Common Prenatal Questions

During your pregnancy, you may have many questions. Our advice is to write down your questions and bring them with you to your visit. We have compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions regarding pregnancy. We recommend you print out these pages and use them for reference.

1) What can I take for a headache?

Tylenol is safe to take for a headache, fever or any general discomfort. Tylenol 650 mg, 2 tablets every 4 hours. Do NOT take aspirin or ibuprofen (Advil).

2) What can I take for a cold or the flu?

Sudafed is safe for congestion, Robitussin DM is safe to take for a cough, Chloraseptic/cepacol lozenges is safe for sore throats, and Tylenol is safe for fevers, aches, and pains.

3) What can I take for allergies or asthma?

Benadryl, Zyrtec, or Claritin are safe to take for allergies. Prescription inhalers and most prescribed asthma medicine are also safe but it is best to speak with your doctor for clarification.

4) What can I take for constipation?

We recommend increasing oral fluids, dietary fiber (fresh fruits and vegetables), and exercise (walking). It is safe to take Konsyl Easy Mix (stool softener and natural laxative), Colace- up to twice a day, and Milk of Magnesia.

5) What should I do if I have diarrhea?

We recommend a bland diet or the BRAT diet (Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Tea or Toast) and plenty of fluids including electrolyte replacement drinks.

6) What can I take for nausea and vomiting?

It is safe to take Vitamin B6, Ginger candy, Ginger Tea, emetrol (over the counter syrup designed to settle stomachs). If these do not help, you may need a prescription for Zofran from your doctor.

7) What can I take for heartburn/gas?

You may try Mylanta, Tums, Maalox, Zantac or Omeprazole.

8) What can I do about my hemorrhoids?

We recommend increasing fluids and fiber, as well as stool softeners including Colace and Konsyl Easy Mix. If your hemorrhoids are still bothersome, Preparation H, Anusol or Tucks Pads will help.

9) What can I do for leg cramps?

We recommend increasing your water intake, consider electrolyte replacement drinks, and increasing potassium and magnesium in your diet including foods like bananas. Stretching exercises of the calves can also help.

10) What do I do if I have been exposed to the 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 doctor.

11) Can I sleep on my back?

You may sleep on your back until you are approximately 20 weeks pregnant.  After you are 20 weeks, we recommend sleeping on your side to avoid the uterus from compressing large blood vessels that carry the blood back to your heart and baby.

12) 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 doctor if you have been exposed.

13) 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 around the cabin every 30 minutes to prevent blood clots in your legs.

14) Is it normal to feel aches and pains in the pelvis?

Early in the pregnancy, it is normal to feel cramping as the uterus is growing and the ligaments stretch. During the second trimester, it is normal to feel pains in the pelvis as the uterus grows, baby moves, and your skin stretches. 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 pregnancy, ligaments in the hips and pelvis loosen, causing discomfort.

15) 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.

16) Is it normal to have vaginal spotting or bleeding after my vaginal exam (Pap smear or during the later part of the third trimester) or after intercourse?

Yes. It is common to have a small amount of spotting or bleeding in these situations. If bleeding is heavy or persists, you should contact your doctor.

17) Is it safe to see a dentist during pregnancy?

You should continue to care for your teeth in the normal manner including cleaning exams. If x-rays are necessary, the dentist will shield your belly and the baby. Filling cavities and taking some antibiotics is safe. Local anesthetics like novocaine are safe. If there are questions, please have your dentist call us to discuss treatment or medications.

18) What are the signs of labor and when should I call my doctor?

You should call our office if you are having contractions (labor pains) every 5 minutes, your bag of water breaks or you are experiencing leakage of fluid, if you have vaginal bleeding, or the baby is moving less than usual. The doctor may decide to send you to the hospital for evaluation based on your symptoms. If it is after office hours, your call will be directed to our answering service who will contact the on call physician.

19) My feet are swollen. Is this normal?

Mild swelling of the ankles and legs is related to the normal increase in body fluids during the pregnancy. To ease the discomfort, elevate your legs or lie down when you can, wear comfortable shoes, and avoid elastic top socks or stockings. Drink plenty of water and consider support stockings.

20) Is it safe to have sex during pregnancy?

Yes, you may be sexually active during pregnancy unless you physician instructs you otherwise. There is no evidence that intercourse causes miscarriage or premature labor.

21) 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. Try wearing support stockings/ panty hose throughout the day. Exercise, such as walking 20-30 minutes daily is also helpful.

22) Is it okay to drink caffeine during pregnancy?

We recommend you limit your caffeine intake to one beverage per day while you are pregnant.

23) Should I avoid certain fish while pregnant?

Pregnant women should avoid eating shark, swordfish, king mackerel, or tilefish because these large fish contain high levels of a form of mercury that can be harmful to the developing fetus. Common types of fish that are low in mercury are shrimp, canned light tuna (not albacore), salmon, Pollock, and catfish. You can eat up to 12 ounces (about 2 meals) per week.

24) When should I sign up for prenatal classes?

We recommend signing up for prenatal or birthing classes once you start your third trimester (approximately 28 weeks). Classes are offered through the hospital where you are scheduled to deliver.

25) What is listeriosis and how can it affect pregnancy?

Listeriosis is an illness caused by bacteria that can occur in unpasteurized milk and soft cheese and prepared and uncooked meats, poultry, and shellfish. When a pregnant woman is infected, the disease can cause miscarriage or stillbirth.
Do not eat the following foods:
   • unpasteurized milk or soft cheeses
   • raw or undercooked meat, poultry, or shellfish
   • prepared meats, such as hot dogs or deli meats, unless they are heated until steaming hot