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April 25, 2018 | Family Medicine
For many pregnant mothers, especially those having their first baby, you probably have a lot of questions for your doctor. Pregnancy comes with numerous changes, and some activities that may be off limits during part or all of the pregnancy term.
Let’s go over some of the most common questions mothers ask their doctors about what they can and cannot do during pregnancy.
Yes, having sex is safe during pregnancy from the time of conception all the way until your water breaks. However, there are some exceptions, particularly if you’re experiencing vaginal bleeding, or if your doctor has told you to avoid sex for any other reason or complication. You may also use any position during sex, as long as it doesn’t make you uncomfortable or cause pain.
The answer here depends on how far along in your pregnancy you are. During the first 20 weeks, it’s generally safe to sleep in whatever way keeps you as comfortable as possible. After this point, however, sleeping on the side is recommended. This is because the growing uterus can put pressure on veins that return blood to your heart while you lie flat, which can results in dizziness or lightheadedness.
While you should do your best to stay on your side after week 20, don’t panic if you wake up and happen to find yourself on your back. This happens from time to time, and you aren’t hurting the baby. Simply roll onto your side and go back to sleep.
There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about what drinks you can and cannot have during pregnancy, but generally it’s fine to consume caffeine while you’re pregnant. You can have up to 200 milligrams per day, which is the equivalent of two smaller cups of coffee or about four cans of soda. If you find that caffeine negatively impacts your ability to sleep or causes any other physical discomfort, it’s probably best to eliminate it from your diet during pregnancy.
Most everyone knows this, but it’s worth repeating: drinking alcohol is a firm “no”. No quantity of alcohol is considered safe during pregnancy, and drinking alcohol can cause serious damage to your growing baby, increasing the risk of premature birth and other birth defects.
As long as there are no complications or issues your doctor has raised with you, travel is perfectly acceptable anywhere in the world up to 28 weeks of pregnancy, and within the U.S. up to 35 weeks of pregnancy.
Beware of blood clot risk, which increases when you sit in one place for a long period of time—something you may do a lot while traveling, particularly if you are planning air travel. Make time to get up and walk around every couple hours to increase circulation and blood flow, particularly to the legs, and talk to your doctor about the benefits of wearing compression socks or other clothing that can encourage circulation. One other caution: Avoid travel to any countries with active Zika virus for the entire pregnancy, if you are planning to conceive, avoid these same places for at least two months prior to becoming pregnant.
If you’re thinking about a cosmetic procedure or using certain hygiene products, here’s what you should know:
Here are a few other areas to consider:
Your doctor can offer further recommendations on what you can and cannot do during pregnancy if you have specific questions about your own lifestyle or activities.
I practice the full range of family medicine including obstetrics, pediatrics, adolescent medicine, adult medicine and some orthopedics. I also perform colposcopy, cryotherapy and vasectomies. Due to the volume of deliveries we do, my practice has evolved to be more centered on women and children’s medicine, although I enjoy all aspects of family medicine.
“Botox? Spray Tans? Bikini Wax? What You Can (and Can’t) Do During Pregnancy.” WebMD. https://blogs.webmd.com/womens-health/2018/01/botox-spray-tans-bikini-wax-what-you-can-and-cant-do-during-pregnancy.html
Maria Oneida, MD
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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.