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FAQ165, September 2019

What is prenatal genetic testing? Prenatal genetic testing gives parents-to-be information about whether their fetus has certain genetic disorders.

June 2017

FAQ025, June 2017

What is ultrasound? Ultrasound is energy in the form of sound waves. During an ultrasound exam, a transducer sends sound waves through the body. The sound waves come into contact with tissues, body fluids, and bones. The waves then bounce back, like echoes. The transducer receives these echoes, which are turned into images. The images can be viewed as pictures on a video screen.

November 2017

FAQ177, November 2017

What is gestational diabetes (GD)? Diabetes mellitus (also called “diabetes”) is a condition in which too much glucose (sugar) stays in the blood instead of being used for energy. Health problems can occur when blood sugar is too high. Some women develop diabetes for the first time during pregnancy. This condition is called gestational diabetes (GD). Women with GD need special care both during and after pregnancy.

FAQ176, July 2019

What is diabetes mellitus? Diabetes mellitus (also called “diabetes”) is caused by a problem with insulin. Insulin moves glucose out of the blood and into the body’s cells where it can be turned into energy (see the FAQ Diabetes and Women). Pregnancy health care professionals often call diabetes that is present before pregnancy pregestational diabetes mellitus. When the body does not make enough insulin or does not respond to it, glucose cannot get into cells and instead stays in the blood. As a result, the level of glucose in the blood increases. Over time, high blood glucose levels can dam...

September 2019

FAQ038, September 2019

Does bleeding during pregnancy always mean that there is a problem? Vaginal bleeding during pregnancy has many causes. Some are serious, whereas others are not. Bleeding can occur early or later in pregnancy. Bleeding in early pregnancy is common. In many cases, it does not signal a major problem. Bleeding later in pregnancy can be more serious. It is best to contact your obstetrician–gynecologist (ob-gyn) or other health care professional if you have any bleeding at any time during pregnancy.

April 2016

FAQ182, April 2016

Being overweight is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 25–29.9. Obesity is defined as having a BMI of 30 or greater. Within the general category of obesity, there are three levels that reflect the increasing health risks that go along with increasing BMI: • Lowest risk is a BMI of 30–34.9. • Medium risk is a BMI of 35.0–39.9. • Highest risk is a BMI of 40 or greater.

February 2018

FAQ001, February 2018

How can I plan healthy meals during pregnancy? The United States Department of Agriculture has made it easier to plan meals during pregnancy by creating This website helps everyone from dieters and children to pregnant women learn how to make healthy food choices at each mealtime.

FAQ055, June 2019

FAQ156, April 2018

How does pregnancy begin? Fertilization, the union of an egg and a sperm into a single cell, is the first step in a complex series of events that leads to pregnancy. Fertilization takes place in the fallopian tube. Over the next few days, the single cell divides into multiple cells. At the same time, the small cluster of dividing cells moves through the fallopian tube to the lining of the uterus. There it implants and starts to grow. From implantation until the end of the eighth week of pregnancy, it is called an embryo. From the ninth week of pregnancy until birth, it is called a fetus.

FAQ197, October 2018

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
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