Many pregnant women have a lot of questions for their obstetrician-gynecologists, especially if it's the first time they're expecting a child. A significant change is happening in a woman's body during this special period in her life, so it's no wonder so many of us have so many questions. Women want to know what's safe for their future baby, and themselves. They strive to understand in what ways their lives can continue as normal, and what aspects need to be changed for the time being.
Of course, many of the questions pregnant women ask are similar. They're concerned with what foods are safe to eat, which procedures to undergo, and what the basic no-nos are. To make sure that her own and her future baby's health are under no risk, every woman has to know the answers to all these questions. For example, she needs to know that it's better to stay away from eating sushi, always use sunblock, take necessary vitamins, sleep on the side, and avoid taking painkillers or sleeping pills. All these things are vital to remember for the healthy development of a baby.
So let us answer some of the most common pregnancy-related inquiries with the help of professional obstetricians and gynecologists, AKA OB-GYNs!
25 I'm Going To My First Check-Up. What Should I Expect?
When a pregnant woman comes to a check-up for the first time, she can expect to have a lengthy appointment. It's likely to include a medical history review, a blood and urine test, pap smear, and a general health check to make sure that the woman has no problems with her overall health.
The specialist will also want to discuss the woman's lifestyle and dietary habits and inform her of the changes she has to implement to ensure proper growth of the baby.
24 Can I Continue To Workout?
Of course, it is vital for a pregnant woman to stay active and fit. Exercising helps a woman relieve some of her discomforts and helps her get energized.
It's advised to choose specific kinds of physical exercises, depending on the trimester and the woman's health condition. Usually, it's safe to do yoga, Pilates, tai chi, aqua aerobics, and dancing (unless the doctor advises otherwise). Contact sports and activities with shaking or jumping movements aren't recommended.
Also, remember that it's unsafe to take a new kind of sports during pregnancy. Therefore, it's better to continue with the exercises that a mom-to-be is used to doing.
23 Do I Have To Take Any Vitamins?
Even though some women think that it's enough to eat a lot of fresh fruits and veggies during pregnancy, specialists recommend taking supplements as well. Pregnancy isn't easy on the body. Just think about it: there's a brand new organism growing inside the body, and this organism needs a lot of vitamins and minerals for healthy growth.
Therefore, to ensure that the baby gets enough of everything it needs, a woman should at least take additional calcium, folic acid, and iron. Of course, the exact kind of supplements to take has to be discussed with an OB-GYN, because different women might require different formulations.
22 What Should I Do If I Have A Headache?
It's common for pregnant women to have headaches. Most often, they don't signify any issues and happen due to hormonal changes. But whatever the reason for their occurrence, no woman likes to tolerate the pain.
Specialists don't recommend taking painkillers during pregnancy (especially aspirin, and especially in the first trimester). Therefore, it's better to relieve headaches using natural remedies, such as by massage. A woman should also eat well and watch her posture to prevent the pain.
If a headache is unbearable, the doctor might allow taking paracetamol. It's safer for pregnant women.
21 How Can I Prevent Or Relieve Heartburn?
Heartburn is also common for pregnant women. It happens because the uterus is growing and the production of progesterone is increasing, which results in more relaxed stomach muscles and more acid in the esophagus.
Certain tricks can be used to prevent or relieve this unpleasant condition, and most work by reducing the acid flow. A woman can eat smaller and more frequent meals, drink ginger root tea once in a while, take short walks after meals, wear loose clothes, and keep her chest and head elevated while sleeping.
20 How Can I Relieve Constipation?
About half of pregnant women frequently suffer from constipation. Like other issues, it can also be caused by hormonal changes in the body. Some of these changes make food go through the digestive systems more slowly, and it results in this bathroom discomfort.
To prevent this unpleasant problem, the woman should drink plenty of water and fruit juices every day, eat high-fiber foods (such as cereals, fruits, and veggies), and exercise regularly. It's better not to drink soda, tea, or coffee, because they contribute to dehydration.
19 How Should I Eat During Pregnancy?
Most people know that a pregnant woman's diet needs to be healthy. However, some women think that since a new human being is growing inside of them, they need to eat for two people, but it's better to eat in moderation.
In other words, pregnancy is certainly not the time for dieting, but it's also not the time to eat whatever a woman wants in whatever quantities. Weight gain is unavoidable during this period, but it mustn't be extreme. So better put down the third bar of chocolate!
18 What Foods Should I Avoid?
There are plenty of foods a pregnant woman should avoid. This includes any raw or undercooked meats and seafood because they contain harmful bacteria. These bacterias won't do anything bad for other people but can be dangerous for a pregnant woman and her future baby.
It's also better to avoid eating sushi that contains raw fish and opt for vegetarian options of this dish (in case a woman can't live nine months without it), as well as chocolate mousse, homemade ice-cream, mayonnaise, and other products that have uncooked eggs in them. Remember that eggs are okay during pregnancy, but only if they're well-cooked.
17 Is Honey Safe For Me And The Baby?
Honey is unsafe for babies aged under 1 year because it contains the bacteria that can cause food poisoning at this early age.
But during pregnancy, the future mother can eat honey (if it's pasteurized) without creating any risk for her unborn baby. In fact, it can even be useful for pregnant women, because it boosts the immune system and provides temporary relief in cases of insomnia. So don't be afraid of eating it once in a while. Just remember that moderation is the key.
16 Will I Give My Baby An Allergy If I Eat Peanut Butter?
Some pregnant women avoid eating peanut butter because they don't want to cause an allergy in their future baby. However, this risk exists only if the future mother or father has any food allergies, eczema, hay fever, or asthma. If neither of the parents has these conditions, peanut butter, most likely, won't harm the child.
In the meantime, this issue still hasn't been examined thoroughly. So if you don't mind living without peanut butter for nine months, don't eat it, just to be on the safe side.
15 Can I Take Sleeping Pills If I Struggle To Sleep?
Most specialists don't recommend that women take sleeping pills at all while they're expecting a child because they can cause serious harm to the developing baby.
For this reason, it's better to do everything to prevent insomnia. Avoid drinking caffeine four to six hours before bedtime. If you like tea, better replace it with chai (it's black tea with spices, milk, and sugar) or just drink warm milk with honey instead. Take a warm (not hot!) bath with candles before going to bed and keep your bedroom quiet, dark, and cool. It's very likely that insomnia won't bother you anymore with these tricks.
14 Can I Swim In A Chlorine Pool?
Large amounts of chlorine can be extremely dangerous for a pregnant woman and her unborn baby, but it doesn't mean that pregnant women cannot swim in a swimming pool during this period. In fact, swimming and aqua-aerobics can be very useful activities for pregnant women, because they help relieve the tension on the back and other joints.
For this reason, pregnant women aren't forbidden from swimming, but it's better to take caution and avoid swimming in a pool when chlorine has just been added to it.
13 Can I Change My Cat's Litter Box?
If you have anyone else who can change the litter box for you, better ask them to do it. What creates the concern with cat feces is the infection they can transmit. It's called toxoplasmosis. Those who had this infection become immune to it throughout the lifetime, but the problem is that few people actually know that they had it. And if a woman gets toxoplasmosis during pregnancy, it can cause serious birth defects in a baby.
But don't be too scared of it. You don't have to give your cat away the minute you get pregnant. It's unlikely that indoor cats have toxoplasmosis. But avoid dealing with your pet's feces to be on the safe side.
12 Is It Safe To Garden?
If you like working in the garden, you can continue doing it during pregnancy. But, like any other activity, you need to be careful and avoid overdoing it.
Important safety measures to keep in mind include wearing gloves and, perhaps, a mask, to avoid different kinds of infections that can be transmitted through the soil and plants. For example, neighborhood cats could have had a stroll in your yard and left their feces in the soil, and you know why it's risky from the previous entry. So remember about safety and work in the garden as much as you like.
11 I Love Sitting By The Fire. Can I Keep Doing It?
Sitting by the fire doesn't cause any harm to a pregnant woman. Besides, it can even be good, because looking at the flames has a soothing and stress-relieving effect on any person.
But, again, don't overdo with it. If there's too much smoke around, it's better to sit a bit farther to avoid inhaling it. It's also better to keep away from overheating during pregnancy. Therefore, just like most other things, sitting by the fire is good for expecting women, if it's done moderately.
10 Do I Need To Avoid Any Cosmetics?
No one can blame a pregnant woman from wanting to look beautiful, so it's impossible to force her to avoid all beauty products. However, it's better to choose and use them wisely.
Some cosmetic products (including makeup, shampoo, etc) contain potentially harmful ingredients such as parabens, artificial fragrances, exfoliants, and accutane, so it's highly recommended to avoid the items that contain them. Doing facials is good, but only if it doesn't contain any chemical peels or aromatherapy oils.
Opt for natural, organic beauty products that don't have particular smells, and everything will be fine.
9 Is It Unsafe To Sleep On My Back?
Yes, sleeping on the back can be unsafe in the second or third trimester, because the uterus and the baby are growing and their increasing weight can press the main vein that carries blood from the woman's lower body area to her heart. If this vein remains pressed for a prolonged period of time, blood circulation to the fetus can become hampered, and it may prevent proper development of the baby.
It's better for pregnant women to sleep on the side. Specialists also recommend putting "a thin pillow under your right side and tilt your body to the left" to decrease the compression of blood vessels.
8 Will I Have Stretch Marks After Giving Birth?
Most women have stretch marks after they give birth. It happens because the body grows during pregnancy and the suddenly turns back to normal after the baby is born. However, it doesn't mean that stretch marks are unavoidable.
If a woman drinks plenty of water during pregnancy, keeps her skin hydrated, and uses moisturizers every day, she can prevent this unpleasant issue. It's also recommended to use massage oils with vitamins A and E, because they help increase circulation and tissue repair, and take supplements that help support good skin conditions.
7 Is It Safe To Be Intimate With My Husband During Pregnancy?
It's an important question because most women don't want their intimate life to stop while they're pregnant. And, in fact, they don't have to stop it at all.
Despite common assumptions that intimate relations during pregnancy can cause miscarriage or hurt the baby in some way, specialists say that, in most cases, it's perfectly safe to do it right until the last weeks of pregnancy. There are very few (and particular) instances where a doctor may advise a woman from engaging in intimate contact with her partner until the pregnancy is over.
6 Can I Wear High Heels?
In the early stages of pregnancy, it's perfectly fine to wear high heels, if the woman is used to wearing them every day. After all, pregnant women have a right to be beautiful and stylish, just like all other women!
However, in the later stages of pregnancy, it's better to wear flats, just because heels can become too hard on the back. Besides, in the third trimester, most women feel slightly off balance and wearing heels might increase the risk of falling. And who wants to fall at the latest stages of pregnancy?
5 Can I Use Sunscreen?
It's not only okay to use sunscreen during pregnancy, but it's also highly recommended to do it. Since pregnancy can make women overly sensitive to the sun, it's better to use a high factor sunblock every day, especially in summer.
Besides, expecting women should be careful with taking sunbaths. First of all, the excessive exposure to UV rays can harm the future baby, even if sunblock is on. And secondly, no one feels good after overheating. Nothing wrong with enjoying the shade!
4 Can I Travel?
In most cases, traveling is safe throughout most of the pregnancy. It's not recommended to fly anywhere only during the last four weeks. However, women should always to consult with their doctor before planning a trip, because, in some cases, it's better not to travel even in the earlier stages.
If an expecting woman plans to travel, she needs to follow a couple of recommendations. First of all, it's better to avoid sitting for prolonged periods. Just get up every now and then, and have a walk along the aisle. Secondly, it's important to remain hydrated and wear support stockings for longer travels.
3 Is Acupuncture Safe For Me And The Child?
Acupuncture is not only safe, it's also very good for a pregnant woman and her unborn baby. It can help relieve a lot of health problems, such as headaches, nausea, and vomiting. Besides, it can reduce stress and increase energy levels.
To make sure that acupuncture will only have a positive effect, it's important to be careful while choosing a specialist. This person needs to be a professional because one can't just stick needles in someone's body and hope that everything to be fine. One needs to know exactly where to stick them.
2 Can I Visit A Dentist During Pregnancy?
Of course, expecting women can visit their dentists, especially since one of the side effects of pregnancy is tooth decay and bleeding gums. It's important to keep your teeth healthy and maintain daily oral care. Otherwise, it can negatively affect your own and your baby's health.
However, not all procedures at a dentist's office are safe during pregnancy. For example, it's better to wait with filling procedures and teeth whitening until after birth, and X-rays should only be done if absolutely necessary.
1 Can I Carry My Toddler While Being Pregnant?
In cases where there are no pregnancy complications, it's fine to carry your toddler around. However, it's always better to ask someone else to help you with it, especially if you don't feel comfortable.
If it's absolutely necessary to lift a toddler, a woman should bend her knees while doing it and keep her back straight. It's also recommended to hold the child on the hip, below the bump. The most important thing is to not overexert yourself and know when to ask for someone else's help.