Pregnancy FAQ

How safe are hormones in menopause? (English)

What causes nausea during pregnancy and what can I do to improve the symptoms? (English)

Is it normal to have discharge during pregnancy? (English)

I am early pregnant and recently noticed some spotting. Is that normal? (English)

I am early pregnant and I’m feeling sharp pains in my groin. Should I be worried? (English)

Can I dye my hair during pregnancy? (English)

Is it safe to exercise and continue work during pregnancy? (English)

Are leg cramps normal? (English)

Is it safe to have sexual intercourse during pregnancy? (English)

Is it normal for you to experience heartburn during pregnancy? (English)

Nutrition During Pregnancy (English) (Spanish)

Car Safety for You and Your Baby (English) (Spanish)

The Rh Factor: How It Can Affect Your Pregnancy (English) (Spanish)

A Father's Guide to Pregnancy (English) (Spanish)

High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy (English) (Spanish)

Bleeding During Pregnancy (English) (English) (Spanish)

Travel During Pregnancy (English) (English) (Spanish)

Good Health Before Pregnancy: Preconceptional Care (English) (Spanish)

Later Childbearing (English) (Spanish)

What to Expect After Your Due Date (English) (Spanish)
If Your Baby is Breech (English) (Spanish)

Early Pregnancy Loss: Miscarriage and Molar Pregnancy (English) (Spanish)

Having Twins (English) (Spanish)

Hepatitis B Virus in Pregnancy (English) (Spanish)

Genetic Disorders (English) (Spanish)

Special Tests for Monitoring Fetal Health (English) (Spanish)

Repeated Miscarriage (English) (Spanish)

Group B Streptococcus and Pregnancy (English) (Spanish)

HIV and Pregnancy (English) (Spanish)

Easing Back Pain During Pregnancy (English) (Spanish)

Exercise During Pregnancy (English) (Spanish)

Morning Sickness (English) (Spanish)

Seizure Disorders in Pregnancy (English) (Spanish)

Routine Tests in Pregnancy (English) (Spanish)

Reducing Your Risk of Birth Defects (English) (Spanish)

Ectopic Pregnancy (English) (Spanish)

How Your Baby Grows During Pregnancy (English) (Spanish)

Screening for Birth Defects (English) (Spanish)

Pregnancy Choices -- Raising the Baby, Adoption, and Abortion (English) (Spanish)

Skin Conditions During Pregnancy (English) (Spanish)

Tobacco, Alcohol, Drugs and Pregnancy (English) (Spanish)

Cystic Fibrosis: Prenatal Screening and Diagnosis (English) (Spanish)

Cord Blood Banking (English) (Spanish)

Early Preterm Birth (English) (Spanish)

A Healthy Pregnancy for Women with Diabetes (English) (Spanish)

Gestational Diabetes (English) (Spanish)

What foods should I avoid in pregnancy?
Pregnant women should avoid foods that can cause food poisoning or contain harmful pollutants. Food borne illness caused by certain bacteria can result in premature delivery, miscarriage, fetal death and/or severe illness of a newborn due to an infection.

Examples of foods to avoid:

  1. Swordfish, shark, king mackerel, tilefish, and Albacore (White) tuna
    • These large fish contain high levels of mercury.
  2. Raw fish, especially shellfish
    • May cause transmission of Hepatitis A
  3. Deli/luncheon meats and hotdogs should be reheated until steaming hot
  4. Unpasteurized milk or certain soft cheeses
    • May cause transmission of Listeria
  5. All foods made with raw or lightly cooked eggs
    • May cause transmission of Salmonella

What causes nausea during pregnancy and what can I do to improve the symptoms?
Unfortunately, nausea is a common symptom experienced by many women usually in the first trimester. Although not directly correlated, there seems to be an association with nausea and the rise in the level of the “pregnancy hormone”, BHCG. As the level of that hormone begins to plateau, toward the end of the first trimester, so does the feeling of nausea. Additionally, another hormone that rises in pregnancy contributes to the slowing of the gut, thereby worsening the symptomatology. Things that can be taken over-the-counter include Vitamin B6 (10 mg by mouth up to three times per day) and ginger containing products (Ginger-ale and ginger tablets). If uncontrolled, you doctor can discuss prescribed forms of therapy.

Is it normal to have discharge during pregnancy?
Yes. The hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy cause the mucous producing glands within the cervix to grow thereby contributing to the quantity of discharge produced.

I am early pregnant and recently noticed some spotting. Is that normal?
We never want to see any kind of bleeding during pregnancy. However, there are some things that due occur normally that may produce a small amount bleeding during early pregnancy. It is thought that bleeding may occur as a result of implantation of the embryo into the uterine wall. It is also possible for the sensitive cervical glands, under the influence of the hormonal changes of pregnancy, to either spontaneously bleed or bleed as a result of minor trauma (intercourse, cervical exam). Unless the pregnancy has been documented to be within the uterine cavity, we must also acknowledge the possibility of and abnormally located, or ectopic, pregnancy. If associated worsening pain is occurring, be sure to notify your doctor. Lastly, bleeding may signify the possibility of an impending miscarriage. Reassurance can easily be achieved through the auscultation of the fetal heart.

I am early pregnant and I’m feeling sharp pains in my groin. Should I be worried?
Many women experience lower abdominal pain early in pregnancy that can unfortunately continue throughout the pregnancy. These pains are due to stretching of the pelvic floor muscles as well as pulling on ligaments that function to support the uterus in the pelvis. For that reason the pain is referred to as “Round Ligament Pain”. Often times the pain can be relieved through rest and the use of acetaminophen (Tylenol). As the pregnancy progresses, many women also employ the use of maternity support belts. However, crampy pain associated with spotting or bleeding should be further evaluated by you physician.

Can I dye my hair during pregnancy?
There is no scientific data on this question. As a precaution, however, waiting until the second trimester when all of the baby’s organs have formed may be preferable.

Is it safe to exercise and continue work during pregnancy?
The amount of exercise one can tolerate during pregnancy is dependent on the amount of activity prior to pregnancy. Pregnancy is not the time to begin a hard exercise regimen. However, active women can safely continue exercise regimens within reason. It is advisable to not engage in sporting activities that may lead to injury.

Healthy women without any complication associated with the pregnancy can safely continue working throughout the entire pregnancy. Modifications can usually be made when more physically demanding jobs contribute to fatigue, shortness of breath, or pain with walking.

Are leg cramps normal?
Calcium and potassium are necessary components of muscle contraction. Being low can lead to instability of the normal resting tone of the muscle. Getting plenty of calcium (three glasses of milk a supplement) and potassium (oranges and bananas) daily can often help reduce the frequency of cramps. Other techniques that may help include stretching you legs before going to bed and avoiding toe pointing when stretching or exercising.

Is it safe to have sexual intercourse during pregnancy?
For a healthy woman with a normal pregnancy, intercourse is safe into the last weeks of pregnancy. For you comfort, you and your partner may wish to attempt different positions. You may be advised to limit or avoid intercourse if problems should arise in your pregnancy?

Is it normal for you to experience heartburn during pregnancy?
Yes. Progesterone is a hormone that rises normally in pregnancy. Its main function is to maintain a normal pregnancy during the first 10 weeks however it has other effects in the body. It also acts as a smooth muscles relaxant, thereby affecting smooth muscles in your intestines, stomach, and esophagus. Food, thus, moves slower through your intestines and empties slower from your stomach. That allows more time for food to move up the esophagus. Also, the muscle that prevents food from coming up from the stomach relaxes and contributes to the reflux.

Things that may help include:

  1. Eating smaller, more frequent meals (5-6 small meals instead of 2-3 large meals).
  2. Avoiding foods that cause gas, such as spicy or greasy foods.
  3. Avoiding meals near bedtime
  4. Waiting 2 hours after a meal before exercising
  5. Use of over-the-counter antacids such as TUMS, Rolaids, or Maalox.
  6. Discussing other forms of therapy with your physician if symptoms do not improve.