Pregnancy FAQs

When is my baby due?

Due date is calculated as approximately 280 days from the last menstrual cycle or 266 days from the last ovulation cycle.

What signs indicate that I am expecting?

Fatigue, nausea, frequent urination, new aversions to certain foods, morning sickness, tender or swollen breasts, and a missed period are the most common early signs of pregnancy.

How can I ensure a healthy pregnancy?

If it is a planned pregnancy, go for a checkup ahead of the pregnancy. Discuss your family’s medical history with your doctor and provide information about any genetic conditions or chronic illnesses present. Get checked for diseases, such as hepatitis B and C, which may be harmful to your pregnancy. You also need to get current health problems like obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure under control. Let your doctor know what medication you are on to make sure they are safe to take during the pregnancy. For a healthy pregnancy, you need sufficient levels of folic acid right from the beginning. Ask your doctor to chart out a diet for you and to prescribe prenatal multivitamins, if necessary.

What foods should I eat while I am pregnant?

Besides prenatal multivitamins, eat leafy greens, fruits and whole grains like bread and cereals to get a healthy dose of vital pregnancy-friendly vitamins. Go for foods rich in calcium, such as milk and yogurt, to ensure the proper development of your baby’s bones.

What shouldn’t I eat while pregnant?

Avoid fish that is high in mercury since it can damage baby’s developing brain. Stay away from unpasteurized milk or soft cheeses and ready-to-eat cold meats; they may contain the dangerous bacteria called Listeria, which can lead to a miscarriage or a life-threatening infection. Don’t consume food which has raw eggs or meats in it. Also, avoid alcohol during pregnancy as it can cause fetal alcohol syndrome and mental retardation.

Is it okay to sleep on my back while pregnant?

It is not recommended. You might feel faint and lightheaded if you lie on your back for a length of time during your pregnancy. This is because, in that position, two major blood vessels in the back get compressed and decrease the blood flow to the uterus.

Is it safe to exercise while pregnant?

Do clear your exercise program with your doctor first. It is a good idea to do half an hour of light aerobic exercise, like walking or swimming, 4-5 times a week, but take care to avoid high impact exercises post week 18.

Is getting in a hot tub or sauna safe during pregnancy?

No, hot tubs and saunas can increase the body’s core temperature and pose a danger to the developing fetus.

Is smoking safe during pregnancy?

No, the smoke can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning of your baby.

How much weight will I gain during pregnancy?

The average pregnant woman gains between 25-35 pounds over the duration of the pregnancy; about 2-4 pounds during the first 3 months and 1 pound per week for the rest of the pregnancy.

When should I contact my doctor?

Other than regular visits for prenatal checkups, call your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms: unusual cramping, shortness of breath, dizziness or fainting spells, bleeding in the second or third trimester, fever over 100 degrees F, blurred vision, swelling in hands or face, signs of premature labor, or significant reduction in the baby’s movements.

How can I prevent stretch marks?

Keep your skin hydrated by drinking lots of water, consuming a diet rich in skin-supporting vitamins (E, C, A, zinc), and using a moisturizer high in vitamin A and E (e.g. cocoa butter).

Any way I can prevent heartburns during pregnancy?

Eat smaller, more frequent meals, and take a short walk after each meal. Wear loose clothing and try keeping your head and chest elevated while sleeping.

What are chromosomes?

Chromosomes are the structures which hold genes. Genes tell our bodies how to develop and function and govern physical and medical characteristics, like hair color, blood type and vulnerability to diseases.

Where are chromosomes found in the body?

Your body is made up of many different kinds of cells (skin cells, liver cells, blood cells, etc.). In the center of most cells is a structure called the nucleus, inside which chromosomes are located.

How many chromosomes do humans have?

23 pairs (46 in all); one set is inherited from the biological mother, and the other set is inherited from the biological father.

How are chromosomes studied?

Earlier, chromosomes used to be studied under a microscope. In the past decade, newer technology has allowed doctors to screen for chromosomal abnormalities by comparing the patient’s DNA to a normal DNA sample. One such method is noninvasive prenatal screening test.

Does age increase the risk of chromosomal abnormality?

Women are born with their eggs, and scientists believe that errors can crop up in the eggs’ genetic material as they age; therefore, older women are at higher risk of giving birth to babies with chromosomal abnormalities.

How does chromosomal abnormality occur?

They usually occur when there is an error in cell division. Some chromosomal abnormalities can be inherited from a parent. However, most occur as an accident to the egg or sperm due to which the abnormality is present in every cell of the body. Chromosomal abnormalities which affect only some of the cells can also occur after conception.

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