Share This Post

FAQ / Pregnancy / Smartmum / Trimester 1 / Trimester 2 / Trimester 3

Pregnancy FAQ – Lifestyle eg Travel, Diet, Beauty, Exercise & Pets 2018

Pregnancy FAQ – Lifestyle eg Travel, Diet, Beauty, Exercise & Pets 2018

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) in Pregnancy

This article is a compilation of most frequently asked questions for pregnant women compiled by our author who are experts in O&G. Over 1500 answers & tips are provided to help educate and engage the women in Singapore.

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!

What kind of exercise is recommended during pregnancy ?

Can I work out during the pregnancy?

  • Yes! In fact, we would recommend you to stay active throughout your pregnancy, as long as you listen to your body, and stop when it is causing physical discomfort.
  • However, do get clearance from your doctor about your particular exercise regime, especially if you have had complications during the pregnancy, such as bleeding.

Can I jog in pregnancy?

  • If you were not an avid runner before pre-pregnancy, stick to brisk walking for now.
  • If you are an experienced runner, you may stay on track during pregnancy but limit your time to 20 minutes, and stick to level terrain or use a treadmill.
  • Pregnancy hormones often soften your ligaments and joints, which means that running may be more impactful on your knees than before and make you more prone to injury. The bottom line is listen to your pregnant body and adjust your exercises accordingly!

Can I lift weights in pregnancy?

  • We don’t recommend lifting weights in the pregnancy, as the sudden increase in abdominal pressure in the upgoing motion of lifting can potential cause harm to your womb.
  • In fact, avoid lifting any heavy items at all, but if you must, do it slowly. First, stabilize yourself by assuming a wide stance. Next, bend at the knees, not at the waist. And finally, lift with your arms and legs, not your back.
  • If you have to carry a heavy load when you’re shopping, split it evenly between 2 shopping bags and carry one in each arm rather than carrying it all in front of you as this may cause you to lose balance.

Should I give up family cat? Are cats dangerous for the baby?

  • The infection that you have heard of is probably toxoplasmosis, a parasite which gets transmitted in animal feces which could harm the baby’s brain.
  • There are a few alternatives if you don’t want to give up the cat entirely. You could get the cat tested for active infection by a vet, and ask a friend to care for them only if they’re infected. You could also hand off the litter-box duty to a family member, and always wash your hands thoroughly after touching your cat. Avoid touching stray cats during your pregnancy, as they are much more likely to carry the infection than indoor cats.

Share This Post

A/Prof Tan Thiam Chye
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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>