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Pregnancy is broken into three time periods, called trimesters. Most women feel differently, both physically and mentally, during each trimester. In addition to weight and body shape, other alterations in your body chemistry and function also take place during pregnancy. Your heart works harder, your temperature registers slightly higher, body secretions increase, joints and ligaments are more flexible and hormones are altered.

Mood changes also are common, resulting from a combination of hormonal changes and greater fatigue, as well as normal anxiety over body image, sexuality, finances, partner roles and impending parenthood.

For the vast majority of women, pregnancy follows a fairly routine course. Some women, however, have complications or challenges related to their health or the health of their baby. These women experience what is called a high-risk pregnancy.

Signs to Watch For

Although there are many symptoms that are a normal part of pregnancy, there are certain danger signs that may indicate problems. You should notify your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following:

  • Persistent vomiting
  • Chills or fever
  • Continuous pain
  • Burning with urination
  • Blurred vision
  • Continuous headache
  • Sudden swelling of the hands or face
  • Five or more uterine contractions per hour
  • Decreased fetal movements
  • Leaking of fluid from the vagina (blood or water). If you have vaginal bleeding at any time during your pregnancy, have someone call your doctor immediately.

Our Approach to Pregnancy

UCSF provides world-class care for women who are pregnant or considering becoming pregnant. Each pregnancy is unique. That's why collaboration with individuals is the core of our approach. We listen to your needs, provide information and support, and guide you through the process of having a child, from the early stages of family planning through pregnancy, delivery, postpartum recovery and beginning life as a new parent.

Our team of obstetricians, perinatologists (specialists in maternal-fetal care) and nurse-midwives has the expertise and compassion to care for all pregnancies and deliveries, from the routine to the highest risk. UCSF has a family-oriented, state-of-the-art birth center, where birthing suites are equipped with a spa-style bathtub, a dedicated family area and a media wall for education and entertainment. Should you or your baby need special care, we provide a seamless transition to renowned specialists and one of the nation's finest intensive care nurseries.

In addition to patient care in the clinic, we offer a variety of other resources, such as classes and support groups, to help you navigate pregnancy, childbirth and parenting.