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If you’re expecting twins or triplets, it is important that you eat healthy and regularly visit your doctor. View this video for information on multiple births.
Transcript: If you're expecting two...or more!...babies, you're not alone. Three percent of pregnant women in the...
If you're expecting two...or more!...babies, you're not alone. Three percent of pregnant women in the United States carry twins. This growing community of mothers of multiples means that you'll be able to reach out for support and advice during your pregnancy. Perhaps your first consideration when pregnant with multiples will be how much you should eat. The good news? It's more than your singularly pregnant sisters! Most doctors recommend eating 300 extra calories per fetus per day. That means that moms-to-be of twins get 600 extra, and moms expecting triplets get 900! But before you reach for the candy bars, remember that those extra calories should come from foods that will nourish your babies. Try to get additional servings of lean protein and dairy. You'll also need plenty of iron and magnesium when you're carrying multiples. Get iron from red meat and spinach, and try whole grains and green leafy veggies for your magnesium. You need that iron to prevent anemia, or your red blood cell count from falling, which is a common problem in multiple pregnancies. Magnesium will help build your babies' strong bones and regulate your blood sugar. Round out that healthy diet by drinking at least eight glasses of water a day. This will prevent dehydration, which can lead to dangerous preterm labor. A final hint on bulking up for your babies: You'll probably want to gain between 35 and 45 pounds, nearly twice as much as singleton moms! Most of this weight gain will occur during your second and third trimesters, when you're (hopefully) past that morning sickness phase! When you're pregnant with more than one baby, you need to take a careful approach to exercise. It is VITAL to get the green light from your OB-GYN before working-out. Then, it's okay to engage in gentle exercise, preferably the kind where you're off your feet and your body temperature doesn't raise significantly. Try prenatal yoga or swimming. While you're working out, know when to stop...now is NOT the time to push yourself too hard! If you begin to experience even mild discomfort, stop exercising immediately. A final consideration when you're pregnant with multiples is where and how your babies will be born. Some mothers will have a planned C-section, while others will aim for a vaginal birth. When birthing multiples, most doctors require an epidural, in case an emergency C-section becomes necessary. Most multiple births will take place in an operating room, rather than a standard labor-and-delivery room. This is normal and not cause for alarm! When you're pregnant with more than one, your doctor will want to see you regularly and will take frequent sonograms of your babies. While preparing for more than one baby may seem like twice as much work, keep in mind that the results will be twice as wonderful when they do arrive!More »
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During weeks 1 to 4 of pregnancy, your baby is in its initial stages of development. To learn more about this stage, watch this video.
Transcript: It may seem strange, but it's true: By the time you see that positive result, you've already been pregnant...
It may seem strange, but it's true: By the time you see that positive result, you've already been pregnant for nearly four weeks! It's difficult for doctors to pinpoint the EXACT moment when sperm meets egg. So to keep things consistent, most consider the start date of your 40-week pregnancy to be the first day of your last period. For the first two weeks before your egg is fertilized, your body is training itself for your pregnancy...even if you don't plan to have a baby! During this time, your uterus sheds its lining and your body releases estrogen, which promotes the growth a new one. You also release a hormone called LH, encouraging your ovaries to release an egg 24 to 36 hours later. Once your egg is released, you have a 7 to 10 day window to conceive. If a sperm meets the egg during this time, you will be "officially" pregnant. The fertilized egg will spend the next two weeks making its way down your fallopian tubes into your uterus. There, it will burrow into the uterine wall to make its home for the next nine months. By the end of the first month, your baby will be about the size of a poppy seed. But don't let that tiny size fool you...That baby has already made significant strides! He or she...yes, sex has already been genetically determined!...has developed specialized cells, which will become bones, organs, muscles, hair, and skin. Your baby is also forming its placenta, which is the organ that provides food and oxygen, as well as its amniotic sac, which are thin membranes filled with fluid to cushion your baby. Expect to feel pretty normal those first two weeks after conception, as your body continues its usual cycle. After your egg is fertilized, you may experience typical PMS symptoms, such as mood swings, bloating, and cramping, although some women don't even notice this. During week four, some women experience very light bleeding as the egg burrows into the uterine wall. This can be completely normal, and may not be an indication that something is wrong. Because the changes during month one are so miniscule, it's unlikely you'll know you're pregnant before seeing that positive test. But if you're trying, it's never too early to ACT like you're pregnant! That means eating nutritious foods and exercising moderately. It also can't hurt to start taking a prenatal vitamin, since the folic acid in it may help prevent birth defects of the brain and spinal cord. At the same time, restrict your alcohol intake and avoid smoking and other potentially harmful activities. As soon as you know you're pregnant, it's time to make that initial appointment with an obstetrician-gynecologist. He or she will guide you through the following months and help to ensure your healthiest child!More »
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Morning sickness? Unfortunately! This video shows you what to expect during month two of your pregnancy.
Transcript: Even if you havent taken a pregnancy test yet, youll still have some confirmation of your condition this...
Even if you havent taken a pregnancy test yet, youll still have some confirmation of your condition this monthin the form of a missed period. But if youre pregnant, a missed period means there is plenty going on inside your body! At this time, youre producing estrogen, progesterone, and other hormones at record levels to help your baby grow. By the end of month two, your baby will be as big as a raspberry, which is 10,000 times bigger than it was at conception! This month brings continued growth spurts for your baby-to-be. Your baby is getting smarter, as well. By the end of month two, he or she is generating roughly 100 new brain cells every minute! That tiny heart is already completely formed, too, and is hard at work pumping blood to other developing organs. Arm and leg buds are now growing into full-fledged limbs, while fingers and toes are separating into individual digits. All that growth is great for your baby, but its bound to leave YOU feeling exhausted. And youre probably having some trouble sleeping, due to pregnancys infamous side-effects. As your uterus expands, it puts more pressure on your bladder. The result? Youll need to urinate more frequently. Nearly 75 percent of pregnant women also experience morning sickness. Despite its name, though, this queasiness and vomiting can strike at any time of day. These symptoms are unpleasant, but dont worry: Theyll become less frequent during your second trimester! Despite morning sickness, youll probably begin experiencing food cravings. Pickles and Jell-O? Bring it on! You may also find yourself desiring foods you dont usually like. Fulfilling these cravings (within reason, of course!) will help you gain the two to five pounds you need during your first trimester. By far the most noticeable changes this month are happening with your breasts, which are getting ready to feed your baby. They may have grown a full cup size by now! Your nipples and the surrounding area will be darker, and will stick out a bit more. Your breasts will also become extremely tender to the touch, so go easy on them! At your first visit with your ob-gyn this month, your doctor will conduct a full diagnostic workup on both your blood and urine. Your vagina will be examined, and a Pap smear may be taken. Your doctor will also test you for genetic abnormalities that could affect your child, such as sickle-cell anemia or Tay-Sachs disease. Are you ready for the big news? This visit is also the first time youll see your babys heartbeat, as the doctor confirms your pregnancy with an ultrasound. Remember to take care of yourself during month number two of your pregnancyand every month thereafter! Your healthy baby is worth the work (and the wait).More »
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During weeks 9 to 12 of pregnancy your little one will grow rapidly. Find out how your baby will grow in this video.
Transcript: If you've felt like you're asleep on your feet during the past three months, it's little wonder. Your...
If you've felt like you're asleep on your feet during the past three months, it's little wonder. Your rapidly growing baby has just made the progression from embryo to fetus! That means that your little guy or gal is just that...His or her genitals are beginning to show definitive signs of male or female gender. And your baby is bigger, as well. It's grown to about two and a half inches, or the length of a plum. Although that may sound small, it represents a doubling in size during this month alone! During this period, your baby will begin to move his or her arms and legs, but you won't feel these butterfly movements yet. You'll have to wait another two months or so for that! Bones and cartilage are forming inside your baby, and knees, ankles, and elbows are present now. In addition, teeth are developing under your child's gums, although they won't make an appearance until after birth. Guess what else? Your baby is producing urine, digestive juices, white blood cells, hormones and, if it's a boy, testosterone! During the last week of month three, your baby's body systems are almost completely formed. At this point, he or she will enter the maintenance phase, during which all of these systems will continue to mature and grow. While your baby is having a grand time growing, you're probably feeling the sleepy effects. That "drag-your-feet" feeling is a normal and frequent symptom of early pregnancy. The reason is simple: Growing a baby is hard work! While your metabolism and hormone levels have increased, your blood sugar and blood pressure have dropped...leaving you feeling like you ran a marathon. In addition, some of pregnancy's more awkward side effects are probably starting to show: Burping and passing gas. The pregnancy hormone progesterone relaxes the muscles in your digestive tract, allowing more time for nutrients to be absorbed. This slowed digestion is great for your baby, but may leave YOU feeling bloated and gassy. You may also experience bouts of dizziness, also due to progesterone. The hormone increases the blood flow to your baby, but slows the return of blood to you. This can lead to that light-headed feeling. You can often lessen dizziness by sitting with your head lowered between your knees while taking deep breaths. Once the feeling passes, have something to eat or drink. While dizziness and gassiness are no fun, you'll be happy to hear that the nausea, constant urination, and breast-tenderness that were with you in the beginning will usually start to abate by the end of month three. And you may have started to notice a slight rounding of your lower abdomen. After all, your uterus has now reached the size of a grapefruit and is rising up from the pelvis into this area! Congratulations! You've almost completed your first trimester. Your baby is now a fetus and you have 28 more weeks to grow and change together!More »
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Calculating your due date is simple if you remember the date of your last period. Watch this video to find out how this date is important in the calculation.
Transcript: Congratulations-you're pregnant! But how will you know when to expect your bundle of joy? Once your pregnancy...
Congratulations-you're pregnant! But how will you know when to expect your bundle of joy? Once your pregnancy has been confirmed, what you most want to know is your due date. Luckily, calculating your baby's due date is pretty easy to do at home. The average length of a pregnancy is 40 weeks, or 280 days, from the FIRST day of the LAST menstrual period, or LMP. Calculating the due date, or expected date of delivery, for a pregnancy is quite simple, then, if you know that date. Simply add nine months and seven days to the date, and you've got your pregnancy due date.Here's an example of how it works: say the first day of the last normal menstrual period was February 1st. Add seven days to that number, and you get February 8th. Add nine months, and you get November. The expected due date of that pregnancy, then, is November 8.Many factors play into determining the exact day you may have conceived. If your cycle length is irregular, you may not be able to use the first day of your last menstrual period as a marker. And similarly, if you have no idea when your last period was, don't worry!In these types of circumstances, your doctor will likely use an early ultrasound to measure the fetus' size and thus determine its gestational age. You may be wondering why you use your period, and not the day you CONCEIVED the baby, as a starting point. This is because it's rarely possible to gauge the PRECISE day that you got pregnant. After all, your ovulation schedule may be unpredictable, and sperm can live inside you for a few days. Remember, though, that your baby's estimated due date is just that-an estimate. In fact, only 5% of babies make their debut on the EXACT day predicted for their birth! So don't worry if your baby is born before or after that big X on your calendar.More »
Last Modified: 2013-04-15 | Tags »
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Understanding week by week fetal development is important as your baby continues to grow during the first month. Learn more by watching this video.
Transcript: In the beginning, you won't even know you're expecting yet. Meanwhile, your baby will be busy moving...
In the beginning, you won't even know you're expecting yet. Meanwhile, your baby will be busy moving in! The beginning of pregnancy may be confusing-after all, the first week is medically just your menstrual period. Calculation of gestational age depends on a number of factors and generally assumes a 28-day menstrual cycle length. Because your baby's expected delivery date is determined from the FIRST day of your LAST period, this week counts as part of your 40-week pregnancy even though your baby hasn't even been conceived yet! That will happen during the end of week two--again, assuming a 28-day cycle length-when one of your ovaries will release a ripe egg, which will pass into a fallopian tube. There, your egg will wait for 12 to 24 hours for the arrival of one of your partner's tens of millions of sperm. After the sperm arrives in your fallopian tube, it will combine with your egg, and merge into a fertilized egg, or zygote. It's interesting to note that it is the sperm that carries the chromosome that determines sex! At this point, the zygote's sex has been determined by either a male Y-chromosome, or female X-chromosome. At this point, your little zygote will begin the journey from fallopian tube to uterus. As it travels, the zygote will divide until it becomes a mass of 16 identical cells, which-upon reaching the uterus-is called a morula. The morula fills up with what will become amniotic fluid and changes monikers yet again. You're now carrying a blastocyst. Near the end of your third week after the first day of your last menstrual period, the blastocyst will attach itself to the endometrium, or the lining of the uterus. This process is called implantation and creates an essential connection between you and your baby. The endometrium will eventually develop into what will sustain your baby throughout the pregnancy-the placenta. But in the meantime, this lining will provide nutrients and remove wastes for the blastocyst. The newly implanted pregnancy produces hCG, human chorionic gonadotropin, which tells your ovaries to stop releasing eggs, and triggers the production of estrogen and progesterone. hCG is the chemical which shows up in your urine to turn a pregnancy test positive, so if you test at this point you may already see a positive result. Congratulations, mom-to-be. The end of this third week marks the OFFICIAL beginning of your pregnancy journey.More »
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This is the week most women find out they are pregnant. It is also the time when the embryo is just about the size of a poppy seed. Learn more about fetal development week 4.
Transcript: You probably just found out that you're pregnant and now you want to know what your little guy-or girl-is...
You probably just found out that you're pregnant and now you want to know what your little guy-or girl-is up to! Even though you didn't know you were pregnant, your baby has been growing since the moment of conception! By now, your baby is an embryo the size of a poppy seed -that's 10,000 times as big as she was at conception! The embryo now has distinct layers that will eventually develop into your baby's organs and body parts. All around your baby, a support system is coming into place. Your placenta is actively developing now. In fact, placental cells are actually tunneling into the lining of your uterus, creating a way for your blood flow to supply the placenta with the nutrients and oxygen that the placenta will then provide to your growing baby. Three other key parts of your baby's support system are also now present: the amniotic sac, which will surround and house your baby for the next nine months the amniotic fluid, which is inside the amniotic sac and protects and supports your baby. And the yolk sac that is delivering nutrients to your baby while your placenta - which will eventually produce your baby's red blood cells - forms. Check back in next week for your baby development video update!More »
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In week 5 of pregnancy, your baby will grow to the size of a sesame seed and its heart will start to beat. Learn more about your baby’s development here.
Transcript: If you were to see your little one this week, you might think you were growing a tadpole, not a baby,...
If you were to see your little one this week, you might think you were growing a tadpole, not a baby, in there! Don't worry though. It's normal for your embryo to look more like a fish than a human this week. In fact, where before your embryo was a mass of cells, that tadpole form is your little one's first actual shape. And speaking of little, by now, the embryo is about the size of a sesame seed. But don't let a small stature fool you! Your embryo has officially developed three layers. The outermost, the ectoderm, is forming the beginnings of a neural tube, which will become your baby's brain, spinal cord, nerves, and backbone. The middle layer, or mesoderm, is busy developing a heart and circulatory system. That little heart will divide into chambers and even begin to beat and pump blood this week. Meanwhile, your embryo's inner layer, called the endoderm, will eventually house organs like lungs and intestines. In addition, your baby's placenta will also begin to develop now. And it is through the placenta, and fingerlike structures called villi, that your embryo will receive nourishment during your pregnancy. For more on your little one's development, check back in your sixth week!More »
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Week 6 of pregnancy is quite exciting as you will be able to listen to your baby’s heart beat for the very first time. Watch our video for more information.
Transcript: Exciting news! Your embryo's heartbeat is detectable now! As a matter of fact, the average neonatal...
Exciting news! Your embryo's heartbeat is detectable now! As a matter of fact, the average neonatal heart rate is 130 to 160 beats per minute. That's about twice as fast as the average adult's resting heart rate.! By the end of your embryo's sixth week, it will be about the size of a lentil bean. Dark marks visible on your baby's face are the optic vessels, which will later become eyes, as well as the beginning of nostrils. Your embryo has also developed small depressions on the side of the head, which will become ears. Equally exciting are the growth of four teeny buds, which will eventually become your baby's arms and legs. Plus, your embryo's digestive tract and the bud of tissue that will become lungs have both appeared. What a week! Check back in seven days for the next installment of your baby's developing body!More »
Last Modified: 2013-05-03 | Tags »
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By fetal development week 7, you and your baby will be connected through a life line called the umbilical cord. Watch this to see what else is happening with your baby.
Transcript: This week your embryo is making some important connections! By this week, your embryo's umbilical cord,...
This week your embryo is making some important connections! By this week, your embryo's umbilical cord, which will connect the two of you throughout your pregnancy, has fully formed. The umbilical cord will provide oxygen and nourishment to your little one, as well as dispose of all waste. A few days after your baby is born, the umbilical cord will fall off, leaving an indentation in the abdomen that we call the belly button! Your embryo has doubled in size from last week. It's now about the size of a blueberry. And remember those arm and leg buds? They'll sprout the beginnings of paddle-like arms and feet this week. Your baby's brain is also bulging, as both hemispheres begin to form. And by the seventh week, the embryo ALSO has a pancreas, liver, and an appendix! Last but not least, your embryo has developed eyelid folds, which will partially cover teeny eyes that already have some color. Check back in next week to see what your busy baby has in store for the end of your second month!More »
Last Modified: 2013-08-15 | Tags »
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During week 8 you will be growing a kidney bean sized fetus that has started to develop fingers and toes. Learn more about this through the video.
Transcript: ...More »
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The changes during week 9 of pregnancy will determine what your baby's face will look like. Watch this video about the transformation your baby will go through.
Transcript: In the early stages, your baby's head develops much faster than the rest of its body, so he or she will...
In the early stages, your baby's head develops much faster than the rest of its body, so he or she will be quite top heavy in this, the ninth week of your pregnancy. At this point your embryo's facial features are becoming more distinctive by the day! The eyes are fully formed now, though they're still fused shut. And earlobes, nose, nostrils, and mouth have all begun to form. By the end of this week, your embryo will measure 2/3 of an inch and weigh just a fraction of an ounce...in other words, that baby in your belly is about the size of a grape. Also changing this week is your baby's heart, which will finish splitting into four chambers and begin to form valves.More »
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