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Pregnancy Week by Week : Week 17 (part 2) - How Your Actions Affect Your Baby’s Development

- 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

5. How Your Actions Affect Your Baby’s Development

Ultrasound at This Time

Ultrasound is performed at different times for different reasons. During the second trimester, it can be used with amniocentesis, with bleeding related to placenta previa or abruption, when there is concern about intrauterine-growth restriction (IUGR), to evaluate fetal well-being and to diagnose multiple fetuses.

Ultrasound has proved very effective for diagnosing problems and giving reassurance. It is often combined with other tests.

3-Dimensional Ultrasound. A 3-dimensional ultrasound available in many areas provides detailed, clear pictures of the baby inside you. Images almost look like photos. For the pregnant woman, the test is almost the same as a 2-dimensional ultrasound. The difference is that computer software “translates” the picture into a 3-D image.

A 3-D ultrasound may be used when there is suspicion of problems with the baby and the healthcare provider wants to take a closer look. Three-dimensional ultrasound can furnish information that helps with diagnosis and treatment. It helps medical personnel understand the severity of the problem so a treatment program can be planned that can be started immediately after birth.

This ultrasound is most helpful in assessing babies with facial problems, hand and foot problems, spine problems and neural-tube defects. Some studies show 3-D images can be a valuable teaching aid for parents, who may have trouble visualizing the defects. Medical personnel have found many uses for 3-D ultrasound, including:

• measurement of volume, such as when measuring the amount of amniotic fluid

• more-accurate measurements of nuchal translucency

• better pictures of baby’s skull

• evaluation of the spine

• seeing subtle differences with cleft-lip and cleft-palate problems

• seeing defects in the abdominal wall

• better evaluation of the placenta, which can be very helpful when you are carrying more than one baby

• helping the healthcare provider see some abnormalities of the umbilical cord

• helping to rule out some birth defects

Increased Vaginal Discharge

During pregnancy, it’s normal to have an increase in vaginal discharge, called leukorrhea. This discharge is usually white or yellow and fairly thick. It’s not an infection. We believe it’s caused by increased blood flow to the skin and muscles around the vagina; this also causes a violet or blue coloration of the vagina. This appearance, visible to your healthcare provider early in pregnancy, is called Chadwick’s sign.

Dad Tip

Massage can work wonders to help relieve your partner’s discomforts and tiredness. It can also help ease any anxiousness she may be having. Massage can be very relaxing for her and you! Offer your partner tension-relieving, muscle relaxing head, back and foot massages. It may make you both feel great.

You may have to wear sanitary pads if you have a heavy discharge. Avoid wearing pantyhose and nylon underwear. Choose underwear with a cotton crotch to allow more air circulation.

Vaginal infections can and do occur during pregnancy. The discharge with these infections is often foul-smelling. It is yellow or green and causes irritation or itching around or inside the vagina. If you have any of these symptoms, call your healthcare provider. Many creams and antibiotics are safe to use during pregnancy.

Douching during Pregnancy

Most healthcare providers agree you should not douche during pregnancy. Bulb-syringe douches are definitely out! Douching may cause you to bleed or may cause more serious problems. Avoid this practice.

Are You a Vegetarian?

Some women choose to eat a vegetarian diet because of personal or religious preferences. Other women are nauseated by meat during pregnancy. Is it safe to eat a vegetarian diet while you’re pregnant? It can be, if you pay close attention to the types and combinations of foods you eat.

Research shows most women who eat a vegetarian diet eat a more nutrient-rich variety of foods than those who eat meat. Vegetarians may make an extra effort to include more fruits and vegetables in their food plans when they eliminate meat products. If you’re a vegetarian by choice, and have been for a while, you may know how to get many of the nutrients you need. If you have questions, talk to your healthcare provider. He or she may want you to see a nutritionist if you have any pregnancy risk factors.

During pregnancy, you need to eat between 2200 and 2700 calories a day. And you must eat the right kind of calories. Choose fresh foods to supply you a variety of vitamins and minerals. Eat enough different sources of protein to provide energy for you and baby. Discuss your diet with your healthcare provider at your first prenatal visit.

There are different vegetarian nutrition plans, each with unique characteristics.

• If you are an ovo-lacto vegetarian, you eat milk products and eggs.

• If you are a lacto vegetarian, your diet includes milk products.

• A vegan diet includes only foods of plant origin, such as nuts, seeds, vegetables, fruits, grains and legumes.

• A macrobiotic diet limits foods to whole grains, beans, vegetables and moderate amounts of fish and fruits.

• A fruitarian diet is the most restrictive; it allows only fruits, nuts, olive oil and honey.

Macrobiotic and fruitarian diets are too restrictive for a pregnant woman. They do not provide enough vitamins, minerals, protein and calories needed for baby’s development.

Your goal is to eat enough calories to gain weight during pregnancy. You don’t want your body to use protein for energy because you need it for your growth and your baby’s growth.

By eating a wide variety of whole grains, legumes, dried fruit, lima beans and wheat germ, you should be able to get enough iron, zinc and other trace minerals. If you don’t drink milk or include milk products in your diet, you must find other sources of vitamins D, B2, B12 and calcium.

Getting enough folic acid is usually not a problem for vegetarians. Folate is found in many fruits, legumes and vegetables (especially dark leafy ones).

Women who eat little or no meat are at greater risk of iron deficiency during pregnancy. To get enough iron, eat an assortment of grains, vegetables, seeds and nuts, legumes and fortified cereal every day. Spinach, prunes and sauerkraut are excellent sources of iron, as are dried fruit and dark leafy vegetables. Tofu is also a good source. Cook in cast-iron pans because traces of iron will attach to whatever you’re cooking.

If you’re not eating meat because it makes you ill, ask for a referral to a nutritionist. You may need help developing a good eating plan.

If you are a lacto or ovo-lacto vegetarian, do not drink milk with foods that are iron rich; calcium reduces iron absorption. Don’t drink tea or coffee with meals because tannins present in those beverages inhibit iron absorption by 75%. Many breakfast foods and breads are now iron-fortified. Read labels.

To get omega-3 fatty acids, add canola oil, tofu, flaxseed, soybeans, walnuts and wheat germ to your food plan. These foods contain linolenic oil, a type of omega-3 fatty acid. You can also eat flaxseed flour and flaxseed oil—both are available in markets and health-food stores. But avoid plain flax.

Vegetarians and pregnant women who can’t eat meat may have a harder time getting enough vitamin E. Vitamin E is important during pregnancy because it helps metabolize polyunsaturated fats and contributes to building muscles and red blood cells. Foods rich in the vitamin include olive oil, wheat germ, spinach and dried fruit.

Vegetarians are more likely to have a zinc deficiency, so pay close attention to getting enough zinc every day. Lima beans, whole-grain products, nuts, dried beans, dried peas, wheat germ and dark leafy vegetables are good sources of zinc. If you’re an ovo-lacto vegetarian, it may be harder for you to get enough iron and zinc.

If you’re a vegan, eating no animal products may make your task more difficult. You may need to ask your healthcare provider about supplements for vitamin B12, vitamin D, zinc, iron and calcium. Eat turnip greens, spinach, beet greens, broccoli, soy-based milk products and cheeses, and fruit juices fortified with calcium.

Almonds contain high levels of magnesium, vitamin E, protein and fiber.

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