20090114

Caring for your Body

Caring for your Body During Pregnancy



Weight Gain
Why should you gain about 25 to 35 pounds during your pregnancy? It's important to gain that weight so your baby will be healthy. You should not try to diet now.
In the first three months, you may put on about fourt to six pounds. After that, you'll gain about one pound each week. You should keep track of your weight. Your doctor will also check it.
You'll need a little more food now, so be sure to eat well every day.

Your uterus
During pregnancy, your baby, or fetus, is growing inside your uterus, or womb. Your uterus will stretch and change as your baby gets bigger.
The opening of the uterus is called the cervix. The cervix will get softer during pregnancy to make the birth easier.
While you are pregnant, you may feel little cramps in your uterus. They are the Braxton Hicks contractions and are normal and healthy.

Changes to your skin
Some women get brownish marks on their face, upper lip, forehead, nose, and around the eyes. This is called a pregnancy mask. You may also get a dark line right down the middle of your belly, along the linea alba. For most women, the spots and the line fade after the baby is born.
Many women get stretch marks. These are pink, brown, or purplish streaks in the skin. You may see them on your breasts, stomach, buttocks, and thighs. Stretch marks usually fade over time after the baby is born.

Food Cravings
During your pregnancy you might start craving foods that are not very healthy for you. Talk with your doctor if you find that you want to eat anything unusual, such as dirt or clay, which could be unhealthy for you and your baby. This is called pica.
Some of the foods you used to love may not taste good to you now. The sight and smell of other foods may even make you feel sick. If this happens, choose other healthy foods instead.

Constipation and hemorrhoids
If you have a hard time having a bowel movement, it may help to eat more fresh fruits, bran cereals, vegetables, and whole grain breads. Drink plenty of water every day. Daily exercise, such as walking, may also help.
You may also get hemorrhoids. These are swollen veins in your rectum. Take a warm bath. Try putting an ice pack, a cool, wet washcloth, or witch hazel pads on the hemorrhiods. If they bleed or hurt, ask your health care provider to look at them.
Some of these changes aren't very comfortable. But after your baby arrives, you probably won't think about the hard times at all.

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