Medical Knowledge

Here are a few topics many women wonder about in regards to their health when pregnant. I have provided some information and links to great sites to help you get answers for those questions. Always consult with your health care physician with any real medical concerns.

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Whats safe and whats not while pregnant

I came across this article while doing my research and felt it was worth sharing. << -- The quotes (this whole post basically) in this post are not from me. They are from the person who wrote the article.

  • Alcohol - proceed with caution. Large quanties of alcohol can lead to your baby having foetal alcohol syndrome.  No one is sure how small amounts effect baby.  Experts hve different advice ranging from 1-2 drinks once or twice a week, to no alcohol whatsoever.  I personally did not touch a drink in the first few months.  Especially while brain development is happening.  Later I only drank socially and had one glass of wine.
  • Aromatherapy - Some essential oils are very beneficial in prganancy, but others are thought to be unsafe, so avoid massage oils, pillow sprays and bath products.  Use blends specially designed for pregnancy.  Oils that are okay inclue lavender,sage,citrusoils and camomile.
  • Asthma Medication - It is a vital to control your asthma, as it is dangerous for your baby to be deprived of oxygen if you have an asthma attack.  Let your GP know you are pregnant, and discuss ways to manage your asthma and stay safe,  Remember to tell your midwife, and others caring for you during your labour, that you are asthmatic, too.
  • Cystitis remedies - Steer clear.  Sachet medications aren't recommended as they have a very high salt content.  Try cranberry juice instead and drink lots of fluids.  If it doesn't clear up, see your GP, who can prescribe safe antibiotics.
  • Diarrhoea medicine - You can take rehydration drinks but not tablets,  If in doubt, ask your GP.
  • Exercise. - Keeping fit and active during pregnancy is not just good for you - it's also beneficial to your baby, with a few provisos: avoid high impact excercises, don't do any sit-ups or crunches (your abdominal muscles seperate during pregnancy and you risk tearing them), and make sure you stop whenever you feel tired or too hot.  Also, dont start anything new: stick to what your body is used to.  My exercise was walking to and from the train station to go to work.  A good half an hour combind during the day.
  • Fake tan - Go for it.  The chemicals in fake tanning products aren't absorbed nto your bloodstream, so they're safe.  Don't use sun beds  because, as well as being bad for your skin, they could cause you to overheat,  Also avoid tanning pills.
  • Flying- proceed with caution It's safe to fly in the first two trimesters, but most airlines have restrictions on flying in the last trimesters, but most airlines have restrictions on flying in the last trimester, so it's important to check with your airline.  It's a good idea to get a letter from your GP giving you permission to fly if your obviously pregnant, to avoid frustrating delays at the check-in desk.
  • Hay fever medication. - Steer clear of antihistamine tablets, but you can use nasal sprays that work directly on the affected area (your nose) and won't be passed through to your baby.  If in dought check with our pharmacist.  I suffered bad with sinus while pregnant and the Chemist assistant recommened Horse raddish and garlic vitaman tablets.  This cleared it up straight away.
  • Caffeine - Tea and coffe are safe as long as you don't have more than 300mg of caffeine a day - that's three cups of coffee or six of tea.  This is good news for me I have to have my hit each morning.
  • Hair dye. - There's no evidence that the chemicals in the hair dye are unsafe in pregnancy - but you could give it a miss for the first trimester to put your mind at rest.  Or minimise contact with chemicals b using a hair colour that isn't absorbed into the scalp, such as semi-permanent.
  • Kitty litter. - Cat fecies carry toxoplasmosis, which can harm your baby if you contract it during pregancy, altough the risk of this is very small.  Have someone else empty the cat litter, or wear rubber gloves if you really have to do it yourself.
  • Pain medication - Paracetamol is considered safe during pregnancy, but as with anything, it's best to save it for when you really need it.  Try other remedies, such as a cooling patches, that you can buy from pharmacists.  Most headaches are cased by lack of water.  If my body ached I had a nice warm bath.
  • Peanut Butter - It is thought that eating to many peanuts during pregnancy may increase your chances of having a baby with a nut allergy.  It's particularly important to be careful if you have a family history of allergies.
  • Making love  - Trying to say this with everyone's understanding with out being crude. Intermite relations.  If your having a normal, low-risk pregnancy, then sex is absolutely fine.  Check with your doctor if your've experienced any bleeding, a previous miscarriage, or you have a low-lying placenta.
  • Smoky pub and clubs - It is now well known that passive smoking is dangerous, and nay toxins from cigarette smoke will be passed through to your baby in small amounts.  Ask friends and family not ot smoke around you, and when socialising, choose a non-smoking enviroment.
  • Spa baths - Hot baths, saunas and spas aren't a good idea as it's bad for you and your baby to get too hot.  Bath wate should be no highter that body tempreture.
  • Tampons - If you experince spotting have it checked by a midwife,  use other sanitary items.  You should nver use a tampon as it can introduce bateria , which is close to your cervix and uterus.  Also should not be used after birth either.
  • Paint - Solvents in paint can be harmful to your unborn baby.  While painting the odd room won't expose you to much, ensure that there is plenty of ventilation and stop if you fin the fumes too strong.  Trust your instincts.
  • Tight Jeans - Tight clothing in general, will not physically harm you or your baby, they're definitely not the most comfortable pregnancy option.  I personally could not stand anything night over my belly.  Firstly  I found it hot and secondly uncomfortable
  • Thrush medication - Thrush is common in pregnancy.  Anti-fungal creams are fine, pessaries, but you can't take oral tablets.  If in doubt check with your GP or pharmacist.  I found to keep this under control taking a acidophilous tablet and drinking cranberry juice helped.
  • Underwire bras - Your breasts are growing and changing throughout pregnancy.  If anything puts pressure on the new, delicate tussue, it could become inflamed or blocked.  wear comfortable brash and make sure you get fitted for the right sized bra when breastfeeding.
  • Vaccincations - It's best to avoid holiday vaccination or risk the disease.
  •   X-rays and microwaves - The level of radiation in most x-rays is far lower than the levels tha could be dangerous to your baby - just make sure you tell the radiographer that your pregnant.  As for micorwaves, go for it.  Thre are  no reports of adverse pregnancy outcomes related to them.

Twins and Multiples

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There are many questions about having twins or multiples. I have not had that experience, so I did some research and came across a site with a great Q&A Page. Here are the questions asked and answered.
Please visit their site for the answers:
  • Why did the multiple pregnancy rate increase?
  • Who is most likely to have multiples?
  • What is the difference between identical and fraternal twins?
  • How are multiple pregnancies diagnosed?
  • What complications occur more frequently in a multiple pregnancy?
  • What special care is needed in a multiple pregnancy?
  • How is preterm labor treated?
  • Should a woman expecting multiples gain extra weight?
  • Can a woman expecting multiples deliver vaginally?
  • Does the March of Dimes support research relevant to multiple gestations?
  • References

Foods to avoid during pregnancy

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Please also read: Harmful Cravings,

What are the foods I should avoid during pregnancy?

Holiday foods to avoid during pregnancy: Read this great article by

Raw Meat: Uncooked seafood and rare or undercooked beef or poultry should be avoided because of the risk of contamination with coliform bacteria, toxoplasmosis, and salmonella.

Deli Meat: Deli meats have been known to be contaminated with listeria, which can cause miscarriage. Listeria has the ability to cross the placenta and may infect the baby leading to infection or blood poisoning, which may be life-threatening. If you are pregnant and you are considering eating deli meats, make certain that you reheat the meat until it is steaming.

Fish with Mercury: Fish that contain high levels of mercury should be avoided. Mercury consumed during pregnancy has been linked to developmental delays and brain damage. A sample of these types of fish include: shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish. Canned, chunk light tuna generally has a lower amount of mercury than other tuna, but still should only be eaten in moderation. Certain types of fish used in sushi should also be avoided due to high levels of mercury. Please see Mercury in Fish for specific types of fish and further information on how to calculate mercury levels.

Smoked Seafood -Refrigerated, smoked seafood often labeled as lox, nova style, kippered, or jerky should be avoided because it could be contaminated with Listeria. (These are safe to eat when they are in an ingredient in a meal that has been cooked, like a casserole.) This type of fish is often found in the deli section of your grocery store. Canned or shelf-safe smoked seafood is usually OK to eat.

Fish Exposed to Industrial Pollutants: Avoid fish from contaminated lakes and rivers that may be exposed to high levels of polychlorinated biphenyls. This is primarily for those who fish in local lakes and streams. These fish include: bluefish, striped bass, salmon, pike, trout, and walleye. Contact the local health department or Environmental Protection Agency to determine which fish are safe to eat in your area. Remember, this is regarding fish caught in local waters and not fish from your local grocery store.

Your purchase supports the APA

Raw Shellfish: The majority of seafood-borne illness is caused by undercooked shellfish, which include oysters, clams, and mussels. Cooking helps prevent some types of infection, but it does not prevent the algae-related infections that are associated with red tides. Raw shellfish pose a concern for everybody, and they should be avoided altogether during pregnancy.

Raw Eggs: Raw eggs or any foods that contain raw eggs should be avoided because of the potential exposure to salmonella. Some homemade Caesar dressings, mayonnaise, homemade ice cream or custards, and Hollandaise sauces may be made with raw eggs.

If the recipe is cooked at some point, this will reduce the exposure to salmonella. Commercially manufactured ice cream, dressings, and eggnog are made with pasteurized eggs and do not increase the risk of salmonella. Restaurants should be using pasteurized eggs in any recipe that is made with raw eggs, such as Hollandaise sauce or dressings.

Unpasteurized Foods/Soft Cheeses: Imported soft cheeses may contain bacteria called Listeria, which can cause miscarriage. Listeria has the ability to cross the placenta and may infect the baby leading to infection or blood poisoning, which can be life-threatening. You would need to avoid soft cheeses such as: Brie, Camembert, Roquefort, Feta, Gorgonzola and Mexican style cheeses that include queso blanco and queso fresco, unless they clearly state that they are made from pasteurized milk. All soft non-imported cheeses made with pasteurized milk are safe to eat.

Unpasteurized Milk: Unpasteurized milk may contain bacteria called listeria, which can cause miscarriage. Listeria has the ability to cross the placenta and may infect the baby leading to infection or blood poisoning, which can be life-threatening. Make sure that any milk you drink is pasteurized.

Also, avoid drinking unpasteurized juice.

Pate: Refrigerated pate or meat spreads should be avoided because they may contain the bacteria listeria. Canned pate, or shelf-safe meat spreads can be eaten.

Caffeine: Although most studies show that caffeine intake in moderation is OK, there are others that show that caffeine intake may be related to miscarriages. Avoid caffeine during the first trimester to reduce the likelihood of a miscarriage. As a general rule, caffeine should be limited to fewer than 300 mg per day during pregnancy. Caffeine is a diuretic, which means it helps eliminate fluids from the body. This can result in water and calcium loss. It is important that you are drinking plenty of water, juice, and milk rather than caffeinated beverages. Some research shows that large amounts of caffeine are associated with miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight, and withdrawal symptoms in infants. The safest thing is to refrain from consuming caffeine.

Alcohol: There is NO amount of alcohol that is known to be safe during pregnancy, and therefore alcohol should be avoided during pregnancy. Prenatal exposure to alcohol can interfere with the healthy development of the baby. Depending on the amount, timing, and pattern of use, alcohol consumption during pregnancy can lead to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome or other developmental disorders. If you consumed alcohol before you knew you were pregnant, stop drinking now. You should continue to avoid alcohol during breastfeeding. Exposure of alcohol to an infant poses harmful risks, and alcohol does reach the baby during breastfeeding.

Unwashed Vegetables: Yes, vegetables are safe to eat, so you still need to eat them. However, it is essential to make sure they are washed to avoid potential exposure to toxoplasmosis. Toxoplasmosis may contaminate the soil where the vegetables were grown.

Herbal tea: Although herbal tea may be soothing, avoid it unless your health care provider says it's OK — even the types of herbal tea marketed specifically to pregnant women. There's little data on the effects of specific herbs on developing babies. And large amounts of some herbal teas, such as red raspberry leaf, may cause contractions.

Large quantities of liver: Liver is OK during pregnancy, but don't overdo it. Liver is high in vitamin A, and too much vitamin A may cause birth defects.

Unwashed fruits and vegetables: To eliminate any harmful bacteria, thoroughly wash all raw fruits and vegetables and cut away damaged portions. Avoid raw sprouts of any kind — including alfalfa, clover, radish and mung bean — which also may contain disease-causing bacteria.

Artificial sweeteners:  According to the FDA, consumption of artificial sweeteners is safe for the general public. No studies show conclusively that it's harmful to consume artificial sweeteners during pregnancy. However, this is a personal decision, and for your peace of mind--and just to be on the safe side--you might decide to limit your consumption of artificial sweeteners during pregnancy. Instead, substitute fruit juice with sparkling water when you need a light, refreshing drink.
Raw sprouts: According to a 1999 U.S. Health and Human Services press release, raw sprouts have led to some incidents of salmonella outbreaks. They advise that pregnant women eat sprouts that are cooked, or avoid eating them altogether.


Pregnancy Complications

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This is a subject best left to those with the most knowledge, so I have gathered information sites for you to read:

This information below is from:

There are several things that may cause a complication in your pregnancy. However, some are more common than others. Below is a list of common complications.

Ectopic Pregnancy:

  • Ectopic pregnancies can be caused by an STD, such as chlamydia, or an infection, such as pelvic inflammatory disease. Women who have undergone sterilization procedures or have been diagnosed with endometriosis or other female reproductive disorders are also at risk.
  • If the fallopian tube is getting tighter, or more narrow, the egg is fertilized outside the uterus, and in the tube, thus the name: “Tubal pregnancy”
  • Causes heavy bleeding, severe pelvic pain, dizziness and may result in death
  • Emergency surgery or Methotrexate are used for treatment

Rh Negative Disease:

  • Rhesus isoimmunization
  • Rh factor is determined by the presence of a protein surrounding red blood cells. Without the protein, a woman is considered Rh negative.
  • The mother is Rh negative, and her child is born Rh positive, and she starts to build antibodies up against the next Rh positive baby.
  • During the beginning of the pregnancy, the mother is tested to see if she has been sensitized. (Meaning the baby’s red blood cells have been affected my the mother’s developed antibodies)
  • RhoGAM is a medication given around 28 weeks to prevent the build-up of these antibodies
  • RhoGAM is given again at birth, only if the baby is Rh positive

Bilateral chloroid plexus cysts:

  • These are small cystic parts in the choroid, which is the tissue in the ventricle that produces spinal fluid
  • This is a very common complication
  • Detected by ultrasound, usually in the second trimester

HELLP Syndrome:

  • Hemolytic anemia (broken down blood cells), Elevated Liver (sign of problematic liver), Low Platelet count (potential problem in blood clotting)
  • Occurs mostly in the third trimester of a woman’s first pregnancy

Group B Strep:

  • The leading cause of infections in newborns
  • Not group A strep (strep throat)
  • Doctors find Group B Strep through cultures during pregnancy
  • Can be treated during or after pregnancy

Preterm Labor:

  • When the mother’s body is trying to deliver the baby before she has reached full-term (37 weeks)
  • There is a risk of delivering the baby too early when the contractions are closer, stronger, and longer.
  • Can feel like menstrual cramping or a subtle backache
  • In serious situations, bed rest and medications are necessary to help the pregnancy go full-term


  • Gestational Diabetes develops during pregnancy, when a woman’s body is not making enough insulin
  • Develops usually in second trimester
  • Cannot be treated by pills, most treatment is through diet or insulin

Low birth weight:

  • Caused by poor nutrition, substance use (cigarettes, alcohol, drugs)
  • Can be an effect of a STD, other contagious diseases, or no pre-natal care
  • When a baby is born pre-maturely, it stays in the hospital for up to four months
  • Babies who are born at a low birth rate run the risk of respiratory infections, blindness, learning disabilities, cerebral palsy, and heart infections


“Early Pregnancy Loss: Miscarriage, Ectopic Pregnancy, and Molar Pregnancy,” The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. 1998.
“Common Concerns,” The Nemours Foundation. 2002.
“Bleeding During Pregnancy,” The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. 1999.
“Diabetes and Pregnancy,” The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. 2000.
“Group B Streptococcus and Pregnancy,” The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. 1998.
“The Rh Factor: How It Can Affect Your Pregnancy,” The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. 1999.
“Positive News for Rh Negative Women,” OnHealth Network Company. 2000.
Last updated: 11/2006

Medical illnesses and Pregnancy

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It is always best to talk to your midwife/OB/GYN about any medical conditions you may have or may feel you have. Dealing with depression/suicidal thoughts, alcohol/drug abuse, even smoking during pregnancy is harmful to your unborn child. If it is to hard to talk to your midwife/OBGYN at this time, that can be understandable - please contact (dial) 2-1-1 for a local number to call in your area for a confidential person to talk with.

I deal with depression and can tell you that none of my doctors ever judged me. It was hard at first to talk about things - but when I finally did, after a few visits, I started to feel better about talking to my doctor and he really helped guide me with my choices and didn't force any one decision or another on me. Again, even if at first you talk to a friend or bring a friend with you to help you talk to your midwife/OB/GYN, that is OK.

Chronic Illness During Pregnancy
Source:  for a complete list - visit this site.
When asthmatics become pregnant, about 25% find that their symptoms get worse, 25% report that they improve and 50% report no change.
If you're currently being treated for any form of cancer, be cautioned: There are two very important reasons to avoid pregnancy.
Diabetes and Pregnancy
Doctors used to warn women with diabetes not to become pregnant. Modern medicine has changed that. Now most women with this condition can expect healthy outcomes, for themselves and their babies.
Epilepsy and Pregnancy
If you're among the 800,000 American women of childbearing age with epilepsy, you and your obstetrician will have some medical decisions to make.
Heart Disease and Pregnancy
If you have a history of heart disease, heart murmur or rheumatic fever, consult with your cardiologist before conceiving to see if there are any special medical precautions you should take.
High Blood Pressure and Pregnancy
Seven of every 100 women are affected by high blood pressure, or hypertension, during pregnancy and most did not have a previous history of this condition.
Lupus and Pregnancy
About half of all lupus pregnancies are totally normal, whereas 25% end with the premature delivery of a normal baby and another 25% end in miscarriage or stillbirth.
Multiple Sclerosis and Pregnancy
Pregnancy and childbirth don't have any negative long-term effects on women with multiple sclerosis.

Pregnancy And Sex

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