The Three Stages of Pregnancy

A missed period may be the first sign that you're pregnant. You'll probably want to take a home pregnancy test and if that's positive, it's time to schedule an appointment with us.  A typical pregnancy lasts 40 weeks from the first day of your last menstrual period to the birth of the baby. Pregnancy is divided into three stages - the first trimester, the second trimester, and the third trimester.


pregnancy first trimester

In the first trimester (Week 1- Week 12) your body is undergoing hormonal changes that can cause:

Extreme fatigue, tender, swollen breasts, and nausea with or without throwing up

Cravings or aversion to certain foods and mood swings

Constipation or frequent urination

Headache or heartburn


By the end of the first trimester, your baby:

Is about 3 inches long, and weighs almost an ounce

All major organs have begun to form

Has facial features, a beating heart and can make a fist

Has external sex organs to show if your baby is a boy or girl




pregnancy stages 2ndIn the second trimester (Week 13 – Week 28) you may experience:

Aches and pains in the back, abdomen, groin, or thigh.

Stretch marks on your abdomen, breasts, thighs, or buttocks.

Patches of darker skin, usually over the cheeks, forehead, nose, or upper lip.

Itching on the abdomen, palms, and soles of the feet.

Swelling of the ankles, fingers, and face.

By the end of the second trimester, your baby:

Weighs about 1½ pounds and is 12 inches long.

Can hear and swallow and is more active, so you will feel movement or kicking.

Has footprints and fingerprints and hair begins to grow on the head.

Has a regular sleep cycle. Lungs have formed but do not work yet.

If your baby is a girl, her uterus is in place along with a lifetime supply of eggs in the ovaries.

If your baby is a boy, his testicles begin to descend into the scrotum.


In the third trimpregnancy stagesester (Week 29 – Week 40) you may experience:

Difficulty breathing and the need to urinate more frequently as the baby grows
and puts pressure on your internal organs.

Tender breasts, which may leak a watery pre-milk called colostrum.

Hemorrhoids and swelling of the ankles, fingers, and face.

Feeling the baby "dropping," or moving lower in your abdomen.

Shortness of breath, heartburn, and difficulty sleeping.

Contractions that can be a sign of real or false labor.  

 By the third trimester, your baby:

Is gaining about a half-pound a week and storing more body fat.

Has bones that are soft but fully formed and eyes that can open and close.

Has organs that are capable of functioning on their own.

Has less space to move around and movements may feel less forceful to you.

Weighs about 7 pounds and is 16 to 19 inches long just prior to birth.


Exercise During Pregnancy – What’s Right For You?

pregnancy exerciseThere are plenty of reasons to exercise during your pregnancy. Exercise can increase your energy, boost your mood, promote strength and endurance, help you sleep better and may improve your ability to handle labor.
Exercise can also help to ease common pregnancy problems like backaches, constipation, bloating, and swelling. And because exercising during pregnancy keeps you fit, it will make it easier for you to get back in shape after your baby is born.

So, you’re convinced that exercising during your pregnancy is a good idea, but what’s the right way to do it? That can depend on how much you exercised before your pregnancy. Remember to consult with your obstetrician before starting any exercise plan.

If you exercised before pregnancy it’s probably okay to continue, but avoid activities that require extensive jumping, hopping, skipping, or bouncing, or may cause abdominal trauma with jarring motions, contact sports or rapid changes in direction. And don’t do any high-intensity exercise followed by long periods of inactivity.

An easy way to exercise during pregnancy is to do more walking. It’s low-impact and you can set your own pace. Swimming is also good exercise during pregnancy. A rule of thumb for effective exercise is to do it at a pace that lets you experience deeper breathing and maybe even break a sweat. That’s not necessary to begin with and you can work your way up to it if you didn’t exercise before.

There are also ways to exercise that don’t require more stamina but will still help you. You can try prenatal yoga or do simple squat exercises. Both can strengthen and prepare your body for delivery.

Remember to stop exercising immediately and consult your doctor if you feel chest or abdominal pain, experience a headache, feel dizzy, notice an absence or decrease in fetal movement, or have any bleeding or discharge.


The ABCs of STDs

STD Tested sqSexually transmitted diseases are at all-time high in America. The most recent annual figures from the Centers for Disease Control show more than 1.5 million cases of chlamydia, 400,000 cases of gonorrhea and nearly 24,000 cases of the most infectious forms of syphilis.

These rising numbers may be the result of more unprotected sex because of less concern about HIV, or because of the popularity of online “hook-up” apps like Tinder.  But it’s not just young people who are at-risk, because rates of STDs are rising for all age groups, including those 65 and older.

We can stem this growing epidemic with education to recognize the signs of an STD, so that testing and treatment can begin sooner to stop the spread of infection. Some common symptoms of an STD can include vaginal itching or discharge; vaginal blisters or a rash in the genital area; burning or painful urination, or pain during intercourse.

An STD might have more subtle symptoms like pelvic pain, lower back pain, fever, nausea, a
sore throat after oral sex, or swelling of the joints. By not recognizing the first signs of an STD, these infections may go untreated, which can cause long-lasting or even irreversible effects.

There may be no symptoms in early stages of an STD, so it’s important to have periodic screenings to check for any signs of an infection, especially if you engage in sex without a condom or are sexually active with more than one partner.

Speaking of partners, both of you need to be screened for STDs in order to stop the spread of any infection. You may need to ask them to be tested, and this can be a difficult conversation for a partner who doesn’t want to deal with it.

It’s okay to admit to them that this is hard to talk about, but explain that if you care about each other, it's important to be tested. Ask them if they’d be willing to go with you to be tested together. If you’ve been tested for STDs, tell them about the results and explain that they should be tested too, so you can  take care of each other.

Being tested for STDs may seem frightening, but the sooner you know the better off you both are. Many STDs can be easily cured with medicine, and those that can’t be cured can be treated to reduce symptoms and lessen the risk of giving it to a partner.

You can make an appointment with us online or call our office at (734) 282-3600 to schedule a visit for STD testing. You can also contact your local health department to find out about STD testing in your area.


Birth Control – What Are My Options?

birth controlYour options for birth control are many. This can range from pills, patches, implants or IUDs to condoms, diaphragms and sponges, and more. Let’s look at the choices you have and what might be best for you.

Abstinence is the only 100% effective way to prevent pregnancy and protect against sexually transmitted infections.  If you’re sexually active, a birth control implant placed under the skin of your arm offers protection for up to three years and can be up to 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. It delivers a steady stream of hormones to keep the ovaries from releasing an egg and to keep the sperm from joining the egg.

An intrauterine device, or IUD, can be up to 99% effective when placed in your uterus to prevent fertilization and can work from three to ten years. The birth control shot that’s administered every three months to stop you from ovulating can be up to 94% effective in preventing pregnancy.

The birth control pill is most common hormonal contraceptive. It can be a combination of estrogen and progestin hormones, or a progestin-only “mini-pill.”  You can also use a monthly birth control patch that delivers hormones and eliminates the need to take a daily pill.

The birth control pill and the birth control patch can be up to 91% effective in preventing pregnancy. You can get similar effectiveness with a vaginal ring that uses hormones to stop ovulation and is changed once a month.
Barrier methods like a condom, contraceptive sponge, diaphragm, cervical cap or cervical shield physically block sperm from reaching the egg. These offer protection that does not interact with your body's reproductive system but needs to be used each time you have sex and effectiveness depends on proper use.

Permanent forms of birth control such as surgical sterilization can be up to 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. For women, a tubal ligation closes the fallopian tubes to prevent eggs from reaching the uterus. Men can undergo a vasectomy that cuts or blocks the tubes in the scrotum that deliver sperm.

You can prevent pregnancy without surgery, barriers or hormones with natural family planning. This method teaches you to track your menstrual cycle, check your cervical mucus, and take your body temperature daily to determine on which days you are most likely to be fertile and then avoid sex.

Remember that there is no best method of birth control for everyone, so talk with your doctor about all the choices. Even the most effective birth control methods can fail, but your chances of getting pregnant are lowest if you choose a method that’s effective and easy for you to use.


Five Reasons Why Breastfeeding Is Good For You (And Five Tips To Be Successful)

breastfeedingWe’ve all heard why breastfeeding is good for your baby but what’s in it for you, Mom? Here are five reasons why you should try breastfeeding:

1. It can help to shrink your belly
Breastfeeding helps your uterus return to its size before pregnancy.

2. It can help you shed that baby weight
Breastfeeding helps you burn up to 500 calories a day and that can make it easier to lose those pregnancy pounds.

3. It helps to protect your health now and later
Breastfeeding may reduce your risk of postpartum depression and breast and ovarian cancer.

4. It can help prevent an unexpected pregnancy
Breastfeeding can delay the return of your period. To be safe, you should still use some form of birth control while breastfeeding.

5. It saves money
You don’t have to buy formula, right?

And here are five tips to help you be successful at breastfeeding:

1. Room with your baby at the hospital
This will help you and your child learn how to feed on demand as soon as possible.

2. Get an expert opinion on technique
When you’re in the hospital, have a nurse or lactation consultant check how your infant latches on. You may not have the right position if it hurts enough to make you grimace with every feeding.

3. Plan to breastfeed a lot
This could be eight to 12 times per day. Always feed on demand and looks for signs of hunger, like when your baby puts his hand in his mouth, or if she looks increasingly alert.

4. Stay hydrated
This ensures that your body can make enough milk.  Drink water throughout the day and sip from a glass of water when nursing.

5. Find a quiet place
Start by nursing in a calm setting to help your milk let down. After time, you’ll find that your milk will flow just by unhooking your bra or hearing a baby cry.


Northline Women's Health Center Locations:

15675 Northline Road

Southgate, MI 48195

(734) 282-3600
(734) 282-3603 - Fax

23050 West Road, Suite 210

Brownstown Twp., MI 48183

(734) 362-7000
(734) 362-7077 - Fax