Frequently Asked Questions

What vaccines are recommended during pregnancy?

At our practice we recommend Flu Shot and Whooping Cough (TDAP) during pregnancy.  For more information about vaccine safety, please visit these links or speak with your provider.

http://immunizationforwomen.org/patients/default.php

https://momvax.org/

 

Is it safe to travel in pregnancy?

It is safe to travel in pregnancy assuming you do not have any complications.  If traveling by car, wear your seatbelt, stay hydrated, and stop periodically to stretch and empty your bladder.  In general you should try to avoid long distance travel after 34 weeks, but technically the American College of Obsetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) says is is safe to fly in the continental US until 36 weeks.  Nothing about air travel puts a pregnant woman at risk of delivering early, but there are instances where women can go into labor at that gestation, and then they are away from home. 

Many women ask if they need a note from their doctor for the airline when they check in.  The short answer is "no" but we recognize that many airline personnel are not well-versed in the fact that no airline has a rule that prevents a well-appearing pregnant woman from boarding a plane.  Given this fact, we can provide a note for you that reiterates the ACOG stance on travel in pregnancy; however, the decision to travel is solely yours.

If you have questions about when it is safe to travel with your baby, please direct these to your pediatrician.

Can I go up to the mountains when I am pregnant?

We recommend avoiding strenuous activity at 10,000 feet or higher, but you may travel to these altitudes.  Since we live in Denver, we are already acclimated to a higher altitude than those who live closer to sea level.  Certainly, many of our patients live in the mountains full time.

If you have questions about when you can take your newborn to higher altitude, please direct these to your pediatrician.

Can I drink caffeine when I am pregnant?  What about "diet" soda?

Generally one serving of caffeine per day is considered safe in pregnancy.  There was a recent study suggesting an increased rate of miscarriage in women who consumed more than 200 mg of caffeine per day (which is much more than a standard cup of coffee), which is where the one serving recommendation comes from.  Other studies have shown no connection between caffeine and miscarriage, so it is still a controversial topic.

No risk has been shown from using artificial sweeteners during pregnancy, but the greater question is whether or not one feels it is healthy in general to use artificial sweeteners?

Can I exercise when I am pregnant?

Moderate exercise most days of the week is recommended in pregnancy.  Studies have shown it to be helpful in preventing depression and anxiety, reducing the chance of too much weight gain, and improving various pregnancy associated conditions such as low back pain and hip discomfort. 

If you have not engaged in exercise prior to pregnancy, we suggest taking it slow and seeing what your body can do.  There are many exercise classes and trainers available specifically for pregnant women.

If you have exercised regularly before pregnancy, feel free to continue.  You may find that you need to slow down a bit, but this is normal.

Stay hydrated and try to keep your heart rate under 150.  Avoid high impact and contact sports.  You may snorkel, but not scuba dive.  In general, for a skilled skier, skiing is no more dangerous in pregnancy, but if you fall or someone runs into you, there is a risk of injury to you or the baby.  Yoga and pilates are great in pregnancy, but avoid "hot yoga." 

Can I color my hair or get a perm when I am pregnant?

Yes.

Can I paint the baby's room when I am pregnant?

Yes.  Good ventilation should be used when painting, and only water-based paints.  If you experience nausea or dizziness, take a break and breathe some fresh air.  Do not sleep in a freshly painted room for 24 hours. 

Can I have dental work when I am pregnant?

Regular dental check-ups and cleanings can, and should, be done during pregnancy.  There is an association between dental problems (cavities, gum disease, etc) and preterm birth, so please see your dentist at regular intervals, and call him or her sooner than later if a problem arises. 

Dental x-rays should only be done if medically necessary (not the routine annual variety) and the pregnant abdomen should be shielded.

Is this vaginal discharge normal in pregnancy?

Pregnancy hormones may cause an increase in vaginal discharge.  A pantiliner may help absorb some of the moisture for your own comfort.  If itching, burning, odor, blood, or cramping is noticed along with it, please make an appointment to come in to have it evaluated.

What are the rules for baths, showers, hot tubs?

It is perfectly fine to take a warm bath or shower.  In fact, this may be especially soothing for aching muscles, and in the early phases of labor.  It is not approved to use hot tubs, saunas, or steam rooms as they may increase your core body temperature, which may not be good for the baby. 

Similarly, tanning beds are not safe, nor are they safe outside of pregnancy given the increased risk of skin cancer.  Electric blankets and heating pads are safe for short periods of time. 

Is it okay to have sex during pregnancy?

Sex and orgasm are safe during pregnancy as long as you do not have any problems with bleeding, placenta previa, preterm labor, or ruptured membranes (your bag of water has broken). 

Some women may have spotting or bleeding after sex in pregnancy.  Please let your doctor know if this is occurring so that we may evaluate you.  In many cases, this may be just from softening and sensitivity of the cervix in pregnancy, but there are situations where a more concerning scenario exists. 

How much weight should I gain in pregnancy?

Most women should gain 25-35 pounds in pregnancy, assuming they are around their ideal body weight before pregnancy.  If you are overweight or underweight, have a history of a baby with growth restriction, or have a history of gestational diabetes, talk to your doctor about specific recommendations. 

Many women will not gain very much, or even lose weight,  in the first trimester due to nausea and vomiting, or decreased appetite.  Some women will gain immediately due to increased intake to stave off nausea.   While the recommended weight gain in the first trimester is 3-5 pounds, we prefer to look at the big picture for weight gain in pregnancy, because many women will catch up or level out in the second and third trimesters.

In what position should I sleep?

It is often suggested not to sleep on your back during pregnancy, as the large blood vessels in the pelvis can get compressed by the growing uterus.  The average person turns over 30 times during sleep cycles at night--do not worry if you wake up on your back.  If blood flow is restricted, you will usually feel it by lightheadedness or your heart racing, and you will naturally turn on your side.  Some women sleep on their sides with a pillow between the knees to alleviate pressure off their hips.  If you cannot get comfortable on your side to sleep, it is appropriate to lean back against a few propped up pillows so while you are in a reclined position, you are not bolt flat on your back.

What can I do for morning sickness (or sickness any time of the day, that is!)?

Try eating several small meals or snacks throughout the day.  You are more likely to feel nauseated on an empty stomach or an overly full stomach.  Avoid consuming fluids (drinks, soups) at the same time as solids, as this may increase nausea, but do sip fluids slowly thoughout the day to stay hydrated.

Avoid greasy and spicy foods.  Certainly, eat what appeals to you and you can tolerate, but generally bland foods tend to sit better.

Keep some crackers or dry cereal and water or gatorade next to the bed.

Avoid sudden movements from reclining or sitting to standing. 

Over the counter remedies which may help include:  ginger