of your hands may be caused by the normal buildup of fluid during pregnancy. Red, itchy palms and soles of the feet are caused by changing hormone levels. The symptoms go away after delivery. Moisturizers may give some relief. An...

Antiphospholipid Syndrome and Pregnancy
Antiphospholipid syndrome is a rare autoimmune disease that has been closely linked to some cases of recurrent miscarriage. This syndrome increases blood clotting. It can cause dangerous blood clots (thrombosis) and problems with blood flow. For some women, the only sign of this condition is an early miscarriage. Or...

Pregnancy: Kick Counts
Counting your baby's kicks is one way your doctor can tell that your baby is healthy. Most women—especially in a first pregnancy—feel their baby move for the first time between 16 and 22 weeks. The movement may feel like flutters rather than kicks. Your baby may move more at certain times of the day. When you are...

Breastfeeding During Pregnancy
You usually can continue breastfeeding your child if you become pregnant. If you breastfeed while you are pregnant, be aware of the following issues: Breastfeeding during pregnancy is not recommended if you are at risk for preterm labor....

High-Risk Pregnancy
What is a high-risk pregnancy? Your pregnancy is called high-risk if you or your baby has an increased chance of a health problem. Many things can put you at high risk. Being called "high-risk" may sound scary. But it's just a way for doctors to make sure that you get special attention during your pregnancy. Your doctor...

Childbirth: Is Planning a C-Section a Good Choice?
A cesarean section is the delivery of a baby through a cut (incision) in the mother's belly and uterus. It's often called a C-section. Sometimes a C-section is needed for the safety of the mother or baby. In most cases, doctors do a C-section because of problems during labor. For example: Labor is slow and hard or stops...

Cancer During Pregnancy
On rare occasions, cancer coincides with pregnancy. Because the medicines and radiation used for treating cancer can be dangerous to a fetus, a pregnant woman and her doctors must weigh a number of factors when planning her care, including: The fetus's gestational age. The type and location of the cancer...

Fever During Pregnancy
It is not unusual to develop a viral illness that causes a fever during pregnancy or after your delivery. Mild fevers that last only a short time usually are not a concern. An ongoing fever that does not get better with home treatment, such as taking acetaminophen, or that does not improve after several days may mean...

Depression During Pregnancy
Depression is common during pregnancy and in the postpartum period. If you have symptoms of depression during pregnancy or are depressed and learn you are pregnant, make a treatment plan with your doctor right away. If you are being treated for depression and are planning a pregnancy, talk to your doctor ahead of...

Heartburn During Pregnancy
Heartburn is common during pregnancy. That's because hormones cause the digestive system to slow down. The muscles that push food down the esophagus also move more slowly when you are pregnant. And as the uterus grows, it presses on the stomach. This can sometimes force stomach acid up into the esophagus. Heartburn may...

Pregnancy: Dealing With Morning Sickness
Briefly discusses managing morning sickness. Offer tips to manage nausea and vomiting.

Smoking: Problems With Pregnancy
When you're pregnant, everything you put in your body can affect your baby. If you smoke, your baby is exposed to chemicals such as nicotine and carbon monoxide. Babies whose mothers breathe secondhand smoke during pregnancy are also more likely to have health problems. Smoking during pregnancy increases the chance of...

Diabetes: Preparing for Pregnancy
If you have diabetes and are planning to become pregnant, meet with your doctor. Things to discuss include: Your A1c goal, your medicine for diabetes, and your weight. Whether your immunizations are up-to-date and whether you're getting enough folic acid. The safety of any prescription and over-the-counter medicines and...

Pregnancy: Healthy Weight Gain
During pregnancy, lots of women wonder about how their body will change and how much weight they will gain. Maybe this is something that you've been thinking about too. Weight gain is healthy and normal when you're pregnant. And there's no fixed number of pounds that you should be aiming for. Instead, there's a range of...

Partner Support During Pregnancy
Why is it important to support your partner during pregnancy? Pregnancy is usually a time of excitement. But sometimes, pregnant women and their partners may feel like they're expecting a bundle of anxiety along with the joy. They have a long list of to-dos. They have to cope with the changes and unknowns that come with...

Pregnancy: Nosebleeds and Bleeding Gums
Some women get nosebleeds when they are pregnant. That's because there is more blood flow to the tissue inside the nose (mucous membranes) when you are pregnant. There are things you can do to help prevent nosebleeds, such as using a humidifier. You also have more blood flow to the mucous membranes of the mouth and gums...

Pregnancy: Work and School Issues
Many women work or go to school (or both) while they are pregnant. It can keep you active and engaged. You can probably keep working right up to your due date if there are no problems with your pregnancy. Women who have uncomplicated pregnancies can usually keep working or going to school until they go into labor. On...

Quick Tips: Healthy Pregnancy Habits
Here are ways you can take care of your own and your baby's health during pregnancy. See your doctor or midwife regularly. Visit your doctor or midwife as soon as you suspect you are pregnant. Go to all of your prenatal checkups. Get treatment for all infections. Call your doctor or midwife if you have signs of an...

Breast Changes During Pregnancy
As the rest of your body changes during pregnancy, your breasts change too. They are getting ready to make and supply milk for your baby. First-trimester changes In the first trimester (weeks 1 to 13): Your breasts may start to feel swollen and tender. Your nipples may stick out more than usual. Some women find that...

Pregnancy: First Prenatal Visit
Your first prenatal visit will probably be the longest visit you'll have. Your doctor or midwife will take your medical history and do a complete physical exam. You may also have some tests. This will provide information that can be used to check for any problems as your pregnancy progresses. Medical history Your doctor...

Leg Cramps During Pregnancy
Leg cramps are common during pregnancy, especially in the second and third trimesters. And they happen most often at night. Doctors don't know exactly what causes leg cramps during pregnancy. Here are some things you can do to help relieve a leg cramp. Stretch your leg (flex your toes toward your head). Place a heating...

Pregnancy: Vaginal Discharge and Leaking Fluid
Abnormal vaginal discharge Changing hormone levels during pregnancy can affect the normal balance of organisms in the vagina. If you are pregnant and have abnormal vaginal symptoms, such as vaginal discharge or itching, talk with your doctor about your symptoms before using home treatment measures or nonprescription...

Passing Tissue During Pregnancy
It may be hard to tell if you have passed tissue, because when you pass tissue you may also pass large blood clots. Tissue may appear gray or pink. Passing tissue may be a sign of miscarriage. If you pass tissue or have moderate bleeding any time during pregnancy, call your doctor immediately. If possible, collect the...

Massage Therapy During Pregnancy
When you are pregnant, you can use massage therapy to relax and to help relieve muscle tension and pain. But take the following precautions to help make sure that massage is safe. Tell your massage therapist that you are pregnant. Be sure that your massage therapist has special training in pregnancy massage. Also check...

Managing Emotional Changes During Pregnancy
Being pregnant can be an exciting time. But it can also be a stressful and emotional time. There's a lot you need to think about and plan for, which can be overwhelming. You may notice your moods changing often. And when you're pregnant, your body goes through lots of hormone changes, which can affect your emotions and...

Pregnancy: Choosing a Health Professional
You have a choice about who will deliver your baby. Doctors and midwives are trained to provide medical care and support before, during, and after the birth. Doctors and midwives share the same goal. They want you and your baby to be healthy. But their training and approaches may be different. Doctors Doctors have more...

Pregnancy: Hot Tub and Sauna Use
Raising your core body temperature is called hyperthermia. It can harm your developing baby (fetus). It's most harmful during the early weeks when the organs are forming. Experts don't forbid hot tub or sauna use. But they do advise caution. Hyperthermia during the first weeks of pregnancy has been linked to neural...

Pregnancy: Pelvic and Hip Pain
It's normal to get aches and pains in your hips and pelvic area when you're pregnant. Pregnancy hormones are relaxing your ligaments. This loosens up your pelvic bones so they can shift and open for childbirth. Try these tips to manage pelvic and hip pain. Lie on your back, propped up on your elbows or a pillow. Then...

Rh Sensitization During Pregnancy
What is Rh sensitization during pregnancy? You may have Rh-negative blood, and your baby may have Rh-positive blood. If the two types of blood mix, your body will make antibodies. This is called Rh sensitization. In most cases, this isn't a problem the first time you're pregnant. But in future pregnancies, sensitization...

Week 16 of Pregnancy: What's Going On Inside
By now, you may be looking a little more pregnant on the outside. And inside, your baby is starting to look more human and may even have sprouted a little bit of hair. Wondering what your baby looks like at 16 weeks? Your baby is now about the size of an avocado. Average baby length is 4.7 in. (120 mm). How your baby is...

Week 20 of Pregnancy: What's Going On Inside
By week 20, you've probably felt your baby move. It may not feel like an obvious kick—yet! Instead, your baby's first movements might feel like "butterflies" or gas bubbles. Inside the uterus, your baby is enjoying some regular activities: thumb-sucking and opening and closing his or her eyes. Wondering what your baby...

Week 24 of Pregnancy: What's Going On Inside
By week 24, you may have noticed some jerking movements inside your belly—or even seen them on the outside! Repetitive, jerky movements usually mean your baby has the hiccups. Hiccups are perfectly normal and can last anywhere from a minute to an hour. Inside the uterus, your baby is enjoying some regular activities...

Vaginal Yeast Infection During Pregnancy
If you are pregnant and have vaginal infection symptoms, see your doctor. Do not use nonprescription yeast infection medicine unless you discuss it with your doctor first. Experts recommend that during pregnancy: Vaginal medicines should be used for yeast infection treatment. These may be vaginal creams or...

Pregnancy After Bariatric Surgery
What is bariatric surgery? Bariatric surgery (such as gastric bypass or banding) helps people lose weight. It's only used for people who are obese and have not been able to lose weight with diet and exercise. This surgery makes the stomach smaller. Some types of surgery also change how your stomach connects with...

Nausea or Vomiting During Pregnancy
Many women have problems with nausea and sometimes vomiting ( morning sickness) during the first 16 weeks of pregnancy. For some women, morning sickness may be one of the first signs of pregnancy. The term "morning sickness" can be misleading, because symptoms can occur at any time of the day. The causes of morning...

Pregnancy: Chemicals, Cosmetics, and Radiation
Chemical exposure Take care during pregnancy to protect your developing baby (fetus) from harmful chemicals. Avoid pesticides, household cleaners, and paint. Fumes from these substances can be harmful to a baby, especially in the first trimester of pregnancy. Use chemical-free cleaning alternatives while you're...

Your Baby's Movements During Pregnancy
During your pregnancy, you'll feel your baby move. For example, your baby may kick, hiccup, roll, turn, and twist. These movements are common and expected. As your baby grows, these movements will get stronger. But sometimes you might feel a movement that surprises you. You may wonder what it means. Most pregnant women...

Pregnancy: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Tingling, numbness, and pain in the hands are common during pregnancy, especially in the last trimester. These problems are usually caused by carpal tunnel syndrome, and they usually go away after pregnancy. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a specific group of symptoms that can include tingling, numbness, weakness, or pain...

Vaginal Bleeding During Pregnancy
The following guidelines will help you determine the severity of your vaginal bleeding. Severe bleeding means you are soaking through your usual pads or tampons each hour for 2 or more hours. For most women, soaking through their usual pads or tampons every hour for 2 or more hours is not normal and is considered...

Pregnancy After Age 35
Most pregnancies after age 35 are healthy ones. But as you age beyond your mid-30s, some risks do increase. Your doctor will check you often to catch most problems early. The main age-related risks are: Miscarriage. Preeclampsia. Gestational diabetes. Certain chromosome problems, including Down syndrome. The risk of...

Making a Birth Plan
A birth plan lets you write down your vision of an ideal birth and share it with your support person, the hospital or birth center, and your doctor or midwife. Your birth may not go as planned. But the process of making a plan can be a great way to get everyone on the same page about what you think you'd prefer. Here...

Pregnancy: Prenatal Visit Schedule
As your pregnancy moves along, your prenatal visits will happen more often. So you'll have the chance to get to know your doctor or midwife well. It's common to see your doctor or midwife: Every 4 weeks until week 28. Every 2 to 3 weeks from weeks 28 to 36. Every week from week 36 to birth. In some cases, age or a...

Pregnancy: Should I Have Amniocentesis?
Guides you through the decision to have an amniocentesis test. Explains what amniocentesis is and how it is done. Discusses birth defects. Looks at the risks and benefits of amniocentesis. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.

Pregnancy: Changes in Feet and Ankles
Some changes in your feet and ankles are normal during pregnancy. These symptoms occur from normal hormonal changes and increased body weight and usually go away after delivery. Many women see a change in shoe size during pregnancy and that may not...

Pregnancy: Changes in Bowel Habits
Constipation and hemorrhoids are common problems during pregnancy. Constipation Constipation causes less frequent and more strained bowel movements. The bowels commonly move more slowly when you're pregnant. And iron in prenatal vitamins also can cause constipation during pregnancy. Hemorrhoids Hemorrhoids are swollen...

Sleep Problems During Pregnancy
Sleep problems are common during pregnancy. Hormonal changes plus the discomforts of later pregnancy can break up a pregnant woman's sleep cycle. First trimester. The first trimester can bring insomnia and night waking. Most women feel the need to take naps to fight daytime sleepiness and fatigue. Second trimester. The...

Dental Care During Pregnancy
It's important to take care of your body when you are pregnant. This includes your teeth and gums. A healthy mouth—and good dental habits—will help you and your baby. Taking care of your teeth while you are pregnant helps prevent cavities and other dental problems. Brush, floss, and try to limit sugary foods and drinks...

Food Poisoning During Pregnancy
Preventing food poisoning Pregnant women may become much more ill from food poisoning than other people, so it is important to take steps at home to prevent it. Use extra care with foods that can spoil, such as eggs, meats, poultry, fish, shellfish, milk, and other dairy products. Shop safely. Bag raw meat, poultry, or...

Contractions During Pregnancy: What to Expect
Regular contractions may mean that your uterine muscle is tightening (Braxton Hicks contractions) or that you are in labor. It may be hard to tell the difference between Braxton Hicks contractions and true labor. If there is any doubt, call your doctor. Braxton Hicks contractions During the second and third...

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