Throughout your pregnancy, some situations or circumstances may arise where you are unsure how to proceed. The following are some questions that are frequently asked by our pregnant patients. Keep this sheet in a handy place for easy reference throughout your pregnancy. If you are not clear on the instructions, do not hesitate to call us at the office number.
At any time during the pregnancy, you can take Tylenol (generic-acetaminophen) - regular or Extra Strength. Do not take aspirin, Motrin, Advil (generic –Ibuprofen), Aleve (generic-Naproxen), unless advised by your physician.
Don’t use any drugs that are not listed below without checking with your physician. If you have a known allergy to any medication, do not take it.
What can I take for cold/allergy symptoms?
- Robitussin DM for cough: 1 teaspoon every 4 hours as needed
- Tylenol for fever or aches: as directed on the bottle
- Neosynephrine Nasal Spray 1/2%, Flonase or Nasacort - as directed on the bottle - do not use longer than 3 days consecutively as sometimes will have nosebleeds
- Cepacol, Chloraseptic, Sucrets, Halls throat lozenges ok for sore throat
Mucinex for congestion/mucous
- Increase your rest and push fluids; warm fluids are good. Use a humidifier or vaporizer
- If no relief with non-pharmaceutical measures, may use loratadine (Alavert, Claritin, Triaminic Allerchews), Certirizine (Zyrtec), or Benadryl
- After 1st trimester (12 wks) you may use Sudafed or Actifed
- If symptoms last longer than 2 weeks with no relief, or you have an increase in symptoms, contact your doctor. If you run a temperature over 101 degrees, call the office
What can I do for constipation?
- You may use Metamucil, Fiber-Con, or any similar over-the-counter products
- You can try Colace (docusate) as per package directions; this is a stool softener; if no relief, you can use Miralax (a mild laxative) – use as directed; do not use longer than 2 weeks
- Drink at least 8-10 glasses of fluids daily, preferably water. This not only helps constipation but also flushes the kidneys and helps decrease fluid retention (swelling of feet and hands)
- Walk 15-30 minutes daily unless you have been told by your doctor to avoid exercise/increased activity.
- Increase the fiber in your diet with such things as prunes, prune juice, raisins, apricots or other dried fruits, raw fruits and vegetables, brown rice, whole wheat bread, whole wheat/bran cereals, and oatmeal
What can I do for hemorrhoids?
- Try Preparation H, Anusol, or Nupercainal ointment; use as directed on the package
- Sit in a warm tub bath 2-3 times a day
- Avoid constipation or diarrhea; avoid irritation to the area (use bath or baby powder to prevent chafing)
- Apply cold compresses or Tucks (OTC pads containing witch hazel) to decrease swelling/discomfort
- If you have no relief or an increase in symptoms such as pain or bleeding, call the office
What can I do for heartburn?
- Don’t lie down right after eating or eat late in the evening before bedtime; keeping head slightly elevated may be helpful
- Drink at least 8-10 glasses of fluid daily, preferably water
- Eat 5-6 small meals a day, rather than three large ones; eat slowly, taking small bites and chewing well
- Don’t smoke
- Eliminate foods from your diet that cause discomfort, for example, spicy foods, fried or fatty foods, processed meats (bologna, hot dogs, sausage, bacon), chocolate, coffee, carbonated beverages, spearmint or peppermint (even in gum)Wear loose-fitting clothes, especially around the waist and abdomen
- Over the counter medications such as Zantac, Pepcid, Gaviscon, Tums, Rolaids, Mylanta, Maalox or Riopan may be helpful (take as directed). Avoid preparations with sodium, sodium bicarbonate, or simethicone. Avoid multi-symptom or anti-gas products
What can I do for nausea?
- Get plenty of fresh air
- Avoid sudden movement; get up slowly
- Eat crackers, dry toast, or take sips of fluid before you get out of bed in the morning
- Eat 5-6 small meals a day; never go for more than a few hours without eating or drinking something – drink fluids in small amounts, preferably between meals instead of while eating
- Eat whatever sounds good to you and what your stomach can tolerate; during this time it is important to be eating some calories and remaining hydrated; do not be overly concerned about a balanced diet
- Avoid greasy, fried or highly spiced foods; avoid foods with strong odors and foods/fluids that increase your nausea
- Use frozen or ready-to-eat meals which require little cooking; when you start feeling the least bit hungry or slight nausea, eat or drink a small amount of something. Of course, be sure to eat during those times of day when you experience little or no nausea
- Avoid fatigue, as nausea may increase; try to increase the amount of rest and sleep you get during this time
- If nausea increases after taking your prenatal vitamin, try taking it at a different time of day, with or without food (whichever you tolerate best). Taking half a vitamin at two different times a day, or changing to Flintstone (2 daily) or another brand of the prenatal vitamin may be helpful
- If your nausea persists after trying the above suggestions, you may try Vitamin B6, 50 mg. twice a day, or Emetrol (per package directions). Both of these can be purchased at any drug store over-the-counter
- If none of the above ideas help or you have other questions/concerns, call the office at 368-5500
- If you are vomiting and have not kept fluids (liquids) down for 12-24 hours, are not urinating, or have lost weight, call the office at 368-5500 for an appointment
Can I use hot tubs or spas?
- This is not advised during pregnancy
Can I get my hair permed or colored?
- Yes, as long as the area is well ventilated
Can I paint or varnish?
- You can use any water-based products, making sure the area is well ventilated
- Do not use oil-based products
What if my workplace or home needs fumigation for pest control?
- Follow the specific instructions on the label of the product regarding use during pregnancy. If there are no instructions, leave the area for 4-6 hours after fumigating. Ventilate the area well before returning
Can I use a tanning bed or self-tanning products?
- Caution should be taken as research shows a connection between tanning and skin cancer
- Tanning will not affect pregnancy but do not become over-heated
- Self-tanning lotions/creams have not been proven safe in pregnancy
Can I travel?
- It is ok to travel by car or plane up to 36 weeks of pregnancy as long as you’re not having any problems. Some International flights restrict flying after 35 weeks gestation
- You should avoid air travel if you are having problems in your pregnancy or have other medical problems. Discuss with your physician if you have any questions
- When traveling, ambulate frequently to promote better circulation and avoid potential blood clots – use of compression stockings may be helpful. Have adequate fluid intake and urinate frequently
- Wear seat belts.
- CDC recommends delaying travel where the Zika virus is prevalent. If you do decide to travel, they recommend protecting yourself against mosquitos. If significant other travels to these areas, recommend using condoms the remainder of the pregnancy. Visit www.cdc.gov/zika
Can I take care of pets?
- Avoid cleaning your cat’s litter box
- Do not handle hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs or similar pet “rodents”
Can I use insect repellents?
- Yes, you can and you should, especially for mosquitos when outdoors during the summer months, or traveling in a warm climate any time of the year. The most effective repellant to use in pregnancy and while breastfeeding is any product with 10-35% DEET. (Cutter, Off!, Sawyer, Ultrathon). These products are effective against mosquitoes, flies, ticks, chiggers, and sand flees. Select the lowest concentration effective for the amount of time you will be spending outdoors.
Guidelines for Nutrition/ Food Safety
When you’re expecting, it’s natural to be concerned about your health and that of your unborn baby. Maintaining a healthy diet, drinking plenty of liquids, and taking prenatal vitamins are all important for the health of you and your baby. The sensible and safe pregnancy weight gain for the average woman is between 25 and 35 pounds.
Food safety is also important. When preparing meals for yourself and your family it is important to wash hands and surfaces often, do not allow cross-contamination between raw and cooked foods, cook foods to proper temperature (use a food thermometer if necessary), and refrigerate or freeze foods promptly when they require it. Sometimes what we eat can make us sick; food contaminated by bacteria can cause serious illness. The USDA Food and Inspection Service and the FDA provide the following advice for pregnant women:
- Avoid hot dogs, non-packaged luncheon or deli meats unless they are reheated until steaming hot
- Limit pre-packed/processed deli meats to 1-2 servings (3 oz) per week due to nitrate levels
- Avoid soft cheeses, such as feta, Brie, Camembert, Blue, or Mexican-style cheese (queso blanco and queso fresco, unless it is made with pasteurized milk as indicated on the label
- Semi-hard cheeses such as mozzarella, pasteurized processed cheese slices and spreads, cream cheese and cottage cheese are ok
- Avoid refrigerated pate or meat spreads. Canned or shelf-stable meat spreads can be eaten
- Avoid refrigerated smoked seafood found in the refrigerated section or deli, unless used as an ingredient in a cooked dish such as a casserole
- Choose fish that are low in methylmercury, including shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock, and catfish. Eat at least 8oz but no more than 12oz of low mercury fish each week
- Limit canned albacore “white” tuna and tuna steaks to just one of your two fish meals a week.
- Albacore tuna and tuna steaks contain more methylmercury than canned light tuna
- Avoid shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish
- Wash raw vegetables and fruit well before eating; avoid raw sprouts
- Do not drink unpasteurized milk or foods that contain unpasteurized milk. Avoid other unpasteurized drinks such as apple cider, fruit juices, etc.
- Avoid raw eggs (eggnog), raw fish (sushi)
- Avoid herbal teas/herbal supplements without discussing with your doctor
Alcohol & Tobacco Use
- Avoid all alcohol, cigarettes and other tobacco products during your pregnancy
- If you smoke, now is the time to stop. Ask about help to stop smoking
- It is important to avoid all alcohol during your pregnancy; no one knows exactly how much alcohol is dangerous for your baby
- It is important that your teeth and mouth are healthy during pregnancy; continue your check-ups with your dentist
- If dental work or x-rays need to be done, be sure your dentist knows you are pregnant
Can I exercise?
- Any exercise program designed specifically for prenatal is acceptable unless this pregnancy is high-risk and your physician has given you restrictions regarding your activity
- Do not exercise until you are exhausted or over-heated
- Drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after exercise
If you have questions or concerns, please call the office at 368-5500.