So you’re pregnant (and yes, home tests are quite accurate). If you’re like most first-time parents, you’re probably excited but also a bit nervous. You probably also have a lot of questions. There is no such thing as a dumb question, especially for first-time parents. Check out the answers to common questions I get asked by first-time moms.
You’ll have a safer and more fulfilling pregnancy if you work together with your doctor or midwife to achieve everyone’s goal of a healthy baby and mom. So, write your questions down and bring a list so everyone involved can work together as a team.
Here are a few answers to some common early pregnancy questions:
Surviving Morning Sickness
Nausea, exhaustion and breast tenderness/swelling are the most common symptoms and typically start about a month after your last period. Nausea and exhaustion usually last six to eight weeks and are managed by eating frequent small meals, avoiding bothersome odors, and resting as needed. Sometimes medications or IV fluids are needed to avoid dehydration, so you should have a visit with your obstetrician around eight weeks from the start of your last period to assess and help you manage the nausea. Breast swelling and/or tenderness continues throughout pregnancy and on into breastfeeding, so make sure your bra supports you well for optimum comfort.
A healthy diet in pregnancy is a balanced diet with an emphasis on fruits, vegetables and whole grains. You need about 1,200 mg of calcium per day, and one 8-ounce dairy portion provides 300mg. If you don’t get 4 portions of dairy per day, you may need a supplement. You should also take a daily prenatal vitamin (non-prescription are fine) if your nausea allows. Nausea may make these recommendations hard to follow, so eat whatever sounds best to your stomach, wait on the calcium and take a regular multivitamin until the nausea improves.
Avoid foods where there is a risk for infection, such as raw seafood, unpasteurized milk and ‘mystery” meats like hotdogs and some deli meats. Mercury can be a concern if you eat a lot of large “top of the food-chain” fish, but shellfish, salmon, and canned tuna (one can per week) are fine.
Medications are used cautiously during pregnancy, but don’t stop your current medications without talking to your healthcare provider. If you or your provider have questions about which medications you can safely take during pregnancy or while nursing, the Pregnancy Risk Line is a Utah agency and great resource with a phone number that’s easy to remember: (801) FAT-BABY. Doctors vary a bit in their opinions of medications, but most consider acetaminophen (Tylenol), antihistamines (Benadryl, Claritin), and over-the-counter cold medicines to be safe.
Physical activity can be continued or gradually started during pregnancy, unless instructed otherwise by your provider. Walking, jogging, swimming, biking, aerobics and non-contact sports are fine, but minimize the risk of trauma to the belly. Lifting for work or exercise requires correct technique to protect your back, but is safe for the pregnancy. Wear your seatbelt the way it was designed (across the pelvis and between the breasts). It really does protect you and your baby in an accident. Call your provider after any auto accident as you may need to be evaluated and the baby might need monitoring. Avoid overheating your body’s core temperature with hot baths, hot tubs or overexerting in the heat.
This list just gets you started, but your healthcare provider will see you at least a dozen times before you deliver, and cover issues that arise as pregnancy progresses. We’ll also help you understand the new, amazing and sometimes uncomfortable things that are happening to your body.
So... call when the test is positive (or for help getting to that point) and we’ll help you prepare for the big birthday party. For more information on pregnancy, we invite you to speak with your healthcare provider. To find a provider near you visit Intermountain Medical Group online.