All about pregnancy signs and symptoms of pregnancy pregnancy tests home pregnancy test pregnancy stages first trimester of pregnancy second trimester of pregnancy third trimester of pregnancy calculating pregnancy due date prenatal diagnosis healthy pregnancy diet nutrition during pregnancy exercise during pregnancy spotting during pregnancy bleeding during pregnancy smoking during pregnancy sex during pregnancy prenatal care teenage pregnancy twins and multiple births childbirth obstetrics pregnancy ultrasound Chinese lunar pregnancy calendar (Chinese gender chart) fertility charting ovulation: calendar, prediction, test getting pregnant gender selection prenatal tests genetic screening genetic counseling birth control (contraception, pregnancy prevention) male condoms female condoms diaphragm cervical cap birth control pills Norplant Depo Provera spermicides emergency contraceptive pill (morning-after pill) natural family planning intrauterine device (IUD) birth control patch sterilization (vasectomy) fertility awareness method (FAM) abstinence pre-eclampsia, eclampsia HELLP syndrome intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) premature birth stillbirth Caesarean section preterm labor Rh incompatibility (erythroblastosis fetalis) ectopic pregnancy pregnancy diabetes (gestational diabetes) group B strep morning sickness (NVP) hyperemesis gravidarum miscarriage (spontaneous abortion) postpartum hemorrhage pregnancy-induced hypertension Pica
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Exercise plays an important role in promoting health and well-being for pregnant women. Women who exercise during pregnancy have reduced weight gain, more rapid weight loss after pregnancy, improved mood and improved sleep patterns. Some studies have also shown faster labors and less need for induction with pitocin in women who exercise
regularly during pregnancy. Others have demonstrated that women who regularly exercise are less likely to require epidural analgesia and have fewer operative births.
During pregnancy your body experiences dramatic physiological changes that require a carefully designed exercise program. These naturally occurring changes are not permanent and the benefits of regular exercise are many. Always check with your health care provider for any limitations of your activity before attempting any exercises. Staying active during pregnancy will help keep your body stronger and more supple. You will have fewer problems with your joints, tendons, intestines, stomach and circulation. Exercise will help prevent constipation, which is commonly experienced during pregnancy. Exercise will make it easier for you to avoid gaining more weight than the average 10-12kg (22-26lb).
Both the potential benefits and hazards of exercise in pregnancy have been overstated in the past. Current evidence indicates that regular physical activity in healthy, well-nourished women is safe and may be somewhat beneficial. Women who exercise moderately and regularly tend to experience fewer of the normal discomforts of pregnancy and benefit from the sense of well-being regular exercise can bring. Women who consume a healthy diet, gain weight at the recommended level, and avoid activities that are too intense or may cause injury should not worry that exercise will harm their baby.
There are some women for whom exercise during pregnancy is a matter for concern. Exercise may not be advised for women who fail to gain weight, or who have preeclampsia, premature rupture of the membrane, hypertension, heart disease, preterm labor, second or third trimester bleeding, or a weak cervix. Pregnant women should also be sure to exercise moderately, and not "overdo it."
Excessive levels of physical activity in pregnancy can reduce fetal growth and increase the risk of preterm delivery. A cardinal sign that exercise level is too high is a low rate of weight gain. Exercise or physical activity that ends in exhaustion, endurance activities, and activities undertaken in hot, humid climates should be out-of-bounds for pregnant women.
Pregnant women should exercise moderately, or at 50 to 60 percent of maximal heart rate for twenty to thirty minutes three times per week. Maximal heart rate, or MHR, represents your maximal oxygen utilization level, or VO2 max. Maximal heart rate represents the highest number of times your heart can beat per minute during periods of highly intense exercise. Brief bouts of exercise at 70 percent of MHR are considered okay. You can estimate your MHR from your age: 100 percent of MHR is estimated as 220 minus a person's age. (This formula may be somewhat undependable for pregnant women, who tend to have a higher heart rate than nonpregnant women.) To calculate 50 percent of MHR for a thirty-one-year-old, for example, you would subtract 30 from 220 and multiply the results times 0.5: 220 - 30 = 190, 190 x 0.5 = 95 beats per minute. Exercise that results in a heart rate of 95 beats per minute would approximately equal 50 percent of MHR. To see if you are exercising at this level, you need to take your pulse and determine how many times your heart beats within a minute. Usually people count the number of pulses in ten seconds and then multiply that figure times 6 to calculate beats per minute.
Guidelines and precautions for pregnancy exercise programsOccasionally exercise may stimulate uterine activity or initiate other possible complications. Before beginning the exercises, review the precautions about premature labor.
Always maintain correct posture by tilting your pelvis and straightening your back.
Monitor your breathing and maintain the ability to walk and talk comfortably while exercising. Stop exercising when fatigued and do not exercise to exhaustion.
Exercise should be regular; three times per week. During pregnancy, aerobic exercises should not exceed five times per week in order to allow your body to recover and rest properly.
Avoid any type of exercise involving the potential for even mild abdominal trauma.
Avoid rigorous bouncing.
Avoid arching your back.
Do not bring your feet over your hips, i.e. candlestick or bicycling-in-air position.
Do not do sit-ups past 45 degrees.
Breathe continually while exercising; do not hold your breath. In general, exhale on exertion.Check for separation of the abdominal muscles each week and take necessary precautions if indicated.
Drink fluids liberally before, during and after exercising to prevent dehydration.
Avoid activities which require precise balance and coordination. As your pregnancy progresses, your increasing weight, shifting center of gravity, and softening and increased mobility of your joints and ligaments may alter your coordination.
Muscles that are used in aerobic activity should be appropriately stretched before and after the exercise.
Decrease your exercise level as your pregnancy progresses. Your increased body weight will require a larger energy output, so you will feel more fatigued. If you feel tired, reduce your exercise level and switch to simple stretching/strengthening exercises. Check with your health care provider.
In general, continue doing any activity you enjoyed before you became pregnant as long as it feels comfortable. If you want to begin a new aerobic program, consult your health care provider or try a program with a trained professional.
Consider using an approved pregnancy exercise video that follows the ACOG (American College of Obstetricians and
Gynecologists) guidelines to work out at home.
Aerobic exercise can cause your body temperature to rise as your metabolism increases to provide energy. It is important for pregnant women to exercise but not to a point of increased body temperature. The constant movement of both arms and legs typical of most aerobic exercise programs provides a workout that can reach high levels of intensity. It is therefore important to participate in an aerobics program where the instructor is knowledgeable of the special needs of pregnancy and can adjust the exercise accordingly Low or non-impact aerobics, swimming or cycling are recommended.
A good activity to begin during pregnancy is a walking program, three to five days/week. Walking is an inexpensive form of exercise, as the only requirements are a suitable pair of shoes and comfortable clothing. Also, it is an activity that can be readily integrated into daily schedules. During pregnancy, you can improve your aerobic fitness by walking on level ground at a comfortable pace. However, it may be necessary to use modified forms of walking to gain significant benefits. Walking at increased speeds, walking up and down hills, and walking while carrying weights can raise the heart rate to levels that will improve aerobic fitness.
Swimming is both gentle and effective. If you haven't swum regularly before, you should start by swimming slowly for just 5 to 10 minutes on the first three occasions. You can gradually increase this time to 20 minutes at normal pace, two to three times a week. Don't swim in water that is too warm - the water temperature should be between 18 and 25°C. Using steam rooms and hot tubs is not advised.
Cycling is another alternative for mothers-to-be who have trouble walking during pregnancy. You should consult your doctor or midwife if you have problems with pelvic joint discomfort (pelvic arthropathy).
More information on pregnancy
Pregnancy - Pregnancy is period of time between fertilization of the ovum (conception) and birth, during which mammals carry their developing young in the uterus (see embryo).
Pregnancy signs and symptoms - During pregnancy a woman's body undergoes a number of changes to allow the fetus to develop inside the womb. The symptoms of pregnancy vary from woman to woman.
Pregnancy tests - A pregnancy test is a test of blood or urine used to determine whether a woman is pregnant. There are two types of pregnancy tests - blood and urine tests.
Home pregnancy test - A home pregnancy test measures the presence of the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in your urine. All home pregnancy test kits test your pregnancy on the basis of your urine sample.
Pregnancy stages - There are three stages of pregnancy called trimesters. Each trimester is three months. The word "trimester" comes from a Latin word meaning "three months long."
First trimester of pregnancy - First trimester pregnancy is the early stage of pregnancy from conception to 12 weeks gestation, or about 14 weeks from the first day of the last normal menstrual period (LNMP).
Second trimester of pregnancy - In the second trimester the embryo, now known as a fetus, is recognisable as human in form, but is not developed enough to be viable if born. The second trimester is often called the planning trimester.
Third trimester of pregnancy - The third trimester of pregnancy lasts from 28 weeks after your last menstrual period (LMP) until the birth, which usually occurs between the 38th and 42nd weeks of pregnancy.
Calculating pregnancy due date - The due date is usually computed from the first day of the last regular period. In the calendar, this can be figured by taking that date, subtracting three months, and adding seven days.
Prenatal diagnosis - Prenatal diagnosis is the process of detecting and diagnosing fetal abnormalities before birth. A targeted prenatal diagnosis is done when there is a concrete suspicion that there might be a particular disorder.
Healthy pregnancy diet - A balanced diet is key to having a healthy pregnancy. Pregnancy places substantial demands on the availability of iron in the body.
Nutrition during pregnancy - Nutrition is an essential component of prenatal care. During pregnancy, your body needs more nutrients in order to provide a baby with what it needs. Eat enough food to gain weight at the rate recommended by your health care provider.
Exercise during pregnancy - Exercise plays an important role in promoting health and well-being for pregnant women. Excessive levels of physical activity in pregnancy can reduce fetal growth and increase the risk of preterm delivery.
Spotting during pregnancy - Spotting is light bleeding similar to your period and it can happen at any time during pregnancy, but it is most common during the first trimester.
Bleeding during pregnancy - Bleeding from the vagina in early pregnancy is very common. First trimester bleeding is any vaginal bleeding during the first 3 months of pregnancy.
Smoking during pregnancy - Cigarette smoking during pregnancy can cause serious health problems to an unborn child. Many complications of pregnancy are more likely to occur in smokers.
Sex during pregnancy - Sex and sexual intercourse are not harmful during pregnancy. For most women and their partners, sex during pregnancy is fine as long as both partners consent and are comfortable.
Prenatal care - Prenatal care is the health care that a woman receives before her baby is born. Prenatal care is provided for women during the period between conception and birth of the baby.
Teenage pregnancy - Teenage pregnancy is a pregnancy that occurs in an adolescent. Babies born to teenagers are at risk for neglect and abuse.
Twins and multiple birth - Multiple pregnancies are on the rise in recent years with more and more twins and other types of multiples being born. A multiple birth is when more than one human baby results from a single pregnancy.
Childbirth - Childbirth (also called labour, birth, or parturition) is the culmination of pregnancy, the emergence of a child from its mother's uterus.
Obstetrics - Obstetrics is the surgical specialty dealing with the care of a woman and her offspring during pregnancy, childbirth and the puerperium (the period shortly after birth).
Pregnancy ultrasound - Pregnancy ultrasound is a method of imaging the fetus and the female pelvic organs during pregnancy.
Chinese lunar pregnancy calendar - The Chinese pregnancy calendar was allegedly discovered about 700 years ago. The accuracy of the chart has been proved by thousands of people and is believed to be 99 percent accurate.
Fertility charting - Fertility charting allows you to predict ovulation, pinpoint your most fertile time in your cycle, and increase your chances of becoming pregnant.
Ovulation: calendar, prediction, test - Ovulation is the process of discharging a mature ovum (egg) from an ovary after a Graafian follicle - representing the final stage of follicular development before ovulation - has been formed.
Getting pregnant - The best or most fertile time to get pregnant is the period of ovulation in your menstrual cycle. Most women ovulate (release an egg from the ovary) about two weeks before their period.
Gender selection - There are three main techniques of sex selection: pre-natal testing and termination of pregnancy, pre-implantation genetic testing of embryos, and sperm sorting.
Prenatal tests - Prenatal tests are one of the many ways your practitioner can check on the well-being of your growing baby and find out whether you're at risk for complications.
Genetic screening - Genetic screening is a process used to find out what diseases or birth defects a child might inherit from his or her parents.
Genetic counseling - Genetic counseling is the process of determining the risk you have of passing on an inheritable disease to your baby.
Birth control (contraception, pregnancy prevention) - Birth control is the practice of preventing or reducing the probability of pregnancy without abstaining from sexual intercourse; the term is also sometimes used to include abortion.
Male condoms - Condoms are thin barriers made of latex, plastic, or natural membranes. The male condom fits over a man's penis. The female condom fits inside a woman's vagina.
Female condoms - The female condom is a polyurethane sheath or pouch about 17 cm (6.5 inches) in length. It is worn by a woman during sex.
Diaphragm - A diaphragm is a rubber disc a woman places into her vagina. The diaphragm blocks a man's semen from entering the cervix (the opening to the womb).
Cervical cap - The cervical cap is a small latex cup that a woman inserts into her vagina before sexual intercourse. The cervical cap fits snugly over the woman's cervix.
Birth control pills - The birth control pill is a small, usually white, tablet that is taken orally (by mouth). The pill usually comes in a packet that has days marked off for a cycle lasting about a month.
Norplant - Contraceptive implants (Norplant?) are six match stick size implants inserted into the upper arm. Norplant is a form of progestin that is placed under the skin.
Depo Provera - Depo Provera is a hormone, much like the progesterone a woman produces during the last two weeks of each monthly cycle. Depo-Provera or progesterone stops the woman's ovaries from releasing an egg.
Spermicides - Spermicides are chemicals that make the sperm unable to function. Spermicide can be used alone or with other birth control methods to reduce the risk of pregnancy.
Emergency contraceptive pill - Emergency contraception is the use of certain methods after unprotected intercourse to prevent pregnancy.
Natural family planning - Natural family planning is defined as the understanding and use of the natural phases of fertility and infertility by a couple in order to either achieve or avoid pregnancy.
Intrauterine device (IUD) - An intrauterine device (intra meaning within, and uterine meaning of the uterus), is a birth control device also known as an IUD or a coil.
Birth control patch - The birth control patch is a thin plastic patch (1 3/4 inch square) placed directly on the skin of the woman. It is a hormonal method of contraception obtained by prescription.
Sterilization (vasectomy) - Sterilization is a surgical technique leaving a male or female unable to procreate. It is a method of birth control.
Fertility awareness method (FAM) - Fertility awareness is a means of understanding a woman's reproductive cycle by observing and writing down fertility signs.
Abstinence - Periodic abstinence is a way that sexually active women prevent pregnancy by becoming familiar with their fertility patterns and abstaining from vaginal intercourse on the days they think they could become pregnant.
Pre-eclampsia, eclampsia - Pre-eclampsia is a condition which only occurs during pregnancy. It causes high blood pressure, protein leaks from the kidneys, and other symptoms may develop.
HELLP Syndrome - The HELLP syndrome is a complication of pregnancy featuring a combination of abnormal conditions including emolysis, elevated liver enzymes, and low platelet count.
Intrauterine growth restriction - Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) refers to the condition in which a foetus is unable to grow to its genetically determined potential size to a degree that may affect the health of the foetus.
Premature birth - Premature birth is defined medically as a birth occurring earlier than 37 weeks. Infants born prematurely have an increased risk of death in the first year of life.
Stillbirth - Stillbirth refers to the death of a baby after 24 weeks of pregnancy but before birth. A pregnancy that ends before the twentieth week is called a miscarriage rather than a stillbirth.
Caesarean section - A Caesarean section (Cesarean section AE), is a surgical procedure to deliver one or more babies through an incision in the mother's abdomen and uterus.
Preterm labor - Preterm labor, or premature labor, is when the uterus (womb) contracts and the cervix opens earlier than normal.
Rh incompatibility - Rh incompatibility is a condition that occurs when the mother of a fetus or newborn has Rh-negative blood type and the fetus or newborn has Rh-positive blood.
Ectopic pregnancy - An ectopic pregnancy is one in which the fertilized ovum is implanted in any tissue other than the uterine wall.
Pregnancy diabetes (gestational diabetes) - Gestational diabetes is a condition in which the glucose level is elevated and other diabetic symptoms appear during pregnancy in a woman who has not previously been diagnosed with diabetes.
Group B strep - Group B streptococcus (group B strep) is a type of bacteria that causes infection among newborns, pregnant women or women after childbirth.
Morning sickness (NVP) - Morning sickness, also called nausea and vomiting of pregnancy (NVP), affects between 50 and 85 percent of all pregnant women.
Hyperemesis gravidarum - Hyperemesis gravidarum means excessive vomiting during pregnancy. The severe vomiting associated with hyperemesis gravidarum requires medical attention.
Miscarriage (spontaneous abortion) - Miscarriage is the term used for a pregnancy that ends on it's own, within the first 20 weeks of gestation.
Postpartum hemorrhage - Postpartum bleeding (severe postpartum bleeding) is the loss of more than a pint of blood within the first 24 hours after delivering a baby.
Pregnancy-induced hypertension - Pregnancy-induced hypertension (also referred to as toxemia, preeclampsia and eclampsia) is a condition that may develop during the second half of a woman's pregnancy.
Pica - Pica is a pattern of eating non-nutritive substances (such as dirt or paper), lasting for at least one month.