Most patients will wait up to four weeks before they ask their doctor questions regarding their pregnancy. Worse than waiting, they could get unreliable information from their friends, neighbors or the internet. Here are the top ten most frequently asked pregnancy questions with advice from the physicians of Temecula Valley OB/GYN.
1) How much weight gain is normal during pregnancy? A healthy weight gain during pregnancy is 25 to 35 pounds. Add five pounds if you are underweight and subtract ten pounds if you are overweight. Twin pregnancies can gain 10 pounds more. More weight gain is expected (3-4 lbs/month) after the first 12 weeks.
2) How much exercise can I do during pregnancy? A minimum of 30 minutes of aerobic activity, 3 times per week, is advised during pregnancy. There is no limit on the amount of exercise but there are some guidelines.
3) Can I dye my hair during pregnancy?Hair dyes are most likely safe after the first trimester of your pregnancy because very little gets absorbed through the skin.
4) Can I drink caffeinated beverages like coffee or soda? Multiple studies have shown there is no increased risk of miscarriage or growth restriction during pregnancy when less than 300mg (15 ounces of coffee) is consumed daily. It is generally considered safe to consume less than 1-2 cups of a caffeinated beverage per day.
5) Can I fly in an airplane? Up until 36 weeks, you may fly in a commercial airplane for any length of time. It is important to get up and walk around if possible during the flight to avoid blood clots in the legs. IF YOU HAVE HAD ANY COMPLICATIONS DURING YOUR PREGNANCY, CHECK WITH YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE LEAVING THE AREA.
6) Can I eat fish? Avoid eating long-lived, large fishes such as shark, swordfish, tilefish and mackerel. Albacore tuna should be limited to six ounces per week. (There are high levels of mercury found in some fish which can cause neurological impairment in the fetus).
Please see FDA article, “What You Need to Know About Mercury in Fish and Shellfish” for additional recommendations regarding consumption of fish and shellfish during your pregnancy. Additional information is also available under “Environmental Influences” in your handbook.
7) Can I take care of my cat? If you have a strictly indoor cat, it is safe to change the litter box, otherwise have someone else do it. (Toxoplasmosis can be acquired by coming in contact with cat feces infected with the parasite Toxoplasma gondii. Strictly indoor cats are unlikely to be infected).
8) What can I take if I have a cold? For congestion, try saline nasal spray (Ocean, Sea Mist) according to the package instructions. For cough, try Robitussin DM. If you have allergies, Benadryl (25mg every 6 hours), Zyrtec, Zyritex and Claritin may help. These remedies have been generally accepted as safe during pregnancy. IF YOU HAVE A HIGH FEVER, SHORTNESS OF BREATH OR OTHER SIGNS OF SEVERE INFECTION, CONTACT YOUR DOCTOR.
9) What can I take for a headache? Headaches are common during the first half of pregnancy. First try regular strength acetaminophen (Tylenol) according to packaging. If not relieved, try a caffeinated beverage (coffee or cola). These remedies have been generally accepted as safe during pregnancy. IF STILL NOT RELIEVED WITHIN ONE HOUR, CONTACT YOUR DOCTOR.
DO NOT TAKE NSAIDS (IBUPROFEN, MOTRIN®, ADVIL®, ALEVE OR ASPIRIN).
10) What do I do if I am nauseated? First try some dietary changes. Eat six small meals a day instead of three large ones. Eat crackers, cereals or other dry foods, especially before you get out of bed in the morning. Drink small, frequent amounts of liquids (room-temperature sodas work well). If not relieved, over-the-counter vitamin B6 (25 mg three times per day) and Unisom (12.5 mg at bedtime) are considered safe. IF CONTINUED VOMITING, HIGH FEVER OR SEVERE ABDOMINAL PAIN OCCURS, CONTACT YOUR DOCTOR.