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What You Should Know About Pregnancy

Few events are more life-altering than becoming a mom. Understanding your changing body and preparing yourself for childbirth are important parts of the pregnancy experience.

We want you to feel comfortable and confident while your belly grows. Learn what's normal in each stage of pregnancy and educate yourself to make healthy choices to nourish those ten tiny fingers and ten tiny toes.

What You May Experience

  • Nosebleeds and nasal congestion are common due to hormonal changes.
  • A couple pounds of weight loss early in pregnancy is experienced by many women. You should try to gain 1/2 - 1 pound per week.
  • Itching of your abdominal skin as it begins to stretch is common. Use lotion to help keep your skin soft.
  • Constipation is very common. Be sure to increase your fluids (drink four to six glasses of water per day), eat lots of fruits, vegetables, nuts and other fiber-rich food.
  • Common cold and flu illnesses during pregnancy should be treated with rest, good nutrition and increased fluids. Avoid over-the-counter cold medications that contain alcohol or aspirin. Consult your practitioner if you're not sleeping well or coughing up green/yellow sputum. Call if you have a fever or symptoms lasting longer than a week.
  • Heartburn affects many pregnant women. Avoid spicy, fried or greasy foods and don't lie down after a meal.
  • Having sex during pregnancy is safe if you don't have any complications, like bleeding or a low placenta.
  • Work exercise into your schedule. It's time to stop if you experience any pain, dizziness, increased heartbeat (over 120 beats/minute), cramps or breathlessness.
  • Avoid heavy lifting.

First Trimester

  • 0-3 months
  • Initial appointment/exam - usually before your 12th week of pregnancy
  • Monthly visits - usually scheduled until your 28th to 30th week

You May Experience

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Vaginal spotting.  If spotting occurs with cramps, call your physician (or the physician on call after clinic hours).
  • Headaches


  • Regular strength Tylenol is approved for your use unless your physician says otherwise.
  • Get all medications approved by your physician before using them.

Make Healthy Choices

  • Don't smoke.
  • Don't drink alcohol.
  • Don't use illegal or street drugs.

Register for Your Prenatal Classes

  • See the list of classes available.
  • Call Altru's Education Department, 701.780.5185, to register.

Second Trimester

  • 4 - 6 months
  • Monthly visits - usually scheduled until your 28th week

You May Experience

  • Pulling in the groin or lower abdominal pain caused by ligaments stretching
  • Lightheaded with fast movements
  • Fetal movement starts to be felt by the mother at about 20 weeks gestation

Prenatal Screening Tests

  • Amniocentesis or other fetal screening tests are usually scheduled during this time
  • Screening ultrasounds are scheduled between 19-20 weeks gestation

Take Care of Yourself

  • Make healthy food choices
  • Drink plenty of fluids: at least four glasses of milk per day plus six to ten glasses of water, juice and other liquids
  • Keep your prenatal appointments
  • Get enough rest
  • Exercise regularly

Watch for Warning Signs

  • Excessive vomiting
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Severe headaches
  • Abdominal pain
  • "Gush" of clear fluid from your vagina
  • Swelling of face, hands, feet or ankles

Third Trimester

  • 7-9 months
  • Every other week visits - usually scheduled from 30th to 36th week
  • Weekly visits - usually scheduled from the 36th week until you deliver

Prenatal Testing

  • Blood sugar testing for gestational diabetes between 26th and 30th week
  • Group B Strep vaginal culture at 35th to 36th week

You May Experience

  • Increased pelvic pressure as you get closer to your due date
  • Braxton Hicks or false labor pains
  • Spotting after a vaginal exam
  • Leaking milky fluid from the breasts
  • Your baby should move regularly.  Call your doctor if you don't feel your baby moving.

Signs of Labor

  • Contractions lasting 40-50 seconds (or more) every five to ten minutes
  • Rupture of membranes which could "gush" or trickle
  • Bleeding like a period.  Call your physician.

Discuss Infant Feeding

  • Breast or formula

Medical Services

  • What You Should Know About Pregnancy