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The first prenatal visit is the most comprehensive of all the prenatal visits. (See the Appendix for an explanation of the procedures and tests performed.) A complete medical history will be taken, and certain tests an procedures will be performed only at this exam. One practitioner's routine may vary slightly from another's. In general, the examination will include:
Confirmation of Your Pregnancy.
Your practitioner will want to check the following: the pregnancy symptoms you are experiencing; the date of your last normal menstrual period, to determine your estimated date of delivery (EDD), or due date (see page 6); your cervix and uterus, for signs and approximate age of the pregnancy. If there's any question, a pregnancy test may be ordered if you haven't already had one.
A Complete History.
To give you the best care, your practitioner will want to know a great deal about you. Come prepared by checking home records and refreshing your memory, as necessary, on the following: your personal medical history (chronic illness, previous major illness or surgery, medications you are presently taking or have taken since conception, known allergies, including drug allergies); your family medical history (genetic disorders and chronic illnesses); your social history (age, occupation, and habits, such as smoking, drinking, exercising, diet); your gynecological and obstetrical history (age at first menstrual period, usual length of menstrual cycle, duration and regularity of menstrual periods, past abortions, miscarriages, and live births; course of past pregnancies, labors and deliveries); and factors in your personal life that might affect your pregnancy.
A Complete Physical Examination.
This may include: assessment of your general health through examination of heart, lungs, breasts, abdomen; measurement of your blood pressure to serve as a baseline reading for comparison at subsequent visits; notation of your height and weight, usual and present; inspection of extremities for varicose veins and edema (swelling from excess fluid in tissues) to serve as a baseline for comparison at subsequent visits; inspection and palpation of external genitalia; internal examination of your vagina and cervix (with a speculum in place); examination of your pelvic organs bimanually (with one hand in the vagina and one on the abdomen) and also through the rectum and vagina; assessment of the size and shape of your bony pelvis.
A Battery of Tests.
Some tests are routine for every pregnant woman; some are routine in some areas of the country or with some practitioners, and not others; some are performed only when circumstances warrant. The most common prenatal tests include:
Come prepared with a list of questions, problems, and symptoms you would like to talk about. This is also a good time to bring up any special concerns that weren't addressed at an earlier consultation.
What You May Look Like
By the end of the first month, your baby is a tiny, tadpole-like embryo, smaller than a grain of rice. In the next two weeks, the neural tube (which becomes the brain and spinal cord), heart digestive tract, sensory organs, an arm and leg buds will begin to form.
What You Might Be Feeling
You may experience all of these symptoms at one time or another, or only one or two.
"I'm tired all the time. I'm worried that I won't be able to continue working."
It would be surprising if you weren't tired. In some ways, your pregnant body is working harder even when you're resting than a nonpregnant body is when mountain-climbing; you just can't see its efforts. For one thing, it's manufacturing your baby's life-support system, the placenta, which won't be completed until the end of the first trimester. For another, it's adjusting to the many other physical and emotional demands of pregnancy, which are considerable. Once your body has adjusted and the placenta is complete (around the fourth month), you should have more energy. Until then, you may need to work fewer hours or take a few days off if you're really dragging. But if your pregnancy continues normally, there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn't stay at your job (assuming your doctor hasn't restricted your activity and/or the work isn't overly strenuous or hazardous; see page 72). Most pregnant women are happier and less anxious if they keep busy.
Since your fatigue is legitimate, don't fight it. Consider it a sensible signal from your body that you need more rest. That, of course, is more easily suggested than done. But it's worth a try.
If you're a first-time expectant mother, enjoy what will probably be your last chance for a long while to focus on taking care of yourself without feeling guilty. If you already have one or more children at home, you will have to divide your focus. But either way, this is not a time to strive for Super-Mom-to-Be status. Getting adequate rest is more important than keeping your house white-glove-test clean or serving dinners worthy of four-star ratings. Keep evenings free of unessential activities. Spend them off your feet when you can, reading, watching TV, or scouring baby-name books. If you have older children, read to them, play quiet games with them, or watch classic children's videos with them rather than traipsing off to the playground. (Fatigue may be more pronounced when there are older children at home, simply because there are so many more physical demands and so much less time to rest. On the other hand, it may be less noticed, since a mother of young children is usually accustomed to exhaustion and/or too busy to mind.)
And don't wait until nightfall to take it easy
Accept your mother-in-law's offer to vacuum and dust the house when she's visiting. Let your dad take the older kids to the zoo on Sunday. Enlist your husband for chores like laundry and marketing.
Get an Hour or Two More Sleep Each Night.
Skip the 11 o'clock news and turn in earlier; ask your husband to fix breakfast so you can turn out later.
Be Sure That Your Diet Isn't Deficient.
First-trimester fatigue is often aggravated by a deficiency in iron, protein, or just plain calories. Double-check to make certain you're filling all of your requirements (see the Best-Odds Diet, page 80). And no matter how tired you're feeling, don't be tempted to rev up your body with caffeine and candy bars, and cake. It won't be fooled for long, and after the temporary lift, your blood sugar will plummet, leaving you more fatigued than ever.
Check Your Environment.
Inadequate lighting, poor air quality ("sick building" syndrome), or excessive noise in your home or workplace can contribute to fatigue. Be alert to these problems and try to get them corrected.
Take a Hike.
Or a slow jog. Or a stroll to the grocery store. Or the time to do a pregnancy exercise routine. Paradoxically, fatigue can he heightened by too much rest and not enough activity. But don't overdo the exercise. Stop before that exercise high dissolves into a low, and be sure to follow the precautionary guidelines on page 195.
Though fatigue will probably ease up by month four, you can expect it to return in the last trimester -probably as nature's way of preparing you for the long sleepless nights once the baby has arrived.
When fatigue is severe, especially if it is accompanied by fainting, pallor, breathlessness, and/or palpitations, it's wise to report it to your practitioner...
Posted May 17, 2000
A friend gave me this book after I found out I was expecting my first child, and out of all the 'prenatal' books I found, this one was by far the best one. I really like the fact that it had very short and to the point questions and answers. I found myself refering to it almost on a daily basis. It even has those 'dumb questions' you are to embarrassed to ask anyone. This is a must have book for any expecting mother.
1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 18, 2006
This is the ALL TIME BEST baby book for expectant mothers. With my first pregnancy, I looked and looked for a book that could guide me and I just kind of stumbled across this one and it was like a 'GOD' send. Now that we are expecting again (after 6yrs), I knew that I must find another copy somewhere. This book is definitely one of the most comprehensive, when it comes to expectant mothers & fathers! I have recommended it to all of my friends!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 5, 2006
This is the greatest pregnancy book ever, I had about 8 books and this was the most comprehensive book of all of them. It covers just about everything, has great advice, and really helps with those little questions you are too embarassed to ask. I would buy it for anyone who is pregnant, oh, and make dad read it too, it will help him understand why you are the way you are when you are in a family way.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 3, 2004
This book was given to me in early 1999, and I found it to be so helpful. Between the years I don't know what happened to it, but now that i'm expecting my 2nd born in April 2005, I had to go out and buy this book. It's a newer edition than the one I had before and includes alot more. So bottom line if I just had to go out and find this book again it's obviously worth alot to me. Thanks So Much.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 9, 2004
AS AN EXPECTING NEW MOM I CALL THIS BOOK MY BABY BIBLE. IF I HAVE AN ACHE,PAIN OR GENERAL QUESTION I LOOK IT UP IN THE BOOK AND GET SOME GREAT ADVICE FOR MY GENERAL CONCERNS. THE BEST ADVICE I CAN GIVE IS TO ASK YOUR DOCTOR AS MANY QUESTIONS AS POSSIBLE. NOT EVERYTHING CAN BE EXPLAINED IN A BOOK BUT FOR QUICK GENERAL REFRENCE THIS BOOK COVERS IT ALL.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 27, 2003
I thought the book offered as much information as it could. I experierenced many symtoms that the book spoke of and was relieved to hear that they were pregnancy related and not anything more serious. Every pregnancy is different so this book, I guess, is not for everyone, but I was glad my doctor gave it to me as a gift. I recommend it to all my friends who are pregnant.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 8, 2003
As a first time mother to be I have lots of questions and concerns. I bought this book the day I found out I was pregnant and have read and reread it three times so far. It is informative and helpful in the best way that a book can be...after all experience is the best teacher...therefore I am using the book as a guide NOT a bible to my pregnancy and asking lots of question of my doctor, friends and family members...Good luck to all.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 23, 2002
I am a first time mother with absolutely no idea of what to expect from my pregnancy. After buying this book, I still don't know what to expect. There was no information about the various aches and pains that I was experiencing. It has absolutely no information to answer the questions I have about my pregnancy.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 11, 2002
Posted February 9, 2002
I found this to be a very informative and helpfull book, but the diet section is too extreme. It makes it sound like you will kill your baby if you eat one thing that they consider 'bad'. This is simply not true and for anyone who is newly pregnant and wondering what to eat, just use your common sense, eat what you know is healthy and don't stress yourself out over everything you eat...that will do more damage than the junk food ever could. Your instincts will kick in if you already know what is healthy. If not see a dietician for a more realistic plan.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 18, 2002
As a first time expectant mother I thought this would be a great choice and with some great info. It does contain some interesting and helpful tidbits, but it also scared the heck out of me. Since this is my first experience, I admit to being a little neurotic, so everything I feel is freaking me out. The book offered no reassurance. I was glad to read I'm not the only one who felt this way.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 24, 2001
I didn't buy this with my first pregnancy, just flipped through it at the book store. I am glad I bought it this time around because I can read it in full detail. Great book!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 28, 2001
I absolutely lived by this book throughout my pregnancy, it answers every question possible. I had no worries after reading this book, I still continue to keep it just in case I have another one.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 2, 2001
This book was an excellent help for me while I was pregnant. I got it right after I found out I was pregnant and it became the most used book in my house. It had the answer to about every question I had. It even answered obscure questions, like 'what is that shooting pain in my wrists that wakes me up at night.' This book will definitely save you from calling your doctor with symptoms that are not dangerous.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 15, 2001
The authors do provide a great deal of information on medical issues related to pregnancy but their book could use a reality check. So much of it seems to be written solely for the anything-but-modern woman. Perhaps some women do gain too much weight during pregnancy, but not everyone lives in fear of this -- and not everyone is in danger of putting on too much weight, whether they follow the authors' spartan diet or not. If calorie-counting sometimes leads to anorexia and the authors are advocating calorie-counting.... Also, the section on how to endure painful post-partum sex left me bewildered. Maybe that section was written for women with the kind of sex drive that doesn't listen to pain, but the book never made it clear -- and left me wondering if the target audience was the sort of woman who feels obligated to provide her husband with sex even if doing so results in 'severe pain.'Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 13, 2001
Posted July 16, 2001
I recommend this book to all my expecting friends! Every woman that is pregnant has some type of concern. This book is written with answers to a lot of questions that you wanted to ask but didn't have a chance at a once a month doctors appointment. It is also very easy to read. Buy the book you'll love it!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 17, 2001
I absolutely loved this book. My OB/GYN gave this book to me on my first visit and I have given copies to many friends. It had a lot of the answers to questions that came up. This left my doctor's office free to answer other paitents calls. Many many nights this book became my best friend. It was the last thing I saw at night and the first thing I saw in the morning. It even helped me figure out how to control my nausea and vomiting. Once you read it, you won't leave home without it. Trust me.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 23, 2001
I read my wife's copy of this book when we were expecting and it helped me a lot to understand what she might be feeling and going through. I was often able to answer her questions about pregnancy because I read faster than she did.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 23, 2001
If you want to be terrified your entire pregnancy, this is the book for you. There is way too much medical babble and not enough basic material for first time mothers. This book does not help you to maintain a positive outlook on your pregnancy and what is happening to your body. 'What To Expect In the First Year' is a great book for after you've had the baby, but please by-pass this book unless you are a medical professional or you want to spend your entire pregnancy depressed and afraid to even move!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.