1. What can I do to prevent/relieve “morning sickness?
- Eat a piece of bread or a few crackers before getting out of bed or when you feel nauseated.
- Get out of bed slowly. Avoid sudden movements.
- Eat small frequent meals during the day. Separate your liquid and solid intake, having small sips of fluid all day long and not overfilling your stomach with large quantities of liquids with meals.
- Avoid greasy,fried, heavily seasoned or spicy foods. Listen to your body. If some type of food doesn’t sit well, avoid it.
- Take deep breaths or take a walk when you begin to feel nauseated.
- Try one of our “OTC remedies” for nausea and vomiting of pregnancy.
*Call the office if you are unable to keep liquids down for more than 24 hours, as you may need prescription medication or intravenous fluid.*
Have hope! Many people start to feel significantly better by the 10th week and morning sickness is generally gone by 12-14 weeks as your body adjusts to the hormonal changes.
2. Can I exercise in pregnancy?
Women should exercise in pregnancy. It improves fitness and keeps your heart healthy. It also eases many of the physical discomforts of pregnancy, helps you to control weight gain, and helps you to feel better about your body changes in pregnancy. We will instruct you not to exercise if you have any conditions in the pregnancy that worsen with exercise. Avoid exercising on your back after 20 weeks and avoid prolonged periods of motionless standing. Stop exercising if you become excessively fatigued. You should be able to carry on a conversation while exercising. Avoid exercises which could result in loss of balance or even mild trauma to your abdomen. Avoid getting over-heated and stay well hydrated. Do not use the hot tub or sauna. Walking, Swimming, Gym equipment like Elliptical Machines and Cycling on a stationary bike are safe for most pregnant women.
3. How can I tell if I have a cold or flu and what can I take in pregnancy?
Cold symptoms: mild cough, sore throat, sneezing, runny nose, mild tiredness, mild aches, rarely fever or headache.
Flu symptoms: high fever, severe headache, severe muscle aches, prolonged tiredness (2 weeks), occasionally you may have a cough, sore throat, sneezing, and a runny nose.
For treatment of a cold, refer to our OTC medication list.
- For treatment of the flu, there are two prescriptions available, Tamiflu and Relenza, both are category C for pregnancy. The Centers for Disease Control categorizes pregnant women as “high-risk” and recommends they get the inactivated influenza vaccine.
4. Can I paint during my pregnancy?
There are no known birth defects associated with latex paint fumes. However, since the fumes may make you nauseated or dizzy, make sure the room is well ventilated. Avoid climbing on ladders to prevent falls.
5. Can I drink caffeinated or artificially sweetened beverages?
Yes, these are generally felt to be safe in moderation-i.e. 1-2 servings per day. Water is felt to be the best hydration and milk provides hydration and much needed Calcium and Vitamin D.
6. Can I travel or fly in an airplane?
We recommend you not travel more than an hour away from the hospital after 36 weeks. You may fly in an airplane or travel by car up to that time.
Prior to your trip, find the nearest hospital to your destination and ask us for a copy of your prenatal records. Stay hydrated and stretch your legs frequently to avoid blood clots. Always wear your seat belt correctly. The shoulder harness should be worn and the lap belt should be placed over your thighs, under your belly.
7. Can I color or high-light my hair during pregnancy?
It is best to avoid all chemicals in pregnancy, however there are no known birth defects associated with hair dyes. If you must color your hair, avoid doing it in the first trimester and high-lights may be preferable to all-over color.
8. Are there certain foods I should avoid in pregnancy?
- Do not eat unpasturized/soft cheeses such as feta, brie, camembert, and blue cheese.
- Do not drink unpasteurized milk or foods that contain it.
- Do not eat pate’ or meat spreads.
- Do not eat refrigerated smoked (raw) seafood unless it is an ingredient in a cooked dish.
- Due to concern for Mercury content, avoid certain seafood: tilefish, king mackerel, shark, swordfish, tuna steaks, and fish caught in local waters. You may eat 12 ounces per week of restaurant type seafood such as salmon or light canned tuna. Avoid sushi.
For more information see: www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/ and www.fda.gov
9. What can I do to avoid constipation?
- Drink up to 64 oz. of water daily.
- Increase your physical activity.
- Eat a diet rich in fiber (whole wheat grains, dark green leafy vegetables, apples, and pears.) Or you can take a fiber supplement (Konsyl, Metamucil, Citrucel, Benefiber…).
- Take a stool softener (Colace, Senekot…) Avoid laxatives as your bowels may become dependent on them to move.
10. What should I do if I am exposed to hand-foot-mouth disease?
Hand-foot-mouth disease is common in children under age 10. It is caused by the coxsackie virus. It begins with fatigue, loss of appetite, sore throat, and fever of 101- 103°. This is followed by blisters on the tops of the hands and feet and in the mouth one to two days later. The blisters last 7-10 days. There is no treatment for this disease. While easily transmitted to others, it is not thought to harm a baby in-utero. Frequent hand-washing is recommended. Wear gloves while changing diapers.
11. What should I do if I am exposed to chicken-pox in pregnancy?
Chickenpox is caused by the varicella virus. Most women have had chickenpox during childhood and therefore are protected from acquiring the disease as an adult. If you are unsure whether you’ve ever had chickenpox, call the office, and we can determine your status through blood work. If you do not have antibodies in your blood, you can be given medicine within 96 hours of your exposure (VZIG) to prevent you from acquiring this infection. It may also decrease the risk to your baby. Chickenpox is infectious 2 days prior to the development of the rash and for 5 days afterward (or when the rash has scabbed over). Your child may receive the chickenpox vaccine while you are pregnant. There have been no reported cases of infected mothers from vaccinated children. Shingles during pregnancy (reactivation of the varicella virus) is not believed to cause birth defects.
12. What should I do if I am exposed to “Fifth Disease”?
Fifth Disease (Erythema Infectiosum) is caused by parvo-virus B-19. It causes a “slapped cheek” rash, fever, headache, sorethroat, and joint pain in children. Adults usually only have a mild flu-like illness. 20% have no symptoms at all.
50% of adults have antibodies against parvo-virus. This can be determined by blood work. Most fetuses are not infected even when their mother contracts the virus in pregnancy. However, because on occasion, it can cause fetal anemia, heart failure, and death, the baby will undergo serial ultrasounds. There is no drug to treat Fifth Disease.
If there is an outbreak in your workplace or in your child’s school or daycare, contact our office and we will check your blood for antibodies.
13. How do I prevent toxoplasmosis?
You do not need to get rid of your indoor cat, just avoid changing the litterbox/tactile exposure to the feces during your pregnancy. Please let us know if your cat is diagnosed with toxoplasmosis, as you may require antibiotic treatment as well. Also avoid eating raw or rare meat.
Wash your hands thoroughly after handling raw meat. Use separate cutting boards for meat. Wash or peel fruits and vegetables. Wear gloves when gardening.
14. Will I be able to work my entire pregnancy?
Most patients are able to work their entire pregnancy. We can only “disable” you if you have a significant complication of the pregnancy that makes working a danger to you or your baby. Discomforts due to pregnancy are not a disabling condition.
Most physicians will recommend 6 weeks off work after a vaginal delivery and 8 weeks off work after a cesarean section for recovery.
Contact your Human Resources Department or manager at the beginning of your pregnancy. We are happy to complete FMLA or Disability Forms for yourself and/or your significant other. Please bring the form(s) to your regular scheduled appointment and give them to the receptionist. The receptionist will give you a paper to complete and attach to your form. You will need to make a payment of $10.00 for each form to be completed at that time. Please allow 10 business days for completion.
15. Can I continue to have sex during pregnancy?
Yes. We will specifically tell you if intercourse is prohibited. We may place you on “pelvic rest” if you have complications of pregnancy such as pre-term labor or bleeding. Sex will not injure your baby. Because the prostaglandins in semen may cause you to contract, if you are pre-term (less than 37 weeks), you can use condoms or or have your partner withdraw before ejaculation.
16. What is “round ligament” pain?
Beginning in the early second trimester (14 weeks or so) you may notice severe pains on the sides of your abdomen. This “knife-like” pain occurs especially with movement – rolling over in bed, going up stairs. If you stop the activity that started it, it will subside quite quickly. It will not harm your baby. Think of the uterus as a hot air balloon. Like a hot air balloon tethered to the ground, the uterus is tethered to the pelvis. As the uterus gets bigger, it pulls on those ligaments causing the pain known as “round ligament pain”. It generally becomes less frequent in the third trimester.
17. Can I have Dental work during pregnancy?
Absolutely. Routine dental cleanings and exams during pregnancy are encouraged as periodontal disease may be linked to risk of preterm birth. X-rays can be done with shielding of the abdomen with a lead apron. Dental problems ( fillings, abscesses, crowns etc.) can be treated during pregnancy using local anesthetics (numbing medicine). Antibiotics can be used as needed and for pain Tylenol or Narcotic pain medications as per the dentist’s recommendation are considered safe.
18. Where can I find more information on pregnancy?
There are many excellent books on pregnancy available at the library or book store. Check edition dates to find the newest resources.
Attend a birthing class. There are several excellent classes in our area.