Here’s a list of some of our really common questions in pregnancy and the answers that we are routinely asked. ALL questions are important, and you should not feel any question is too simple or too small. We would always like you to ask us and receive the correct information. While the internet is helpful at times, it is a bit of a minefield at others. Here are some Frequently Asked Pregnancy Questions.
What vitamins do I need?
The essential vitamin to take, starting ideally two months before conception and continuing until 12 weeks gestation is Folic Acid. The standard amount is 500 ug (micrograms). Virtually all common multivitamins marketed for pregnancy contain this essential ingredient, as well as a whole lot more. If your diet is a bit patchy, then a multivitamin is probably beneficial. If your stomach is a bit sensitive on the other hand, plain Folic Acid 0.5mg tablets will be much easier on the digestive system (and a lot cheaper).
What can I take for headaches, sore throats and other minor pains?
Paracetamol is safe in the normal adult dose of 2 tablets (a total of 1g) every 4-6 hours. The maximum dose of 4g (8 tablets in 24 hours) is the same in pregnancy.
Please do not take aspirin or aspirin like drugs for relief of pain or fever. This class of anti-inflammatory medication is contraindicated in pregnancy, except in very special circumstances.
Can I lie on my back when I am sleeping?
In the first half of pregnancy when the uterus is still relatively small there is no issue with this. After 20 weeks the uterus becomes noticeably larger week to week and lying flat on your back may not be comfortable. Also, your blood pressure may drop a bit and make you feel faint and or nauseated as the big blood vessels in your body are compressed a little by the enlarged uterus. It is recommended from 30 weeks that it is best to sleep on your side. Of course you will toss and turn during the night, and if you wake on your back just re-position yourself to your side.
Can I use hair dye during my pregnancy?
The answer is yes. Hair is dead keratinised material that is grown outward from the scalp. Thus there is no absorption of hair dye into your circulation. It is uncommon to see a woman who does not colour her hair during pregnancy and this has been the case for a long time.
Can I keep waxing or having laser hair removal?
You can continue with your usual waxing or hair removal choices.
What about spray tans and pregnancy?
Personally, I prefer patients not to use spray tan in general as it covers the whole body and there is absorption of the product through the skin to some degree. It is not known to be harmful but probably best avoided, especially in the first trimester.
Is sunscreen safe during pregnancy?
You should be sunsmart during your pregnancy as your skin may be more sensitive in general. You can use standard sunscreen products safely, but also concentrate on avoiding the harsh Australian summer sun between the hours of 11am and 4 pm where possible, when the sun’s rays are at their strongest.
Can I fly when I am pregnant?
You may fly interstate until 36 weeks gestation in a uncomplicated pregnancy.
For overseas travel most carriers will not allow you to fly after 34 weeks gestation.
Airlines will usually require you to carry a letter from the doctor saying you are fit to fly, especially once your bump is visible. Feel free to discuss travel plans with me as sometimes the advice will vary depending on an individuals medical history, also have a read of Travelling in Pregnancy post.
Should I remove nail polish for labour or if I am having a caesarean section?
Many woman want to look prepared and ready coming up to the big day. If a patient is to have a caesarean section it is good if one index fingernail doesn’t have nail polish. This is so a simple monitor for oxygen levels can be attached to your finger and read accurately.
Can I visit the dentist during pregnancy?
Dental care is very important in pregnancy and I encourage you to have a checkup with your dentist. Should you need a filling during your pregnancy it is safe to do so and so is local anaesthetic used by dentists. Dental cavities deteriorate more quickly in pregnancy so don’t ignore your dentist’s advice.
Can I eat ham and salami on a pizza?
While it’s important not to eat cold smoked meats from the refrigerator due to a small risk of Listeria infection, it is safe to cook these foods until hot and then eat them: for example on a pizza.
What about mayonnaise?
Mayonnaise is best avoided during pregnancy as the sauce may sit for unknown amounts of time in a fridge and be a Listeria risk. Also, it’s not particularly good for you!
Can I go to a rock concert, or listen to loud music?
It is safe to attend music, concerts, theatre etc. You may feel your baby respond to vibration with movements felt in the uterus, and that is normal. It’s more a case that your own hearing can be hurt if the sound is too loud. Your baby’s hearing won’t be affected as he or she is safely cocooned in a largely silent world.
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This article has been written by Dr Peter England – Expert Obstetrician and Gynaecologist. Read more about Dr Peter England