Pregnancy For Dummies book cover

Pregnancy For Dummies

By: Joanne Stone and Keith Eddleman Published: 07-28-2014

The reassuring guide to a happy, healthy pregnancy

This new edition offers soon-to-be moms and dads detailed, friendly information on preparing and planning for pregnancy. You'll find guidance on the basics, as well as special considerations like age, multiple births, complications, illness, labor and delivery, postpartum care, and everything in between.

Now in a portable, handy trim size that makes it easy to keep with you on the go, Pregnancy For Dummies, 4th Edition is your go-to guide on everything you'll encounter during the first, second, and third trimesters—and beyond. Packed with new information and the latest developments in medical technology, it puts your mind at ease by offering straightforward answers to all the questions you may have about pregnancy, including health risks during pregnancy, fertility problems and solutions, "on demand" cesarean sections, weight gain during pregnancy, the correlation between mercury and autism, ways to stay emotionally and physically healthy during pregnancy, and much more.

  • Includes a complete guide to pregnancy, through all three trimesters and beyond, including a week-by-week account of what to expect during pregnancy
  • Covers the latest information related to healthcare and pregnancy, including the latest on vaccinations, fertility problems, and prenatal diagnoses
  • Offers advice on picking a doctor, planning prenatal visits, and designing a birthing plan
  • Explains the stages of labor and how to care for yourself and your newborn after childbirth

If you're an expectant parent, Pregnancy For Dummies, 4th Edition covers everything mom and baby experience before, during, and after childbirth.

Articles From Pregnancy For Dummies

page 1
page 2
page 3
page 4
page 5
page 6
page 7
page 8
page 9
page 10
page 11
110 results
110 results
Pregnancy For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Cheat Sheet / Updated 09-13-2021

Once you find out you’re pregnant, follow a recommended schedule of prenatal visits and review the tests you can expect for each doctor’s visit. Learning a few medical abbreviations used by your doctors and hospital staff will help you keep up with what's going on all the way through your delivery. Keeping tabs on your baby’s growth is exciting, especially when you have a helpful growth chart to follow. Keep a bag packed towards the end of your pregnancy and have important phone numbers handy ahead of time.

View Cheat Sheet
How an Embryo Grows

Article / Updated 04-24-2017

On or about the fifth day of development, the blastocyst attaches to the blood-rich lining of the uterus during a process called implantation. Part of the blastocyst grows to become the embryo (the baby in the first eight weeks of development), and the other part becomes the placenta (the organ that implants into the uterus to provide oxygen and nourishment to the fetus and eliminate its waste products). From the blastocyst, the embryo develops into three different tissue layers: the endoderm, mesoderm, and ectoderm. These three layers ultimately give rise to all of the structures of the body and are initially organized into a flat disk. Around the beginning of the fourth week of embryonic development, the flat disk begins to fold and form a cylinder. At this point, the embryo begins to take on the form of the general body plan, with a mouth region and an anal region. Between weeks four and eight, all of the organ systems that you find in an adult will be forming. After the eighth week of your pregnancy, the developing embryo is referred to as a fetus. Amazingly, by this time almost all the baby’s major organs and structures are already formed. The remaining 32 weeks allow the fetus’s structures to grow and mature. On the other hand, the brain, although also formed very early, isn’t mature at birth; rather it continues to develop into early childhood. Your baby grows within the amniotic sac in the uterus. The amniotic sac is full of clear fluid, known as amniotic fluid. This water balloon-like structure actually comprises two thin layers of membrane called the chorion and amnion (which together are known as the membranes). When people talk about water “breaking,” they’re referring to the rupturing of those membranes that line the uterus’s inner walls. The baby “swims” in this fluid and is attached to the placenta by the umbilical cord. The figure shows a diagram of an early pregnancy, including a developing fetus and the cervix, which is the uterus’s opening. The cervix opens up, or dilates, when you’re in labor. Credit: Kathryn Born, MA The placenta begins to form soon after the embryo implants in the uterus. Maternal and fetal blood vessels lie very close to one another inside the placenta, which allows various substances (such as nutrients, oxygen, and waste) to transfer back and forth. The mother’s blood and the baby’s blood are in close contact, but they don’t actually mix. The placenta grows like a tree, forming branches that in turn divide into smaller and smaller ones. The tiniest buds of the placenta are called the chorionic villi, and it’s within these villi that small fetal blood vessels form. About three weeks after fertilization, these blood vessels join to form the baby’s circulatory system, and the heart begins to beat. Menstrual weeks are weeks from the last menstrual period, not weeks from conception. So at eight weeks, the baby is really six weeks from conception. By the end of the eighth week, arms, legs, fingers, and toes begin to form. In fact, the embryo begins to perform small, spontaneous movements. If you have an ultrasound examination performed in the first trimester, you can see these spontaneous movements on the screen. The brain enlarges rapidly, and ears and eyes appear. The external genitalia also emerge and can be differentiated as male or female by the end of the 12th week, although sex differences are not yet detectable by ultrasound. By the end of the 12th week, the fetus is about 4 inches long and weighs about 1 ounce. The head looks large and round, and the eyelids are fused shut. The intestines, which protruded slightly into the umbilical cord at about week 10, are by this time well inside the abdomen. Fingernails appear, and hair begins to grow on the baby’s head. The kidneys start working during the third month. Between 9 and 12 weeks, the fetus begins to produce urine, which you can see within the small fetal bladder on ultrasound.

View Article
Planning Prenatal Visits

Article / Updated 03-08-2017

Your positive pregnancy test marks a new beginning. The time has come to start thinking about what lies ahead. After you decide who your practitioner will be, give the office a call to find out how to proceed. Some practices want you to come in for a visit with the office nurse to give a medical history and confirm your good news with either a blood or urine test, whereas others schedule a first visit with the practitioner. How soon your first visit will be scheduled depends in part on your past or current history. If you didn’t have a preconceptional visit beforehand, and you haven’t been on prenatal vitamins or other vitamins containing folic acid, let the office know. A prescription for prenatal vitamins can be called in so you can start taking them even before your first prenatal visit. All over-the-counter adult multi- and prenatal vitamins should have the correct dose of folic acid so the typical patient doesn’t need a prescription for them, but ask the pharmacist if you’re not sure. Also, some insurance companies may cover prescription vitamins but not over-the-counter ones, and some women just simply prefer one particular type of vitamin. Some things are consistent from trimester to trimester — like checking your blood pressure, urine, and the baby’s heartbeat. See the table for an overview of a typical schedule for prenatal visits. Typical Prenatal Visit Schedule Stage of Pregnancy Frequency of Doctor Visits First visit to 28 weeks Every four weeks 28 to 36 weeks Every two to three weeks 36 weeks to delivery Weekly If you develop problems during pregnancy or if your pregnancy is considered “high risk,” your practitioner may suggest that you come in more frequently. This schedule of prenatal visits isn’t set in stone. If you’re planning a vacation or need to miss a prenatal visit, tell your practitioner and reschedule your appointment. If your pregnancy is going smoothly, rescheduling usually isn’t a big deal. However, because some prenatal tests have to be performed at specific times during pregnancy, just make sure that missing an appointment won’t affect any of these tests. Prenatal visits vary a bit according to each woman’s personal needs and each practitioner’s style. Some women need particular laboratory tests or physical examinations. However, the following procedures are standard during your prenatal visits: A nurse checks your weight and blood pressure. You give a urine sample (usually an easy job for most pregnant women!). Your practitioner checks for the presence of protein or glucose, which may be a sign of preeclampsia or diabetes. Some urine tests also enable your doctor to look for any indications of a urinary tract infection. Starting sometime after 14 to 16 weeks, a nurse or doctor measures your fundal height. The practitioner uses either a tape measure or her hands to measure your uterus. This gives her a rough idea of how the baby is growing and whether you have an adequate amount of amniotic fluid. Credit: Kathryn Born, MA The nurse or doctor is measuring the fundal height, the distance from the top of the pubic bone to the top of the uterus (the fundus). By 20 weeks, the fundus usually reaches the level of the navel. After 20 weeks, the height in centimeters roughly equals the number of weeks pregnant you are. (Being above or below by 2 centimeters is usually within acceptable norms as long as you’re consistent from visit to visit.) The fundal height measurement may not be useful in women who are expecting two or more babies or in women who have large fibroids (in both cases, the uterus is much bigger than normal) or in women who are very obese (because it can be difficult to feel the top of the uterus). A nurse or doctor listens for and counts the baby’s heartbeat. Typically, the heartbeat ranges between 120 and 160 beats per minute. Most offices use an electronic Doppler device to check the baby’s heartbeat. With this method, the baby’s heartbeat sounds sort of like horses galloping inside the womb. Sometimes, you can hear the heartbeat as early as 8 or 9 weeks using this method, but often it isn’t clearly discernible until 10 to 12 weeks. Prior to the availability of Doppler, a special stethoscope called a fetoscope was used to hear the baby’s heartbeat. Using this method, the doctor can hear the heartbeat around 20 weeks. A third way of checking the baby’s heartbeat is by seeing it on ultrasound. The heart beating away can frequently be seen at around 6 weeks. In some practices, a medical assistant or nurse performs tasks such as checking your blood pressure; in other practices, a doctor may perform this task. No matter who performs the technical components of the prenatal visit, you should always have the opportunity to ask a practitioner questions before leaving the office.

View Article
10 Key Things You Can See on Ultrasound

Step by Step / Updated 03-27-2016

If you’ve ever had a parent-to-be show you an ultrasound picture of the baby, you know determining what you’re looking at, let alone detecting a family resemblance, isn’t always easy! But ultrasound pictures can be amazingly clear and useful — if you know what you’re looking for. Following are some of the items that doctors and sonographers try to pick out on ultrasound to find out whether the baby is growing and developing well.

View Step by Step
Commonly Used Medical Abbreviations that Relate to Pregnancy

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

So you know what’s going on throughout your pregnancy while at doctor’s visits, touring the hospital, and during labor and delivery, learn these medical abbreviations and what they mean. Abbreviation What It Stands For AFP Alpha-fetoprotein AMA/APA Advanced Maternal/Paternal Age CNM Certified Nurse Midwife CRL Crown-Rump Length CVS Chorionic Villus Sampling EDC or EDD Estimated Date of Confinement or Estimated Due Date EFW Estimated Fetal Weight EGA Estimated Gestational Age IUGR Intrauterine Growth Restriction LGA Large-for-Gestational Age LMP Last Menstrual Period MFM Maternal-Fetal Medicine SGA Small-for-Gestational Age

View Article
A Typical Schedule for Prenatal Visits and Tests

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

To ensure the health of you and your baby, you’ll need to schedule regular visits to your doctor during your pregnancy. Use this guideline for making your appointments and understanding common procedures for each visit: Weeks Possible Tests 6–8 Blood type, rubella titer, blood counts, hepatitis screen, ultrasound. 10–12 Doppler detection of fetal heart, CVS, if planned. 11–14 First trimester screen/Nuchal translucency (11–12 weeks is best) cell-free fetal DNA test is appropriate. 15–18 Second trimester serum screen (sometimes called quad screen); amniocentesis (if planned). 18–22 Ultrasound to evaluate fetal anatomy. 24–28 Glucose screen to check for gestational diabetes. 28–36 Every-other-week visits to check blood pressure, weight, urine protein, and fetal growth. 36–40 Weekly visits to check all the above and to assess fetal position. Some practitioners do internal exams to check the cervix; some do a vaginal/rectal culture for group B streptococcus. 40–?? Twice-weekly visits to assure fetal well-being.

View Article
What to Take to the Hospital when You Have Your Baby

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

During your pregnancy, pack portable items you’ll need for your labor and delivery and hospital stay in a bag and keep it in a handy place or in your car. For your trip to the hospital you’ll need: Your partner/labor coach A bathrobe and nightgown Toiletries Sturdy underwear that you don’t mind soiling with blood A change of clothes to wear home, including comfortable, roomy shoes Baby clothes Infant car seat (your partner can bring this item on the day of discharge) Sanitary napkins (if you don’t want to use the archaic ones that most hospitals provide) A camera Telephone numbers of family and friends you may want to call Insurance information Lollipops or sucking candies Any device with the ability to play music Change for parking, or vending machines Cell phone

View Article
Your New Baby: Phone Numbers and Addresses to Have on Hand

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Be prepared for your baby’s arrival (or in case you have questions or concerns during your pregnancy) by printing this list and filling out the information. Keep this list in your purse or on the fridge for easy access Your practitioner: Name ______________________ Phone number ________ Address ________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ Your pediatrician: Name ______________________ Phone number ________ Address ________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ Hospital or birthing center: Name ______________________ Phone number ________ Address ________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ Consultant (ultrasound, internist, maternal-fetal medicine, and so on): Name ______________________ Phone number ________ Address ________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________

View Article
Your Baby’s Growth

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

At the eighth week of pregnancy (date of last menstrual period) the embryo is now referred to as a fetus. All organs are formed and the remaining 32 weeks of pregnancy is a time for the fetus to grow and mature. Take a look at this chart to see how your baby’s body weight and length changes during your pregnancy: Weeks Pregnant (measured from LMP) Average Weight Average Length 8 0.035 oz (1 g) 1.5 in (3.81 cm) 10 0.175 oz (5 g) 2.4 in (6.10 cm) 12 0.7 oz (20 g) 3.5 in (8.89 cm) 14 2.1 oz (60 g) 4.1 in (10.41 cm) 16 4.2 oz (0.12 kg) 6.25 in (15.88 cm) 18 8.0 oz (0.23 kg) 7.8 in (19.81 cm) 20 12.0 oz (0.34 kg) 9.75 in (24.77 cm) 22 1 lb (0.45 kg) 11.0 in (27.94 cm) 24 1 lb 8 oz (0.68 kg) 11.7 in (29.72 cm) 26 2 lb (0.91 kg) 12.5 in (31.75 cm) 28 2 lb 12 oz (1.25 kg) 13.7 in (34.80 cm) 30 3 lb 10 oz (1.65 kg) 14.8 in (37.60 cm) 32 4 lb 6 oz (2.00 kg) 15.6 in (39.62 cm) 34 5 lb 3 oz (2.35 kg) 16.4 in (41.66 cm) 36 6 lb (2.72 kg) 17.5 in (44.45 cm) 38 6 lb 12 oz (3.10 kg) 18.7 in (47.50 cm) 40 7 lb 8 oz (3.40 kg) 19.5 in (49.53 cm) lb = pounds cm = centimetersoz = ounces g = gramsin = inches kg = kilograms

View Article
5 Reasons behind the Timing for Ultrasounds

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Everyone, young and old, seems to find joy in seeing the waving hand of a fetus inside the uterus. There’s something magical about being able to see inside the private quarters of a developing human being. But, as fascinating as it can be, we get a lot of questions about ultrasound from our patients. Patients often ask if their doctors are recommending too many ultrasounds. Ultrasound technology does not use radiation and no risks have surfaced in over 40 years of use in obstetrics. The information you can get from an ultrasound has revolutionized obstetrical medicine, and those who use it daily can’t imagine an era without it. But, ultrasound in the wrong hands is dangerous. Highly trained professionals know how to operate the equipment safely so that doing the ultrasound doesn’t pose any harm to the developing baby. You may have heard of celebrities who buy their own (very costly) ultrasound machine to use at home throughout their pregnancy so that they can see their baby whenever they want. Don't even think about it! Using this technology without training and with the wrong settings could cause harm to the pregnancy; especially if repeated frequently. Most providers of prenatal care have their own preferences for when and how many ultrasounds to order for their patients. They also have a rationale for their preferences. Not all of these scans are done everywhere, and practices vary throughout the country. Also, some insurance companies will only cover a set number of ultrasounds, so your doctor will have to choose which ones are most important for you. Confirming viability An ultrasound at 6–10 weeks is helpful to confirm the viability of the pregnancy. This is the most accurate time to date the pregnancy — plus or minus three days from the actual date of conception. Testing for early issues The first trimester screen for chromosomal problems is done between 11 and 13-1/2 weeks. It is done at that time because the nuchal translucency, part of the screen, can be most accurately measured. Scanning for birth defects An “early anatomy” scan is sometimes done around 16–18 weeks. Many obvious and serious birth defects can be seen at that time, but the detail of the ultrasound, or resolution, is not as good as it is a few weeks later. The reason some providers do this early scan is so that patients can find out early if they have a significant problem, in time to make some decisions about how to manage the rest their pregnancy. Conducting an anatomy scan The routine anatomy scan is typically done around 20–22 weeks. The level of detail that can be seen with modern equipment is amazing. Most serious birth defects can be diagnosed at this time by experienced sonographers. If, however, you do find out that your baby has a serious birth defect, you have less time to make decisions about continuing the pregnancy. It is also emotionally more difficult to deal with because the pregnancy is half over by then, and most women have developed a significant bond with their baby. Planning for delivery Finally, many providers will recommend an ultrasound in the third trimester, around 32–36 weeks, to get an estimate of the size of the baby so that they can plan for delivery appropriately. If the baby is too large or too small, or if the amount of amniotic fluid is too high or too low, your provider will likely do additional testing and may move your delivery date up.

View Article
page 1
page 2
page 3
page 4
page 5
page 6
page 7
page 8
page 9
page 10
page 11