Trying to get pregnant? Make sure you know the bottom line on baby-making—what you don't understand can affect your bub-to-be's health.
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Pregnant women are at higher risk of suffering from pneumonia and other complications of the flu, so you are specifically encouraged to get the influenza vaccine (so are the elderly, health-care workers and people with compromised immune systems). Getting immunized also may help protect your baby: The antibodies generated by the vaccine cross the placenta, so it's likely that the baby will have some degree of protection following birth. Ask your doctor about thimerosal-free vaccines.
Overheating has been associated with pregnancy loss and birth defects, but using an electric blanket at a comfortable setting has not been shown to be unsafe for you or your baby. That said, if you were to become so warm that you perspired a great deal, you would be at risk for dehydration. To avoid any risks, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that pregnant women use their electric blankets to heat up their beds prior to bedtime, then turn them off when sleeping, to avoid any risk of overheating.
This is perfectly normal. Breast tenderness is caused by the increased volume of blood and other fluids, as well as the heightened hormone production, of pregnancy. While it may be uncomfortable, this sensitivity is considered one of the most reliable signs that your pregnancy is progressing well.
Yes, you can safely enjoy being outdoors, watching your child's first venture on the slopes. In fact, because most pregnant women's bodies run a bit hotter than before pregnancy, you may even be more comfortable than usual. Just be sure to drink plenty of water to head off dehydration and altitude sickness. And be extra careful while walking in the snow; your shifting center of balance makes it easier to take a tumble. You're also more susceptible to sunburn during pregnancy, so use plenty of sunscreen and avoid prolonged exposure to the sun. This goes for your child, too.
For centuries, expectant parents have been trying to determine the gender of their babies in utero by scrutinizing everything from morning sickness to how the mother is carrying to fetal heart rate. While looking for clues to this mystery may be part of the fun and excitement of pregnancy, none of these factors has been shown to accurately predict gender.
Bendectin was first marketed in the United States in 1956. In 1983, because of numerous lawsuits claiming that the drug caused birth defects, its producer, Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, voluntarily withdrew Bendectin from the market. After reviewing 30 years of research, however, doctors and scientists now believe that Bendectin poses no detectable risk of birth defects. The medication was and is safe to use, and many women who suffer from unrelieved nausea and resultant dehydration may want to take it to relieve their symptoms.
First, avoid dietary triggers such as alcohol, aspartame (an artificial sweetener), aged cheeses, and nitrates (used as preservatives in bacon, sausage and lunchmeats). Environmental triggers include strong odors such as perfumes and cleaning products.
There is evidence that exercise at elevations higher than 6,000 feet may cause changes in heart rate, lung capacity and other cardiopulmonary measures that could potentially cause pregnancy complications. But that research does not necessarily apply to women who are used to exercising at higher elevations. I feel that your regular hikes probably are fine (but do check with your doctor). Still, I recommend modifying the intensity in your second and third trimesters. Be aware of overexertion; symptoms include uterine contractions, excessive perspiration and increased shortness of breath.
Yes. Periodontal disease is a chronic gum infection that is associated with preterm delivery. Researchers hypothesize that the infection may raise levels of prostaglandin and cytokine, both of which may contribute to an increase in uterine contractions. A study reported in the Journal of Periodontology, led by Marjorie K. Jeffcoat, D.M.D., dean of the School of Dental Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, found that scaling and root planing, a nonsurgical procedure, resulted in a large decrease in preterm births for pregnant patients with periodontal disease.
It is always best to avoid taking any type of medication during pregnancy, if possible. That said, if allergies or nasal congestion due to upper-respiratory infection are keeping you from sleeping, eating or participating fully in your life, your doctor is likely to consider Claritin to help you cope with your symptoms.
Rest assured that after years of research on animals and humans, Claritin has been classified as safe to use during pregnancy. But even so, I think it is always best to use the minimum required dosage to achieve relief.
Two factors contribute to constipation in pregnancy. The first is the body's increased production of progesterone, which relaxes not only the smooth muscle of the uterine wall but also of the intestinal wall and stomach, thereby making digestion sluggish. The second is the body's tendency to become underhydrated as it adjusts to an increasing blood volume. To help prevent constipation, drink at least eight glasses of water a day. Also exercise daily and eat more vegetables and dried fruits.
Yes. Your overall health will undoubtedly benefit you and your baby, but since your history includes a first-degree relative who has diabetes, you are at higher risk of developing gestational diabetes while pregnant. Testing you in the first trimester rather than the third--the standard for women without risk factors--is also important.
You can, with certain precautions. For example, you should pay close attention to the warning labels on all of the materials you are handling, be vigilant about painting in a well-ventilated area, wear coveralls while working, and never eat or drink where you work.