Pain Under Your Ribs When Baby Moves

Some women complain of pain under their ribs and in their lower abdomen when baby moves. This type of pain isn’t an unusual problem, but it may cause enough discomfort to concern you.

Baby’s movement has increased to a point where you probably feel it every day, and movements are getting stronger and harder. At the same time, your uterus is getting larger and putting more pressure on all your organs. It presses on the small bowel, bladder and rectum.

If the pressure really is pain, don’t ignore it. You need to discuss it with your healthcare provider. In most cases, it isn’t a serious problem.

Discovering a Breast Lump

Discovering a breast lump is significant, during pregnancy or any other time. It’s important for you to learn at an early age how to do a breast exam and to perform this on a regular basis (usually after every menstrual period). Nine out of 10 breast lumps are found by women examining themselves.

Your healthcare provider will probably perform breast exams at regular intervals, usually when you have your annual Pap smear. If you have an exam every year and are lump-free, it helps assure you no lumps are present before you begin pregnancy.

Finding a breast lump may be harder during pregnancy because of changes in your breasts. It may be more difficult to feel a lump. Growing breasts during pregnancy and nursing tends to hide lumps or masses in the tissue of the breast.

Continue to examine your breasts during pregnancy every 4 or 5 weeks. The first day of every month is a good time to do it.

If you find a lump, you may need a mammogram or ultrasound exam. Because a mammogram is a breast X-ray, your pregnancy must be protected during the procedure, usually by shielding your abdomen with a lead apron. Pregnancy has not been shown to accelerate the course or growth of a breast lump.

Treatment during Pregnancy. Often a breast lump can be drained or aspirated. Fluid removed from the cyst is sent to the lab to see if it contains any abnormal cells. If a lump or cyst can’t be drained by needle, a biopsy may be necessary. If fluid is clear, it’s a good sign. Fluid is studied under a microscope in the laboratory.

If examination of a lump signals breast cancer, treatment may begin during pregnancy. Complications during pregnancy include risks to the fetus related to chemotherapy, radiation or medication. If a lump is cancerous, the need for radiation therapy and chemotherapy must be considered, along with the needs of the pregnancy. 

Medicine has made great strides in treating cancer in pregnant women. Today, many women are able to receive cancer treatment and to carry their baby to full term without harm to the baby. If you have questions, ask your healthcare provider.

Childbirth-Education Classes

It may be time to sign up for childbirth-education classes. Even though it’s just the beginning of the third trimester, it’s a good idea to sign up now so you can finish classes before you get to the end of pregnancy. And it will give you time to practice what you learn. You won’t be just beginning your classes when you deliver!

Sometimes instructors in childbirth-education classes promote the belief there is an ideal way to give birth (vaginally). This sets many women up to believe they have failed if they end up having a Cesarean delivery. The goal in labor and delivery is a healthy mom and a healthy baby. If various procedures are used to deliver your baby safely—even if you didn’t intend to employ them—rejoice that they are available to help ensure the safe delivery of your baby. If you have concerns, talk to your healthcare provider about them.

During pregnancy, you have probably been learning what’s going to happen at delivery by talking with your healthcare provider and by asking questions.

By meeting in class on a regular basis, usually once a week for 4 to 6 weeks, you can learn about many things that concern you and your partner. Classes often cover a wide range of subjects, including the areas that are listed below.

• What are the different childbirth methods?

• What is “natural childbirth”?

• What is a Cesarean delivery?

• What pain-relief methods are available?

• What do you need to know (and practice) for the childbirth method you choose?

• Will you need an episiotomy?

• Will you need an enema?

• When is a fetal monitor necessary?

• What’s going to happen when you reach the hospital?

• Is an epidural or some other type of anesthesia right for you?

These are important questions. Discuss them with your healthcare provider, if you don’t get answers in your childbirth-education classes.

Classes are usually held for small groups of pregnant women and their partners or labor coaches. This is a great way to learn. You can interact with other couples and ask questions. You’ll learn other women are concerned about many of the same things you are. It’s good to know you aren’t the only one thinking about what lies ahead.

Prenatal classes are not only for first-time pregnant women. If you have a new partner, if it’s been a few years since you’ve had a baby, if you have questions or if you would like a review of what lies ahead, a prenatal class can help you. Childbirth classes that deal with vaginal birth after Cesarean (VBAC) may also be available. Ask at the office for information about various classes available in your area.

Classes may help reduce any worry or address concerns you and your partner may have. And they can help you enjoy the birth of your baby even more.

Childbirth classes are offered in various settings. Most hospitals that deliver babies offer classes, often taught by labor-and-delivery nurses or by a midwife. Various classes may have different degrees of involvement. This means the time commitment or depth of the subject covered is different for each type of class that may be available.

Classes are meant to inform you and your partner or labor coach about pregnancy, what happens at the hospital and what happens during labor and delivery. Some couples find classes are a good way to get a partner more involved and to help make him feel more comfortable. This may give him the opportunity to take a more active part at the time of labor and delivery.

Tip for Week 17

Childbirth-education classes are not just for couples.

Classes may be offered for single mothers or for pregnant women whose partners cannot come to classes. Ask at the office about classes for you.

If you have problems getting to a prenatal class because of cost or time or because you’re on bed rest, it may be possible to take classes at home. Some instructors will come to your home for private sessions. Or you might use some videos. Check your local library or video store.

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