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  Frequently Asked Questions for First-Time Moms

Each woman experiences pregnancy in her own individual way, but there are some changes that often occur in most pregnancies. We want you to feel your best while expecting! Here are some tips on how to prevent or overcome some of the most common, everyday complaints. We've also answered some of the most-asked questions about traveling while pregnant, when to stop working, and dealing with other everyday activities while pregnant. Of course, always feel free to ask your doctor or OB nurse at Women's Health Now if you have additional questions or need more information.


You and Your Baby

How soon will you be able to tell if my baby is a boy or a girl?

  • Around the 20th week of your pregnancy, we will perform an anatomy screening ultrasound that will usually determine whether your baby is male or female. We'll keep it a secret, though, unless you tell us you want to know!

How much weight can I expect to gain?

  • Every woman experiences pregnancy differently, but most women can expect to gain about 5 pounds in the first trimester of your pregnancy. Also, most women gain most of their weight, on average 24 to 32 pounds, in the second and third trimesters.

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Relief for Common Complaints

What can I do to prevent nausea or morning sickness?

  • Eat dry toast or crackers before rising
  • Eliminate greasy, spicy foods
  • East 5-6 small meals throughout the day
  • Take vitamins and iron after meals instead of on an empty stomach

What medication can I safely take to alleviate nausea?

  • Call us for a prescription for Reglan or Phenergan

How can I combat fatigue during my pregnancy?

  • Get plenty of rest. Take a break!
  • East a well-balanced diet
  • Don't overexert yourself
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What can I do about breast tenderness?

  • Wear a good supporting bra, such as a maternity or full-figure bra

How can I avoid heartburn?

  • Avoid greasy, spicy foods
  • Eat 5-6 small meals
  • Drink a glass of milk before eating
  • Eat slowly and avoid rushing your meals

What medication can I safely take for heartburn?

  • Maalox
  • Mylanta
  • Tums

How can I prevent edema or swelling of my legs and ankles?

  • Elevate legs when sitting
  • Avoid standing for long periods of time
  • Wear loose clothing, especially at wrists and ankles
  • Reduce intake of foods high in salt content, such as bacon, lunchmeat, and potato chips - but DO NOT ELIMINATE SALT COMPLETELY FROM YOUR DIET

How can I avoid constipation?

  • Increase the fiber in your diet by eating bran, fresh fruit, and vegetables
  • Increase intake of fluids
  • Exercise moderately

What medication can I safely take if I am constipated?

  • Milk of Magnesia
  • Metamucil
  • Colace

What medication can I safely take if I have diarrhea?

  • Immodium

How can I deal with hemorrhoids flaring up?

  • Avoid standing or sitting for long periods
  • Do not strain with bowel movements
  • Take a warm sitz bath
  • Use Tucks pads or Anusol

What can I do for a backache?

  • Avoid overexertion and fatigue
  • Practice good posture
  • Wear low-heeled shoes
  • Elevate legs up on pillows
  • Apply warm, moist heat
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How can I avoid leg cramps?

  • Increase intake of milk and milk products
  • Avoid sitting on legs or crossing legs

What can I do to avoid shortness of breath?

  • Sit up straight and breathe deeply
  • Prop your head up on pillows when lying down to rest or sleep

Sometimes I get dizzy. What should I do?

  • Stand up slowly
  • Eat a well-balanced diet. Do not skip meals!

What can I do about urinary frequency?

  • Drink fluids, but decrease intake in the evening
  • Always urinate when you feel the urgency. Do not hold it!

How can I avoid headaches?

  • Get plenty of rest, relaxation, and exercise
  • Do not skip meals

What medication can I safely take for a headache or a fever under 101 degrees?

  • Tylenol, regular or extra strength
  • Call your doctor if your fever is over 101 degrees

What medication can I safely take for a cold or allergies with nasal drainage and head congestion?

  • Saline Nasal Spray
  • Sudafed (If you have high blood pressure
    you should avoid this product)

I'm having trouble sleeping. What can help?

  • Take a warm shower before going to bed
  • Avoid late, heavy meals close to bedtime
  • Drink a glass of warm milk
  • Moderate exercise
  • Try sleeping on your side
  • Use extra pillows to support your back and abdomen

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Diet, Exercise, Sex, and Healthy Habits

What kind of diet should I follow for a healthy pregnancy?

  • Eating well-balanced meals with lots of vegetables and fruits, avoiding excess salt, and drinking plenty of water are essential to the health and well-being of both you and your baby.

Can I exercise throughout my pregnancy?

  • Ask your physician if moderate aerobic exercise, such as swimming, walking, and low-impact aerobics is safe for you during your pregnancy
  • Swimming is one of the best exercises for expectant moms

Can I continue to have sexual intercourse throughout my pregnancy?

  • Yes. You can continue having sexual intercourse without fear of hurting the baby through the ninth month as long as you are not experiencing pre-term labor. Check with your doctor if your pregnancy is considered high-risk or if you have other concerns.

Should I continue to smoke cigarettes while I'm pregnant?

  • No. Smoking increases the risk of low birth weight and has shown to cause health problems in infants.

Should I continue drinking alcoholic beverages while pregnant?

  • No. Consuming alcoholic beverages while pregnant may cause low birth weight, birth defects, and mental retardation in the fetus, known as fetal alcohol syndrome.

What about coffee and other drinks with caffeine?

  • Avoid or reduce your consumption of coffee, colas, and other foods and drinks high in caffeine

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Work and Travel

How late in my pregnancy can I travel?

  • We usually advise patients in their ninth month to avoid travel that is more than one or two hours away from home so they can be close to home and hospital in case labor begins.

How late in my pregnancy can I work before starting my maternity leave?

This depends on several factors, including your general health, your age, the type of work you do, the stress level at work, your experience with past pregnancies, if any, and of course, the overall status of your pregnancy. Your doctor will take all of these, and other, factors into consideration and will discuss them with you to help you make the best decision for you and your baby.

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Frequently Asked Questions for First-Time Dads

Expecting a child is also a life-changing experience for first-time dads, too. Here are some tips and information for men who want to better understand the physical and emotional changes that their wives are experiencing.

How can I be more supportive and understanding of what my wife is going through?

Get informed and prepared! Read the same books and articles she is reading about pregnancy and infant care. You'll know what to expect and you'll be able to help her cope with some of the common physical and emotional changes along the way. There are also some excellent books written just for expectant fathers¾check your favorite bookstore.

My wife has been having mood swings. Is that normal?

Yes. Many women experience emotional "ups and downs" brought about by the hormonal changes of pregnancy, as well as the fatigue that usually accompanies it. She may also have some fears about the baby's well-being and the changes her body is going through, especially if this is her first pregnancy. Be patient. Be a good listener. Encourage her to talk to her doctor if she has serious concerns.

My wife works a place where there are some environmental hazards. Can that harm her and the baby?

It's possible. Exposure to some toxic substances have been proven to harm a fetus or cause miscarriages, while others have not. Let her doctor know the type of substance, the degree of exposure, and how long she has been exposed.

Can my wife and I continue to have sexual intercourse throughout the pregnancy without hurting the baby?

Yes. You can continue having sexual intercourse without fear of hurting the baby through the ninth month as long as she is not experiencing pre-term labor. Check with your doctor if your wife's pregnancy is considered high-risk or if she has other concerns.

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