Your expanding waistline
After weeks of not looking pregnant, you may suddenly find your waist is expanding and your clothes are becoming uncomfortable! Some women begin to "show" around 15 weeks, while others have no visible tummy until 20 weeks or more. By choosing loose-fitting tops and pants with elastic waists, many women find they can put off buying maternity clothing until they are about halfway through pregnancy. This can help limit the need for multi-season maternity clothes!
You may also notice that you are starting to gain a few pounds, especially if you find food more appealing now than you did during the first trimester. Expect to add about 1/2 to 1 pound each week during this stage as compared to the average of 3 to 4 pounds gained during the first trimester. This pattern should continue throughout the rest of your pregnancy.
More than one?
Is your tummy growing faster than expected? Are you much hungrier than normal? Do you have a feeling that there's a little something extra going on? You might be having twins! Multiple pregnancies are more common today than ever before, and are especially likely in women who are over the age of 35 or those who have used infertility treatments or medications. While your maternal intuition and larger than expected tummy might be clues, your health care provider will want to listen for a second heartbeat. An ultrasound examination is the ultimate diagnostic test for multiple pregnancy.
Potential dental problems during pregnancy
Good dental care is important for everyone, and especially during pregnancy. Changes in estrogen and progesterone levels that occur with pregnancy can affect how a mother's body responds to the bacteria responsible for causing oral infections. In addition, frequent meals and snacks can leave more plaque deposits on your teeth, which can lead to cavities. Dental care is especially important for pregnant women who already have periodontal (gum) disease. There is evidence that periodontal disease in pregnancy may increase the risk of preterm birth. The American Dental Association recommends that all pregnant women brush their teeth thoroughly with fluoride toothpaste at least twice daily, floss at least once a day, and schedule regular dental visits and professional teeth cleanings. Be sure to tell your dentist you are pregnant and avoid X-rays until after the baby is born.
Your unborn baby's developing teeth are important, too. Tooth development begins between the third and sixth months, so it's essential to get the proper nutrients in your diet. Poor maternal nutrition can lead to hypoplasia, a condition in which a baby's teeth have too little enamel. If the enamel does not develop properly in the unborn baby during pregnancy, there is a higher risk for tooth decay when the baby's teeth begin to erupt after birth. By eating a healthy diet and getting regular dental care, you and your baby can have beautiful smiles.
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