Facts & Advice for Expectant Mothers (not intended to replace the advice of your health-care provider)

Pregnancy is a very normal process and allows you to continue most of your normal activities.

Three simple rules:

Do everything in moderation.
Do not become overly tired.
Do not undertake new activities.

PRENATAL VISITS: In order to follow you closely, you will be asked to visit the office:

Once a month until the 7th or 8th month.
Twice a month until the last month.
Once a week during the last month.

FIRST VISIT TO THE DOCTOR:

Complete history of your health and previous pregnancies.
Laboratory studies: Urinalysis, blood count and typing (including Rh).
Complete physical examination including Pap smear and measurement of pelvis.

DANGER SIGNS TO WATCH FOR:

Vaginal bleeding: Observe carefully for exact amount. Report any bleeding heavier than spotting. If unable to reach the doctor, phone the delivery room at the hospital.
Swelling of face, fingers or legs. A small amount is normal.
Headaches: Report if they are severe and persistent.
Pain in abdomen: This should leave if you lie down.
Persistent vomiting.
Chills and fever.
Sudden gush of water from vagina: Probably means the bag of water has broken. Slow leak should also be reported.
Fainting: Occasional feeling of faintness is normal.
Severe shortness or breath.

DIET:

Eat as you normally would with the following exceptions:
Starches
Fats
Fried and rich foods
Smoked or salted fish
Ham, bacon, luncheon meats, sausage
Canned vegetables, commercial soups
You may drink milk (3 or 4 glasses per day). Skim and powdered okay.

FLUIDS:

Drink at least 4-6 glasses of water per day. Will also help prevent constipation.
Limit coffee or caffeine drinks to a bare minimum.
Avoid sweet drinks like soda pop.

WEIGHT GAIN:

Average optimum weight gain is 20 to 30 pounds; buy may vary according to size of patient and initial weight.
Rapid weight gain in a few days should be reported.

MEDICINE:

Take only prescribed medicines and exactly as prescribed.
Iron and vitamins will be prescribed for you when you need them.

CONSTIPATION:

If increased water intake does not solve you constipation problem, take a large glass of prune juice or half glass of warm with lemon juice in it each morning.
If these fail, take only the laxatives prescribed by your doctor.

HEARTBURN:

This feeling usually results from regurgitation of stomach acids into the esophagus.
Your doctor will prescribe an antacid to relieve this, but avoid bicarbonate of soda.

HEMORRHOIDS:

Try to keep stools soft by taking sufficient water and perhaps a stool softener as prescribed you your doctor.
Hot sitz baths and witch hazel soaks twice a day also help
In certain cases, rectal suppositories may be prescribed for you.

VARICOSE VEINS:

Use a good grade of elastic stockings, preferably those that reach to the upper thigh.
Elevate your legs when you sit down.
Avoid crossing or doubling your legs under you when sitting.
Report any soreness or hardness in the veins to you doctor.

DOUCHES: These are rarely necessary and should be taken only with permission from your doctor.

INTERCOURSE: Intercourse is permissible during pregnancy unless it produces pain or bleeding. Some doctors suggest no intercourse during the last month of pregnancy.

BATHS:

Showers are preferable, but tub baths are permitted.
Be careful of falling when getting in or out of the tub.

OTHER ACTIVITIES:

Continue all but very strenuous activities but avoid fatigue.
Take a nap if you need to.
Continue with your job unless your doctor feels you should not

CLOTHING:

Comfortable clothes are the best.
Maternity girdles are not necessary for everyone.
Brassieres must be fitted and have bands and straps that support without pressure.
Shoes should be comfortable and safe. High heels are out for most pregnant women.

NAUSEA:

Common, especially in early pregnancy.
Most women begin at six weeks and are over it at twelve weeks.
Frequent, small meals seem to help.
Dry foods are usually better tolerated.
If vomiting becomes too severe or persistent, notify your doctor.

MUSCLE CRAMPS: These are common, but can be helped with heat.

PAINS IN THE ABDOMEN:

Common and normal if not severe and persistent.
Toward the end of pregnancy watch for recurrent, regular pains that can be timed. This may be the beginning of labor.

URINATION:

Frequency of urination is common both early and late in pregnancy because of pressure of the uterus on the bladder.
Painful urination may indicate infection and should be reported.

VAGINAL DISCHARGE: Normally increased in pregnancy, if it becomes irritating it indicates infection and should be reported.

WHEN TO GO TO THE HOSPITAL:

FIRST BABY: If your contractions (hardening of the abdomen) come 4-5 minutes apart and last for 40-50 seconds. After observing these for 30 minutes, report to your doctor or to the hospital.

SUBSEQUENT BABIES: Anytime you feel you are in labor, call your doctor.

FALSE LABOR: Contractions are usually irregular and may be relieved by walking.

BAG OF WATERS: If you are losing water (not urine), phone your doctor. He will tell you what to do.

WHAT TO TAKE TO THE HOSPITAL:

Slipper and robe. Pajamas unless you want to use hospital attire.
Your own brassiere...nursing type if you want to nurse.
Toiletries
Stationery and pens
Clothes to dress the baby for the trip home.

REMEMBER: Your maternity care does not stop until you have reported for your postpartum checkup following your delivery.

NOTE: Information on this website is not intended to replace recommendation made by your healthcare provider. If you have questions or concerns, call your physician.