Congratulations! You may have just learned that you’re pregnant. There are three trimesters during pregnancy, broken up into three-month segments. Each segment is made up of two-four week months followed by one five-week segment.
Bleeding is never considered “normal” but spotting can occur, especially in early pregnancy. Spotting after sexual intercourse can be seen throughout pregnancy due to the increased blood supply to the cervix. Spotting or light bleeding may also occur after vaginal exams. If unexplained bleeding occurs, contact your doctor. Call, also, for any bleeding associated with pain or discomfort.
Cramping is often seen in pregnancy. In the first trimester it is common as the uterus grows. It is usually relieved with Tylenol or ibuprofen*. Later, round ligament pain can cause cramping or pulling sensations in the lower abdomen just above the fold between the thighs and the abdomen. Tylenol or ibuprofen* may be taken for discomfort. Braxton Hicks contractions can also cause cyclic mild, non-painful cramping, usually in the third trimester. Increasing fluid intake, rest and tylenol will usually relieve these cramps. If symptoms are not relieved after 60 minutes, contact your physician.
*DO NOT TAKE IBUPROFEN AFTER 24 WEEKS.
Nausea & Vomiting is common during the first trimester. See Medications page. If over- the-counter medications do not help, and you are unable to keep fluids down, contact your doctor. Temporarily discontinuing your prenatal vitamin and taking a B complex vitamin only for a few weeks may help. You need 800 mg of folic acid (folate) daily.
Swelling is common, especially in the third trimester of pregnancy. It is usually mild and goes down when you lie down. Drinking plenty of water, decreasing salt intake and elevating your feet for 20 minutes three times per day will help with it. For severe swelling, contact your doctor.
Vaginal Discharge is increased in pregnancy due to increased hormone levels. Normally, it is not associated with itching, irritation or foul odors. However, if you have these symptoms, you can try over-the-counter Monistat for yeast infection. If your symptoms are not relieved within 3 days, contact your physician.
Fetal Movement is usually first felt between 18 and 22 weeks. Regular fetal movement should be monitored beginning at 26 weeks. See Fetal Movement and Kick Counts.
Miscarriage, is often a worry of pregnant women, in the first trimester (up to 13 weeks). Usually, there is nothing that can be done to prevent miscarriages. Fifty percent of women who bleed in very early pregnancy will miscarry; however, the other fifty percent will eventually deliver a baby. Some comfort may be had in knowing that if a heartbeat has been documented, miscarriage is rare.