Nine Months: 10 pregnancy questions to consider — just when you thought the journey couldn't get tougher

New changes are unsettling. As a new mother-to-be, you’re probably no stranger to this feeling. The uncertainty of what you can expect and what your body is trying to tell you during pregnancy may seem hard to comprehend.

But it’s time to put those doubts to rest. Here’s a list of every question you ever wanted to ask a doctor about pregnancy.

  1. I’m in the second trimester. I’ve been having a tough time dealing with my baby’s kicks and movements. Are there any signs I should watch out for?

Fetal movements generally begin around 16 to 22 weeks of gestation. Around this time, you’d probably face difficulty sleeping or resting, particularly if your fetus is very active. The upside to this is that lively movements are indicative of a healthy baby. However, a cause for concern may only arise if you notice a change in the fetal movement pattern. Look for unusually slow or extremely fast kicks or movements, particularly if you’re in the third trimester; these signs may suggest fetal distress. Ensure you consult your doctor immediately.

  1. I’m in the eighth month of pregnancy and have begun experiencing Braxton Hicks. What should I do?

Braxton Hicks is the body’s mock drill to prepare you for labour. These painless uterine contractions generally begin during the early stages of pregnancy and increase in frequency during the second and third trimesters. Although they are unavoidable, here are ways to reduce their occurrence.

  • Staying active is ideal; but if Braxton Hicks is the concern, reduce the amount of exercise you do as the contractions could become more pronounced during night
  • While sleeping, keep changing your position from time to time
  • Drink the recommended quantity of water as advised by your doctor
  • Elevate your feet during periods of rest and assume a relaxing posture
  1. I have heartburn, which often induces vomiting. Is there anything I can do to prevent it?

More than half of pregnant women suffer from this condition, particularly in the second and third trimesters. However, not many know that these symptoms can be controlled with a few dietary tips.

  • Avoid eating fried, fatty, and spicy food
  • Chew your food well
  • Eat smaller meals frequently and spread them out over the day; ideally, eating every half an hour or two hours would be beneficial
  • Do not drink a large amount of water during meals
  • Avoid lying down on the back immediately after meals; instead, relax in a reclining position
  • Consult your doctor regarding a liquid heartburn reliever or a blister of tablets for relief
  • Wear loose-fitting clothes
  • Maintain a diet that doesn’t cause constipation, as constipation is often the precursor to heartburn
  • Consume home remedies like cold milk to experience relief
  1. I feel the urge to eat all the time. How should I control the cravings?

Hunger pangs are amongst the most reported symptoms of pregnancy. In this regard, it’s important that you listen to your body. There are chances your body is demanding nutrition in the form of cravings, particularly if you haven’t gained enough weight in the first trimester or on the contrary have lost the kilos. In either case, it’s time to regularise your routine.

  • Snack on healthy items
  • Keep yourself hydrated
  • Consult a dietician about planning a balanced and nutritious diet

Lastly, don’t give in to the old wives’ tale of eating for two. The fact remains that your baby is barely even a tenth of your body. Which makes eating for two an unreasonable proposition. However, during the second and third trimesters, you could increase your nutritive intake by eating for one and a half.

  1. My skin has been itching ever since the first trimester. The itching around the tummy is extremely severe; should I be concerned?

Itching generally occurs due to the change in hormones and the stretch marks that appear due to the changes in the uterus. However, if it occurs during the first semester, it’s important to consult your doctor. There are chances the bile flow has impeded, resulting in accumulation of the secretion in the bloodstream. This in turn could cause a change in the liver enzymes and lead to severe itching. In such a case, your doctor may advise you to undergo a liver function test to rule out the possibility of obstetric cholestasis.

Another condition called PUPPP is characterised by papules and pustules, which could result in itching. Doctors treat it with lotions and tablets.

If you relate to these symptoms, make sure you consult your doctor immediately.

  1. I’m in the second trimester and have been feeling the urge to urinate too often. My doctor has advised me to drink sufficient water. However, this is followed by several visits to the restroom. What should I do?

You may experience frequent urination because of the hormonal changes in your body and the pressure of the baby on your uterus. Generally, this symptom is more pronounced in the first and the third trimester, but, not as much in the second trimester. While you can’t stop your body’s natural response, you could prevent discomfort in the night by restricting your fluid intake in the evenings.

Keep in mind that although an increased frequency of urination is normal, it’s important to have your doctor monitor you for gestational diabetes and urinary tract infections.

  1. I feel extremely anxious. How do I manage my emotions?

Anxiety during pregnancy is absolutely normal and can be blamed on the hormonal changes taking place in your body. You’re probably faced with the thought of motherhood and the impending tasks at hand, which may seem overwhelming. However, it’s important to seek support from your spouse and your dear ones, who will put you at ease. Alternatively, keep aside some quality time to pamper yourself. Spend time outdoors. Try a lamaze class and have your partner join in too.

While most cases of anxiety are manageable, there are chances your levels may peak considerably. If it comes to this, ensure you meet up with a counselor who will help you manage the stress effectively.

  1. I am entering the third trimester. However, I’ve been experiencing nose bleeds. Is this a serious cause for concern?

Nose bleeds, though lesser known, are actually quite common during the second trimester. They occur due to the dilation of the blood vessels and the dryness inside your mucous membranes.

You can prevent it by staying hydrated and not picking your nose as this could induce a bleed. In emergencies, use your fingers to pinch the skin just above your nostrils to restrict blood flow. Do this for 10 to 15 minutes to aid in the clotting process and stop the bleeding.

In certain cases, nasal conditions like deviated nasal septum or polyps may get exacerbated due to hormonal changes. So, if you notice that your nose bleeds occur at closer than normal intervals or end in excessive bleeding, fix an appointment with an ENT specialist concerning the same.

  1. I have developed an allergy to milk. It makes me feel an aversion to it. Is there a way to ensure my baby gets enough calcium through other food sources?

Calcium and vitamin D are essential for your baby’s development. The daily recommended limit for calcium is 1000 mg per day. Your doctor may prescribe supplements apart from advising you to include foods that contain the mineral in your diet.

Make sure you opt for rich sources of calcium like broccoli, orange, soya, tofu, yoghurt, fish and cereal fortified with the mineral. Additionally, increase your levels of vitamin D. Take a walk outdoors every day after 10 am to give your body its daily requirement of vitamin D.

  1. I’m in the eight month of pregnancy and my ankles are swollen most of the time. This requires me to keep my feet elevated. How do I ensure everything is normal?

Swelling in the body generally occurs due to fluid retention or collection of blood in the tissues. At times, sitting for too long or even standing may cause dependent oedema. The solution to this is keeping your legs raised whenever possible and reducing any extra salt from your diet. Sitting or standing for too long should be avoided. Staying hydrated and consuming electrolytes and fluids like coconut water would be helpful.

While swelling due to fluid retention is normal during pregnancy, conditions like preeclampsia and gestational diabetes could be pathological reasons that cause swelling, thus calling for immediate medical attention. Generally, doctors are able to detect these conditions early on and treat them so as to ensure the pregnancy remains unaffected.

Breathe a sigh of relief or simply plan your next course of action, these answers will surely have given you perspective. But if you feel some questions still remain unanswered, you may just find your answers in our next Q and A feature.

Follow Firstpost's show Nine Months — a visual how-to survival guide that brings experience, knowledge and perspective to mothers so they can follow a reliable and singular narrative on pregnancy and parenting.

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Updated Date: Jan 30, 2018 18:56:40 IST