Frequently Asked Questions
If the labor is not going well or if the baby's position makes a vaginal birth too dangerous, if the mother has had previous cesareans for complications, and there are other high-risk conditions to warrant a cesarean. Most women can leave the hospital 2-5 days after a cesarean birth.
An episiotomy is a cut made in the tissue between the vagina and rectum. It can help the baby fit through without tearing the mother's skin and muscles. It may be needed if the baby needs to come out quickly, for example. The area is numbed before the cut is made under normal circumstances.
Raise your arms over your head, avoid lying flat on your back, sit up straight, and rest when you start to feel tired.
Avoid greasy or spicy foods, try having 5 small meals a day instead of 3 big ones, avoid eating just before bedtime, and avoid lying down after you eat.
Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain products, drink more water, and try to get some exercise or move around (brisk walks, etc.).
Keep your legs raised when you sit or lie down, try not to sit, stand or cross your legs for long periods, and avoid tight clothing. You may also wear compression hose to increase circulation.
Wear low-heeled shoes, use good posture, and avoid standing in one place or sitting for long periods. Avoid lifting heaving objects that you are not used to lifiting.
Pelvic floor exercises can help strengthen the muscles around the vagina and pelvis. The pelvic floor muscles support the baby, uterus and abdominal organs. Breathing exercises can help you relax and be very helpful during labor, especially if they become habitual. Stretching can relieve leg cramps and backaches. Stretching can also help tone muscles. Stretches would include bends (back muscles), trunk twists (stomach and back muscles) and calf stretches. Ask your physician about proper technique for stretching exercises.
Be sure to talk to your physician before starting or continuing an exercise program. Exercise during pregnancy has many benefits and there are a variety of exercises to do that are safe. You also need to make sure you get plenty of rest (at least seven to nine hours each night). It is also important to know your limits. Exercise can help you have more energy, tone muscles needed for delivery, improve your posture, strengthen your heart and lungs, lower stress and prevent excess weight gain. You can do brisk walking, swimming, biking (wear safety gear), take an exercise or yoga class. Avoid activities where the risk of hurting your belly or falling is high. If you aren't accustomed to regular exercise, start slowly. If you exercised regularly before pregnancy, you may need to adjust your routine to accommodate the changes. Once you are 24 weeks you need to start limiting your high impact exercises. Stop exercising and call your physician right away if you feel pain, have vaginal bleeding or discharge, feel dizzy or faint, feel short of breath, have an irregular heart rate or if your heart beats very fast, have trouble walking, have back or pelvic pain, or notice any other unusual symptoms.
Iron helps the body make blood and also helps your baby grow. Good sources include: red meat, dry beans, leafy green vegetables, dried fruits, and iron-fortified cereals.
Calcium helps build strong bones and teeth. Good sources of calcium include: milk, yogurt, cheese, dark-green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, and blackstrap molasses.
Folate (folic acid) helps lower the risk of certain birth defects. It is best to make sure you get enough folate starting months before pregnancy for the best outcome. Good sources of folate are leafy green vegetables, dry beans, citrus fruits, and through whole-grain breads/cereals.
Early detection and treatment can help prevent you and your baby from getting sick; it could even save your baby's life. You will need to be tested for the following:
- hepatitis B
- genital warts
and other STDs.
If at all possible, you need to be tested prior to becoming pregnant; otherwise these tests will be performed once you become pregnant.
Mothers can pass certain STDs to their babies during the birth and sometimes during the pregnancy or through breastfeeding. These can include but are not limited to HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
Come into the office for a blood draw to perform lab test to see if you've been affected. This needs to be done within 2 weeks of exposure.
- Exposure to x-rays can slow your baby's growth and cause other problems.
- Workplace, household and garden chemicals that are easily breathed in are especially dangerous; these would include fumes from paint, cleaning fluids and varnish.
- Lead, which can be found in lead paint, lead crystal, tap water and certain traditional remedies, can be breathed in or swallowed.
- Soiled cat litter can spread a disease which can cause birth defects. You will want to avoid changing the litter box during pregnancy.
- Rodents (mice, rats, hamsters) can also spread a disease that may cause birth defects.
- Hot tubs and saunas have excessive heat that can damage your baby's growing brain and spinal cord.
- Family violence, especially physical abuse can harm you and your baby.
- Excessive vomiting
- severe headache
- dizziness or blurred vision
- chills and/or fever
- swelling of the face, hands, feet or ankles
- sudden weight gain.
If you have diabetes, high blood pressure or any other health conditions, there may be special precautions in addition to those listed.
Preterm or premature labor happens when a woman goes into labor 3 weeks or more before her due date. Preterm labor can be dangerous for you and your baby. Signs include:
- having contractions that occur 4-6 times or more in 1 hour;
- belly cramps;
- a low, dull backache;
- an increase in vaginal discharge, or any unusual discharge;
- or if your bag of waters break.
Abdominal cramps or pain, vaginal bleeding, passing blood clots or whitish or grayish tissue and the baby moving less can be possible warning signs for a miscarriage.
This test is usually done around the 6th to 7th month of pregnancy. It checks for signs of gestational diabetes (diabetes that develop during pregnancy). Gestational diabetes usually goes away after giving birth. Special care may need to be taken during pregnancy and birth for an expectant mother with gestational diabetes.
This test takes a sample of the fluid that surrounds the baby. It is used to look for genetic disorders. It may also be used to check how well the baby's lungs are developing. In most cases, the test is performed between the 15th and 20th weeks of pregnancy.
This is a blood test that measures levels of substances produced by the fetus. They are used to check for certain birth defects.
Yes, some cramping is normal due to the uterus growing, however if the cramping is persistent or accompanied with bleeding you should call or go to the emergency room.
Yes, primarily if you have been sexually active within the last 72 hours. However, if it is accompanied with pain or the bleeding is heavy enough to soak a pad you should call or go to the Emergency Room.
The mother selects a pediatrician prior to the delivery time. This physician will be contacted at the time of the admission for delivery. The choice of pediatricians and family physicians that will care for your baby is completely up to the mother.
You can lie in a tanning bed as long as your core body temperature does not increase.
It's generally okay to have sex while you are pregnant. Call your physician immediately if you: begin having bleeding or contractions; feel pain during sex; or think your bag of waters has broken. If you have a history of miscarriage or preterm labor, ask your physician for advice.