Facts & Advice for Expectant Mothers – Nutrition is the foundation for a healthy life
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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.
- Eat as you normally would with the following exceptions:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Take only prescribed medicines and exactly as prescribed.
- Iron and vitamins will be prescribed for you when you need them.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Showers are preferable, but tub baths are permitted.
- Be careful of falling when getting in or out of the tub.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.