Frequently-asked questions during pregnancy

Below are the answers to many of the frequently-asked questions we receive from our patients. If you have additional questions or concerns during your pregnancy, be sure to talk with your doctor.

How do I contact a doctor if I have an urgent concern?

If you have an urgent question/concern or may be in labor outside of normal office hours (between 5:00pm-8:00am, weekends and holidays) call our main office number first - 414.476.0306. You will be directed to our answering service who will reach our doctor on-call. 

Always call our office number before proceeding to the hospital.

Should I get the flu vaccine?

The flu vaccine is recommended by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Centers for Disease Control for all women who will be pregnant during the flu season.

We do not administer the vaccine in our office, but you can get it at the health department, local pharmacy or your primary care doctor. The flu vaccine can be given during any point in your pregnancy.

What should I eat (and not eat) during pregnancy?

Most women only require 300 extra calories per day during pregnancy. 

Extra nutrients needed during pregnancy include iron, folic acid and protein. You can also obtain a portion of these nutrients with a daily prenatal vitamin supplement. 

Shrimp, salmon, and catfish are safe to eat during pregnancy.  They are low in mercury. You can eat up to 12 oz (about 2 meals) of these fish per week during your pregnancy.

Avoid the following foods:

  • Unpasteurized milk or soft cheeses
  • Raw or undercooked meat, poultry, shellfish
  • Shark, swordfish, king mackerel, tile fish.
  • Prepared meats (hot dogs and deli meats), unless they are heated until steaming

I have severe nausea and vomiting. What can I do?

Nausea and vomiting during pregnancy is very common.  Hormonal changes, emotional factors and delayed emptying of the stomach can all cause these symptoms.  Nausea and vomiting during pregnancy may occur any time of day or night.

To help with these symptoms, eat frequent small meals that combine protein and carbohydrate every few hours. 
Limit the amount of fatty and spicy foods you eat. Try eating a small bland snack, such as crackers, before getting out of bed in the morning.  Eating foods high in B complex: nuts, dried fruits, green leafy vegetables, brown rice & brewers yeast may also help.

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends taking Vitamin B6 (25 mg) by mouth 3-4 times per day to treat nausea and vomiting. You may also take doxylamine (over the counter Unisom) 12.5 mg (1/2 Unisom tab) by mouth 3-4 times per day.

How much weight should I expect to gain?

You most likely will gain up to 5 pounds during the first trimester, and then ½ to 1 pound per week after that.  But, weight gain during pregnancy depends on your pre-pregnancy weight.

Women who have a normal body mass index (BMI), a measure of body mass based on height and weight, should gain between 25-35 pounds.

If your BMI is > 30, the recommended weight gain is only 11-20 pounds.  If your BMI is > 35, then less than 10 pounds.

Is exercise safe during pregnancy?

Yes!  Healthy women should begin or continue moderate-intensity aerobic activity during pregnancy.  Eating well and exercising is important for staying healthy during your pregnancy.

Avoid exercise or activities with a high risk of falling or injury such as water skiing, downhill snow skiing, horseback riding or any type of contact sports.  After your first trimester, avoid exercises where you need to lie flat on your back for long periods of time. 

Talk with your doctor before you begin any new exercise program.

Is it safe to color my hair?

According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, hair dyes are most likely safe for use during pregnancy because so little dye is absorbed through the skin. 

We recommend avoiding hair coloring during first trimester and using partial head color or highlighting to reduce dye exposure.

Can I use a hot tub or sauna while pregnant?

Avoid using hot tubs and saunas during the first trimester as the heat may affect development of the neural tube, and could increase risk of neural tube defects like spina bifida.  After the first trimester, limit hot tub use to 10 minutes and keep the water temperature below 100ºF. Also drink water to stay hydrated. Hot baths are safe as long as the water temperature is below 100ºF.

Can I travel while pregnant?

Yes. The best times to travel during pregnancy are typically between 14 and 28 weeks because the most common pregnancy emergencies occur during the first and third trimesters.  However, for normal pregnancies, traveling by car and air can be done up to 36 weeks.

Remember to drink plenty of water during travel to stay hydrated.

What activities are allowed if I go on vacation?

Remember: safety first. Avoid activities with a high risk of falling or injury such as water skiing, downhill snow skiing, horseback riding and any type of contact sports.  Scuba diving is NOT safe during pregnancy due to water pressure changes and risk of decompression sickness. Avoid rides at amusement parks that create sudden jerking movements or warn that you should not ride if pregnant.

Can I “tan” while I’m pregnant?

You need to use extra precautions because of increased sun sensitivity. When you are pregnant, you are more prone to sunburn, sun spots, and sun exposure can make the “pregnancy mask” worse - which is the darkening of the skin around the eyes, nose and mouth. Use sunscreen and drink plenty of water outside.

Avoid artificial tanning beds during your pregnancy.

Can I paint while I'm pregnant?

Painting with latex paint is considered safe during pregnancy.

Make sure you have proper ventilation in the room(s) that you are painting.

Do not climb on ladders while pregnant due to changes in balance and your increased risk for falling.

Is it safe to get dental work done?

Yes. Dental work, including routine cleanings and cavity fillings, is safe during pregnancy. Tell your dentist that you are pregnant.

If you need X-rays, double lead shielding of your abdomen is required.  If you need a dental filling or a more extensive procedure, local anesthesia without epinephrine is recommended.  Most antibiotics used for dental care are in the penicillin family and are safe for use during pregnancy. 


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