1. My husband and I are scheduled to fly for three hours to visit his family. I will be 17 weeks along, and I’m scared to death that something may happen, like turbulence on the plane, or that I’ll just feel lousy the whole time. The visit will be only for a weekend, but even at home, I am uncomfortable and have trouble sleeping.
    Thanks!

    • If your pregnancy is normal and your practitioner hasn’t told you otherwise, flying at 17 weeks should be perfectly fine. Doctors and midwives discourage air travel after 36 weeks, but this is only because of the risk that a woman could go into labor during her trip.

      Your letter sounds as though you may dislike flying or possibly don’t want to take this trip. Only you can decide what you’ll be comfortable doing. Discuss your feelings with your husband, and if you decide to go, be sure that he will give you the support you need. Plan to take a lot of deep breaths during the flight, allow plenty of time for rest once you arrive, and relax as much as you are able. If talking with your husband doesn’t relieve your anxiety, perhaps it is best to postpone the visit until after the baby is born.

  2. Hi Tori. I’m an extremely anxious first time mom. I’ve never had any losses, but family and friends have. The thought of a missed miscarriage is always on my mind. I’ve had no bleeding and the only pain has been ibs, pelvic girdle pain, or abdominal stretching. All of it has been relatively minor. I also have fibromyalgia so I’m sure I feel pain more quickly from these. It’s just between appointments I stress so much. I have seen/heard a healthy heartbeat at 6, 8, and 11 weeks. Each time everything looked fine and at 8 weeks when I had the ultrasound baby was measuring 3 days ahead. I’ll be 14 weeks tomorrow. I have to wait until next week for my next appointment. Is there any medical advice that might calm my fears? I’m struggling to get through the week.

    • Breann,

      I am so so sorry that you are feeling so anxious. I know how hard it can be with information overload, situations with loved ones and wanting only a healthy baby. If there is any way I can reassure you, I certainly will! Please try not to be so anxious. There is really no reason to. We have become so afraid that we are not enjoying the wonder of being pregnant! Medically speaking everything you are experience seems completely normal. I encourage you to not read the Internet for information. There is so much poor and inaccurate information “out there”. The reason I wrote my book, The Joy of Pregnancy is exactly to help with the feelings you are having. If you read just what is happening where you are in your pregnancy, it can help you to not feel overwhelmed.

      It sounds as though your baby is completely healthy and everything is going well. I don’t want you to miss a moment of it!

  3. I am 30 weeks pregnant, and I’ve noticed little pimples that erupted just outside my vagina and that are starting to itch. I have had genital herpes before (although I haven’t had an outbreak for a couple of years), and I believe it may be back. Should I be concerned, should I take anything, or should I just wait for the eruption to go away? I know this could be a problem if I were about to go into labor, but that isn’t the case. What are the concerns at this point in my pregnancy?

    • Any time you experience some new or unusual physical condition, whether you are pregnant or not, it is important to have a doctor or another medical practitioner check it out. Your symptoms may indicate genital herpes or another condition that should be treated. Let your practitioner know that you have had genital herpes outbreaks before. Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the herpes simplex virus. Between 20 and 25 percent of pregnant women have genital herpes. Women who have outbreaks in the third trimester or at birth risk transmitting the virus to their babies, for whom the infection could be life threatening. A cesarean is the only way these women can safely deliver their babies. If you have a genital herpes lesion, it will not cause any problem as long as it heals within the next couple of weeks. Your doctor or midwife should discuss treatment options with you. Some antiviral drugs are considered safe to use in pregnancy, and new information about such drugs is becoming available all the time.

  4. HI Tori –

    I am currently 34 1/2 weeks pregnant with my first child and I have been experiencing sharp adominal pains that lead to my vaginal area. They happen frequently and when I walk or try to move they become sharper. What could this be?

    • Leah – It sounds as though you are experiencing round ligament pain. Unfortunately, this is a normal part of pregnancy and can be very uncomfortable.

      The round ligament supports the uterus and stretches during pregnancy. It connects the front portion of the uterus to the groin. These ligaments contract and relax like muscles, but much more slowly. Any movement (including going from a sitting position to standing position quickly, laughing, or coughing) that stretches these ligaments, by making the ligaments contract quickly, can cause you to experience pain but it should only last for a few seconds.

      Rest really is one of the best ways to help with this kind of pain. Changing positions slowly allows the ligaments to stretch more gradually and can help alleviate any pain. If you are having consistent round ligament pain your health care provider may recommend daily stretching exercises. The most common exercise is placing your hands and knees on the floor, lowering your head to the floor, and keeping your bottom in the air.

      It is important to talk to your health care provider about this. I hope it passes quickly for you!

  5. Tori,

    I have a low-lying placenta and I am at 31 wks and it is 1.9 cm away from the cervical os. Is there hope for the placenta to move up about 0.6 cm for the doctor to deliver vaginally? I was told that it probably won’t move up much more, but everything I have read says that the uterus grows up rapidly in the last month to help the placenta to move up too.

    I am hopeful and don’t want to schedule a c-section just yet. I asked for another ultrasound at 38 wks and my doctor said that we should do it at 36 weeks because the head will be engaged and in the way by then. He said that an internal ultrasound is a more accurate way to get the measurements.

    I just wanted a natural birth and feel I am being pushed into a scheduled c-section too soon. I have 7 + weeks for the placenta to rise at least 1/4″. Help!

    Thanks! — Natalie

    • Hi Natalie — Thanks for your question and I feel your frustration!

      You are correct in that the uterus is always growing so when an early ultrasound shows a placenta that is either a complete or partial previa, it is quite possible that as the uterus grows it is no longer covering the cervix.

      At 31 weeks, it sounds as though it has moved but your doctor is concerned that you could have bleeding if there is an edge of the placenta still too near the cervical os. It is impossible to know when your baby’s head will engage but I do agree that an internal ultrasound will be more accurate.

      I completely understand your desire for a vaginal birth. I believe that your doctor is pushing for an ultrasound at 36 weeks because you could go into labor before 38 weeks and he wants to have a clear understanding of what your plan of care should be.

      I wish you the best and please let me know about your birth!

  6. Good morning Tori.
    I am 40 weeks and 3 days pregnant. My ultra sound has confirmed that my baby is Footling breech. Today I just lost my mucus plug. Do I need to call my doctor right away? I’m not sure what to do since my little one is breech.

    • Hi — Yes, you should call your doctor. A baby that is a footling breech needs to be born by cesarean section. If your water bag were to break there is risk of the baby’s umbilical cord passing through your birth canal before the baby creating a life threatening situation for the baby.

      Please let me know what your doctor says!

      Warmly,

      Tori

  7. I have recently heard some frightening stories about miscarriages occurring in the fourth or fifth month. I thought my miscarriage worries were over after 12 weeks! I’ve read that sometimes the initial symptoms are very subtle, just a slight pressure and a slightly heavier discharge. Well… how slight? I’m in my seventeenth week, and my abdomen sometimes feels heavy. I find myself wanting to hold it up. Is this just a normal symptom of pregnancy?

    • The thought of miscarriage is always frightening, and a little information can cause much needless worry. Very often, a brief description of a pregnancy complication in a book or on the Internet turns out to be more upsetting than useful. Although second-trimester losses do occur, they are unusual, and they are very often related to an already known problem with the pregnancy.

      One possible cause of late miscarriage is preterm labor. The symptoms of preterm labor can be subtle, since the cervix can dilate, or open, and efface, or thin, with or without painful uterine contractions. But usually, these cervical changes are accompanied by frequent, rhythmic uterine contractions that feel like menstrual cramps or are more painful. Any such contractions before your 37th week of pregnancy should be reported to your practitioner. Feeling pressure from your growing uterus is quite normal.

      After about 30 weeks, so are mild contractions, called Braxton-Hicks. You may also feel your uterine (round) ligaments stretching, or you may notice some fetal movement that seems different, or “tight.” These normal feelings are sometimes mistaken for labor contractions. Try not to worry about every new sensation during pregnancy. If you are concerned, talk with your doctor or midwife. He or she is a far better source of information and reassurance than your next-door neighbor or the woman in front of you in the grocery line.

  8. How will I know when the baby “drops”? Will labor start right away afterward?

    • The common term for this event, lightening, doesn’t quite convey what actually happens: The baby’s head descends into the pelvis. Because of decreased pressure on the diaphragm and stomach, you will indeed feel “lightened” when your baby drops, and your breathing and digestion will become easier. You’ll probably also feel the need to urinate more often, however, and you may feel pressure or aches and pains in your pelvic joints and perineum. You’ll notice a change in the shape of your abdomen; the bulge will have shifted down and forward. If this is your first baby, lightening may occur about two weeks before labor starts. In women who have given birth before, the baby often doesn’t drop until labor begins.

  9. Dear Tori-

    Last Spring I was diagnosed with borderline under- active thyroid. I’ve been taking Synthroid ever since. It’s fine now but I have several questions. Will this condition make it more difficult for me to get pregnant? When I do become pregnant, should I worry about having a miscarriage? Also, I don’t seem to notice much cervical mucous at all. Does that mean I may not be ovulating?

    Thanks very much for your help.

    • Joanna-
      An underactive thyroid condition, that is not known, can be one of the factors which may make it more difficult to become pregnant. The fact that your condition is known and is now normal and well controlled with Synthroid means that this should no longer be a factor. There is no special reason to be concerned about having miscarriage based on your history alone. Synthroid should keep your thyroid levels within a normal range.

      In relation to your cervical mucous, sometimes you may notice more or less discharge at the same time of the month. There is not always a clear reason why this happens. An over – the – counter ovulation kit can help pinpoint the day of ovulation more clearly.

  10. Although I tried to lose weight before conceiving, I started pregnancy nearly 40 pounds overweight. My doctor has told me that I do not need to gain any weight and that I should just try not to lose any. He has given me suggestions about sensible eating, and I am committed to following them. Besides eating well, I am walking a great deal. I know that much of the weight gained in pregnancy goes to the placenta, baby, extra blood flow, and fluid. How, then, is it possible for overweight women not to gain?

    • It is wonderful that you have a sensible approach to weight and nutrition and that you are doing everything possible to keep yourself and your baby healthy.

      Obesity in pregnancy is associated with a higher incidence of hypertension (high blood pressure), preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and macrosomic babies (heavier than 91⁄2 pounds). Poor eating habits can cause obese women to gain even more weight in pregnancy. But overweight women who eat sensibly often discover that they gain very little during pregnancy. With proper diet and exercise, the body redistributes some of the weight. Some of the existing fat stores are used for the baby, the placenta, and breast tissue. This can happen without extreme dieting. It’s important, in fact, not to strictly limit calories during pregnancy nd while you are breastfeeding.

      If you need help in managing your weight, ask your doctor about visiting with a dietitian or nutritionist. He or she can help you develop a healthy approach to eating and nutritious meal plans.

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Ask Tori RN®, by registered nurse and resident author of The Joy of Pregnancy, is a helpful and reassuring resource for parents-to-be.

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About Tori Kropp

Tori Kropp

Known as "the Dear Abby of pregnancy," Tori has been interviewed on national television and radio and in national print publications, including CNN, The Wall Street Journal, New York Post, Washington Times, Atlanta Journal Constitution and Chicago Sun-Times.

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