Pregnancy FAQs

What are some common ailments and discomforts experienced during pregnancy?

If this occurs, increase your fluids to at least 6 to 8 glasses a day. Avoid milk or milk products until the diarrhea has resolved. Follow a diet of Bananas, Rice, Tea, or Toast. If you obtain no relief in 24 hours of this diet, check with your family physician.

The best way to combat constipation is through prevention. Drink 8 to 10 glasses of liquids a day. Include fruit juices (apple juices are especially helpful). Increase the fiber in your diet. Exercise daily (walking is good).

Try keeping something in your stomach – eat small, frequent meals (5 or 6 a day). If nausea is a problem when you get up in the morning, try a high protein snack before bed. Avoid unpleasant odors. Avoid dehydration as this can increase your nausea.

Some edema, or swelling, is normal during pregnancy. Generally it appears in the ankles and legs during the final months. Elevate your legs whenever possible. Rest on your left side. Reduce your intake of foods containing salt. Drinking adequate water is the best way to get rid of excess swelling, so drink 8 to 10 glasses a day.

Spotting of blood may occur in 40% of all normal pregnancies during the first trimester. If you are spotting, begin best rest and call the office. Avoid heavy lifting, exercise, and sexual intercourse for 48 hours after the last episode of spotting.

Travel by any mode of transportation is considered safe up to the seventh month of pregnancy. If traveling by car, it is advisable to stop every 1 to 2 hours to stretch and move your legs. Eat healthy snacks and take along lots of water to drink in the car. Always use seat belts, with the lap belt low on the abdomen. After the seventh month, check with your physician before traveling.

Intercourse can be a normal activity during pregnancy, unless there is a specific problem with the pregnancy, such as bleeding, or preterm contractions, sexual intercourse is safe during pregnancy. It may be necessary to experiment with position and depth of penetration to avoid discomfort. If intercourse is painful or causes bleeding or prolonged contractions (it is normal to have some contractions following intercourse), please talk with your physician.

Regular exercise is important during pregnancy to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Walking, swimming, bicycle riding, and prenatal exercise classes are all recommended. You may continue normal sports activity, although it is not the time to take up a new sport. It is recommended to keep the heart rate under 140 (take your pulse for 6 seconds, multiply by 10). Do not exercise lying flat on your back after 16 weeks of pregnancy.

Even before pregnancy begins, nutrition is a primary factor in the health of mother and baby. If you are eating a well-balanced diet before you become pregnant, you will only need to make a few changes to meet the nutritional needs of pregnancy. Pregnant women should increase their usual servings of a variety of foods from the four basic food groups to include the following:

Four or more servings of fruits and vegetables for vitamins and minerals

Four or more servings of whole-grain or enriched bread and cereal for energy Four or more servings of milk and milk products for calcium

Three or more servings of meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, dried beans and peas for protein Eating a well-balanced diet while you are pregnant will help to keep you and your baby healthy. Most physicians agree that the Recommended Daily Allowances (RDAs), except those for iron, can be obtained through a proper diet.

Iron is needed in larger doses, especially in the later stages of pregnancy. This mineral is essential to the formation of healthy red blood cells. It is difficult for a woman to consume enough of it from foods to maintain an adequate supply from the mother, often leaving her anemic and exhausted. Anemia can make the mother less able to fight off infections and unable to handle hemorrhaging during the birth. An iron supplement can alleviate this condition, but first discuss whether you need additional iron with your doctor.

The “pickles and ice cream” choices and other appetite cravings of pregnant women may be reflections of the changes in nutritional needs. The fetus needs nourishment and the mother’s body begins to absorb and metabolize nutrients differently. These changes help ensure normal development of the baby and fill the demands of lactation (nursing) after the baby is born.

Food & Exercise

Drinking a glass of warm milk before bedtime is a time-tested way to bring on sleep. Experts believe that amino acid l-Tryptophan (found in milk and other foods such as eggs) makes eyelids heavy by raising the level of serotonin, a chemical found in the brain. According to others, the somnambulant effects of warm milk may all be in your head.

What you eat – and when you eat it – can affect the quality of your sleep. Avoid fried, spicy food and try to eat mostly natural food.

If bad dreams, headaches, or full-body sweats are disturbing your sleep, you could be suffering from low blood sugar. Just before bed, munch a high-protein snack such as an egg, or some peanut butter to keep your blood sugar up during the night.While you may not feel like it even when you’re not expecting, it is safe to exercise in pregnancy. Keeping fit can combat many of the minor aches and discomforts you might experience. Exercise will boost your immune system and provide the circulation and energy levels needed to help you conceive, enjoy your pregnancy and prepare your body for labour.You don’t have to be an Olympic athlete, but it’s important that you are able to climb stairs and lift reasonably heavy weights – like a sleeping child. Pregnant women tend to gain an average of two stone when pregnant, so your muscles and posture are going to be seriously over worked and under strain – and all this

before you have to go through the exhausting process of childbirth!

Exercise helps you with…constipation, backache, fatigue, varicose veins, circulation problems etc.

The good news is that the better your cardiovascular system (heart and lungs), the more stamina you’ll have for huffing and puffing your way through giving birth. Improved muscular strength will help you maintain positions like squatting during labour. We have some guidelines for pregnancy fitness ac

General Problem

A woman’s body makes huge adjustments to a pregnancy. It will make any change necessary for the healthy growth of the baby. Most of these changes happen in the first three months to anticipate the possible demands of the growing baby and to provide stores of fat and minerals, which later will nourish the breastfed infant. All these changes stem from the effect of the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone that are produced by the cells of the placenta. The bodily changes and discomforts or ailments that may accompany you on your journey to parenthood are detailed below. Each woman and each pregnancy is different. You may experience any of these ‘conditions’ and in varying degrees. All are normal side effects of pregnancy.

Some general problems are given below :-

Reason: Ligaments supporting the uterus are stretched by the weight of your growing baby. You may feel a stabbing, cramp-like pain, or a dragging pain on one side.

Recommendation: Try a hot water bottle to relax your muscles.

Timing: Mid-to-late pregnancy Reason: Your changing shape alters your center of gravity and your posture, possibly causing muscle strain. Later in pregnancy, your baby’s head may be pressing against your sacrum (tailbone), causing a monstrous lower backache.Recommendation: Maintain good posture and try to avoid arching your back while walking and standing. Protect yourself when moving about. Squat instead of bending at the waist -roll onto your side and push up with your hands when getting up from a lying position. Massage may help. Wear comfortable shoes and put those high heels away until after the birth.

Timing: Mid-to-late pregnancy Reason: Pregnancy hormones increase the volume of blood in your body, making your gums thicker and softer. Swollen gums allow food to deposit between teeth, leading to growth of bacteria, tooth decay, and gingivitis (gum infection). Gingivitis reportedly occurs in 60 to 75 percent of all pregnant women. Recommendation: Your daily oral hygiene practice is very important in this regard. Daily maintenance of the teeth through brushing and flossing, particularly at the gum line, helps keep plaque levels low and reduces the chance of infection. In addition to hormonal changes, vitamin deficiencies affect the health of oral tissues. Adequate levels of Vitamins A, C and D can help maintain healthy gums and teeth. Consult your obstetrician about prenatal vitamin supplementation. Since bacteria in plaque feed on sugars and produce teeth damaging acids it is better to avoid foods or beverages high in sugar and select instead snacks such as nuts, cheese, raw vegetables, plain yogurt and popcorn. If you must indulge (craving), sugary foods are best eaten at mealtimes followed by proper oral hygiene that includes an antiseptic mouthwash to cut down on bacteria. Preventative visits to your dentist are highly recommended. Inform your dentist or hygienist of how many weeks you are pregnant. The fifth and sixth months are most suitable for providing dental care. Dental radiographs should be postponed during pregnancy. If your teeth are plaque-free at the start of pregnancy and a good daily cleaning program is maintained, then your chances of developing gingivitis are greatly reduced.

Timing: From about the 5th month on Reason: Some women experience leakage of colostrum, your baby’s first food, later in pregnancy. Recommendation: Use breast pads designed for nursing – just slip one inside your bra. Be careful not to use harsh or heavily perfumed soap on your nipples to avoid irritation.

Timing: Mid-to-late pregnancy Reason: Your growing uterus takes up part of the space normally reserved for your digestive system. In addition, pregnancy hormones cause a relaxation of the intestinal muscles and a slowing of bowel movements. Iron and vitamin supplements can contribute as well. Recommendation: Drink plenty of fluids. Eat foods with lots of fiber, fruit and wholegrain cereals daily. Daily exercise can help. Don’t take laxatives without talking to your doctor first. Stool softeners may be safer than laxatives.

Timing: Mid-to-late pregnancy Reason: It is thought that leg cramps are the result of insufficient calcium in your diet. They often happen when you’re in bed. Recommendation: Be sure to eat foods rich in calcium. To combat a cramp, push your heel away from you and flex your toes toward your body. Alternatively, you can stand on the offending foot first and then try the stretches. Try firm massage or a hot water bottle. Avoid lying on your back, as this can slow your circulation and increase the chances of a cramp. Lie on your left side.

Timing: Early and late pregnancy Reason: In early pregnancy, hormones such as progesterone are thought to contribute to fatigue. You will probably be more tired than you ever thought possible. In later pregnancy, the sheer effort of carrying that baby around would be enough to make anyone tired. If you’re anaemic, you could experience fatigue as well. Recommendation: Sometimes tiredness in pregnancy is due to anemia, so get a checkup done. Get enough rest. Take a daytime nap if possible.

Timing: Throughout pregnancy Reason: Thought to be caused by high levels of progesterone in your blood. Recommendation: As long as it’s not dangerous or grossly bad for you, go ahead and eat it. We recommend moderation though! Remember that excessive weight gain during pregnancy is not healthy.

Timing: Early and late pregnancy Reason: Pregnancy hormones affect the muscle tone of the bladder, causing you to make frequent trips to the loo. As your uterus grows, it puts pressure on the bladder as well. This is particularly true in late pregnancy, when the sheer bulk of the uterus cuts down the bladder’s capacity. Recommendation: Avoid wilderness expeditions which would require trips to the loo in darkness or unpleasant conditions. Drink plenty of liquids anyway; avoiding them won’t help the problem and could create some new ones. If you experience burning or stinging, talk to your doctor. You could have a urinary tract infection.

Timing: Throughout your pregnancy Reason: You name it. Fatigue, caffeine withdrawal, anxiety, tension and stress can all cause headache during pregnancy. If you have a sharp or blinding headache in late pregnancy, contact your doctor immediately to check for pre-eclampsia.Recommendation: Rest and relax; a facial massage will feel fabulous.Try pressing a hot moist towel over your eyes and your forehead.It is safe to take the odd painkiller – check with your doctor first to find out which brands are safe.Consider cutting out caffeine gradually, particularly if you drank 8 cups a day before you became pregnant.

Timing: Mid-to-late pregnancy Reason: Your digestive system slows down during pregnancy, possibly increasing intestinal gas. The valve at the entrance to your stomach relaxes in pregnancy, allowing a bit of acid to escape. In addition, the pressure of your growing uterus on your stomach can cause stomach acid to be pushed upward. Recommendation: Eat smaller, more frequent meals instead of three large ones per day. Eat slowly. Avoid spicy, rich or fatty foods. Don’t lie down immediately after eating. Sit up straight to give your stomach some space. Wear loose clothing for the same reason. If you’re tempted to reach for an antacid, talk to your doctor first.

Timing: Throughout pregnancy Reason: Thought to be caused by high levels of progesterone in your blood. Recommendation: As long as it’s not dangerous or grossly bad for you, go ahead and eat it. We recommend moderation though! Remember that excessive weight gain during pregnancy is not healthy.

Timing: Mid-to-late pregnancy Reason: Increased blood supply to the skin can cause itching, as can dry skin. If you have general itching late in pregnancy, you should talk to your doctor to rule out a potentially serious liver illness called obstetric cholestasis. Recommendation: Keep skin well moisturized. If obstetric cholestasis occurs, you will need careful monitoring and probably an early delivery.

Timing: During the first three months of pregnancy Reason: Pregnancy hormones can cause nausea, as can low blood sugar. Recommendation: Nausea or vomiting may strike anytime during the day (or night). Try eating frequent, small meals, and avoid greasy foods. Talk to your doctor if morning sickness lasts past the first 3 months of pregnancy or causes you to lose weight. Interestingly, women with lots of morning sickness rarely miscarry.

Timing: Mid-to-late pregnancy Reason: Some fluid retention is normal in pregnancy. The uterus puts pressure on the blood vessels which carry fluid from the feet and ankles, causing them to swell. Too little protein can also cause swelling. Recommendation: Rest with your legs up. Lie on your left side while sleeping so blood flows from your legs back to your heart better. Reduce the amount of salt you eat if salt seems to make you retain fluid. Don’t use diuretics (water pills).Moderate exercise can help. Eat plenty of protein, such as lean meats, pulses, cheese and eggs. Try a wedge-shaped pillow under the mattress at the foot of the bed. Drink plenty of fluids. If swelling is excessive, or if your hands or face begin to swell, contact your doctor immediately. These could be signs of pre-eclampsia.

Timing: Throughout pregnancy Reason: Thought to be caused by high levels of progesterone in your blood. Recommendation: As long as it’s not dangerous or grossly bad for you, go ahead and eat it. We recommend moderation though! Remember that excessive weight gain during pregnancy is not healthy.

Timing: Late pregnancy Reason: The baby’s head presses down on the nerves in your groin, causing pain throughout the area and possibly pins and needles in the backs of your legs. Recommendation: Rest when you can. Take pain medication after consultation with your doctor.

Refers to urine leakage or emission that occurs involuntarily Timing: 30 to 40% of women suffer from incontinence during pregnancy and 20% in the post-partum period. While this incontinence regresses spontaneously in 60 to 80% of cases, it often leads to a host of urinary problems and pelvic positional difficulties starting from the fourth and fifth decades of life. Reason: Pregnancy often causes temporary bladder problems. In many women, pregnancy and childbirth can result in weakened pelvic muscles, and problems with incontinence can result. In these circumstances, according to female urology studies, incontinence is usually temporary, and goes away as the muscles and urinary system regains tone following pregnancy. Recommendation: Perineo-sphincter or pelvic or Kegel exercises must be started early, during the pre-partum phase or antenatal period. These exercises strengthen pelvic floor muscles, which help hold the bladder in its proper place. Procedure: As you urinate, try to stop urine flow by contracting the pelvic muscles. Do this until you recognize the muscle groups responsible for controlling urination. Once you recognize the feeling, perform the muscle contractions without urinating. Try to work up to 40 to 60 contractions at a time. If you don’t think you’re doing them correctly, consult with your doctor. Protective, absorbent garments can also be used that may help you feel more at ease in public. Protective wear is specifically tailored to fit men or women, and comes in a variety of styles, depending on the severity of the incontinence. A woman’s body makes huge adjustments to a pregnancy. It will make any change necessary for the healthy growth of the baby. Most of these changes happen in the first three months to anticipate the possible demands of the growing baby and to provide stores of fat and minerals, which later will nourish the breastfed infant. All these changes stem from the effect of the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone that are produced by the cells of the placenta. The bodily changes and discomforts or ailments that may accompany you on your journey to parenthood are detailed below. Each woman and each pregnancy is different. You may experience any of these ‘conditions’ and in varying degrees. All are normal side effects of pregnancy.

Problems Periods
Nausea and Vomiting (Morning Sickness) 2-8 weeks after conception
Frequent Urination 6–8 weeks after conception
Tender or SwollenBreasts 1–2 weeks after conception
Feeling Exhausted or “Sleepy” 1-6 weeks after conception
Backaches During entire pregnancy
Frequent headaches Sometimes during entire pregnancy
Food cravings During entire pregnancy
Darkening of areola (breast nipple) First signs 1 – 14 weeks after conceptions and then throughout pregnancy
Fetal movements 16–22 week after conception
Fetal heart beat 10–20 weeks and then throughout entire pregnancy.

Timing: Mid-to-late pregnancy Reason: Your increased blood supply causes the blood vessels beneath the skin to dilate. Recommendation: Wear light clothing and avoid overheating. Drink plenty of fluids.

Timing: Mid-to-late pregnancy Reason: Stretch marks are a kind of scar tissue which forms when your skin is stretched beyond what its normal elasticity can bear. They appear most often on the abdomen, thighs, buttocks and breasts. Most women get some stretch marks during their pregnancy. Recommendation: Be sure to eat enough Vitamin C and E, as well as enough protein. Keep the skin well moisturized. This won’t prevent the stretch marks, but it will make you feel better. Stretch marks usually fade to silvery lines with time

Timing: Mid-to-late pregnancy Reason: Your ever-larger uterus takes up the space normally inhabited by your diaphragm, sometimes making it difficult to breathe. Recommendation: Hold your arms over your head to give your lungs some room. Sit up straight, prop yourself upright with pillows, or lie on your left side. Avoid overexertion.