Healthy pregnancy

When you find out you're pregnant, you might begin planning your pregnancy week by week. Every day you might have more questions about a healthy pregnancy. What should you eat? Can you exercise? What type of prenatal tests do you need?

If you're carrying twins or other multiples, you might have even more questions. How much weight should you gain? How can you prevent preterm labor? Will you need bed rest?

Whatever your questions, understanding pregnancy as the weeks and months go by can help you make good choices throughout your pregnancy. Learn nutrition do's and don'ts. Get the basics on other healthy pregnancy issues, such as exercise, back pain and sex. The more you know about what to expect, the more prepared you'll be to face what lies ahead.

First trimester

The first few months of pregnancy — the first trimester — are marked by rapid changes.

During the first trimester, physical changes may include breast tenderness, fatigue and nausea. Emotions might range from excitement to anxiety. For the fetus, the first trimester is a time of rapid growth and development. The brain, spinal cord and other organs are forming. The heart begins to beat. Fingers and toes begin to take shape.

When you find out you're pregnant, make an appointment with your health care provider to begin prenatal care. You'll learn what to expect during the first trimester and beyond.

Second trimester

During the second trimester of pregnancy — from months 4 to 6 — some people feel better than they did in the first trimester.

Second trimester symptoms might include larger breasts, a growing belly and skin changes. During the second trimester, the fetus begins to move and hearing develops. Week 20 marks the halfway point of pregnancy.

Regular visits to your health care provider remain important during the second trimester. Tell your health care provider what's on your mind, even if it seems like it might not be important.

Third trimester

The last few months of pregnancy — the third trimester — can be physically and emotionally challenging. Third trimester symptoms might include backaches, heartburn and shortness of breath.

During the third trimester, a fetus gains weight and the eyes open. Rapid growth might lead to more noticeable fetal movements.

During the third trimester, you'll meet with your health care provider regularly. As your due date comes closer, keep asking questions. Knowing what to expect during the third trimester can help you prepare for the final stages of pregnancy.

Pregnancy problems

During pregnancy, your baby's health is a top priority. That's why pregnancy problems can be so concerning.

If you have a chronic condition, such as diabetes, epilepsy or depression, understand how your condition could affect your pregnancy. Ask your health care provider about complications that could arise. You might need frequent checkups. Your provider may suggest a change in your treatment plan to help prevent pregnancy problems.

For some people, pregnancy problems such as gestational diabetes complicate what seemed to be a healthy pregnancy. And for anyone, worries about miscarriage can be troubling.

The thought of pregnancy problems might weigh heavily on your mind. But remember that there's a lot you can do. Talk with your health care provider about diet, exercise and other lifestyle choices that can help nurture a healthy pregnancy.

Nov. 04, 2022