Common Prenatal Questions

During your pregnancy, you may have many questions that you want to ask us. Our advice is to write down your questions and bring them with you to each visit. We will be sure to answer your questions at each appointment.

Also, we have compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions we receive regarding pregnancy. By clicking on the link below, you will find answers to these questions. We recommend you print out these pages and save them for future reference.

1.  What Can I Take for a Headache?

Tylenol (regular or extra strength) is safe to take for a headache, fever, or any general discomfort. Do not take aspirin, ibuprofen or related medications

2.  What Can I Take for a Cold?

Sudafed or Actifed is safe to take for a decongestant. Robitussin is safe to take for a cough. Tylenol is safe to take for fever, aches, and pains. Sore throat lozenges are safe to take for a sore throat. Imodium is safe to take for diarrhea.

3.  What Do I Do if I Have Been Exposed to Chicken Pox?

There is no danger to your baby if you have had the chicken pox. If you are not sure, a blood test can be done to determine if you are immune. If you are not immune, please call your physician.

4.  What Do I Do if I Have Been Exposed to Fifth’s Disease?

It is likely that you have had the disease as a child and are therefore immune. If you are not sure, a blood test can be done to determine if you are immune. It is not likely that you will contract the disease with casual contact. Good hand washing and hygiene are important to prevent infection. Please call your physician if you have been exposed.

5.  Can I Fly in an Airplane and Travel?

You should not fly after your 32nd week of pregnancy. Remember to drink plenty of water and to walk about the cabin every 30 minutes.

6.  Can I Sleep on My Back?

You may sleep on your back until you are 20 weeks pregnant as long as you are comfortable. After that time, if your uterus compresses your major blood vessels, you may become nauseated or dizzy. Placing a pillow under one hip should prevent these symptoms.

7.  What Can I Do if I am Constipated?

Increase oral fluids, dietary fiber (fresh fruits and vegetables), and exercise (walking). You may try Citrucel, Metamucil or Fibercon. Coffee and herbal teas can also have a laxative effect and alleviate constipation. In an emergency, Ducolax suppositories or Fleet’s enema may be used.

8.  Is it Normal to Have Aches and Pains in the Pelvis?

Early in pregnancy, it is normal to feel cramping as the uterus grows and discomfort as the ligaments stretch. During the second trimester, it is normal to feel pains in the pelvis as the uterus grows, your skin stretches and the baby moves around. During the third trimester, it is common to have a backache and sciatica. Sciatica causes shooting pains down the back of the leg and buttocks. Toward the end of the third trimester, ligaments in the hips and pelvis loosen, causing discomfort. The baby may kick nerves on the inside of the uterus causing shooting pains toward your upper abdomen or vagina. Areas of numbness may also occur on your abdomen.

9.  When Can I Expect to Feel the Baby Move?

You can expect to feel the baby move at 20 – 22 weeks of pregnancy. You may not feel regular movements until 28 weeks of pregnancy.

10.  Is it Normal to Have Vaginal Spotting or Bleeding After my Vaginal Exam (during the later part of the third trimester) or After Intercourse?

Yes. It is common to have spotting or bleeding in these situations as a result of cervical softening. The cervix must soften before dilation can occur.

11.  I Have Asthma and/or Allergies.  Can I Continue My Regular Medications?

Yes. You need to be healthy for the baby to be healthy. Use of inhalers such as Ventolin, Asmacort, Proventil, or Flonase will help to keep the breathing passages open. If you are on an antihistamine such as Claritin, Zyrtec or Allegra, you may continue using it.

12.  What Does it Mean When an Physician Says I’m 20 Weeks Pregnant?

Obstetricians have standardized timing a pregnancy to 40 weeks so that it is easier to communicate and determine due dates as well as testing. The first day of your last menstrual period is used to calculate your due date. Twenty weeks is exactly half way through your pregnancy or about 4 1/2 months along.

13.  Is it Safe for My Dentist to Take x-Rays?

You should continue to care for your teeth in the normal manner. If x-rays are necessary, your dentist will shield the baby. Filling cavities or taking antibiotics for dental procedures is safe and desirable, as pregnancy can increase dental disease. Local anesthetics (like novocaine) are safe. Your dentist should not use nitrous oxide (laughing gas) while you are pregnant.

14.  My Feet are Swollen.  Is this Normal?

Mild swelling of the ankles and legs is related to the normal increase in body fluids. To ease the discomfort, elevate your legs or lie down when you can, wear comfortable shoes, and avoid elastic-top socks or stockings. Drinking at least eight to ten 8 oz. glasses of water a day will help you to avoid excess water retention. Support hose may also help to ease the discomfort.

15.  Is it Safe to Color, Highlight or Perm my Hair?  What About Artificial Nails?

There is no information that any of these procedures will hurt your baby, but we suggest waiting until after the first trimester (about 13 weeks) is complete.

16.  Will it Hurt the Baby is I Don’t Take Prenatal Vitamins?

Taking prenatal vitamins during the first trimester may decrease the incidence of neural tube defects such as spina bifida. There is no data showing prenatal vitamins are essential after the first trimester.

17.  Are Hot Baths, Hot Tubs and Saunas Safe for Me and My Baby?

Studies show that hot saunas during the first trimester may cause miscarriage. There is no evidence that hot baths or hot tubs cause fetal harm if the temperature is under 100 degrees.

18.  Is an Electric Blanket Safe to Use While Pregnant?

Yes.

19.  Can I Take Antibiotics for a Sinus Infection While Pregnant?

Yes. The antibiotics you should never take during pregnancy are Tetracycline, Doxycycline, Cipro or any of its derivatives.

20.  Will Higher Elevations and Altitudes be Harmful to the Baby?

No.

21.  Is it Safe to Have Sex During Pregnancy?

There is no evidence that intercourse causes miscarriage or premature labor. You may be sexually active until your water breaks unless your physician instructs you otherwise. Lubricants such as Astroglide or KY Jelly are not harmful.

22.  Will Stress Hurt the Baby?

No.

23.  Is Pressure in My Lower Pelvis Normal?

Yes.

24.  It Feels as if My Heart is Racing.  Is this Normal?

Yes. It is common to have palpitations. Avoid caffeine and Sudafed if this happens. If these symptoms persist, notify your physician.

25.  What Medication Can I use if I Have a Yeast Infection?

It is safe to use any over-the-counter medications designed for treating a yeast infection.

26.  What Can I Use to Relieve the Discomfort of Hemorrhoids?

Anusol HC Cream, Preparation H or Tucks medicated pads are safe to relieve hemorrhoid discomfort. Soaking in a warm bath or using a sitz bath can also be helpful.

27.  If I Don’t Drink Milk, How Much Calcium Should I Take?

The recommended daily allowance during pregnancy is 1500 mg daily. TUMS is one of the easiest sources of calcium to take.

28.  I Have Varicose Veins.  Is There Anything I Can Do to Alleviate the Discomfort and Prevent Them From Getting Worse?

Avoid long periods of standing or sitting. When sitting, elevate your legs above the level of your hips. Try wearing support panty hose throughout the day. Exercise, such as walking 20 – 30 minutes daily, is also helpful. If you are experiencing uncomfortable vulvar varicosities, wearing bicycle shorts may help.

29.  Can I Go to a Tanning Booth During Pregnancy?

There are no data to suggest that tanning booths are harmful to or safe for your baby, however we do not recommend them.

30.  Is it Safe to Paint While I am Pregnant?

As long as you are painting for short periods of time and not working above your head, it is safe to paint. We recommend painting in well ventilated areas and that you take frequent breaks to get fresh air.

31.  If I Had Group B Strep With My Last Pregnancy, Will I be Tested for it with Future Pregnancies?

Yes. Each time you are pregnant, we will do a culture from the birth canal for Group B strep. This is done around 35 weeks of pregnancy.

32. Is it OK to Drink Caffeine During Pregnancy?

While most studies have found that moderate caffeine intake (i.e. < 300mg/day, or 2 cups of coffee) does not affect fertility or increase the chance of having a miscarriage or a baby with birth defects, we recommend that you limit your caffeine intake to one beverage per day while you are pregnant.

33. Is it Safe to Eat Fish While I am Pregnant?

Yes! In fact we encourage you to eat up to 12 ounces of low-mercury fish weekly. Fish contains DHA which promotes your baby’s nervous system development. Fish that are safe to eat include salmon, flounder, light canned tuna, shrimp and catfish. Fish deemed unsafe include tilefish, swordfish, shark and mackerel as these contain high levels of mercury.

34. When Should I Sign Up for Birthing Classes?

We recommend signing up for birthing classes once you start your third trimester (roughly around 28 weeks). For more information about birthing classes, go to www.birthingandbeyond.com.

35. Where Can I Find More Information About Saving Our Baby’s Cord Blood?

Visit www.viacord.com or www.cordblood.com or ask one of your providers for more information.

36. Why do I Need Rhogam?

You need Rhogam if your blood type is Rh negative. This medication prevents dangerous mixing of your baby’s blood with your own blood during pregnancy or delivery. This is most important during your second and subsequent pregnancies. If your partner’s blood type is also Rh negative, then you do not need to receive Rhogam.

37. What Can I Take for Heartburn or Nausea?

It is safe to take Tums, Mylanta or Maalox.