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Growth & Development

There are so many exciting changes that you will get to experience while you're pregnant: you'll hear your baby's heartbeat, feel her kick and move, and other not so exciting changes – things that many women experience during pregnancy but don't always like talking about. However, all of these changes are worth the effort! Remember that all pregnant women will have different experiences during pregnancy. Some women really enjoy the changes that accompany pregnancy while others dislike the changes. However you feel, taking care of yourself will go a long way to having a healthy, happy pregnancy.

Some of the changes you might experience include skin changes such as stretch marks (they do eventually fade to a barely visible shiny line), the mask of pregnancy (dark spots usually found on the forehead and cheeks), or linea nigra (the dark brown vertical line that appears on some women's stomachs during pregnancy). You might also experience nightly cramps in your calf muscles due to your weight gain and swelling or darkened nipples because of hormonal changes. All of these changes are normal and many will disappear in the months after giving birth.

If you have any questions or concerns about any changes you are experiencing, speak to your health care provider or midwife. Your health care provider has heard everything at least once, so don't be embarrassed, ashamed or afraid to ask her a question.

To ensure you are getting all the nutrients you need during your pregnancy, make sure you eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein and dairy products. Speak to your health care provider about taking prenatal multi-vitamins or other supplements like folic acid.

Pregnant women should exercise every day. In fact, many experts say that active pregnant women are more prepared for birthing – so continue to walk the dog or go to your gym. As your body changes you may need to adjust your regular exercise routine to ensure your health and safety. Speak to your health care provider to make sure your exercise routine is okay to continue with during your pregnancy.