Constipation during Pregnancy
Many changes occur in your gastrointestinal tract during pregnancy. Rising progesterone levels cause smooth muscle relaxation which can contribute to constipation. Pressure is also placed on the GI tract from the enlarging uterus. Some women experience constipation during pregnancy. Some helpful suggestions include:
–adequate fluid intake
–high fiber diet
–fiber supplements like Metamucil
–stool softeners like Colace
–laxative use not allowed
Morning Sickness and Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy
Morning sickness of n/v of pregnancy is a highly individualized experience. About 80% of all pregnancy women experience some form of this condition. Most women experience the symptoms of n/v of pregnancy from 6-12 weeks of gestation, although it may last longer in some people. Some helpful suggestions include:
–never let your stomach become completely empty
–eat many small meals per day
–avoid spicy, rich or fried foods
–eat simple carbohydrates like crackers
–take ginger in pill or natural form
–wear seabands which are elastic bands that may be purchased at drug stores which apply pressure to an acupuncture point in your wrist which is thought to reduce nausea
–avoid strong smells such as perfumes, gas stations,
–increase vitamin B6
–try unisom (an over the counter sleep aid that is useful in decreasing nausea)
–take zofran (a strong anti-nausea medication that is used in hospitals, this medication is safe in pregnancy)
When morning sickness gets out of control, it is called hyperemesis gravidarum. Hyperemesis gravidarum occurs when there is non-stop vomiting during pregnancy. It can lead to dehydration. Sometimes it may become necessary to hospitalize patients to treat them with IV fluids and anti-nausea medications.
Exercise during Pregnancy
Exercise is a healthy habit that may be continued during pregnancy. There are some complications of pregnancy where exercise will need to be curtailed, like preterm labor, placenta previa, preterm premature rupture of the membranes. Ask your practitioner if exercise is acceptable for you during your pregnancy. Here are some helpful guidelines for exercise during pregnancy:
–warm up thoroughly
–ease into new routines
–be careful when stretching and lifting weights, your center of gravity is changing
–there are no strict heart rate limits
–keep your exertion level no higher than 7/10
–prenatal yoga classes are fun and safe
–prenatal water aerobics are offered at Lutheran General Fitness Center
–exercise is a wonderful way to keep yourself and your baby healthy during your pregnancy
Over The Counter Medications which are Safe in Pregnancy
All of these can be taken as directed on packaging, no dosage adjustment is necessary for pregnancy.
Aches/Pains/Fever– Tylenol (regular or extra strength)
Colds–Sudafed, Robitussin DM, Mucinex, Cough Drops (Sucrets, Cepacol, Halls, Chloraseptic), Saline Nasal Spray
NOTE: ALL PREGNANT WOMEN ARE STRONGLY RECOMMENDED TO RECEIVE THE FLU VACCINE IF PREGNANT DURING FLU SEASON
Allergies– Benadryl, Claritin, Zyrtec
Heartburn–Tums, Pepcid (AC or Complete), Zantac, Tagamet
Yeast Infection–Monistat (7-day course recommended in pregnancy)
Hemorrhoid– Anusol, Tucks pads (witch hazel pads), ProctoFoam
Constipation– Colace, OTC fiber supplements (Metamucil, FiberCon)
Food Safety in Pregnancy
Meat: Avoid unpasteurized meats, be careful with raw meats, make sure they are safe
Seafood: The only fish that should be avoided altogether are the large deep salt water fish such as shark, mackerel, swordfish, tilefish. That being said, due to concern of mercury content in fish it is advised to limit consumption to no more than 2 servings a week. This applies to all shellfish as well.
Processed Meats: There is a concern regarding the nitrate content in processed meats, such as hot dogs and deli meats. There are no strict guidelines regarding this, but a good rule of thumb is to consume no more than 2 servings a week of these types of foods.
Dairy: Avoid unpasteurized dairy products- if an ingredient label uses the word “pasteurized” in the list, it is fine to consume. It is unusual in the US to find unpasteurized dairy products (this includes what would classically be considered “soft” cheeses)
Caffeine: The general guideline is to keep caffeine consumption to 150mg/day or less. That would be the equivalent of 1.5 (8oz) cups of coffee a day, or double that amount of soda or tea.
Until 20 weeks of pregnancy, you can sleep however you find yourself to be the most comfortable. After mid pregnancy, there is a concern of sleeping flat on your back for long stretches of time as it may decrease maternal blood pressure . That being said, you should try to sleep on your side as much as possible in the second half of pregnancy (right or left). However, if you find that you wake in the middle of the night on your back please do NOT be alarmed: most women do not experience any dangerous decrease in blood pressure. If you do not feel dizzy while lying on your back, you are probably fine, and should just use your sides as much as you comfortably can.
Beauty Treatments in Pregnancy
Just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean you don’t care about looking good, right?! It is generally accepted as safe to color/highlight or perm your hair in pregnancy. Body waxing is also considered safe, as are manicures/pedicures.