Pregnancy — especially your first — naturally inspires a lot of questions about how to keep yourself and your growing baby healthy.
To help you on your journey, our expert ob-gyns answered some of the questions they get most frequently from moms-to-be.
How much weight should I expect to gain?
It really depends on your pre-pregnancy weight. For the average-weight woman, 20 to 35 pounds is considered healthy pregnancy weight gain.
If you were underweight pre-pregnancy, we recommend trying to gain more that that; if you were overweight, try not to gain as much.
Can I exercise like normal?
It's generally safe to continue exercising at the same intensity you were pre-pregnancy, whether your routine includes aerobic exercise or strength training (or both!).
The important thing is to stay hydrated and be aware of your body. If you feel off-balance or uncomfortable, or an exercise may cause trauma to your abdomen, shelve those particular moves until after baby arrives.
Is it safe to travel?
In most cases, travelling is OK through 36 weeks for the complication-free pregnancy.
Most domestic airlines allow you to fly up to 36 weeks. International is typically 35 weeks. But be sure to check your airline's specific policies.
With any type of travel, be sure to stretch your legs every couple of hours and stay hydrated. If you are having any complications with your pregnancy, consult your physician before travelling.
Is it OK to continue being sexually active?
Yes, it's generally safe throughout pregnancy.
However, if you have any complications such as preterm labor, vaginal bleeding or placenta previa, your physician may recommend avoiding sexual activity.
Can I go to the dentist while pregnant?
You can continue to have routine dental check-ups during pregnancy.
Local anesthesia is safe if you need any dental treatments, but your dentist may require a physician's note. He/she may contact your doctor with any questions about pregnancy-safe anesthesia or medications.
Is there anything I can do about nausea?
Some nausea is considered normal during the first trimester and usually improves when you enter the second.
To feel better you can try the following:
- Get up slowly in the morning. Sit up in the bed for a few minutes before standing.
- Eat small, frequent meals with snacks in between to avoid an empty stomach.
- Stay hydrated. Try seltzer water mixed with juice if you cannot tolerate water.
- Switch from a prenatal vitamin to a children's multivitamin with at least 400 mcg folic acid. Try taking your vitamin at bedtime.
- Ginger helps! Try ginger ale, ginger candies, ginger tablets or sucking on a small piece of plain ginger.
- Avoid strong-smelling and greasy foods.
- Avoid over-eating.
- Taking some over-the-counter medications deemed safe to use (see table below).
Hyperemesis gravidarum is a more serious condition characterized by severe nausea, vomiting and weight loss greater than 5 to 10 percent of body weight. Consult your physician if you're concerned you may be suffering from this condition.
What medications are safe to take during pregnancy?
If you are taking any prescription medications, we recommend that you continue on them unless your physician instructs otherwise.
The following table lists some over-the-counter (OTC) medications for minor illnesses/ailments that you may safely take during pregnancy. If these OTC remedies do not help, contact your provider for guidance.
|Pain relief, headaches and fevers|
|Common colds and cough relief|
|Antihistamines such as Benadryl (diphenhydramine) and Claritin (loratadine)|
|Short-term use of decongestants such as pseudoephedrine (found in Mucinex-D, Sudafed, Claritin-D)|
|Cough drops and throat lozenges|
|Heartburn, indigestion and gas|
|Tums and Rolaids|
|Vitamin B6 - 25 to 50 mg, two to three times daily|
|Unisom (doxylamine) - 1/2 tablet, at bedtime or up to 3 times daily if tolerated|
|Emetrol - follow package dosage instructions|
|Colace - 100 mg, twice daily|
|Milk of magnesia|
|Miralax (polyethylene glycol)|
|Imodium - short-term use only|
|Monistat - three- or seven-day treatment|
Childbirth is unpredictable — but thinking through your preferences ahead of time can make you feel more confident on the day of. Download our birth preparation guide.