Your Pregnancy After 35 : How Your Body Changes during Pregnancy (part 4) - Gum Disease, Braces during Pregnancy

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9. Gum Disease

You need to take good care of your teeth and gums. Good dental care is important because hormonal changes in pregnancy may cause dental problems. During pregnancy, hormones can make gum problems worse. Increased blood volume can cause gums to swell and make them more prone to infection.

Gingivitis is the first stage of periodontal disease. It appears as swollen, bleeding, reddened gums. It’s caused by bacteria growing down into the spaces between the gums and teeth. Experts believe these bacteria can enter the bloodstream, travel to other parts of the body and cause infections in you.

Regular flossing and brushing help prevent gingivitis. Brushing with a power toothbrush, especially one with a 2-minute timer, may clean teeth more thoroughly and may help toughen gums.

Pregnancy may cause sore, bleeding, swollen gums. Gums are more susceptible to irritation during pregnancy and may bleed more often when you brush your teeth. The condition usually clears up by itself after the baby is born. Talk to your dentist if the problem becomes uncomfortable.

10. Braces during Pregnancy?

It seems people of all ages are getting braces these days, even older women. We’ve been asked by women about braces for their teeth during pregnancy. They want to know if it’s OK to continue wearing braces, and they want to know if they can have braces put on when they’re pregnant.

If you wear braces and have morning sickness and vomiting, you’ll need to take very good care of your teeth. Brushing is important to clean acid off teeth. When your braces are tightened, you may want to eat soft foods, but that’s acceptable for a few days. You can take acetaminophen for any discomfort.

If you’re scheduled to have your braces put on, then discover you’re pregnant, don’t panic. Contact your orthodontist, and tell him or her you’re pregnant. Discuss any plans regarding braces with your pregnancy healthcare provider and your orthodontist before any action is taken!

Concern arises if you need dental X-rays; they may be an essential part of the treatment plan. However, with modern equipment and use of digital radiography, these risks can be reduced. In addition, you may need to have one or more teeth pulled. Tooth extraction by itself may not be dangerous, but the anesthesia necessary to pull a tooth may not be good for you or baby. Your treatment plan must be discussed and agreed upon by your pregnancy healthcare provider and your orthodontist before you begin.

11. Emotional Changes

It’s normal to be emotional about many things during pregnancy. You may cry at the slightest thing, daydream, experience mood swings, feel energy lows and fatigue. These are all normal aspects of pregnancy.

The changes in the levels of estrogen and progesterone in your body during pregnancy can have a big effect on your moods. And at its highest levels, progesterone has a calming effect on the body and may cause forgetfulness and cloudy thinking.

You may feel attached to your developing baby immediately or not for a while. Some women begin to feel attached as soon as they know they are pregnant. For others, it occurs when they hear their baby’s heartbeat, at around 12 or 13 weeks, or the first time they feel their baby move, between 16 and 20 weeks.

During the first trimester of pregnancy, hormone production increases to support your body’s pregnancy needs. Some women are more sensitive to these changes, especially those who are sensitive to similar hormonal shifts before menstruation. If you become weepy or edgy around your menstrual period, you may experience similar emotions as your body adjusts to pregnancy. Let your partner and other family members know it’s normal for a pregnant woman to experience mood swings.

Sometimes during pregnancy, a woman will feel depressed. It can be normal to feel this way for a short time. However, it becomes more serious if you don’t come out of it. Be aware you may be experiencing depression if you cry and feel down for longer than 2 weeks, feel worthless or hopeless, or don’t take pleasure in most things.

You may feel more emotional in the third trimester. Mood swings may occur more frequently, and you may be more irritable. You may feel anxious about the upcoming labor and delivery. Try to relax and let go of your feelings. Talk to your partner about how you’re feeling and what you are experiencing; ask for his help and understanding. This may be a good time to practice relaxation exercises.

In addition, during your third trimester, you may discover your nesting instinct—the overwhelming urge to clean and get organized. Experts believe this may be caused by an increase in oxytocin.

12. Feeling Your Baby Move

One of the greatest joys of pregnancy is feeling your baby move inside you. The first time a woman feels her baby move is different for every woman. It can also be different from one pregnancy to another.

Many women describe the first feelings of fetal movement as a gas bubble or fluttering in their abdomen. It may be something you notice for a few days before you realize what it is. Movements become more frequent and identifiable—that’s how you’ll know what you’re feeling is baby moving. You’ll feel the movement below your bellybutton.

Some women feel movement as early as 16 weeks, but if it’s your first baby, it may be 19 or 20 weeks before you are sure you feel the baby move. At first you probably won’t feel your baby move every day—that’s normal. As your baby grows, movements become stronger and probably more regular.

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