Pregnancy Week by Week : Week 14 (part 3) - Overweight/Obesity Bring Special Precautions

- 7 Kinds Of Fruit That Pregnant Women Shouldn’t Eat
- How to have natural miscarriage
- Foods That Cause Miscarriage
- Signs Proving You Have Boy Pregnancy

9. Overweight/Obesity Bring Special Precautions

If you are overweight when you get pregnant, you’re not alone. Statistics show up to 38% of all pregnant women are overweight. About 20% of women are obese when they get pregnant.

A new category has been added to pregnancy weight-gain guidelines. The category is for obese women, and the recommendation is a weight gain of between 11 and 20 pounds for an entire pregnancy. Some experts also cite morbid obesity as a subcategory of obesity; experts suggest weight gain should be determined on an individual basis for women in this category.

You’re considered overweight if your body mass index (BMI) is between 25 and 29; over 30, you are considered obese. If you have a BMI of 40 or over, you are considered morbidly obese.

Ask your healthcare provider to help you figure out your BMI at a prenatal appointment. When figuring your BMI, use your prepregnancy weight. For example, a woman who is 5'4" tall who weighs 158 pounds has a BMI of 27 and is considered overweight. A woman who is 5'4" tall who weighs 184 pounds has a BMI of 32 and is considered obese. A woman who is 5'4" tall who weighs 239 pounds has a BMI of 41 and is considered morbidly obese.

If you’re overweight, it can contribute to a variety of problems. Research shows over 65% of all overweight women gain more weight than their healthcare provider recommends during pregnancy. Gaining too much weight (above the amount advised by your healthcare provider) may increase your chances of a Cesarean delivery. It can also make carrying baby more uncomfortable, and delivery may be more difficult. And it’s harder to lose any weight you gain during pregnancy after baby is born.

10. Calculation of BMI (Body Mass Index)

BMI is determined from the measurement of height and weight. Be sure you use your prepregnancy weight for this calculation. It is calculated as shown below:


For example, the BMI of a woman who is 5'4" tall who weighs 152 pounds would be calculated as follows:


Women who are overweight may need to see their healthcare provider more often. Ultrasound may be needed to pinpoint a due date. You may also need other tests.

Take Care of Yourself. Try to gain your total-pregnancy weight slowly. Weigh yourself weekly, and watch your food intake. Eat nutritious, healthful foods, and eliminate those with empty calories. A visit with a nutritionist may help you develop a healthful food plan.

Do not diet during pregnancy. To get the nutrients you need, choose nonfat or lowfat products, meats, grain products, fruits and vegetables. Many supply a variety of nutrients. Take your prenatal vitamin every day throughout your entire pregnancy.

Talk to your healthcare provider about exercising. Discuss swimming and walking, which are good exercises for any pregnant woman.

Eat regular meals—5 to 6 small meals a day is a good goal. Your total calorie intake should be between 1800 and 2400 calories a day. Keeping a daily food diary can help you track how much you’re eating and when you’re eating. It can help you identify where to make changes, if necessary.

Pregnancy in the Military

Are you pregnant and currently on active duty in the military? If you are, you have made the decision to stay in the Armed Forces. Before 1972, if you were on active duty and became pregnant, you were automatically separated from the military, whether you wanted to be or not!

Today, if you want to stay in the service, you can. Each branch of the service has particular policies regarding pregnancy. Below is a summary of those policies for the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard.

Army Policies. During pregnancy, you are exempt from body composition and fitness testing. You cannot be deployed overseas. At 20 weeks, you’re required to stand at parade rest or attention for no longer than 15 minutes. At 28 weeks, your work week is limited to 40 hours a week, 8 hours a day.

Navy Policies. During pregnancy, you are exempt from body composition and fitness testing. You are not allowed to serve on a ship after 20 weeks of pregnancy. You’re limited to serving duty in places within 6 hours of medical care. Your work week is limited to 40 hours, and you’re required to stand at parade rest or attention for no longer than 20 minutes.

Air Force Policies. During pregnancy, you are exempt from body composition and fitness testing. Restrictions are based on your work environment. If you are assigned to an area without obstetrical care, your assignment will be curtailed by week 24.

Marine Corps Policies. You will be on full-duty status until a medical doctor certifies full duty is not medically advised. You may not participate in contingency operations nor may you be deployed aboard a Navy vessel. Flight personnel are grounded, unless cleared by a medical waiver. If a medical doctor deems you are unfit for physical training or you cannot stand in formation, you will be excused from these activities. However, you will remain available for worldwide assignments.

Pregnant Marines will not be detached from Hawaii aboard a ship after their 26th week. If serving aboard a ship, a pregnant woman will be reassigned at the first opportunity but no later than by 20 weeks.

U.S. Coast Guard. During pregnancy, you are exempt from body composition and fitness testing. After 28 weeks of pregnancy, your work week will be limited to 40 hours. You will not be assigned overseas. Other duty restrictions are based on your job; however, you will not be assigned to any rescue-swimmer duties during your pregnancy.

Dad Tip

Be thoughtful about staying in touch. If you have to go out of town, call your partner at least once a day. Let her know you’re thinking about her and the baby. You can also ask friends and family members to check on her and to be available to help out.

You may not be deployed from the 20th week of your pregnancy through 6 months postpartum. You will not be assigned to any flight duties after your second trimester (26 weeks), and you are limited to serving duty in places within 3 hours of medical care.

Some General Cautions. We know women who get pregnant while they’re on active duty face many challenges. The pressure to meet military body-weight standards can have an effect on your health; that’s the reason these requirements are relaxed during pregnancy.

Work hard to eat healthy foods so you have adequate levels of iron and folic acid. Examine your job for any hazards you may be exposed to, such as standing for long periods, heavy lifting and exposure to toxic chemicals. Before receiving any vaccinations or inoculations, discuss them with your healthcare provider. Any of these factors can impact your pregnancy.

If you are concerned about any of the above, discuss it with a superior. Changes beyond those described above may have to be made.

11. Taking Others to Prenatal Visits

Take your partner with you to as many prenatal appointments as possible. It’s nice for your partner and healthcare provider to meet before labor begins. Maybe your mother or the other grandmother-to-be would like to go with you to hear the baby’s heartbeat. Or you may want to record the heartbeat for others to hear. Things have changed since your mother carried you; many grandmothers-to-be enjoy this type of visit.

Bed Bugs

There’s a lot of information in the news about bed bugs. Many pregnant women want to know if bed-bug bites or the chemicals used to kill them are dangerous for a woman and her baby, before and after it is born.

Bed bugs are round, wingless insects that hide in the cracks of beds, mattresses, baseboards and couches. It doesn’t hurt when they bite you, but you awake the next morning with bites similar to those of a mosquito or other insect. A bed-bug bite can’t be identified just by looking at it. If you’re bitten, look in folds, creases and under mattresses for the insects–they’re pretty tiny, so it may be hard to spot them.

Bed-bug bites can be more of a nuisance than a health hazard. Bites can cause itching and even secondary infections from scratching. Bed bugs aren’t known to transmit infectious diseases to humans, so you don’t have to worry about who was bitten before you if you get a bite.

If you get bed-bug bites, don’t panic—they won’t hurt your baby. But try not to scratch. Anti-itch creams and antibiotic creams to use on your skin should be OK. Call your healthcare provider and ask what he or she recommends.

Don’t go overboard with insecticides trying to get rid of them—exposure to the chemicals could be worse than the bugs themselves. If you find bed bugs and are sure you have a problem, get help from an expert. Treatments to get rid of them include insecticides and heat treatments. Whatever you do, be careful and know what you’re being exposed to.

It’s a good idea to wait until you have heard baby’s heartbeat before bringing other people. You don’t always hear it the first time, and this can be frustrating and disappointing.

Some women bring their children with them to a prenatal appointment. Most office personnel don’t mind if you bring your children occasionally. They understand it isn’t always possible to find someone to watch them. However, if you have problems or have a lot to discuss with your healthcare provider, don’t bring your child or children.

If a child is sick, has just gotten over chicken pox or is getting a cold, leave him or her at home. Don’t expose everyone else in the waiting room.

Some women like to bring one child at a time to a visit if they have more than one. That makes it special for mom and for the child. Crying or complaining children can create a difficult situation, however, so ask your healthcare provider when it’s good to bring family members with you before you come in with them.

12. Exercise for Week 14

The Kegel exercise strengthens pelvic muscles; practicing it helps relax your muscles for delivery. This exercise can also be helpful in getting vaginal muscles back in shape after delivery of your baby. You can do it anywhere, anytime, without anyone knowing that you’re doing it!

While sitting, contract the lowest muscles of your pelvis as tightly as you can. Tighten the muscles higher in the pelvis in stages until you reach the muscles at the top. Count to 10 slowly as you move up the pelvis. Hold briefly, then release slowly in stages, counting to 10 again. Repeat 2 or 3 times a day.

You can also do a Kegel exercise by tightening the pelvic muscles first, then tightening the anal muscle. Hold for a few seconds, then release slowly, in reverse order. To see if you’re doing the exercise correctly, stop the flow of urine while you’re going to the bathroom.

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