Here is a list of common FAQs related to pregnancy
Allied Health Practitioners: Acupuncture, Acupressure, Chinese Medicine, Massage, Chiropractor, Physiotherapist.
All the above services maybe able to provide you with additional care in your pregnancy to improve symptoms associated with the physical changes, that occur in pregnancy. When making an appointment, make the practice is happy to treat pregnant women.
Acrylic Nails: The odour associated with this can cause you to feel nauseated, so try not to go in peak times and go lightly dressed, as the salon might be warm which can cause dizziness. It is not harmful to the baby.
Artificial sweeteners: You can consume and use artificial sweeteners.
Baths: You can have a nice hot bath, it can be very relaxing and help with mild discomfort at the end of the day. Unlike spas the water temperature in the bath cools down and you need to top it up with hot water again!
Beauty: Facials, waxing and laser treatments are all ok in pregnancy. Always notify the practitioner at time of booking the treatment so they can adjust treatments and organise the right therapist on the day. Increased skin sensitivity sometimes occurs, so skin maybe a little inflamed after treatments, but this will settle.
Bras: When do you need to wear a Maternity Bra? There is no right answer. However there does to appear to be more potential for problems like mastitis (breast infection due to blocked ducts) if wearing underwire bras that are no longer comfortable. The breast can grow up to 5cm bigger and may result in over 500g of additional weight in each breast. This change can occur from as early as 6 weeks. It means for some women a change in bra size will occur very early on! Others will be comfortable until later in pregnancy. If your bra is digging in or leaving ridges in the breast tissue it’s time to think about a maternity bra.
It is also advised not to sleep in underwire bras. Instead, consider a soft shelf bra or tank top bra if you need support at night. It’s ideal if you can get fitted for your first maternity bra. They generally have wider straps and adjustable back fastenings and also allow room for when milk supply changes breast size increases again when the milk comes in.
Braxton Hicks Contractions: These are painless irregular uterine tightenings that are felt mostly across the top of the uterus . They are not a sign of labour and are not associated with period pain. Lying down and good hydration will usually settle them. They are more common in a second or subsequent pregnancy.
Cats : It is fine to have a cat. Always wear gloves to change cat litter. Also be careful in the garden. Always wear gloves and wash hands on returning to the house.
Cheese: Avoid all cheeses that are either soft or firm and stored in liquid (e.g. feta, mozzarella), whether pasteurized or not, as there is still a chance of listeria contamination.
Dentist: Dental hygiene is very important. Regular 6 monthly check ups should be maintained. Any pain should always be followed up. Fillings, extraction and x-rays etc. are fine to have in pregnancy. Always inform the dentist that you are pregnant.
Driving: There are no rules about when to stop driving in pregnancy. If you feel well and are comfortable then you can drive through out the pregnancy. Always wear a well-fitted seatbelt. You may have to adjust your seat as your posture changes to support your back.
Driving after a caesarean section may be possible after 2-3 weeks but this should be discussed on an individual basis. Its important to check you insurer for specific clauses relating to driving after surgery. They may require a letter, which we can provide for you.
Exercise: Pregnancy can be a great time to start a healthy habit! Most exercise, such as swimming, walking, pregnancy exercise classes, can be continued. However skiing & horse riding are NOT recommended. Contact sports after the first trimester are usually not recommended. Maintaining your heart rate around 140-150 beats per minute is considered safe. Remember good hydration before and after and a snack before you start is sensible. Yoga and Pilates are recommended from 12-14 weeks. We hold both antenatal and postnatal yoga classes on Thursdays.
Flu Vaccine: Pregnant women are considered a high risk group for complications associated with the flu. Therefore, the flu vaccine is highly recommended in pregnancy. Flu Vaccine is free at the GP’s, or available from us for $50.
Fish: The advice to maintain a healthy heart is to take 500mg of Omega 3 per day. This is equivalent to 2-3 150g serves of oily fish per week or 500-1000mg capsules per day. Avoid deep-sea fish in pregnancy due to possibility of high mercury levels.
Flying: Unless advised by Dr. Morris or another health provider, flying in pregnancy is safe. If travelling for 4 hours or longer compression stockings are recommended to reduce the risk of deep vein thrombosis. Always take a letter with you that states your medical provider is happy for you to fly. We can supply these for you.
General Practitioners: Pregnancy is a good time to start building a relationship a good GP close to home, so you can take your baby to them for regular immunisations or for concerns about the baby’s health.
Headaches: Headaches can be hormonal in the first 12-20 weeks of pregnancy. They can also be related to neck discomfort that occurs due to hormonal effects on the ligaments. Dehydration and tiredness can also cause headaches to occur. Paracetamol as per normal dosage recommendations, a massage or acupuncture may help with these symptoms.
High blood pressure after 20 weeks may also be the cause of headaches. If you have any visual disturbances, feel unwell plus have a sudden onset of swelling or concerned the headache may be related to your blood pressure, a check up is recommended.
Herbs: Herbs & herbal tonics if prescribed by a qualified practitioner are safe and can be very beneficial in pregnancy.
Hair dye: Hair colouring treatments are safe in pregnancy. The strong odours and warmth in a hair salon may cause you to feel nauseas or faint. Always have some water with you dress lightly and possibly delay treatments until first trimester symptoms have resolved.
Hiccups: Babies get the hiccups in the uterus. This can feel like a dull slow regular pulse. This is a normal action for the baby and nothing to be concerned about.
Iodine: Have you had your levels checked? Do not take more than what is in pregnancy multivitamin unless advised by health practitioner. A urine test is the best way to know if you are deficient. Medicare do not cover this test at present, so there will be an out of pocket cost from the laboratory.
Jogging: Jogging/running are ok to continue in pregnancy if this is not a new form of exercise for you. Ligament discomfort that feels like a “stitch” can occur. This is not harmful, but may take the enjoyment of it! If it frequently occurs, it may be time to start power walking instead! Ligaments in general can become quite lax in pregnancy, so be carefu,l as a twisted ankle and other such injuries may be considerably worse in pregnancy.
Laser: See beauty
Massage: See Allied Health
Peanuts: Nuts are ok to eat and in small amounts are a good snack in pregnancy, dry roasted or natural form rather than salted are best (almonds/walnuts/cashews/peanuts/hazelnuts)
Pets: Good hygiene around pets is advised. Always wear gloves when cleaning cat litter etc. Ensure your pet is up to date with immunisations. In pregnancy it is best to start good habits for the animal early, for example, not allowing your cat/dog into baby’s’ room before the baby arrives, so they don’t find it difficult later on.
Paracetamol: This excellent form of pain relief and also the safest to reduce a temperature in pregnancy. Follow dosage as per manufacturer recommendations.
Pools: Swimming in pools cold or heated is fine. In fact swimming or other water exercise is one of the best types of exercise to do during pregnancy. It’s aerobic and least likely to cause harm. It may also help with oedema (swelling) in the lower limbs and hands by improving circulation.
Raspberry Leaf Tea: Tea or liquid/tablets may be of benefit. It may help with uterine tone thereby improving regulation of contractions. Research has shown it may shorten second stage of labour when taken regularly from 36 weeks.
Stretching: is not harmful to you or your baby under normal circumstances. Reaching up or down to get something from shelving etc. will not cause harm. Stretching before or after exercise should be done gently so as not to overextend, which can occur more easily due to increased laxity of the ligaments in pregnancy.
Spas & Sauna: Are not recommended in pregnancy
Sleeping Positions: Sleeping flat on your back with one or two pillows is not recommended after 20 weeks. The weight of the pregnancy may put pressure on major blood vessels causing your blood pressure to drop and reduce blood flow to the baby. Sleeping on your left or right side or with a wedge under one buttock to gently tilt you more to one side is ideal. If you do wake up flat, do not panic just roll over and readjust your pillows. Lying in a semi recumbent position (pillows or a large wedge behind you starting from lower back) is ok if your hips become too uncomfortable but ensure you are on a reasonable slope.
Tens: TENS machines can be a very effective form of pain relief in labour. It does not cause any harm to you or your baby.
Vitamin D: Have you had your levels checked? Do not take more than what is in pregnancy multivitamin unless advised by Dr. Morris/another health practitioner. A routine antenatal blood test will determine if you need extra Vitamin D supplementation, which will be arranged via our office. You will be informed if your levels are low, and advised of a good supplement.
Water: Drinking tap water in Australia poses a very low contamination risk. In other countries it is advised to drink bottled water and avoid ice in drinks. You should aim to drink between 2.5 – 3 litres of water per day during pregnancy.
Whooping cough: Vaccination against whooping cough is important for all new parents. It is safe for pregnant women to be immunised in the third trimester (28-40+weeks) or soon after the baby is born. Grandparents/other regular household contacts are also encouraged have the vaccination. The vaccine is available in our rooms.
X ray: Generally XRAY’s are fine, although always wear a lead apron as appropriate and advise whoever is performing it that you are pregnant. Where possible, avoid in the first trimester.
By Belinda Brodrick
Midwife at Dr Morris | Sydney Mother & Baby