Signs of a Healthy Pregnancy
This is where we’ll keep records of everything about how an ideal pregnancy might look like. To start with, we need a healthy woman. By healthy, it means no chronic and/or adverse health conditions during pregnancy. That is the most essential and sure-shot sign of a healthy pregnancy.
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Next is a balanced, nutritious diet, followed with regular exercise. These will keep the blood pressure and sugar levels normal, which are the two prime indicators of a pregnancy going the right way. Testing them once every trimester is safe practice. Blood pressure may read a little higher in pregnant women, so don’t be alarmed on a 5 points difference. Preeclampsia and premature labor doesn’t occur unless it’s a great deal of an intense spike. It must not be on the lower side, though.
The uterus must be kept healthy to retain the baby for its due time and the placenta for carrying the oxygen and nutrients to and transferring wastes from the developing fetus. Else, it’s a miscarriage almost every time. That brings another two criteria for healthy pregnancy: Progesterone and estrogen. The levels of these two hormones depict the health of the uterus and the placenta.
Progesterone sets up the endometrium (the mucous membrane that lines the uterus) for a successful implantation, hence stopping menstruation and keeping the uterus stretched throughout pregnancy. Progesterone increases by 1 ng/ml to 3ng/ml every 48 hours, sometimes going as high as 400ng/ml from a mere 20ng/ml before conception. Ideal progesterone levels during pregnancy are as follows:
- First trimester: 9-47 nanograms per milliliter of blood
- Second trimester: 17-146ng/ml
- Third trimester: 49-300 ng/ml
Estrogens are a group of three hormones. Estrogens build tissue and help the uterus grow, from 60 grams (approx.) to 1,200 grams by later pregnancy. It is produced in the ovaries (later, also by the placenta); maintains the uterine lining for the baby to nest safely, helps maintain a healthy blood circulation and switches on or off other key hormones as required. Estrogen levels rise during a healthy pregnancy and range between 200 and 300 picograms/ml of blood.
A barometer of fertility and health for a reproductive woman - particularly when she’s pregnant - is something women loathe. But leucorrhea – or, more commonly, vaginal discharge – is the body’s own way of flushing out microbes and pathogens to protect the fetus. An increase is normal during pregnancies; the elevated levels of estrogen and blood flow staying responsible. In late pregnancies, it occurs with a little bit of blood, heralding labor within the next 24 hours.
Being a little attentive to the hints given by the body helps figuring out if a pregnancy is turning out healthy, without undergoing expensive, complex tests. Let your doctor monitor the levels of the hormones while the rest can be done within the comfort of your own home.
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