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Pregnancy FAQ – Am I Pregnant, What Next ? 2018

Pregnancy FAQ – Am I Pregnant, What Next ? 2018

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) – Am I Pregnant and What is Next ?

Contents

This article is a compilation of most frequently asked questions for pregnant women compiled by our author who are experts in O&G. Over 2000 answers & tips are provided to help educate and engage the women in Singapore.

Quick Answers

  1. To contact a doctor for medical advice, click here for the Directory of pregnancy Medical Providers in Singapore
  2. Ask questions and up vote on the quality of the answers in the popular pregnancy Q&A section

What is a Pregnancy FAQ definition ?

The top questions that are commonly asked by pregnant women about their condition.

Am I pregnant ?

What are the common pregnancy symptoms ?

  • Many women experience nausea, vomiting and bloatedness. Some feel breast tenderness, while other experience constipation. These are temporary symptoms and will disappear in second trimester as your body adjusts to the new pregnancy.
  • Hang in there!

Have you taken a pregnancy test?

  • You may purchase a pregnancy kit from a local pharmacy; otherwise, you can also visit a doctor to take a pregnancy test.
  • You may confirm the pregnancy by visiting a clinic, where you will get a referral to see an Obstetrician, or visit a private Obstetrician to begin your pregnancy journey.
  • You may consider testing again in a few days’ time, as it may be too early for the hormone levels to rise to a detectable range.
  • Usually, two red lines indicates a positive test, where as one red line indicates a negative test. Do read the package instructions carefully, as individual brands may vary.

How do Ovulation kits work ?

  • Ovulation Predictor Kit is the most common type of fertility check on the market. It works by detecting the level of luteinizing hormone, a hormonal surge event that indicates ovulation, where the egg breaks out of its storage place inside the ovary and begins its journey into the womb. Depending on the brand, it will pinpoint your most fertile 2-4 days in the cycle, which will be indicated by a positive test. The representation of a positive test also depends on the brand used. It might take the form of lines or symbols such as smiley face. Make sure to read the packaging carefully!
  • The fertility monitor is also a urine test, using test sticks in combination with a monitoring machine. Instead of testing around the estimated date of ovulation, you will need to test your urine every day from day one of your period. It also detects the luteinizing hormone surge (LH surge) that occurs prior to ovulation. The benefit is that instead of a “yes/no” answer in the ovulation prediction kit, you will be given information on whether fertility status (low, high, or peak) on a daily basis so you plan your intercourse with more information. The downside is that it is a more expensive and time-consuming process.
  • A less common type of fertility testing is the saliva test. This detects the estrogen level in your body (which occurs before the LH surge and before ovulation). It is easy to use, however is often difficult to interpret (requires looking at the microscopic pattern of the sample to determine results).

Common concerns during Pregnancy

I am pregnant and feeling very tired, what can I do ?

  • It is common to feel tired and unable to keep up with your usual routines in early pregnancy. Once the placenta is formed (around the 4th month), which takes a lot of energy to accomplish, and your body has adjusted to the hormonal and emotional changes pregnancy brings, you may feel an improvement in yout fatigue.
  • Keep in mind that fatigue is a signal from your body that you need to take it easier. Get the rest your body needs!
  • If you feel like you are feeling unusually sad, anxious, or unable to cope, please bring this up to your obstetrician during your next appointment.
  • He/she will be able to assess you better, and refer you to the most appropriate source for support.

My bowel movements have been unusual, what can I do?

  • Constipation during pregnancy is a common complaint. Your intestinal movements slows down due to the hormonal changes that are occurring in your body. You may try to keeping hydrated, taking in more fiber and probiotics such as yogurt, as well as take smaller and more frequent meals.
  • You may also check with your doctor to see if any of your existing medications may contribute to the constipation.
  • Diarrhea during the pregnancy is not normal, and could be due to viral or bacterial infections. To avoid dehydration, we would like to suggest visiting a doctor to assess your hydration and determine if there is any infection.
  • Bloody stools are especially dangerous, and warrants immediate visit to a doctor.
  • Being gassy during the pregnancy is very common. You may try taking smaller and more frequent meals, eating slowly, and. While it may be troubling for you, rest assured that it is not a problem for your baby.

Is it common for pregnant women to have nose bleed?

  • Nose bleeding is in fact a common symptom in pregnancy.
  • This is because the hormonal changes in a pregnant women’s body, especially increase in estrogen and progesterone, increases blood flow and mucus membrane.
  • This results in a stuffy nose and nosebleed from easily breakable new capillaries. Sit comfortably and press on the bridge of your nose. The bleeding should stop within a few minutes. Do not lean back, may case aspiration.

Why is there a dark line running down my tummy?

  • Pregnancy hormones caused the hyperpigmentation, or darkening, of the skin.
  • One location that is particularly noticeable is running from your umbilicus to the pubic region, and this is called renamed the linea nigra, or black line.
  • It usually starts to appear during the second trimester and most often will begin to fade a few months after delivery (but for some women it may never go away entirely – it’s a line of honour!). Don’t worry, all expecting mums will have it and it’s completely normal!

I have had abortions in the past; will this affect my baby?

  • First trimester abortions usually have little effect on subsequent pregnancies.
  • However, this still depends on each individual’s anatomy,
  • Mid-trimester abortions (MTPT) that occurred after the first trimester may have some effect on subsequent pregnancies. For example, studies have shown a slightly increased risk of preterm labor.
  • Please do let your doctor know about your full medical history, so he or she can give you the most optimized care.

This is my second (third/fourth) pregnancy; how will it different from my first?

  • You may experience physical symptoms of pregnancy earlier this time around (e.g. baby movements), mainly because you are now familiar with how they feel and can pick them up earlier.
  • However, you may not experience the same symptoms (e.g. severity of vomiting) as the first pregnancy, as all babies are unique! Your baby bump may look different, too.
  • You may experience slightly more bothersome backache, as your abdominal muscles may not be as strong as in the first pregnancy after multiple births.
  • Some mothers report feeling less excited about the pregnancy after the first birth. Don’t fret, this is normal and common, as you now have other children to care for who will take up a significant amount of your attention. However, if you experience overwhelmingly low mood, please do see your doctor to talk about your symptoms.
  • If you had a vaginal birth before, it is likely that you will experience a quicker and easier labor and delivery this time around. Your perineal muscles and cervix are now familiar with relaxing to allow the baby to exit, which accounts for the shorter birth process.
  • If you have had 1 c-section before, you may discuss with your physician to see if you are a safe candidate for VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarian) if you would like to opt for natural birth. it will be similar to a first-time mother trying vaginal birth.

Can I breastfeed during the pregnancy?

  • If you are concerned about changes in the breastmilk as you enter another pregnancy, don’t worry!
  • Studies show that the quality of the breastmilk remains safe and largely unchanged during pregnancy, and pregnancy hormones generally do not pass into the breastmilk.
  • It is a common concern that breastfeeding may lead to early womb contractions through the hormone, oxytocin. However, during the majority of a normal, uncomplicated pregnancy, breastfeeding only brings on mild womb contractions that does not harm the baby. However, when the pregnancy approaches term (37 weeks), oxytocin does start to take effect on the womb, so it would be advisable to pause breastfeeding when you approach term.
  • Milk supply may slow down in the middle of the pregnancy. However, this varies from individual to individual. If your supply is adequate, it is totally feasible to breastfeed both your older and newborn at the same time.

How much weight gain is normal in the pregnancy?

Your ideal weight gain during pregnancy is based on your pre-pregnancy BMI.

Below is a range of normal weight gain

  • < 18.5 is between 12 to 18kg
  • 18,5 to 25 is between 11 to 16kg
  • 25 to 30 is between 7 to 11kg
  • > 30 is between 5 to 9kg

I am overweight; will this affect my baby?

  • Most overweight mums deliver perfectly healthy babies.
  • However, overweight mums do have an increased risk of complications compared to normal weight mums.
  • Mums who are above normal weight have increased risk of the following complications: gestational diabetes, hypertension of pregnancy, miscarriages, preterm labor, stillbirth and certain types of birth defects.
  • It may be more difficult to estimate the baby’s size and anatomical features in mums who are overweight. Both normal delivery and caesarian sections may be more difficult and longer in duration for overweight mums as well.
  • You can minimize your risk by staying within the recommended weight range (try asking the bot, “what is my appropriate weight gain?”), and working closely with your doctor to monitor any potential complications. Also, as always, try to eliminate all other habits that are bad for your pregnancy, such as drinking and smoking.

I am underweight; will this affect my baby?

  • Most underweight mums deliver healthy babies.
  • However, underweight mums do face increased risk of some pregnancy complications compared to normal weight mums.
  • Underweight mums are at risk of having a baby who is small-for-gestational-age, as well as preterm birth.
  • Your risk can be minimized by eating well, taking your vitamins, and gaining weight according to the recommend weight range.

I am an older mum; how does this affect my baby?

  • Usually, women over 35 years are considered as “advanced maternal age” (AMA).
  • Women below 35 years old are generally considered to have low-risk for age-related genetic diseases, such as Down syndrome. For example, the risk of Down Syndrome is 1 in 1250 in a 25 year old mum, 1 in 1000 in a 30 year old mum, but jumps to 1 in 300 for 35 year old mums and 1 in 35 in 45 year old mums.
  • Nevertheless, Down Syndrome screening is now universally recommended to all age groups, because even younger mums still have a small risk of having a baby with Down Syndrome.
  • The good news is, most older mums still give birth to healthy babies! However, as your age increases, the likelihood of having a baby with genetic syndromes, such as Down Syndrome, increases. For example, the risk of Down Syndrome is 1 in 1250 in a 25 year old mum, 1 in 1000 in a 30 year old mum, but jumps to 1 in 300 for 35 year old mums and 1 in 35 in 45 year old mums.
  • We would strongly recommend getting a screening test in the first trimester to determine your baby’s risk, if you think this will change your plans for the pregnancy. Other risks include higher chance of miscarriage, preeclampsia, diabetes, and conceiving twins. There is also a higher rate of c-sections among older mums.

My partner is an older dad; will this affect my baby?

  • The older the partner’s spermatocytes, the longer they have to undergo mutations or be exposed to environmental harm.
  • For example, the risk of having a miscarriage increases as the dad’s age increases. Nevertheless, the effect of dad’s age on pregnancy is very small in this age group.
  • In addition to increased risk of miscarriage for dads in this age group, some studies have shown a small increase in the risk of autism in fathers older than 40.
  • In addition to increased risk of miscarriage and autism, the incidence of Down syndrome increases in fathers over 50 years old. Nevertheless, the risk is very small.
  • Please speak to your doctor if you would like to undergo Down Syndrome screening for your baby.

I am a scatterbrain or very forgetful in pregnancy – is this normal?

  • Many moms-to-be begin to feel this way!
  • Some report suddenly find themselves forgetting appointments, missing meetings, and losing their train of thought.
  • Researchers have found that a woman’s brain-cell volume actually decreases during pregnancy. Fortunately, this pregnancy brain fog is only temporary. Most women get back to their normal level of sharpness a few months after delivery.
  • As for the cause, like most pregnancy symptoms, pregnancy forgetfulness is hormonally triggered. Sleep deprivation can also play a role.
  • Here are some methods to try! But do keep in mind that you may need to get used to working at a little below peak efficiency. The fog may well continue after your baby’s arrival (because of fatigue, not hormones) and perhaps may not lift completely until baby (and you) start sleeping through the night.
  • Relax
  • Feeling stressed about this intellectual fogginess will only make it worse (stress also compounds forgetfulness). Recognizing that it is normal (and not imagined), even accepting it with a sense of humor, may help to ease it—or, at least, make you feel better about it. Realistically, it might just not be possible to be as efficient as you were before you took on the added job of baby making.
  • Checklists
  • Keeping checklists on your smartphone (along with reminder alarms) can help contain the mental chaos—that is, if you can remember where you put your phone last. Set electronic reminders of important dates and appointments, and tap into the What to Expect app.
  • Post it Notes
  • Strategically placed post-its (one on the front door to remind you to take your keys, for instance) can also help keep you on track.
  • Protein and Complex Carbohydrates
  • You may find more focus from incorporating protein and complex carbohydrates. Low blood sugar caused skipping meals can definitely contribute to that foggy feeling.
  • Don’t take Gingko Biloba
  • Although ginkgo biloba has been touted for its memory-boosting properties, it’s not considered safe for use during pregnancy. We would advice staying away from any herbal preparation which are advertised in this manner, as they are adequately rarely tested for safety.

Can I get vaccinations in the pregnancy?

  • Many viruses can make you very sick during the pregnancy, so being vaccinated is important.
  • However, it is best to get all the vaccines you need before conception, as some vaccines are not recommended in the pregnancy.
  • Specifically, vaccines that use live viruses should not be taken during the pregnancy, such as MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) and varicella (chicken pox).
  • Other immunizations, such as hepatitis B, are safe. In fact, the seasonal flu vaccine and the Tdap vacine (diphtheria, tetanus, and pertusis) are recommended for every pregnant women.
  • Please visit your doctor and get them done at the recommended timing!

Should I go for thalassemia testing?

  • If you and your partner have a history of thalassemia
  • If both you and your partner have a family or personal history of thalassemia. In this case, we strongly recommend you to go for prenatal diagnostic testing to find out whether your unborn baby has thalassemia major, a life-threatening condition. Based on the result of these tests, your doctor will be able to advise you accordingly.
  • If only you have a family or personal history of thalassemia, and your partner does not. In this case, it is not likely that you will require thalassemia testing.
  • If its only you, that has a family or personal history of thalassemia, and your partner is unsure of his status. In this case, we would strongly advise your partner to undergo a simple blood test to test for thalassemia. Your doctor will be able to advise you accordingly when both your results are available.
  • If you do not but your partner has a history of thalassemia
  • If only your partner has a family or personal history of thalassemia, and you do not. In this case, In this case, it is not likely that you will require thalassemia testing. However, your doctor will monitor you for anemia during the pregnancy. In case anemia is found and not well explained, your doctor might discuss testing for thalassemia again at the suitable point.
  • If neither you nor your partner has a family or personal history of thalassemia
  • If neither you nor your partner have a family or personal history of thalassemia. In this case, it is not likely that you will require thalassemia testing. However, your doctor will monitor you for anemia during the pregnancy. In case anemia is found and not well explained, your doctor might discuss testing for thalassemia again at the suitable point.
  • If both of you have not been tested for thalassemia
  • From what you’ve told me, neither you or your partners have been tested for thalassemia. In this case, your doctor may start withdrawing your blood for a simple test for your red blood cell count. If it is normal, then your baby will likely be okay. If you are found to have low blood count, you will be advised to go under further testing, and your partner will need to have his blood tested as well.

Should I go for diabetes/sugar testing?

  • This will depend on the specific practice of your country, hospital, as well as your risk factors.
  • For example, some hospitals in Singapore has implemented universal screening for gestational diabetes (GDM), where as others are only screening those at high risk (e.g. >35 years old; obese; family history of DM).
  • Please check with your doctor to clarify the practices in your area, and your unique medical history.

What is considered Normal Results ?

  • The normal fasting glucose level should be <5.5mmol/L
  • The normal 2-hour glucose tolerance level should be <8.4 mmol/L

When should I tell my family that I am pregnant?

  • When to tell your family is totally up to you. Some couples opt to hold off on any announcements until the first trimester has passed, and some keep the secret as long as they can—say, until the baby bum- starts making it obvious. Others have rushed off to tell the world. Still others tell selectively, starting with those closest. Since there’s no right or wrong time to tell or way to tell, do whatever works for you.
  • Understandable, just about every couple worries about the “what-if.” What if the happy news turns to sad news—what if pregnancy ends soon after it has started, with a miscarriage? More than any other reason, that’s why many couples hold off on announcing pregnancy until the first trimester is safely behind them.
  • But here’s the flip side to keeping pregnancy completely to yourselves early on. Should the unlikely event of a miscarriage or undesirable result on prenatal testing, will going it alone make the sad news harder to handle? So talk it over with your partner, and do what feels most comfortable. Just remember: In spreading the good news, don’t forget to take the time to savor it as a twosome.”

When should I tell my workplace that I am pregnant?

  • When to break to news to your workplace is your judgement call.
  • We may suggest that you can think about these following factors: environmental risk of your workplace (radiation, assess the risk), upcoming reviews, and baby-friend-level of your workplace!

When can I found out if my baby is a boy or a girl?

  • Usually, the sex of the baby can be determined at 20 weeks, during the fetal abnormalities scan.
  • If you are doing a special bloodtest called NIPT (non-invasive prenatal test), you will be able to find out as early as 12 weeks.
  • The radiographer will usually ask you whether or not you would like to find out at this time. It is completely up to you whether you want to find out at this point, or leave it as a surprise!

What can i expect at each antenatal checkup?

  • Generally, at each antenatal checkup, the doctor will ask you about your recent symptoms, examine your abdomen, measure your new weight, and answer any questions you may have at each particular stage of pregnancy.
  • Special ultrasound scans will be done at certain timepoints in the pregnancy, such as a fetal abnormalities scan at 20 weeks.
  • As you progress in the pregnancy, ultrasound scans to check the position and size of your baby will become more frequent.

What pregnancy scans should I do?

  • Here is a list of the types of scans that are offered and recommended in each pregnancy.
  • About the Dating Scan
  • The dating scan is usually done around 8-10 weeks after your last menstrual period (i.e. 4-6 weeks after your missed period). It is used to confirm the place of the fetus inside the womb and the presence of a heartbeat, which indicates viability. The size of the fetus is measured and used to estimate the current gestational age of the baby, as well as your estimated date of delivery. This scan will also be able to tell you if you’re having one baby or more than one. How exciting!
  • About the OSCAR test
  • The OSCAR test, recommended around 12 weeks, is used to screen for fetal trisomies – an abnormality of the genetic composition of the baby. The risk of your baby having trisomy is calculated based on an algorithm, taking into consideration measurements of the fetal neck, nose bone, and maternal age. In the case of a high-risk result (greater than 1 in 100 chance), further testing is necessary to confirm the diagnosis.
  • About the Fetal Abnormalities test
  • The Fetal Abnormalities scan is recommended at 20 weeks gestational. This is an important ultrasound scan that takes a detailed look at all the major organs of the baby and whether they are developing normally. This includes four chambers of the heart, the brain, the limbs, and the abdominal organs. Usually, this is also the time to find out the gender of the baby, if you wish to do so!
  • About Growth Scans
  • Growth scans are ultrasounds done routinely starting in the third trimester. Their main purpose is to check the position of the placenta and position of the baby (head up or down) in order to plan the delivery. Additionally, the fetal weight is estimated by taking the abdominal circumference of the fetus on the scan.

Are ultrasound scans safe in the pregnancy?

  • Yes! Ultrasound scans are commonly used by doctors for pregnant mums because they are safe and simple to use for obtaining images of your baby and his/her surrounding environment. They do not emit radiation, but rather sound waves that turn into a live, moving black-and-white image. Would you like to learn about different types of ultrasound scans?
  • About Abdominal Ultrasound
  • This most common form of ultrasound uses a small, rectangular probe to look at the baby through scanning your lower abdomen. It is usually not painful and very safe.
  • About Transvaginal Ultrasound
  • The transvaginal ultrasound involves inserting a thin probe into your vaginal with a disposable cover. This is sometimes necessary because when the fetus is in the early stages, the abdominal ultrasound may not be able to detect it or make out its details due to its small size. The vaginal pathway provides a much closer look to the womb. It method may cause slight discomfort in some women, but rest assured that it is safe for the baby.
  • About Doppler Ultrasound
  • Doppler ultrasound is a more specialized mode to look at blood flow through the placenta and the health status of the baby. Only certain pregnancies at higher risk may require this scan, and it uses a higher dose of soundwave compared to other types of ultrasound. Nevertheless, it is still within safe limits.

What medications should I avoid?

  • This question does not have a straight forward answer, as depend on many factors, including your stage of pregnancy and the risk benefit balance of taking or not taking the medication in your unique situation.
  • We would advice you to speak to your doctor about taking any medication in the pregnancy, so he or she can ensure that you are taking only what is necessary for you.
  • Don’t stop or start taking any type of medication that you need without first talking with a healthcare provider. Don’t make decisions about medication use during pregnancy based on lists you find online. Instead use the lists as a starting point to talk with your doctor.

Should I have a pap smear during pregnancy?

  • If you had your pap smear done < 3 years ago
  • You are not yet due for your next Pap smear. Women between 21 and 65 are recommended to screen every 3 years (unless you have had abnormal results in the past), so you may plan ahead and let your doctor know when you would like to screen next. Your postnatal appointments may be a good time for this, as a pelvic exam is usually done.
  • If you had your pap smear done > 3 years ago or not at all
  • Based on the information you provided, you are due for your next Pap smear! Antenatal appointments (and postnatal appointments) are good opportunities to do them, since doctors may need to examine you anyways so you can avoid an additional less-than-comfortable examination. Do discuss with your doctor at your next appointment!

Is bleeding normal in pregnancy?

  • Bleeding in the first trimester is concerning for a number of conditions, including miscarriage, threatened miscarriage, and ectopic pregnancy.
  • These conditions range widely in seriousness (e.g. mild implantation spotting in the first few weeks of pregnancy is common and harmless, where as an ectopic pregnancy could be life threatening).
  • If the bleeding is heavy (more than spotting) and associated with any abdominal pain, please seek emergency medical help. If you are having painless spotting, let your doctor know on the next visit, or consider visiting a nearby doctor’s office as early as possible.
  • Bleeding in the second trimester can be due to fetal, placental, or maternal conditions.
  • We recommend visiting an emergency room. Bleeding in the third trimester is concerning for placenta abnormalities such as placenta previa (low-lying placenta) or placenta abruptio (painful condition where placenta tears from uterine wall). Both these conditions may cause harm to the baby, please visit the emergency room immediately.

Can I take x-rays during the pregnancy?

  • Routine x-rays (such as dental x-ray) should be postponed until after delivery, just to be on the extra-safe side.
  • But if putting off x-rays during pregnancy just isn’t a good idea (the risk of having one is outweighed by the risk of not having one), most practitioners will green-light the procedure. That’s because the risks of x-rays during pregnancy are really very low and can be easily made even lower. Dental x-rays target your mouth. In addition, your doctor will put a lead shield to protect your baby. What’s more, a typical diagnostic x-ray of any kind rarely delivers more radiation than you’d get from spending a few days in the sun at the beach. Harm to a fetus occurs only at very high doses, doses you’re extremely unlikely to ever be exposed to. Still, if you do need an x-ray during pregnancy, keep the following rules in mind.”
  • Always inform the doctor or dentist ordering the x-ray and the technician performing it that you’re pregnant, even if you’re pretty sure they know and even if you checked it off on any forms you filled out.
  • Have any necessary x-ray done in a licensed facility with well-trained technicians.
  • The x-ray equipment should, when possible, be directed so that only the minimum area necessary is exposed to radiation. A lead apron will be used to shield your womb, and a thyroid collar should protect your neck.

Can i eat or drink during labour ?

  • Hospitals and doctors have different policies on eating and drinking during labour.
  • Eating during labour provides you with extra nourishment and energy to push during delivery.
  • If you do eat during labour, choose something light and easy on the stomach, that gives you an energy boost (such as toast or plain biscuits).
  • If you are thirsty and can drink during labour, isotonic drinks are recommended to give you energy. However, some may not recommend eating or drinking during labour, especially if you are on pain relief medication (as these can slow down movement of food through your stomach), or if you may need a general anesthetic (for an emergency caesarean section).
  • Don’t worry, if you are restricted on food and drinks during labour, you will still be able to suck on ice chips which will refresh you and cool you down during the tiring process of labour.

How do I look after my health and what kind of diet while pregnant ?

What should I eat or drink during the pregnancy?

  • You may be glad to know that the dietary restrictions in pregnancy is a very short list.
  • The only advice is to avoid raw food (including runny eggs and soft cheese), as they may carry microorganisms that could cause infection, harmful for you and your baby. Besides this, you can feel free to have any nutritious, balanced diet of your choice!

Should I eat for two?

  • Great question! In fact, that is a myth. Eating twice as much doesn’t double your chances of having a healthy baby – instead, it’s likely to mean excessive weight gain for you, which can put you at risk for pregnancy complications. This is because your body becomes more efficient at absorb nutrients during pregnancy.
  • Research evidence suggest that says if you’re at a healthy weight, you need no additional calories in the first trimester. Starting the second trimester, where the baby is growing faster in size, you may need around 340 extra calories a day, and around 450 extra calories a day in the third trimester. If you’re overweight or underweight, you’ll need more or less than this depending on your weight gain goal.
  • These numbers would also be different if you’re having twins or more! Check with your doctor if you need any clarifications.

What supplements should I take?

  • Most of us can get the vitamins we need by eating a balanced diet. However, there are certain vitamins that we would recommend depending on your period of pregnancy.
  • In the 1st Trimester
  • The only supplement that is needed in early pregnancy is folic acid. In fact, we recommend you to start taking folic acid as soon as you are trying to conceive. Please check with your doctor regarding the dosage, which depends on several factors, including your past medical and obstetrics history.
  • In the 2nd Trimester or 3rd Trimester
  • As the baby grows larger, it requires a little more nutrient from you. We would recommend you to start taking a multi-vitamin specially designed for pregnant women at this point. Please check with your doctor for the dosage that suit your needs!

Can I drink coffee or have caffeine during pregnancy?

  • Doctors usually agree that having under 200mg of caffeine per day is perfectly safe for your baby.
  • This is equal to approximately 2 tall sized coffees or 2 espresso shots.
  • Caffeine is a substance which crosses the placenta, so the baby is having some along with the nutrients from you.
  • While limited amount of caffeine will not affect the baby, large amount of caffeine intake has been associated with increased miscarriage. It may also prevent you from getting enough rest during the pregnancy.

Can I smoke in the pregnancy?

  • It is strongly recommend expecting mums to quit smoking before conception or as early as possible in the pregnancy, as smoking increases the risk of many health problems in the mum and baby, such as premature delivery and low birth weight.

How much alcohol can I drink in pregnancy?

  • Unfortunately, no “safe amount” has been determined for alcohol consumption in pregnancy. We would strongly recommend you to refrain from drinking any alcohol during the pregnancy, as it has been linked to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, a form of mental retardation in the fetus. Would you like to view some information quitting alcohol?

Do I need to change my Lifestyle when pregnant ?

Can I have perm or dye my hair in pregnancy?

  • Even though no evidence suggests the small amount of chemicals absorbed through the skin during hair coloring is harmful to you or the baby, some experts still advise waiting out the first trimester before any type of hair dying. Check with your doctor for his or her opinion. If you’re uncomfortable with a full dye job, consider highlights instead of single-process color.
  • Although hair perming and straightening are perfectly safe in pregnancy, you may not get the results you are hoping for. This is because hair responds unpredictably under the influence of pregnancy hormones. Therefore, feel free to use mechanical curlers or straightening irons that are chemical free, but be prepared to make peace with your new pregnancy hair!

Can I use sauna or steam room or hot tub in pregnancy?

  • Activities that sustain a high body temperature are better to be avoided in pregnancy.
  • This is because high temperatures are harmful for development of embryo and fetus, especially in the first and second trimester on brain and spine development.
  • Furthermore, the heat might lead to dehydration or dizziness, which becomes risk factors for falls.
  • The same goes for hot tubs, steam rooms, and Japanese Onsen. Quick hot showers are fine, so there is no need to switch to cold showers.

Can I have manicure / pedicure in pregnancy?

  • It’s perfectly safe to have your nails painted while pregnant.
  • There are, however, ways to make your experience even safer. Refrain from breathing in the fumes of nail polish for a prolonged time.
  • This can be done by asking for nontoxic polish, finding a well-ventilated salon, and/or wearing a mask. Ask the beautician to take extra precautions not to break any skin (i.e. during callous removal), as it can introduce infections.
  • If you do gels, ask for specially made gloves that cover your hands, exposing only your nails to the UV light (or frequent a nail salon that uses LED light).

How can I prevent stretch marks?

  • Stretch marks are caused by small tears in the supporting layers of the skin when your belly expands during pregnancy.
  • Most pregnant ladies will walk away from pregnancy with them – almost like a badge of honour! But we recognize that they may be undesirable.
  • To do your part in preventing stretch marks in your pregnancy, try to gain weight steadily and gradually, as the faster skin stretches, the more likely the stretching is to leave its mark.
  • Promoting elasticity in your skin by keeping a regular exercising and eating habit with vitamin C rich foods. Some women find that creams designed to reduce stretch marks are effective in preventing stretch marks, so you may apply your favorite cream or moisturizers, as they will at least prevent the dryness and itching associated with pregnancy.

Can I have facials in pregnancy?

  • Most facials are safe during pregnancy, and is a great way to clean out the excessively clogged pores due to pregnancy hormones.
  • Make sure they don’t contain ingredients that may harm the baby, such as vitamin-A derivatives. Some of the more aggressively exfoliating treatments may make sensitive skin during pregnancy worse.
  • Avoid facials that use an electrical microcurrent or lasers, as safety measures are variable. Let your beautician know that you are pregnant, and ask for preparations that are soothing and least likely to provoke a reaction. If you’re unsure about a particular treatment’s safety, check with your practitioner before going for it.

Are phone screens/computer screens harmful for the baby?

  • That’s a popular question! Most studies done on this subject have shown that the radiation emitted from electronic screens does not directly cause harm to the pregnancy. However, there are two ways that mobile devices indirectly cause harm to you and your baby.
  • Pregnant women are at higher risk of falling due to altered center of gravity and obstructed vision due to your baby bump. Walking while distracted by a mobile device can increase this risk, and falling in the pregnancy can cause serious harm!
  • The LED light emitted from your device screen can affect your circadian rhythm through suppressing the level of sleep hormone, melatonin. We would recommend switching off your mobile device 30 minutes to 1 hour before your planned bedtime!

Can I travel during the pregnancy?

  • Travelling by Car
  • Travelling by car is usually safe. Be sure to drive safely, and take frequent breaks to stretch your legs for lengthy trips. Keep nutritious snacks and water handy, and make sure the seat is comfortable by bringing along cushions for back support. Happy travelling!
  • Travelling by Train
  • Travelling by train is usually safe, but do check if there is a dining car, or pack enough meals and snacks for the ride. Booking a sleeping care if you are travelling overnight, as we would like you to be well rested during the pregnancy!
  • Travelling by Ship/Boat
  • If you’re planning to take a cruise ship or boat, do check with the organizer about any restrictions on pregnant women, and ask about medical facilities on board. Keep in mind that motion sickness may worsen nausea from any morning sickness, and as always, move about to stretch your leg often when you’re onboard to prevent blood stasis in your legs. It would be good to check with your doctor to see if your specific condition allows you to go on a cruise, and if you should carry any medication with you. Happy travelling!
  • Travelling by Airplanes
  • Airplane are usually safe for early pregnancy, but most airlines post restrictions on flying once you reach a certain point in the third trimester. Do check with your airline before booking the ticket. For any flight, try to get up and walk about every hour to prevent blood stasis in your leg, which could be a dangerous condition. Happy travelling!

 I have a bellybutton piercing – what should I do?

  • As long as your belly piercing is healed and healthy, you will not have to remove it until later in the pregnancy.
  • Your belly button marks where you connected to your own mom in the womb, not where your baby connects to you—which means a piercing won’t provide a path for pathogens to reach your baby. As you progress to the second and third trimester, you may find that your belly bar or belly ring becomes too uncomfortable to wear, tor start to rub or get caught on your clothing.
  • When that happens, it is best to remove the belly-button jewelry for the time being. We would not recommend getting your belly (or anywhere else on your body) pierced during pregnancy, due to the increased chances of infection.

Can I go for teeth whitening during pregnancy?

  • While there are no proven risks to tooth whitening during pregnancy, it is probably worthwhile to delay until after the pregnancy like most elective procedures involving chemicals, just to be on the super safe side.
  • Be sure to keep your teeth clean and well flossed, as gums are extra sensitive during pregnancy.

What should I wear during my pregnancy?

  • Generally, you are free to wear anything that makes your day!
  • However, do try to stay away from tight clothing especially around the belly area, including belts. This is because tight clothing may restrict your circulation and baby’s growth. Choose loose, comfortable and breathable clothing.

What should I wear high heels during my pregnancy?

  • Its best to stay away from high heels during pregnancy.
  • Not only do they increase the risk of fall, they also increase back pain. But hope is not all lost! You can go for lower wedges, and flats with good arch support are best.

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MBBS (S'pore), M.Med(O&G) (S'pore) Head & Senior Consultant Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology KK Women's and Children's Hospital Director (Clinical), Office of Patient Experience Deputy Director (Education), KKH Campus Associate Professor Duke - NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore

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