The First Pregnancy

The first time a woman is pregnant, the emotions and experience are completely new. Pregnancy symptoms are unfamiliar, hormones are fluctuating, and the changes to body and lifestyle can be overwhelming. It can the most joyous time of a woman's life, and one she will never forget.

The First Pregnancy
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The first time a woman finds out she is pregnant, she is overwhelmed with questions and thoughts about the pregnancy. Many women experience a mix of joy and fear when they find out they are pregnant. For some women, learning about pregnancy is a way to combat the fears associated with it and the birthing experience.
Pregnancy Calendar
A normal pregnancy lasts from 38 to 42 weeks. However, pregnancy actually starts two weeks prior to conception. When you go to the doctor, your doctor will count your pregnancy from the date of your last menstrual period (LMP), but conception occurs an average of 14 to 21 days after your LMP. So on week six of your pregnancy, your baby will actually be at week four on the gestational calendar. The pregnancy calendar is also divided into trimesters. According to the Nemours Foundation, the first trimester is week 1 through week 12, the second is week 13 through week 26, and the third trimester is from week 27 until delivery.
Weight Gain
According to the Weight-control Information Network, during the first trimester, or three months, of the pregnancy, no changes should be made in eating habits. However, an additional 300 calories each day are recommended during the last six months for a woman in the average weight range for her height. A doctor may adjust these figures in certain instances, such as in an underweight or obese woman, or if the woman has other medical conditions. The total weight gain for pregnant women is between 15 pounds and 40 pounds, depending on conception weight. Obese and over-weight women will fall near the lower end, while underweight women will be closer to the upper range.
Exercise
Generally, a pregnant woman is encouraged to exercise throughout the pregnancy; however, women in a medium or high-risk pregnancy may be forbidden to exercise. The safety of the mother and the baby should be the first consideration when choosing an exercise regime. Staying hydrated and paying attention to her body are two of the most important things a pregnant woman should do when exercising. It is recommended that you avoid activities that involve sudden movements or jumping, contact sports and sports where injury is very likely.
Symptoms
Nausea, vomiting, constipation, hot flashes, leg cramps, rashes, fatigue, food cravings, frequent urination, shortness of breath and breast tenderness are some of the symptoms of pregnancy. While you are pregnant, you must consult with your doctor to determine the best way to cope with these symptoms. Any medications, including over-the-counter medications and herbal remedies, you take should be approved by your doctor.
Labor and Delivery
One of the things a first-time mom will be the most anxious about is labor and delivery. According to Sutter Health, it is common for first-time moms to experience a condition called prodromal labor. This occurs when the first stage of labor lasts a long time with little to no cervical changes. According to the Mayo Clinic, there are three stages of labor. During the first stage of labor, a woman's cervix dilates from fully closed to 10 cm. During this stage of labor, you will go through early labor and active labor. Generally, early labor isn't as painful as active labor because the contractions aren't as close or as strong. The early labor stage can last anywhere from hours to days. Typically, it lasts longer during a first pregnancy than it does during subsequent pregnancies. The second stage of labor is the delivery of the baby. The third stage of labor is the delivery of the placenta.
Resources
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Nemours Foundation
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Weight-control Information Network
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Sutter Health
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Mayo Clinic

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