Prenatal care is important for the health of the mother and the baby. Common prenatal tests include ultrasound, amniocentesis, screening for group B strep, and chronic villus sampling. Prenatal care also helps detect health conditions related to pregnancy, such as preeclampsia and gestational diabetes. Prenatal care costs can be expensive, but services are available to help women get the care they need. Read more: Pregnancy: Prenatal Care and Tests Article
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
Picture of First Trimester (4 Weeks)
The Baby at 4 Weeks. Your baby's brain and spinal cord have begun to form. See a picture of First Trimester (4 Weeks) and learn...
Picture of First Trimester (8 Weeks)
The Baby at 8 Weeks. All major organs and external body structures have begun to form. See a picture of First Trimester (8 Weeks)...
Picture of First Trimester (12 Weeks)
The Baby at 12 Weeks. The nerves and muscles begin to work together. See a picture of First Trimester (12 Weeks) and learn more...
Pregnancy: Multiple Births, Twins, Triplets, and More
Multiple births occur when a woman bears twins, triplets, or even more babies during pregnancy. More multiples are born today...
Related Disease Conditions
A common form of short stature, achondroplasia (dwarfism) is a genetic condition causing a disorder of bone growth. Complications of achondroplasia that need monitoring include (this is not all inclusive) stenosis and compression of the spinal cord, a large opening under the skull, lordosis, kyphosis, spinal stenosis, hydrocephalus, middle ear infections, obesity, and dental crowning. Achondroplasia is caused by mutations of the FGFR3 gene.
Cystic fibrosis is a disease of the mucus and sweat glands. Cystic fibrosis is an inherited disease. The outcome of the disease leaves the body malnourished, with bulky and fouls smelling stools, vitamin insufficiency, gas, painful or swollen abdomen, infertility, susceptible to heat emergencies, and respiratory failure. There is no cure for cystic fibrosis, treatment of symptoms is used to manage the disease.
Pregnancy Planning (Tips)
Pregnancy planning is an important step in preparation for starting or expanding a family. Planning for a pregnancy includes taking prenatal vitamins, eating healthy for you and your baby, disease prevention (for both parents and baby) to prevent birth defects and infections, avoiding certain medications that may be harmful to your baby, how much weight gain is healthy exercise safety and pregnancy, travel during pregnancy.
Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection of the bladder, kidneys, ureters, or urethra. E. coli, a type of bacteria that lives in the bowel and near the anus, causes most UTIs. UTI symptoms include pain, abdominal pain, mild fever, urinary urgency and frequency. Treatment involves a course of antibiotics.
Group B Strep
Group B strep are bacteria called Streptococcus agalactiae that may sometimes cause infections both in a pregnant woman and her baby. Symptoms include fever, seizures, heart rate abnormalities, breathing problems, and fussiness. Intravenous antibiotics are used to treat group B strep infections.
Preeclampsia (Pregnancy Induced Hypertension)
Preeclampsia is related to increased blood pressure and protein in the mother's urine. Preeclampsia typically begins after the 20th week of pregnancy. When preeclampsia causes seizures, it is termed "eclampsia" and is the second leading cause of maternal death of in the US. Preeclampsia is the leading cause of fetal complications. Risk factors for preeclampsia include high blood pressure, obesity, multiple births, and women with preexisting medical conditions such as diabetes, kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or scleroderma. Pregnancy planning and lifestyle changes may reduce the risk of preeclampsia during pregnancy.
Spina Bifida (Anencephaly, Neural Tube Defects) in Babies and Adults
Spina bifida is the most common neural tube defect in the United States. There are four types of spina bifida; 1) occulta, 2) closed neural tube defects, 3) meningocele, and 4) myelomeningocele. The cause of spina bifida is not known. Theories include genetic, nutritional, and environmental factors. Lack of folic acid during pregnancy is highly suspected. Symptoms of spina bifida vary from individual to individual. Treatment depends on the type of spanina bifida the person suffers.
Pregnancy and Drugs (Prescription and OTC)
Taking prescription medications or over-the-counter drugs or supplements should be discussed with your doctor. There are some medications that have been found to cause no problems in pregnancy, however, medications such as Accutane for acne, should never be taken during pregnancy.
Canavan disease is an inherited genetic disorder that typically causes death before 10 years of age. Signs and symptoms of the disease include developmental delays, loss of muscle tone, enlargement of the head, and severe feeding problems. The disease is most prevalent in the Ashkenazi Jewish population. There is no treatment for the disease.
Cerebral palsy (CP) is an abnormality of motor function and postural tone acquired at an early age (even before birth). Cerebral palsy is generally caused by brain trauma. Types of cerebral palsy include: spastic, dyskinetic (dystonic or choreoathetoid), hypotonic, and mixed types. There is no cure for cerebral palsy, and treatment is generally managing the symptoms of the condition.
Pregnancy (Week by Week, Trimesters)
Signs and symptoms of pregnancy vary by stage (trimester). The earliest pregnancy symptom is typically a missed period, but others include breast swelling and tenderness, nausea and sometimes vomiting, fatigue, and bloating. Second trimester symptoms include backache, weight gain, itching, and possible stretch marks. Third trimester symptoms are additional weight gain, heartburn, hemorrhoids, swelling of the ankles, fingers, and face, breast tenderness, and trouble sleeping. Eating a healthy diet, getting a moderate amount of exercise, also are recommended for a healthy pregnancy. Information about the week by week growth of your baby in the womb are provided.
Gestational Diabetes (Diabetes during Pregnancy))
Learning how to avoid gestational diabetes is possible and maintaining a healthy weight and diet before and during pregnancy can help. Discover risk factors, tests and treatments for, and signs and symptoms of gestational diabetes.
Preeclampsia and Eclampsia
Preeclampsia is a condition in pregnant women marked by high blood pressure and a high level of protein in the urine. Eclampsia occurs when preeclampsia goes untreated. Eclampsia can cause coma and death of the mother and baby. Preeclampsia symptoms include rapid weight gain, abdominal pain, headaches, blood in the urine, dizziness, and excessive vomiting and nausea. The only real cure for preeclampsia and eclampsia is the birth of the baby.
Pregnancy Diet (Menu Plans)
When a woman is pregnant she needs more vitamins, minerals, and other foods in her diet to stay healthy and deliver a healthy baby. A healthy pregnancy diet menu plan should consist of lots of fruits, vegetables, lean meats (unless you are vegan or vegetarian), and dairy. Examples of healthy pregnancy diet meal plans include: Holistic pregnancy diet Vegan or vegetarian diet Low-carb diets Begin your healthy eating plan around three months before you begin trying to conceive, and follow the same eating plan until after you have stopped breastfeeding. If you are overweight or obese, being pregnant is not the right time to try to lose weight. Discuss your options with your health-care professional.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Pregnancy (STDs)
When you are pregnant, many sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) can be especially harmful to you and your baby. These STDs include herpes, HIV/AIDS, genital warts (HPV), hepatitis B, chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis. Symptoms include bumps, sores, warts, swelling, itching, or redness in the genital region. Treatment of STDs while pregnant depends on how far along you are in the pregnancy and the progression of the infection.
Cleft Palate and Cleft Lip
Cleft palate and cleft lip are facial and oral defects that occur early in pregnancy. A cleft lip is a split of the two sides of the upper lip, and a cleft palate is a split in the roof of the mouth. Cleft lip the fourth most common birth defect in the U.S. Repair of a cleft palate or cleft lip may require multiple surgeries.
Early Pregnancy Symptoms and Signs
Pregnancy symptoms can vary from woman to woman, and not all women experience the same symptoms. When women do experience pregnancy symptoms they may include symptoms include missed menstrual period, mood changes, headaches, lower back pain, fatigue, nausea, breast tenderness, and heartburn. Signs and symptoms in late pregnancy include leg swelling and shortness of breath. Options for relief of pregnancy symptoms include exercise, diet, and other lifestyle changes.
Pregnancy Changes and Body Discomforts
Pregnancy can bring challenges like weight gain, stretch marks, varicose veins, heartburn, constipation, hemorrhoids, problems sleeping, and wondering if it is safe to have sex while pregnant. Learn how to manage and move through these challenges during pregnancy.
Pregnancy: Swine Flu and the H1N1 Vaccine
Pregnant and women who are breastfeeding are encouraged to receive the seasonal flu shot as well as the 2009 H1N1 influenza (swine flu) vaccine. H1N1 flu is treated with the medications Tamiflu® (oseltamivir) or Relenza® (zanamivir). Pregnant women should not receive the H1N1 attenuated nasal spray vaccine. Possible side effects of the H1N1 flu vaccine include muscle aches, fever, nausea, tiredness, or headache.
Fetal Movement (Quickening): Feeling Baby Kick
Pregnancy can be one of the most joyous time in a couples life. Learn what your baby's first movements may feel like week by week, how often you may feel them, what time of day the baby is most active, and what to do if you feel your baby is not moving as much as you feel it should be moving.
Anencephaly is a neural tube defect that prevents abnormal development of the brain and bones of the skull, and are missing large areas of the brain; some may have and incomplete skull. Ancecephaly affects the thinking, hearing, vision, emotion, and coordination areas of the brain. A combination of genetic and environmental factors are believed to to cause this condition. There is no treatment for anencephaly.
Bleeding During Pregnancy (First Trimester)
Bleeding during pregnancy is never normal. Causes of bleeding during the first trimester of a pregnancy may be caused by implantation bleeding, ectopic or tubal pregnancy, subchorionic hemorrhaging, infections, and miscarriage. Bleeding during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy can be caused by a variety of factors.
Cystic hygroma is a birth defect that may be apparent while a fetus is still in the womb. It is a malformation of the lymphatic system. Symptoms and signs of cystic hygroma may include breathing difficulties, feeding problems, sleep apnea, and failure to thrive. Treatment usually consists of surgery. The prognosis of cystic hygroma is variable, ranging from good to poor, depending on a variety of factors.
Hunter Syndrome (Mucopolysaccharidosis II, MPS II)
Hunter syndrome (mucopolysaccharidosis II, MPS II) is an inherited or genetic disease. Signs and symptoms of Hunter syndrome include diarrhea, voice changes, facial changes, and distended abdomen. Treatment for Hunter syndrome is geared toward symptoms of the disease with idursulfase or Elaprase (enzyme replacement therapy).
Stillbirth (Stillborn Baby)
About 1% of pregnancies overall result in stillbirth, meaning that there are about 24,000 stillborn births each year in the U.S. A number of diseases and conditions as well as problems with the pregnancy or health of the mother can all be causes of stillbirth. The most common symptom of stillbirth is not feeling the baby moving or kicking.
Cramps but No Period
Having cramps but no period can occur because of conditions other than your monthly menstrual cycle. They may feel like period cramps of the lower abdomen when you are not due for your period and produce no blood. These 12 diseases and conditions are examples of what can cause abdominal cramping when not on period.
Osteogenesis Imperfecta (Brittle Bone Disease)
Osteogenesis imperfecta (OI) or brittle bone disease, is an inherited (genetic) disorder that results in abnormal bone formation, which causes the bones to break (fracture) easily. There are eight types of osteogenesis imperfecta. Osteogenesis imperfecta symptoms include skeletal deformity, frequent broken bones, and hearing problems. Tests diagnose osteogenesis imperfecta. Treatment for brittle bone disease is to manage symptoms. There is no cure for osteogenesis imperfecta.
Can Sperm Survive in Menstrual Blood?
Sperm can survive in a woman’s reproductive system for up to 5 days whether the woman is menstruating or not. Thus, even if a woman has sex during her period, sperm from ejaculation may remain inside her reproductive system and may fertilize the egg if ovulation occurs.
What Is a Limited Obstetrical Ultrasound?
An obstetric ultrasound or sonography is a procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce pictures of a baby inside the mother’s womb. It also shows pictures of the mother's uterus and ovaries. An obstetric ultrasound is an important part of ante-natal (before the delivery of the baby) care.
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Prevention & Wellness
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- Here's to a Healthy Pregnancy
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