Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Is caffeine ok to drink when I am pregnant?

A. Actually there is not a great deal of evidence to provide an absolute answer.  If you read the Food and Drug Administration information on this subject they recommend that pregnant women eliminate or limit consumption of caffeine-containing beverages such as tea, coffee, energy drinks, soda, colas.

Q. Is smoking bad for the baby?

A.Smoking can put you and your baby at a much higher risk of complications including placenta previa, low birth weight and premature birth. Second hand smoking can also be very risky because it prevents the baby from getting the proper oxygen that is needed during development. This is because the compounds in cigarette smoke attach to the blood cells more easily than oxygen compounds, preventing the developing baby from getting the oxygen it needs. It has been proven that babies raised in the home where smoking is allowed are more at risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SID, “crib death”).

Q. Is alcohol consumption bad for a developing baby? 

A. Though there is not any research establishing a safe level of alcohol consumption during pregnancy, it is recommended that pregnant women refrain from consuming alcohol, according to The Surgeon General. Alcohol is known to increase your risk of premature birth, miscarriages, and can lead to fetal alcohol syndrome (a pattern of serious birth defects, including mental impairment, learning disabilities and other deformities).

Q. Is it recommended to take prenatal vitamins, even if I consume a balanced diet?

A.Though you may not necessarily need a prenatal vitamin during pregnancy if you consume a balanced diet, it is important to remember that iron and folic acid are the most important elements to a healthy pregnancy. Iron is important because the mother’s blood volume is ever expanding in order to supply the fetus with the proper amount of blood. Iron is needed in order to produce more red blood cells; without the additional iron, it could lead to anemia.

Folic acid is necessary in the development of the spinal cord. When the mother lacks the proper amount of folic acid, it increases the rate of spinal cord defects such as spina bifida.

It is best to take folic acid supplements even before pregnancy because it greatly increases the effects. Folic acid supplements decreases the rate of these spinal cord defects by at least 60%.

Q. Is it safe to fly while pregnant?

A. If you are 36 weeks or more into your pregnancy, airlines will not permit you to fly unless you have a doctor’s note. This is because of the risk of blood clotting, especially in the legs due to the elongated time remaining seated. The blood circulation slows and can cause clots because of lack of movement, but if you make sure to walk around and circulate the blood, you should be fine. Because you may need medical assistance in the town you are traveling to, ask your OB/GYN to help you locate an obstetrician in the city you will be visiting. You may also want to take your medical records with you.

Q. Is it safe to have sex while pregnant?

A. It is perfectly safe to engage in sexual intercourse while pregnant unless your pregnancy is labeled high risk or your obstetrician says otherwise. Because the baby is safely cushioned within the uterus, it is perfectly safe from any damage.

Q. Is it safe to go through a metal detector while pregnant?

A. Because airport and other metal detectors do not emit harmful radiation, you and your baby will be safe from any injury. If you are still concerned about the safety of you and your baby, you can always ask for a female security official to hand search you instead.

Q. Is it okay to continue to exercise while pregnant?

A. It is perfectly safe to continue moderate exercise while pregnant unless otherwise advised by your obstetrician. Heavy exercise can result in injury, so it is important to remember not to overwork yourself while pregnant.

Q. Which foods are not safe to consume while pregnant?

A. In order to prevent your baby from being exposed to parasites or potentially harmful bacteria’s, it is important to stay away from undercooked or raw fish (including sushi & steak tartar), eggs, meat, and unpasteurized goat or cow’s milk. These foods can harbor the microorganisms which lead to an illness that causes birth defects, illness or death of the baby, known as toxoplasmosis.

However, fish is an important part to a healthy diet, so eating 2 to 4 servings of certain types of fish during a week is healthy and recommended. It is important to avoid shark, swordfish, tilefish, and king mackerel because these fish contain high amounts of mercury which are very harmful to the baby’s nervous system and brain.

Fish that are safe to consume include canned fish, smaller ocean fish, shellfish and farm-raised fish. However,

It is important to eat a variety of other fish, such as shellfish, canned fish, smaller ocean fish, or farm-raised fish. However it is important that pregnant women limit their consumption of freshwater fish caught by friends or family to one serving per week, 3 to 6 ounces being one serving.

Q. Is it safe to dye or perm my hair while pregnant?

A. There have been many conflicting reports about hair dyeing and having a permanent, so it is best to consult your OB/GYN or physician.Some physicians have advised the use of natural hair coloring products after the first trimester when the baby’s vital organs have developed. These products are safer than the permanent or semi-permanent chemical dye which may contain bio-available lead acetate that can harm the fetus.

Q. How do I relieve constipation?

A. At least half of all pregnant women suffer from constipation for many different reasons. One may be from the change of hormones causing a slowdown of the food through the digestive tract. Another cause may be from inadequate fluid intake or fiber deficiency. Towards the end of the pregnancy, the added weight from the baby on the rectum may also result in constipation. The symptoms from all of these causes can be relieved through proper diet, exercise and an adequate amount of fluids and fibers. You may also want to use a stool softening supplement, but always consult your doctor or OB/GYN before taking any medications or supplements.

Q. Is it safe to consume extra vitamins or herbs during pregnancy?

A. You should not consume any other extra supplements, medications, vitamins or herbs other than your prescribed prenatal vitamins unless otherwise directed by your physician or OB/GYN.

Q. When should a female begin to see a gynecologist versus a pediatrician?

A. Women should attend their first gynecological exam by the age of 20 or when they first become sexually active.

Q.How do I choose an OB GYN?

A.  There are many factors involved when choosing an OB GYN. These include location, personality, and insurance, among many other things. You may want to schedule a meeting session before having your first appointment. It is important to find an OB GYN that you are comfortable with because your relationship with them will be the most intimate professional relationships you may ever have.

Q. What are the symptoms of pregnancy?

A. Implantation bleeding, a delay or difference in menstruation, swollen or tender breasts, fatigue or tiredness, nausea or morning sickness.