FAQS ABOUT PREGNANCY – Your Health Is Your Wealth

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What is the perfect age for conception?

A woman’s most fertile time is between the ages of 19-32 years. Note that after age 30, chances of conception decrease and pregnancy complications like miscarriages and ectopic pregnancy increase.

When is the perfect time to conceive?

Every woman should have an idea of when they ovulate because ovulation is an important part of getting pregnant. During ovulation, a woman releases an egg, which travels down the fallopian tube to be potentially fertilized by a sperm. If fertilization occurs, pregnancy is the result. This usually occurs 12 -16 days prior to menstruation. Sperms are able to live 3-5 days in a woman’s reproductive tract so pregnancy is most likely to occur  2 to 3 days before ovulation. If you wait till you ovulate, you may be too late.

How do i know i am ovulating?

Ovulation symptoms include the following:

mid-month lower abdominal cramping

increase in sex drive

changes in cervical mucus (consistency of egg white)

increase in basal body temperature

breast tenderness

What is the best sex position to get me pregnant?

The best way to get pregnant is lying on your back with a couple of pillows underneath your lower back to elevate your pelvis. This increases the chance of a sperm reaching a fertile egg.

What is the earliest sign of pregnancy?

Although people usually regard a missed period as the first sign of pregnancy, the earliest sign is implantation bleeding. This results when the fertilized egg gets implanted in the uterus and releases a little blood. During this time you may also experience dizziness, nausea or tiredness.

Can i be pregnant and still have my period?

It is possible for  a pregnant woman to experience light, irregular bleedings during pregnancy. Although this occurs around the same time of menstruation, it is not like your normal period. It is usually light pinkish in color or dark brown in color and not enough to fill pads or tampons over a few days.

What are the causes of bleeding or spotting during early pregnancy?

It is normal for women to experience light bleeding or spotting during early pregnancy. This is the result of implantation bleeding or infection. It may also be due to more serious problems like ectopic pregnancy or a threatened miscarriage.  If this bleeding is accompanied by back pain, cramping or stabbing pains, seek medical attention immediately as it may be a sign a very serious problem like a threatened miscarriage.

Is cramping during pregnancy normal?

Cramping during early pregnancy is very normal. This could be due to the many changes going on in the uterus. It may also be a sign of a cyst – corpus luteum cysts develops on the ovary during ovulation. This cyst can cause discomfort but it is not harmful to you or your baby.

I have missed my period and my home pregnancy test is negative. Am i pregnant?

A negative pregnancy test could be the result of:

not being pregnant

early testing

insensitive  pregnancy test kit

test kit sitting too long after taking the test.

It is important to get tested in a doctor’s office to confirm results.

What causes morning sickness?

During the early stages of pregnancy there  is an elevation of the hormone estrogen. This slows down the emptying of the stomach and hence results in nausea.

How can i manage morning sickness?

Here a are a few tips to help you manage pregnancy morning sickness.

Eat a light snack (crackers, dry cereal etc) before getting out of bed to help with early morning sickness.

Get up slowly in the morning. Lots of movements can make nausea worse.

Eat 5 – 6 meals a day instead of eating three large meals.

Drink lots of fluids and stay well hydrated throughout the day.

Avoid foods that trigger nausea. These may include greasy or fried foods, spicy foods and gas-forming foods.

Stay away from food and smells that make your stomach queasy.

What can i do to manage heartburn?

Stay away from foods that cause heartburn – spicy foods, greasy or fatty foods, garlic and drinks that contain caffeine. Eat small meals. Do not bend or lie down right after a meal.

How can i prevent leg cramps?

Here  are a few tips to help prevent leg cramps during pregnancy

Avoid sitting in one position for a long time.

Exercise regularly.

Stay hydrated.

Stretch your legs before going to bed – straighten your leg heel first and then wiggle your toes.

If cramping does occur massage your legs and apply heat to relieve the cramp.

How can i prevent or manage my hemorrhoids?

You can prevent hemorrhoids by drinking lots of fluids, eating high fiber diets, avoiding long periods of sitting and standing and exercising regularly. If you already have hemorrhoids, you can relieve the pain by applying cold compresses, taking periodic sitz baths and using Over The Counter pregnancy safe creams. Ask your doctor which creams are safe to use during pregnancy.

I have severe backache. How can i manage it?

If you are experiencing backache during pregnancy, you should follow these tips to help manage the pain. They include:

Avoid standing for long periods of time or lifting heavy objects.

Do not strain your lower back muscles with high heels. Wear low heels with good arch support.

Sleep on firm mattresses.

Sit on chairs with good back support or place a small pillow at your back when sitting for good back support.

Use heating pads and cold packs instead of taking pain medications for back pain. Any medication taken during pregnancy must be OK’d by the doctor.

What foods should i eat while pregnant?

It is essential to eat foods that give both you and the baby essential vitamins and minerals for growth. Food like:

fruits

vegetables

whole grains (breads and cereal)

lean meat (chicken and turkey)

calcium rich foods (low-fat dairy products and brocoli)

Which foods should i avoid during pregnancy?

Here are examples food for to avoid while pregnant. They include:

Raw fish eg sushi

Fish with high mercury levels. Fish can damage a baby’s developing brain. Fish like telefish, sword fish and shark should be avoided completely. Snapper and tuna should be cut down to one serving a week. Fish like cod, salmon and snapper and shell-fish like shrimps, crabs and scallops can be served twice a week.

Deli meat

Uncooked or partially cooked egg

Unpasteurized milk

Alcohol

Caffeine

Can i clean my kitty’s litter box during pregnancy?

It is advised to stay away from the litter box because of an infection called toxoplasmosis which can be passed  from a soiled cat litter  to the pregnant woman and can cause very serious fetal problems like prematurity, severe eye and brain damage and poor growth.

Can i exercise during pregnancy?

Exercises like swimming, yoga and walking are recommended for all healthy pregnancy. It is advised that pregnant women avoid exercises that put a lots of pressure on their back or puts you at risk of abdominal trauma especially during the second and third trimester.

Is it safe to smoke during pregnancy?

If you smoke, your baby smokes too. Do not smoke during pregnancy as the nicotine and carbon monoxide is passed on from the mother to the baby causing pregnancy complications like still birth, SIDS, asthma and other respiratory problems, low birth weight and prematurity.

Can i dye my hair while pregnant?

Yes, in actual fact very little dye is absorbed through the skin when you dye your hair. This amount will pose no harm to the baby.

I am a neat freak. Can i clean my house with household chemicals during pregnancy?

It depends on the household chemical you are using. Chemicals with chlorine and ammonia may make you nauseated due to their smell but they are not toxic. However chemicals like oven cleaners, some paints, paint thinners, carpet cleaners, some air freshners and aerosols should be avoided because they can be toxic and can potentially be harmful to the baby.

My sister is having a wedding in California  an i live in Virginia. Can i fly on a plane when i am pregnant?

There are no restrictions on flying during pregnancy unless you have complications like preeclempsia, gestational diabetes, abnormalities with your placenta or you are at risk of premature delivery. Otherwise you can fly up to 4 weeks before your  due date. During the last month of your pregnancy, you are advised to stay close to home and to your doctor. That is usually the only reason why your doctor will not allow you to fly  around that time if you have a healthy pregnancy.

What is the recommended weight gain during pregnancy?

This depends on whether you are at a  normal weight, overweight or underweight prior to pregnancy.

These are the recommended weight gain for the various weight categories:

normal weight -   25 to 35 pounds

overweight        -  15 to 25 pounds

underweight     -  28 to 40 pounds

Pregnant women usually gain 2 to 4 pounds during the first three months of pregnancy and then 1 pound every week for the remainder of the pregnancy.

Can i have sex during pregnancy?

If you have a healthy pregnancy, you can actually have sex up until delivery. This may get uncomfortable as your belly gets bigger but you can modify your position to suit your comfort. In cases where you have complications like placenta previa, unexplained cramping, vaginal bleeding or discharge, leakage of amniotic fluids, history of miscarriage or preterm labor, multiple fetuses or incompetent cervix, your doctor may advice against sexual intercourse.

Can i take hot baths during pregnancy?

It is highly recommended to stay away from any activity that will raise your core temperature above 102 degree Fahrenheit or 38.9 degree celsius as this can lead to neural tube defect during the first trimester. Such activities include:

  • hot tubs and saunas
  • electric blankets
  • heating pads
  • overheating outside in hot weathers
  • hot, long baths and showers
  • getting a high fever

Can i get a vaccination during pregnancy?

Most of them are unsafe during pregnancy but a few are considered safe during certain stages of your pregnancy. A flu shot (those with inactivated virus) are safe for pregnant women and can be given at any time of the pregnancy. The Tdap vaccine against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis is recommended for all pregnant women during the second half of each pregnancy regardless of whether they have had it before or not. This is in response to the rise of whooping-cough in newborns which can be fatal. Other like meningitis, rabies and hepatitis B are safe during pregnancy but should be given only if it’s truly necessary.

Prenatals – Are they important?

It is important to eat healthy and take prenatals to make sure your baby is getting all the necessary vitamins and minerals needed for a proper growth. Do not use prenatals as a substitute to healthy eating. They go hand in hand and are usually very helpful for pregnant women who cannot keep food down. It is advised that you start taking prenatals as soon as you and your spouse consider having a baby.

Can i get an X-ray during pregnancy?

It is recommended that you wait till after the pregnancy if it’s not a medical emergency. However, in cases where it is necessary you may go ahead and get the X-ray done as diagnostic x-rays emit small amounts of radiations and may not cause any harm to the baby.

What is a birth plan for labor and delivery?

It is a sheet showing who you want present for the birth, pain relievers for labor and delivery (epidural, massage, breathing exercises, hypnobirthing etc), birth position desired, baby’s feeding and sleeping routine preference.

How do i know i am having a true of false labor?

Around 37 weeks and beyond, pregnant women may begin to experience signs of true or false labor.

Signs of true labor include the following:

  • Painful uterine contraction lasting 30 seconds or beyond and are 5 minutes apart.
  • Contractions that start to get closer and increase in intensity
  • Contractions that start in the back and move to the front
  • Contractions that disturb your activities
  • Contractions that increase in intensity when walking
  • Cervix dilation of at least 4cm and beyond.

Signs of false labor include:

  • Contractions at irregular intervals
  • Contractions that do not increase in length or intensity
  • Contractions that can be felt in the front
  • Contractions that feel better when you walk
  • Contractions that do not affect your activities
  • Contractions that cause no changes  in cervix after 1-2 hours observation.

Can i take picture during delivery?

This is usually allowed but ask permission from nurses and other healthcare providers when they are included in the pictures.

How can i prepare for breastfeeding as a first time mom?

Most hospitals will usually send a lactation specialist to teach and demonstrate how to breastfeed your baby and which positions are more effective and comfortable. Remember breastfeeding is very good for you and your baby so most hospitals make sure mothers are very comfortable with the process before leaving for home.

What should i know about postpartum depression?

It is normal to get depressed during and after pregnancy. If you have a family history postpartum depression or are experiencing symptoms like:

  • anxiety
  • mood swings
  • crying
  • sadness
  • sleeplessness
  • lack of interest in everything
  • hallucinations
  • suicidal thoughts

seek medical attention immediately.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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