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First Trimester - 20 Questions You Were Too Afraid to Ask

Posted on March 06 2020

Wondering if your pregnancy symptoms are normal? Or concerned about having to relinquish your daily cups of coffee? We answer your most pressing concerns about various symptoms you might experience in your first trimester.

 

 

Pregnancy Concerns

1) How likely am I to miscarry?

Miscarriage risk falls weekly as your pregnancy progresses. For most women, their chance of miscarriage is less than 1 per cent by 14 weeks. However, for women in their mid to late 30s and early 40s, by 12 weeks, the stats are comparatively higher, i.e., 2.8 per cent for those 35 to 37, 7.5 per cent for those aged 38-39, and 10.8 per cent for those in their 40s.

For this age group, having a normal ultrasound result and a strong fetal heartbeat are indications that a miscarriage is less likely to occur.

 

2) I’m having really bad morning sickness. How will this affect my baby?

Excessively vomiting, and unable to keep any fluids down? You might be suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum. Like the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, and Amy Schumer, this can cause dehydration and weight loss, which can mean giving birth to a smaller baby. Milder cases can be controlled by changing your diet, rest and antacids, but you may be admitted to the hospital if your case is especially severe. Definitely talk to your doctor before taking any medication.

Ways to manage your nausea include having crackers at your bedside to eat first thing in the morning to settle your stomach. Eat five to six smaller meals per day, avoiding spicy and fatty foods. Instead, opt for bland foods like bananas, dry toast, broth, eggs, applesauce, or snacks like yoghurt, peanut butter with apple slices or nuts. Pair your snacks with your prenatal vitamins. Next, avoid triggers like odours, flickering lights, and make sure your home is well-ventilated. A cup of grated ginger tea might also help ease your nausea. Finally, try an acupressure wrist band sold at Guardian.

 

3) How does my pregnancy affect my eyesight?

When pregnant, hormonal changes, metabolism, blood circulation and fluid retention may also impact your eyes. Symptoms will reverse themselves months after your delivery. Wait a while after you’ve given birth to make any corrections to your prescriptive lenses - some mums become slightly more nearsighted. Your eyes may also get drier, making it uncomfortable to wear contact lenses. Another condition pregnant women may experience is a migraine headache with aura, or just aura symptoms without the headache.

Definitely advise your doctor if you have blind spots, double or blurry vision, light sensitivity, temporary loss of vision or see spots or flashing lights. These might indicate conditions like high blood pressure, or severe preeclampsia.

 

 

Diabetes: Warning Signs and Managing it

If you have diabetes, controlling your blood sugar levels will greatly decrease any risks to your baby.

 

4) I’m thirsty all the time and drink so much water. Help!

Being thirsty is usually not a cause for concern. You’ll need more fluids to support your growing baby’s blood circulation, have a healthy level of amniotic fluid and for your own increased blood volume.

However, if your thirst is insatiable after you’ve drunk copious amounts of water, it could be a sign of gestational diabetes. Every expecting mum will be tested for gestational diabetes in week 24 to 28 with an oral glucose tolerance test. Should thirst be accompanied by pain in the upper right part of your abdomen, you could have the rare HELLP condition, an imbalance of your liver enzymes.

 

5) I have diabetes. How will this affect my pregnancy?

Once you find out you’re pregnant, be vigilant in regulating your blood sugar levels. Changing your lifestyle and diet can help reduce any risks to yourself and your baby. Additionally, let your doctor know so he/she can adjust your insulin and caloric intake to support your developing baby. Your OB-GYN can also look out for signs of potential complications like eye or kidney disease, and preeclampsia.

Often, women with diabetes give birth to larger babies, as they get too much sugar through the placenta. That excess sugar becomes fat, contributing to his/her higher birth weight. After your little one is born, his/her blood sugar levels will be monitored, and supplemented with glucose if necessary. Other risks include premature and stillbirth, and they may develop type 2 diabetes in the long term.

 

 

Swelling, Cramping and Pain

Relieve your pregnancy headaches with lots of rest and water.

 

6) I’m getting these awful headaches. What’s the best way to relieve them?

With your hormones and blood volume increasing, this could lead to headaches. Other causes could include low blood sugar, lack of sleep, dehydration, caffeine withdrawal and stress. As with the morning sickness tip, eat smaller meals more frequently to prevent your blood sugar dropping. Also, drink more water to reduce dehydration headaches. Next, try to get more rest, even if that means lunchtime naps. Caffeine withdrawal headaches should disappear after a couple of days.

Alternatively, try these natural remedies. For sinus headaches, apply a warm compress around your eyes and nose, and a cold compress at the base of your neck if you’re having a tension headache. Rest in a dark room - wear an eye mask to fully block out light - and breathe deeply. Although Panadol should be safe for your pregnancy, it’s best to check with your doctor. Call your healthcare provider if the headaches are persistent or worsen.

 

7) What should I do if I have a fever?

First, observe your symptoms, which may include shortness of breath, back and abdominal pain, a stiff neck or chills. These indicate likely causes such as urinary tract infections, influenza, or a respiratory virus. If your symptoms include abdominal pain, vomiting and nausea, it’s likely to be food poisoning. Definitely schedule a visit with your OB-GYN to get treated right away, as a fever increases the risk of birth defects. ask what medicines you could take to lower the fever.

 

8) My face is swelling up. Is it serious and how can I treat it?

Some swelling in the face, hands, legs, feet and ankles is expected during pregnancy, with the increased volume of blood and fluids. This extra fluid and blood helps the baby to grow, while softening your body so that it can expand has your baby develops. If your face and hands suddenly swell a lot though, this could be a sign of preeclampsia, so it’s best to contact your OB-GYN.

Reduce swelling by avoiding caffeine, eating potassium-rich foods like bananas, and resting with your feet elevated. Don’t stand for too long and if it’s hot outside, stay indoors. Use cold compresses, swim in a pool, and drink plenty of water. Lastly, reduce your salt intake.

 

9) My leg’s cramping. Is this normal or should I get it checked out?

Muscle cramps in feet, thighs or legs are fairly common during pregnancy. It’s suspected that as the uterus grows, this puts pressure on the leg’s nerves and blood vessels, thus causing cramps. Stretch the affected limb, straightening out your leg with your toes pointing towards you. A massage (from your partner, perhaps) might be helpful in relieving the muscle aches.

Try eating more calcium, potassium and phosphorus-rich foods to help relieve the cramping. If you experience swelling or cramping in one leg, the pain worsens as you walk around, and your veins look larger than normal, you may have blood clots. Contact your OB-GYN immediately as these can seriously affect your pregnancy. Some of these include having blood clots in the placenta, a heart attack or stroke, a miscarriage, or getting the blood clots lodged in the lungs.

 

 

Vaginal Health

While swimming can help reduce swelling, ensure you dry your genital area afterwards to prevent infections.

 

10) When should I call my doctor if I’m bleeding during the first trimester?

Light pink or dull brown bleeding
It depends on the type of bleeding. If it’s light pink or a dull brown and lasts a few hours or days, it’s likely to be implantation bleeding.

Bright red bleeding
If it’s bright red bleeding after sexual intercourse or a physical exam, it’s probably because your cervix is now highly sensitive, and should go away within a day or two. Otherwise, you might have cervical polyps, which you can easily check with a pelvic exam. Some other reasons could be because you’re carrying multiples, or having an ectopic or molar pregnancy. There’s also a risk of infection, subchorionic hemorrhage and miscarraige.

Be sure to let your OB-GYN know if you experience any kind of bleeding, especially heavy bleeding, discharge with clots or tissue or a high fever. Other warning signs are severe pain, intense cramps, bad nausea, dizziness or chills. A quick exam should be able to identify the cause of the bleed, as well as your hormone levels. Treatment may include medication, or surgery.

 

11) I’ve noticed some changes to my vaginal discharge. Is this normal?

As your baby grows, your vaginal discharge may also change. As your cervix and vaginal wall soften, the body reacts by producing discharge to ward off infections. Keep track of your vaginal discharge and call your OB-GYN if it turns yellow, green or grey. Other signs of abnormal discharge include a strong, foul odour, paired with redness, itching or vulvar swelling. These could indicate yeast infections. To prevent this, wear loose clothing, cotton underwear, add yoghurt and other fermented foods for healthy bacteria. Also, dry your genital area after exercising, showering and swimming.

 

12) It hurts when I urinate. What should I do?

Pregnant women are more susceptible to urinary tract infections like cystitis. This has symptoms like a frequent, urgent need to urinate and a painful burning sensation when passing urine. In addition, there may be some blood in your urine. A probable reason for this is because the hormones on the urinary tract slows the passage of urine. It’s best to contact your doctor quickly so that the infection doesn’t spread to the kidneys, which can trigger early labour. Your OB-GYN will take a mid-stream urine sample, and the laboratory will identify the type of bacteria. Be sure to finish all the antibiotics prescribed.

 

 

Pregnancy and COVID-19

Travelling while pregnant is perfectly fine, but do avoid COVID-19-prone areas such as Daegu and Hubei province.

 

13) How likely am I to get COVID-19?

The few cases of pregnant women contracting COVID-19 showed that some did have pregnancy complications, but all resulted in live births. With previous coronaviruses like SARS and MERS, there weren’t any observed mother-to-child transmissions, so it’s unlikely that if you contract COVID-19, you’ll pass it to your baby in utero.

However, your resilience is lowered during pregnancy, so wash your hands regularly, and eat immunity boosting foods if possible. Next, reduce contact with those who are unwell. As an added precaution, wear a mask when going out. Definitely bring along wet wipes and hand sanitisers to keep your hands clean.

 

14) Is it safe for me to travel during my first trimester?

As long as your doctor clears you, it’s fine to travel during your pregnancy - metal detectors are safe to go through. One of the concerns, especially for long flights, is forming blood clots, so wear support stockings, move your legs and wiggle your toes every half hour. Definitely drink plenty of water and avoid gas-producing drinks and food, which will just give you a stomachache. Do ask your OB-GYN for pregnancy-safe nausea medication if necessary.

According to MOH’s guidelines during this COVID-19 period, don’t travel to Daegu and Cheongdo in South Korea, Hubei province and mainland China. Passengers arriving at Changi Airport will have to undergo temperature screening, and should monitor their health for two weeks after returning to Singapore.

 

 

Lifestyle Factors

Exercising with weights during pregnancy can relieve aches and pains and strengthen the body for labour.

 

15) Can I really not drink any coffee when pregnant?

To play safe, pregnant women should limit their caffeine intake. Drinking more than 200mg of caffeine might increase the miscarriage risk. This is equivalent to one 240ml cup of coffee, four cups of espresso (30ml per serving), or one and a half cups of brewed tea. Caffeine is also found in cocoa beverages, chocolate milk and soft drinks. For the taste, drink decaffeinated coffee throughout the day. Another option is to ask for a cup of coffee, half regular, and half decaf.

 

16) How does alcohol affect my baby?

Heavy use of alcohol during pregnancy has been linked to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, an irreversible condition that causes your baby to be underweight and not grow well. This may also affect their development, giving them learning disabilities, affecting their attention and memory. They are more likely to be hyperactive, have poor coordination and problem-solving skills, and may not be able to make friends easily.

Minimal alcohol does not seem to have an impact on high blood pressure, premature birth or low birth rates. Nevertheless, to be safe, abstain from alcohol as much as possible during your pregnancy.

 

17) What are the limits to pampering myself during my pregnancy?

The good news: massage, aromatherapy, acupuncture and facials are all perfectly fine. There are some things to take note of, though. For example, if you’re going for a massage, try to get one with a cutout for your belly, or ask for pillows to position yourself a little on your side.

Avoid extensive skin contact with essential oils, and use aromatherapy only if you find the scent pleasant. As for acupuncture, it can help relieve your symptoms of morning sickness, but do let your OB-GYN know beforehand so she/he can better advise you.

Enjoy a relaxing facial, but don’t expect crystal clear skin, as the hormones may worsen your acne. However, avoid the sauna or steam room, as you don’t want your body temperature to rise and develop a fever.

 

18) What medications are safe for me to use during pregnancy?

Wherever possible, try to opt for natural remedies to ease your pregnancy symptoms. However, if you’re down with a cold, see a doctor within the first 48 hours to get a proper diagnosis and treatment. You can also treat your symptoms with hot showers, hot chicken soup, and a nasal spray. Otherwise, safe medicines include Benadryl or Diphenhydramine, Claritin or Loratadine. For a sore throat, gargle with warm salt water.

 

19) How will smoking harm my baby?

Smoking during pregnancy is hazardous, and affects blood flow and delivering oxygen to your baby, thus impeding their growth. This results in low birth-weight babies, the most common cause of death and illness in the first few weeks of their lives.

Other pregnancy complications include vaginal bleeding, ectopic pregnancy, premature placental development and labour and delivery. Even not smoking for just a day will help your baby get more oxygen so his/her lungs develop well. Moreover, avoid secondhand smoke as much as possible as it can have detrimental effects like miscarriage and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Additionally, your child could develop learning or behavioral deficiencies.

 

20) Should I exercise during pregnancy? Will it harm my baby?

Assuming your OB-GYN has given the go-ahead, you can continue to exercise like you did pre-pregnancy. Just take it easy - try not to elevate your core body temperature, so work out indoors. You should still be able to talk while working out. Expect to be tired out quicker, since your heart needs to work harder to push the blood around your body. Similarly, you might be a little more unbalanced as your joints loosen and your center of gravity changes. Modifications to your workout may be necessary.

Sign up for prenatal exercise classes, not only for the exercise, but to meet fellow expecting mummies. Join prenatal exercise classes to workout and meet fellow expecting mummies or do modified versions of your favourite workouts. Some of the best exercises include pilates, yoga and even strength training. Some examples include Pilates, yoga, strength training with your bodyweight and light dumbbells. For cardio, walks, treadmills, the elliptical and stationary bike are all great options. However, do look out for signs of vaginal bleeding, abdominal cramping, lightheadedness, excessive nausea or dehydration and contact your doctor immediately if you have these.

 

Related reads:

Get ready for your baby with these pregnancy essentials and create your baby registry.

Wondering if your pregnancy symptoms are normal? Or concerned about having to relinquish your daily cups of coffee? We answer your most pressing concerns about various symptoms you might experience in your first trimester.

 

 

Pregnancy Concerns

1) How likely am I to miscarry?

Miscarriage risk falls weekly as your pregnancy progresses. For most women, their chance of miscarriage is less than 1 per cent by 14 weeks. However, for women in their mid to late 30s and early 40s, by 12 weeks, the stats are comparatively higher, i.e., 2.8 per cent for those 35 to 37, 7.5 per cent for those aged 38-39, and 10.8 per cent for those in their 40s.

 

For this age group, having a normal ultrasound result and a strong fetal heartbeat are indications that a miscarriage is less likely to occur.

 

2) I’m having really bad morning sickness. How will this affect my baby?

Excessively vomiting, and unable to keep any fluids down? You might be suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum. Like the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, and Amy Schumer, this can cause dehydration and weight loss, which can mean giving birth to a smaller baby. Milder cases can be controlled by changing your diet, rest and antacids, but you may be admitted to the hospital if your case is especially severe. Definitely talk to your doctor before taking any medication.

 

Ways to manage your nausea include having crackers at your bedside to eat first thing in the morning to settle your stomach. Eat five to six smaller meals per day, avoiding spicy and fatty foods. Instead, opt for bland foods like bananas, dry toast, broth, eggs, applesauce, or snacks like yoghurt, peanut butter with apple slices or nuts. Pair your snacks with your prenatal vitamins. Next, avoid triggers like odours, flickering lights, and make sure your home is well-ventilated. A cup of grated ginger tea might also help ease your nausea. Finally, try an acupressure wrist band sold at Guardian.

 

3) How does my pregnancy affect my eyesight?

When pregnant, hormonal changes, metabolism, blood circulation and fluid retention may also impact your eyes. Symptoms will reverse themselves months after your delivery. Wait a while after you’ve given birth to make any corrections to your prescriptive lenses - some mums become slightly more nearsighted. Your eyes may also get drier, making it uncomfortable to wear contact lenses. Another condition pregnant women may experience is a migraine headache with aura, or just aura symptoms without the headache.

 

Definitely advise your doctor if you have blind spots, double or blurry vision, light sensitivity, temporary loss of vision or see spots or flashing lights. These might indicate conditions like high blood pressure, or severe preeclampsia.

 

 

Diabetes: Warning Signs and Managing it

If you have diabetes, controlling your blood sugar levels will greatly decrease any risks to your baby.

 

4) I’m thirsty all the time and drink so much water. Help!

Being thirsty is usually not a cause for concern. You’ll need more fluids to support your growing baby’s blood circulation, have a healthy level of amniotic fluid and for your own increased blood volume.

                                           

However, if your thirst is insatiable after you’ve drunk copious amounts of water, it could be a sign of gestational diabetes. Every expecting mum will be tested for gestational diabetes in week 24 to 28 with an oral glucose tolerance test. Should thirst be accompanied by pain in the upper right part of your abdomen, you could have the rare HELLP condition, an imbalance of your liver enzymes.

 

5) I have diabetes. How will this affect my pregnancy?

Once you find out you’re pregnant, be vigilant in regulating your blood sugar levels. Changing your lifestyle and diet can help reduce any risks to yourself and your baby. Additionally, let your doctor know so he/she can adjust your insulin and caloric intake to support your developing baby. Your OB-GYN can also look out for signs of potential complications like eye or kidney disease, and preeclampsia.

 

Often, women with diabetes give birth to larger babies, as they get too much sugar through the placenta. That excess sugar becomes fat, contributing to his/her higher birth weight. After your little one is born, his/her blood sugar levels will be monitored, and supplemented with glucose if necessary. Other risks include premature and stillbirth, and they may develop type 2 diabetes in the long term.

 

 

Swelling, Cramping and Pain

Relieve your pregnancy headaches with lots of rest and water.

 

6) I’m getting these awful headaches. What’s the best way to relieve them?

With your hormones and blood volume increasing, this could lead to headaches. Other causes could include low blood sugar, lack of sleep, dehydration, caffeine withdrawal and stress. As with the morning sickness tip, eat smaller meals more frequently to prevent your blood sugar dropping. Also, drink more water to reduce dehydration headaches. Next, try to get more rest, even if that means lunchtime naps. Caffeine withdrawal headaches should disappear after a couple of days.

 

Alternatively, try these natural remedies. For sinus headaches, apply a warm compress around your eyes and nose, and a cold compress at the base of your neck if you’re having a tension headache. Rest in a dark room - wear an eye mask to fully block out light - and breathe deeply. Although Panadol should be safe for your pregnancy, it’s best to check with your doctor. Call your healthcare provider if the headaches are persistent or worsen.

 

7) What should I do if I have a fever?

First, observe your symptoms, which may include shortness of breath, back and abdominal pain, a stiff neck or chills. These indicate likely causes such as urinary tract infections, influenza, or a respiratory virus. If your symptoms include abdominal pain, vomiting and nausea, it’s likely to be food poisoning. Definitely schedule a visit with your OB-GYN to get treated right away, as a fever increases the risk of birth defects. ask what medicines you could take to lower the fever.

8) My face is swelling up. Is it serious and how can I treat it?

Some swelling in the face, hands, legs, feet and ankles is expected during pregnancy, with the increased volume of blood and fluids. This extra fluid and blood helps the baby to grow, while softening your body so that it can expand has your baby develops. If your face and hands suddenly swell a lot though, this could be a sign of preeclampsia, so it’s best to contact your OB-GYN.

 

Reduce swelling by avoiding caffeine, eating potassium-rich foods like bananas, and resting with your feet elevated. Don’t stand for too long and if it’s hot outside, stay indoors. Use cold compresses, swim in a pool, and drink plenty of water. Lastly, reduce your salt intake.

 

9) My leg’s cramping. Is this normal or should I get it checked out?

Muscle cramps in feet, thighs or legs are fairly common during pregnancy. It’s suspected that as the uterus grows, this puts pressure on the leg’s nerves and blood vessels, thus causing cramps. Stretch the affected limb, straightening out your leg with your toes pointing towards you. A massage (from your partner, perhaps) might be helpful in relieving the muscle aches.

 

Try eating more calcium, potassium and phosphorus-rich foods to help relieve the cramping. If you experience swelling or cramping in one leg, the pain worsens as you walk around, and your veins look larger than normal, you may have blood clots. Contact your OB-GYN immediately as these can seriously affect your pregnancy. Some of these include having blood clots in the placenta, a heart attack or stroke, a miscarriage, or getting the blood clots lodged in the lungs.

 

Vaginal Health

While swimming can help reduce swelling, ensure you dry your genital area afterwards to prevent infections.

 

10) When should I call my doctor if I’m bleeding during the first trimester?

Light pink or dull brown bleeding

It depends on the type of bleeding. If it’s light pink or a dull brown and lasts a few hours or days, it’s likely to be implantation bleeding.
 

Bright red bleeding

If it’s bright red bleeding after sexual intercourse or a physical exam, it’s probably because your cervix is now highly sensitive, and should go away within a day or two. Otherwise, you might have cervical polyps, which you can easily check with a pelvic exam. Some other reasons could be because you’re carrying multiples, or having an ectopic or molar pregnancy. There’s also a risk of infection, subchorionic hemorrhage and miscarraige.

 

Be sure to let your OB-GYN know if you experience any kind of bleeding, especially heavy bleeding, discharge with clots or tissue or a high fever. Other warning signs are severe pain, intense cramps, bad nausea, dizziness or chills. A quick exam should be able to identify the cause of the bleed, as well as your hormone levels. Treatment may include medication, or surgery.

 

11) I’ve noticed some changes to my vaginal discharge. Is this normal?

As your baby grows, your vaginal discharge may also change. As your cervix and vaginal wall soften, the body reacts by producing discharge to ward off infections. Keep track of your vaginal discharge and call your OB-GYN if it turns yellow, green or grey. Other signs of abnormal discharge include a strong, foul odour, paired with redness, itching or vulvar swelling. These could indicate yeast infections. To prevent this, wear loose clothing, cotton underwear, add yoghurt and other fermented foods for healthy bacteria. Also, dry your genital area after exercising, showering and swimming.

 

12) It hurts when I urinate. What should I do?

Pregnant women are more susceptible to urinary tract infections like cystitis. This has symptoms like a frequent, urgent need to urinate and a painful burning sensation when passing urine. In addition, there may be some blood in your urine. A probable reason for this is because the hormones on the urinary tract slows the passage of urine. It’s best to contact your doctor quickly so that the infection doesn’t spread to the kidneys, which can trigger early labour. Your OB-GYN will take a mid-stream urine sample, and the laboratory will identify the type of bacteria. Be sure to finish all the antibiotics prescribed.

 

 

Pregnancy and COVID-19

Travelling while pregnant is perfectly fine, but do avoid COVID-19-prone areas such as Daegu and Hubei province.

 

13) How likely am I to get COVID-19?

The few cases of pregnant women contracting COVID-19 showed that some did have pregnancy complications, but all resulted in live births. With previous coronaviruses like SARS and MERS, there weren’t any observed mother-to-child transmissions, so it’s unlikely that if you contract COVID-19, you’ll pass it to your baby in utero.

 

However, your resilience is lowered during pregnancy, so wash your hands regularly, and eat immunity boosting foods if possible. Next, reduce contact with those who are unwell. As an added precaution, wear a mask when going out. Definitely bring along wet wipes and hand sanitisers to keep your hands clean.

 

14) Is it safe for me to travel during my first trimester?

As long as your doctor clears you, it’s fine to travel during your pregnancy - metal detectors are safe to go through. One of the concerns, especially for long flights, is forming blood clots, so wear support stockings, move your legs and wiggle your toes every half hour. Definitely drink plenty of water and avoid gas-producing drinks and food, which will just give you a stomachache. Do ask your OB-GYN for pregnancy-safe nausea medication if necessary.

 

According to MOH’s guidelines during this COVID-19 period, don’t travel to Daegu and Cheongdo in South Korea, Hubei province and mainland China. Passengers arriving at Changi Airport will have to undergo temperature screening, and should monitor their health for two weeks after returning to Singapore.

 

 

Lifestyle Factors

Exercising with weights during pregnancy can relieve aches and pains and strengthen the body for labour.

 

15) Can I really not drink any coffee when pregnant?

To play safe, pregnant women should limit their caffeine intake. Drinking more than 200mg of caffeine might increase the miscarriage risk. This is equivalent to one 240ml cup of coffee, four cups of espresso (30ml per serving), or one and a half cups of brewed tea. Caffeine is also found in cocoa beverages, chocolate milk and soft drinks. For the taste, drink decaffeinated coffee throughout the day. Another option is to ask for a cup of coffee, half regular, and half decaf.

 

16) How does alcohol affect my baby?

Heavy use of alcohol during pregnancy has been linked to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, an irreversible condition that causes your baby to be underweight and not grow well. This may also affect their development, giving them learning disabilities, affecting their attention and memory. They are more likely to be hyperactive, have poor coordination and problem-solving skills, and may not be able to make friends easily.

 

Minimal alcohol does not seem to have an impact on high blood pressure, premature birth or low birth rates. Nevertheless, to be safe, abstain from alcohol as much as possible during your pregnancy.

 

17) What are the limits to pampering myself during my pregnancy?

The good news: massage, aromatherapy, acupuncture and facials are all perfectly fine. There are some things to take note of, though. For example, if you’re going for a massage, try to get one with a cutout for your belly, or ask for pillows to position yourself a little on your side.

 

Avoid extensive skin contact with essential oils, and use aromatherapy only if you find the scent pleasant. As for acupuncture, it can help relieve your symptoms of morning sickness, but do let your OB-GYN know beforehand so she/he can better advise you.

 

Enjoy a relaxing facial, but don’t expect crystal clear skin, as the hormones may worsen your acne. However, avoid the sauna or steam room, as you don’t want your body temperature to rise and develop a fever.

 

18) What medications are safe for me to use during pregnancy?

Wherever possible, try to opt for natural remedies to ease your pregnancy symptoms. However, if you’re down with a cold, see a doctor within the first 48 hours to get a proper diagnosis and treatment. You can also treat your symptoms with hot showers, hot chicken soup, and a nasal spray. Otherwise, safe medicines include Benadryl or Diphenhydramine, Claritin or Loratadine. For a sore throat, gargle with warm salt water.

 

19) How will smoking harm my baby?

Smoking during pregnancy is hazardous, and affects blood flow and delivering oxygen to your baby, thus impeding their growth. This results in low birth-weight babies, the most common cause of death and illness in the first few weeks of their lives.

 

Other pregnancy complications include vaginal bleeding, ectopic pregnancy, premature placental development and labour and delivery. Even not smoking for just a day will help your baby get more oxygen so his/her lungs develop well. Moreover, avoid secondhand smoke as much as possible as it can have detrimental effects like miscarriage and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Additionally, your child could develop learning or behavioral deficiencies.

 

20) Should I exercise during pregnancy? Will it harm my baby?

Assuming your OB-GYN has given the go-ahead, you can continue to exercise like you did pre-pregnancy. Just take it easy - try not to elevate your core body temperature, so work out indoors. You should still be able to talk while working out. Expect to be tired out quicker, since your heart needs to work harder to push the blood around your body. Similarly, you might be a little more unbalanced as your joints loosen and your center of gravity changes. Modifications to your workout may be necessary.

 

Sign up for prenatal exercise classes, not only for the exercise, but to meet fellow expecting mummies. Join prenatal exercise classes to workout and meet fellow expecting mummies or do modified versions of your favourite workouts. Some of the best exercises include pilates, yoga and even strength training. Some examples include Pilates, yoga, strength training with your bodyweight and light dumbbells. For cardio, walks, treadmills, the elliptical and stationary bike are all great options. However, do look out for signs of vaginal bleeding, abdominal cramping, lightheadedness, excessive nausea or dehydration and contact your doctor immediately if you have these.

 

Related reads: Get ready for your baby with these pregnancy essentials and create your baby registry.