What to expect when you’re expecting

When you’re pregnant, your baby’s health is your first concern. Dr. Hessel specializes in prenatal care for normal and high-risk pregnancies. She also performs on-site ultrasounds. And when it’s time for your baby to enter the world, Dr Hessel and her team will keep you comfortable by handling your labor, delivery, recovery and postpartum care. Thanks to that more personalized approach, you can rest assured you’ll receive the best possible care from Dr. Hessel and her team.

Every woman experiences pregnancy differently. Some glow with good health and others feel absolutely miserable. Here are some of the changes you might experience during your first trimester:

Bleeding. About one in four pregnant women experience slight bleeding during their first trimester. Light spotting may be a sign that the fertilized embryo has implanted in the uterus. If you have any bleeding, talk to Dr. Hessel.

Breast tenderness. Sore breasts are a common early sign of pregnancy. Triggered by hormonal changes, this condition will likely last through the first trimester.

Constipation. Constipation and gas can make you feel bloated throughout your pregnancy. Increase your fiber intake and drink extra fluids to keep things moving smoothly. Physical activity also helps.

Discharge. A thin, milky white discharge called leucorrhea may occur early in your pregnancy. Do not use tampons because they can introduce germs into the vagina. A foul-smelling, green or yellow discharge should be reported to Dr. Hessel. Wear cotton next to your skin as much as possible.

Exercise. Having a daily regimen is encouraged. However, any activity that may lead to falling (e.g. rollerblading, outdoor cycling, water sports, etc.) should  be avoided during your pregnancy. Also avoid the sauna, steam room and hot tub.

Fatigue. Your body is working hard for a growing fetus, which can wear you out. Take naps or rest as needed throughout the day. Make sure you’re getting enough iron to avoid anemia, which causes fatigue.

Food cravings/aversions. Your food tastes can change while you’re pregnant. Over 60% of pregnant women experience food cravings or food aversions. If you are generally eating healthy, it’s okay to give in to an occasional craving. Cravings for non-foods like clay, dirt and laundry starch – a condition known as pica – can be dangerous. Report this kind of craving to your doctor immediately.

Foods to avoid. You should not eat sushi or any other raw fish. Tuna, shark, mackerel and tile fish contain high levels of mercury (a known cause of birth defects) and should be avoided. If you eat deli meat or unpasteurized cheese like brie or feta, you will need to bring it home and cook it. It can contain harmful bacteria. You should also avoid caffeine.

Frequent urination. Your growing uterus is putting pressure on your bladder. You may feel like you constantly have to urinate. Your body needs fluids, but it’s a good idea to cut down on caffeine, which stimulates the bladder. When the urge hits, go right to the bathroom.

Heartburn. Your body is producing more progesterone, which relaxes the ring of muscle in your lower esophagus. This normally keeps food and acids in your stomach. Muscle relaxation can lead to acid reflux or heartburn. Eat frequent, small meals throughout the day. Avoid greasy, spicy and acidic foods (like oranges or lemons). Try raising your pillows when you sleep.

Mood swings. If you are feeling overwhelmed, talk to Dr. Hessel – she can refer you to a mental healthcare professional.

Morning sickness. Nausea is one of the most common and talked about pregnancy symptoms. It affects up to 85% of pregnant women. It can last through the entire first trimester. Nausea is usually worst in the morning. Try eating crackers, meat or cheese and sipping water, clear fruit juice or ginger ale. Severe nausea can affect the amount of nutrition getting to your baby, so call Dr. Hessel if you can’t keep food down.

No tobacco or alcohol.

Weight gain. This is one of the few times in your life when weight gain is considered a good thing, but don’t overdo it. During the first trimester, you should gain about 3 to 6 pounds. Dr. Hessel may recommend that you adjust your weight gain up or down based on whether you started your pregnancy underweight or overweight. Don’t “eat for two.” You only need about an extra 150 calories a day during your first trimester. Get those calories by adding extra fruits and vegetables, milk and lean meat to your diet.