Here is a list of common worries or queries many
mothers-to-be face during the course of their pregnancy,
labor and after giving birth. They wonder on how
the choices they make and the actions they take
will impact on the fetus, on their health and on
the pregnancy in general. Perhaps you may have wondered
about them yourself!
I got the flu / a cold!
Since colds and flu are viral attacks antibiotics
won't remedy illness the way a bacterial illness
can be cured. You have no choice but to let it run
its course. Avoid decongestants, antihistamines
and cough medicines which contain alcohol unless
with your doctor's permission. Try non-medical tactics
such as using a humidifier to help ease breathing
problems, elevate your sleeping position with the
aid of pillows; drink hot broths to open nasal passages,
have cool baths or compressors. Use menthol rubs
such as Vicks. In general acetaminophen (paracetemol
or Tylenol) is considered safe as a fever-reducer.
Most importantly take ample rest to ward off more
dangerous infections. The flu vaccine is not advisable
in the first trimester as it can cause fever which
can be dangerous to the fetus.
I take allergy medications!
Most medications are safe including allergy shots
but check with your doctor nevertheless. Allergies
usually worsen during pregnancy because of your hormones;
on the other hand, allergies can clear up too. Check
with your doctor on cortisone sprays - they are not
absorbed into your blood.
I get migraines!
Sometimes headaches disappear during pregnancy and
sometimes they don't. If they don't it is best to
take the no drug approach: consider lying down in
a dark room with a cool compress over your eyes,
take walks in the open air, avoid known food triggers
and include meditation into your regime. Most standard
migraine drugs are not safe but acetaminophen taken
sometimes is safe.
I am lactose-intolerant!
Doctors usually prescribe calcium supplements. Check
with your doctor on lactase pills that will supply
the missing enzyme required to break down milk sugar.
Other options are lactose-reduce milk and cheese,
buttermilk and some yogurts. Sometimes the problem
eases in late pregnancy.
I hate milk!
In addition to the above suggestions, make the effort
to take dark green vegetables, small boned fish,
custards, tofu, calcium fortified bread and orange
juice with added calcium. Blend milk or nonfat milk
powder into foods such as soups, eggs, cereals etc.
Avoid caffeinated drinks or salty foods when you
eat calcium rich foods as these affect calcium absorption
I can't keep anything down!
During the first trimester calorie intake is not
that important; keeping yourself hydrated and healthy
is. Whatever little you can eat make your choices
as healthful as possible and drink lots of fluids.
Salty fluids such as soups or beverages like Gatorade
helps. If you cannot even down fluids, have dry
skin and notice your urine getting darker, contact
I have asthma!
Pregnancy has no effect on asthma about 50% of the
time. Most of the new inhalers are safe to use during
pregnancy - check with your doctor.
I still have morning sickness
in my second trimester!
If you still feel sickish after the 4th month you
should work doubly hard at ensuring that whatever
you are eating is laden with nutrition. With the
fetus growing inside of you, it will take certain
nutrients from your reserves and very soon your
body stores will reach depletion point i.e. your
health will be at risk. If nausea persists into
the 5th month inform your doctor so that you can
get dietary advice and be monitored for possible
problems such as anemia and dehydration.
I forgot to take a prenatal
One day's lapse won't do harm if you are generally
eating a balanced diet. Do not try to make up for
the nutrient loss by taking two pills the next day
- an overdose of vitamins is any day more harmful
than a brief deficit. Try taking your vitamin every
day at the same time so it becomes a habit. Pop
your vitamin with a glass of orange juice to increase
I am gaining weight too fast!
A steady weight gain after week 24 is necessary,
so do not try dieting or cutting back on calories.
Brief sessions of exercise are better than none
at all. Water retention can be mistaken for weight
gain so check first. Even if your weight jumps from
one checkup to another don't panic - your doctor
is monitoring your vital signs to rule out health
problems. If you gain more than a pound or two in
a single day and notice puffiness in your ankles
and face, alert your doctor.
am gaining weight too slowly!
Your doctor checks your weight at each visit to
see if you are gaining appropriately. If you are
gaining inadequately your doc may review your diet
and suggest a calorie dense diet as well as assess
your physical activity level to see if you are not
overdoing the exercise bit.
I don't feel like doing anything!
By the eight or ninth month your size alone will
make getting out of bed a big deal, forget your
routine activities. While this is expected you ought
to be able to keep up with basic exercises such
as stretches and kegels along with walking or swimming.
Reduce the frequency or the length of time or distance
but don't cut back totally. By continuing with some
exercise regime you will improve your mood and prepare
yourself for labor. However you are exempted from
the above if you are very close to your due date
- by then no one feels like doing much anyway.
Falls rarely cause injury to baby or mother. Your
child is very secure inside the sac and your own
softened ligaments insure you against sprains. After
a fall sit down and wait to feel your baby move,
a sign that fetus is just fine. If still in doubt
your doctor can monitor fetal heartbeat or do a
sonogram. Should you have severe abdominal pain,
vaginal bleeding or other fluid releases alert your
My water breaks and I am out
This is a common fear. In just about 10% of pregnancies
do membranes break before labor begins. Often it
happens in the evening or night hours when you are
at home. But if it happens when you are out, try
to stay calm and get help. Call your doctor before
I feel sick during labor!
It is not unusual to vomit while in labor especially
during the transitional phase or after some medications.
Just do as your body dictates and don't worry about
I wish to change my mind about
Speak up. Not everything will go according to plan
so you are entitled to changes. You can always change
your mind about your preferences. The final decision
though will rest on how the labor is progressing.
It's too late for epidural!
That means your labor is progressing so rapidly
that you are near the finishing line (read you are
near or at transition). Epidural at this point may
not work to dull the pain as you dilate fully. It
may also act as an impediment to your pushing.
I am too tired to nurse right
There is no rule saying that you must begin feeding
minutes within delivery. Try as soon as you feel
up to it, ideally within the first 4 hours of delivery.
Newborns can breastfeed up to 12 times and should
nurse at least 8 times without restrictions.
I have inverted nipples!
What is important is that the baby latches on to
the areola successfully. Some women can draw out
their nipples on their own by simply pinching them
between the thumb and forefinger; you can also consult
the lactation consultant for some exercises. Alternatively
you can depend on devices such as breast shells,
suction molds and breast pumps.
My baby doesn't seem interested!
It is common for newborns to nurse slowly with frequent
pauses in between - that is because sucking is hard
work. If your baby doesn't seem enthused about making
up for the skipped feed when the next one is due,
consult your pediatrician. Your doctor will want
to see if baby is gaining adequately and is not
I don't produce enough milk!
Only about 5 in 100 women are truly unable to breastfeed.
Breast size and nipple shape have nothing to do
with it; sometimes fatigue and anxiety can interfere
with lactation, so be sure you are getting enough
rest. Breastfeeding within the first hours of life
and not offering any formula or water in between
will help establish a healthy milk supply. Breastfeeding
on demand also leads to more milk production.
I am sick!
Continuing to feed can help protect your baby from
the illness because of the antibodies your body
is manufacturing. Many types of medications are
safe if you need to take any including acetaminophen,
ibuprofen, antibiotics. Inform your doctor you are
breastfeeding and double check on the drug's safety.
Breastfeeding is wearing me
Mothers often complain of lethargy since nursing
mothers are literally giving something of themselves
to their babies. Breastfeeding isn't exclusively
to be blamed - fatigue in early months is due to
recovery from the birth process and the irregular
sleep-wake patterns. Rest and nutrition helps to
restore your health; nursing mothers need 300-500
calories a day ideally from protein and calcium
sources such as milk.
My breasts leak all the time!
Leaking is most common before a regular feeding
pattern is established - thinking about your baby,
milk in the unsuckled breast and the accidental
rub of a shirt or towel or foreplay can trigger
the let down reflex. To absorb leaks use breast
pads and change them often to keep the area dry.
Excessive leakage often stops within few months
after a more predictable pattern is formed.
I have breast implants!
Depending on the incision site, there should be
no problem. Inform your pediatrician about the implants
so that baby's weight gain can be monitored. Also
be in the know of the probability of silicone and
other by-products from ruptured implants contaminating
breast milk - many experts believe that silicone
leakage is so slight that the benefits of mother's
milk outweigh any risk.
I have had a breast reduction
This depends on the technique used. Your plastic
surgeon can tell if the ducts were left intact and
I had a section and I want to start my exercise
A c-section is a major op. Wait for at least 2 weeks
before making any attempt to start on simple work
out like stretching. Get your doc to approve on
any abdominal work (usually 4-8 weeks are required
following the surgery). Begin slowly with isometric
exercises. If the incision hurts or pulls at any
time during exercise, you are probably doing too
much too soon.