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PREGNANCY
THE SCIENCE
Even before your baby is born, you are impacting their development! From what you eat and drink, to your own health; your baby's brain and body are influenced.

1st trimester is vital…  From the early weeks of pregnancy, organs and systems are starting to form! At 6 weeks, your tiny embryo has developed the beginning stages of their head, heart, eyes, spine, arms and legs! It is amazing how quickly your child will develop in these magical 9 months and knowing that there are so many things you can do NOW to connect with them and impact their development is so exciting.
Preparing for Baby Before Conception
During pregnancy a woman's body goes through many changes. She will experience physical changes, alterations in hormones and moods, and start the process to a new life after the baby arrives. Keeping mom-to-be healthy is key to her own well-being but also her growing child.

Even before you conceive there are things that you can be doing to better prepare you and your body to create a healthy environment for baby. Talk with your doctor about your plans to conceive, depending on many factors, such as; age, weight, etc., your doctor will discuss your options to begin to prepare for pregnancy. If you partake in alcohol, nicotine products, and other drugs; it is suggested to avoid these substances; as many women do not know they are pregnant in those first few weeks. These substances may cause adverse harm to your child. If you have an issue with drugs or alcohol, seek help and talk to your doctor. Additionally, limiting your caffeine intake and managing a healthy weight are other healthy ways to prepare for baby.
If you are having difficulty conceiving, and/or have experienced loss, know that you are not alone. About 15-20% of women experience a miscarriage, and 12% of the US population experiences some form of infertility. It is important to talk to your doctor about your options, and seek support from others (counselors and/or support groups).

Staying Healthy While Pregnant
Once pregnant, keeping yourself healthy is the best bet for your baby's development. It is not just taking your vitamins; your health is also dependent on your emotional well-being, safety, nutrition and having support from those around you.

Nutrition
It is recommended that pregnant women intake 1,800 calories in the first trimester, 2,200 in their second trimester and 2,400 in the third (depending on weight of woman, and advice from doctor). A healthy balanced diet is also important to ensure that you are gaining enough vitamins and minerals to help support the baby and yourself. It is suggested that pregnant women eat 6-8 ounces of grains, 2-3cups of vegetables. 2 cups of fruits, 5-6 ounces of protein, 3 cups of dairy and drink at least 80 ounces of water per day. Avoiding alcohol, caffeine, illicit substances and prescriptions/medications not recommended for pregnant women, is also important to your child's well-being. Check with your doctor if you have questions about what medications you can take while pregnant. Additionally, taking a prenatal vitamin will allow for you to intake nutrients that may not be found in your typical diet. Prenatal vitamins often include folic acid, a vitamin key to creating red blood cells and preventing neural tube defects. Some doctors will also prescribe prenatal vitamins that contain DHA, a component to promote healthy fetal development.

Emotional Health
Taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of your child. Even unborn babies can feel the stress that their mother's experience. Depending on the severity and duration of the stress; the effects may be correlated to a child's behavior and health later in life. Finding ways to manage stress is imperative to the health of your pregnancy. Many moms-to-be seek out positive stress-relieving activities such as exercise, journaling, meditation, attending support groups, seeing a counselor, and many more. Additionally, talking with trusted individuals such as your doctor, and/or friends and family, allows for you to build a network of support around you. Local mom groups and online forums can provide you with help and advice in a safe way. If you feel that you are experiencing symptoms of depression, please contact your doctor as soon as possible.
VIDEOS
Watch some of our favorite educational videos on pregnancy.

*Click a Title to View!*

From conception to birth, take a unique look at fetal transformation during nine months in the womb.
Cristina Mutchler reports on how to maintain adequate nutrition during pregnancy.
Meditation Relax Music Channel presents a Relaxing Music Video with Amazing nature and Ambient Celtic Music for Meditation, Concentration and Balance, music therapy.

COMMON QUESTIONS
I'M PREGNANT, WHAT DO I DO NOW?
Call your doctor and/or locate an OBGYN near you to confirm your pregnancy. Your doctor will provide you with further information on your pregnancy care.

WHEN SHOULD I VISIT MY DOCTOR?
Visit your doctor as soon as possible to confirm your pregnancy. Many physicians wait till you are 6-8 weeks pregnant to conduct your first ultrasound.

WHEN CAN I FIND OUT THE SEX OF MY BABY?
Blood tests can be conducted to confirm the sex of your baby before the typical 20-week ultrasound. Many parents learn the sex of their baby at their 20-week ultrasound; sex can be seen typically between 16 and 20 weeks.

WHAT IS HEALTHY TO EAT?
Eating a healthy balanced diet is essential for expecting mothers to gain vital minerals and vitamins. Caffeine, alcohol, uncooked deli meats, unpasteurized dairy and juices, as well as fish high in mercury; are often advised to avoid. If you are concerned about medications and other foods, don’t be afraid to check with your doctor.

WHY TAKE PRENATAL VITAMINS?
Prenatal vitamins can provide you with essential items that you may not find in your typical diet. Such as, folic acid; a vitamin essential to creating red blood cells and preventing neural tube defects.

WHAT EXERCISE CAN I DO?
Light exercise is typically considered safe for pregnant women; with activities including walking and prenatal yoga. But you will want to check with your physician before continuing or beginning any exercise regimen.

WHAT IS GESTATIONAL DIABETES?
Gestational Diabetes is when a pregnant woman, who did not formerly have diabetes, has high blood sugar levels. A glucose test is typically done around the 24th week of pregnancy to determine if a pregnant woman does in fact have gestational diabetes. If the test conclude that gestational diabetes is present, the physician will work with the mother to discuss next steps.  Learn more

WHO CAN I TALK TO WHEN I AM CONCERNED?
If you are feeling overwhelmed, scared, nervous, or if domestic violence is occurring; discuss this with your physician. If you feel safe talking with your partner; talking about your concerns or fears may put you both at ease. Additionally, joining local mom groups, or online support groups can be helpful.

WHAT CAN I DO NOW TO CONNECT WITH MY BABY?
Even before your baby is born, you can spend time connecting with him or her. You can write letters to your baby to read to them later, you can read a book out loud, and even sing to your baby! Check out the activity page to see more!

HOW CAN I PREPARE FOR BIRTH?
Many hospitals will offer free birthing classes; as well as infant care, CPR, car seat and home safety, and more. Check with your local hospital to see your options. If none are offered at your hospital, check with your doctor for referrals!

RESOURCES

GENERAL
  • Center for Disease Control - Utilizing this site, you can find information to promote a healthy pregnancy through pregnancy preparation, ways to stay healthy during pregnancy, and how to prepare for life after birth.
  • American Pregnancy - From seeing your pregnancy week by week, to addressing your concerns and preparing for birth, this site provides you with tips and advice on all thing pregnancy!
  • Fit Pregnancy - These quick 10 dos and don’ts of prenatal nutrition will give you a jump start to your healthy pregnancy habits!
  • Beyond Blue - Learn more about emotional health and well-being and gain tips to managing stress and taking care of yourself during pregnancy and in early parenthood.

APPS AND WEBSITES

Want to submit a topic for us to cover?
Email Natalie Fellows at nfellows@first3yearstx.org to submit your suggestion.
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