Nosebleeds are common in pregnancy due to dilated blood vessels and increased blood volume. It is not uncommon to notice a small amount of bleeding when blowing your nose or sneezing. If you notice your nose dripping, squeeze the nostrils together and the bleeding should stop. If the nosebleeds seem to be aggravated by dry conditions, particularly in the winter, apply a small amount of Vaseline inside each nostril. A humidifier may also be helpful. If your nose is bleeding heavily, will not stop, or you are swallowing an excessive amount of blood, please contact the office.
The amount of weight gained during your pregnancy from the enlarging fetus, placenta, amniotic fluid, increased in body fluids such as blood, and increasing breast size is known to be between 20 to 25 pounds. Weight gain beyond this amount is most commonly due to an increase in fat deposition and will only make it more difficult to achieve your pre-pregnancy weight after you have delivered. Do not expect to gain very much weight during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. During the last 28 weeks of pregnancy you can expect to gain anywhere from ½ to 1 pound a week.
If you have varicose veins before pregnancy or develop them during pregnancy you will need to wear support stockings throughout the day during your pregnancy. This will provide support and help keep them from getting worse. Elevating your legs on a footstool or couch whenever possible will also help.
Many women notice increased vaginal discharge during pregnancy. This is normal as long as it is not irritating or itching. If your discharge does become symptomatic, with itching and burning, please notify the office or tell us during one of your return visits.
Ultrasound is a sophisticated technology with many uses in obstetrics and gynecology. An ultrasound machine is available in our office for our patient’s convenience and lower cost. From an obstetric standpoint, ultrasound is used to assess the baby’s age, fetal growth and viability.
Exposure to sunlight or ultraviolet light may increase or intensify pigmentation of your skin in pregnancy. Some women notice the mask of pregnancy (chloasma), in which they have darkened areas on their face. If you choose to sunbathe, use a sunscreen that will provide some protection to your skin. The sun or tanning bed is not dangerous to your unborn baby.
Swelling of the lower extremities, especially during the latter months of pregnancy, is a normal physiologic even. Swelling of the hands or face should be brought to the attention of the doctor. Staying off your fee and lying on your left side is usually quite beneficial in helping to decrease swelling. Sometimes your swelling may be due to excess salt in your diet. Some salt in your diet is necessary, but excessively salty foods and salting food at the table should be avoided.
Sexual intercourse is safe during most normal pregnancies. If you have bleeding or a lot of cramping during or after intercourse, then you’ll need to abstain from any future sexual activity during the remainder of your pregnancy. Intercourse is also forbidden if your membranes have ruptured.
You may paint with latex (water based) paints. Clean up following the use of latex paints can be done with soap and water. Do not use paint that requires the brushes be cleaned with paint thinner or turpentine. When painting, be sue the room is well ventilated and if the fumes bother you, leave the area.
Is any bleeding during pregnancy normal?
Please report any bleeding from the vagina that you have during your pregnancy. It is recommended that you stay off your feet and rest, abstain from intercourse and no douching. If you pass any tissue, try to save it in a small plastic bag, such as a zip lock and bring it to the office, so that the doctor can examine it. If the bleeding is heavy or you have excessive pain or cramping, go to the Emergency Room located at KCH.
Harmful Substances (Personal)
- Alcohol: There is no safe level of alcohol consumption while pregnant.
- Smoking: Smoking reduces the amount of oxygen to the baby. Smoking results in increased risk of premature deliver, miscarriage, stillbirth and low birth weight babies. It is not safe to smoke cigarettes or cigars during pregnancy. Studies have shown that infants who are exposed to cigarettes or cigars are at high risk for developing lung disease and are 2-3 times more likely to die of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
- Nictotine patches: Patches are not safe to use during pregnancy
- Caffeine: The studies on caffeine use are inconclusive, although some indicate that high doses of caffeine may increase the frequency of birth defects. It is recommended that you switch to decaffeinated products, or try to limit your intake to no more that 200 – 400 mg. of caffeine per day, which is one to two cups of regular coffee.
- Artificial Sweeteners: Moderate use of foods and beverages sweetened with Nurtrasweet (Aspartame) or Splenda has not been shown to be a hazard to the mother or baby. The exception would be any women who has been diagnosed with PKU as an infant or child Saccharin is not recommended in pregnancy or when breast-feeding. Because some diet items contain both Nutrasweet and Saccharin, you will need to read the label before consuming diet food or drink. Diet fountain drinks may contain Saccharin. Stevian, a natural sweetener, has been deemed by the FDA as safe during pregnancy.
- Undercooked meat: Toxoplasnosis is a parasitic infection that can be transferred to humans through eating uncooked or undercooked meat.
- Certain Fish: Swordfish, shark, king mackerel and tilefish may contain high levels of mercury and should be avoided. The FDA advises that pregnant women can safely eat 12 ounces per week of other cooked fish. You should limit fresh fish caught by family members to one serving (3-6oz.) per week. YOU SHOULD NOT EACH FISH CAUGHT IN INDIANA RIVERS. It is considered safe to eat up to two cans of regular tuna or one can of albacore tuna per week.
- Listerosis: This is an illness caused by bacteria found in certain foods – specifically unpasteurized milk, soft cheese, raw vegetables and shellfish. Symptoms can occur weeks after you are exposed and can include fever, chills, muscle aches and back pain. There may be no symptoms at all. When a pregnant woman is infected, the disease can cause serious problems for the fetus, including miscarriage or stillbirth. To prevent listeriosis, wash all fruits and vegetables before using them. While you are pregnant, don’t eat: unpasteurized milk or soft cheeses, raw or undercooked meat or poultry, prepared meats such as hot dogs or deli meats unless they are reheated until steaming hot. ALWAYS be sure to wash your hands and any utensils, countertops or cutting boards that have been in contact with uncooked meats.
- Marijuana: It is illegal and is a dangerous drug that crosses the placenta and will appear in breast milk. It should be completely avoided.
- Street drugs: They are illegal, dangerous to your pregnancy and should be completely avoided.
Harmful Substances (Home/Work)
- Cleaning Agents: Do not use chlorinated hydrocarbon cleaning fluids.
- Pesticides: Do not work with pesticides. If you have pesticides in your home, leave the house for several hours and have good ventilation in the home.
- Hobby/chemicals: Avoid photographic solvents which contain bromides, as these can be dangerous to the pregnancy. When working with ceramics or stained glass, you may absorb excessive amounts of lead and arsenic.
- Degreaser/paint strippers: These should be avoided as they may contain Methylchloride which can be absorbed by the lungs and skin
- Paints/Solvents: Oil based paints may be harmful and should not be used. Spray paint, which contain M-butyl ketone, should not be used. Turpentine and other liquid painting stripping agents also contain Methylchloride and are dangerous to use with pregnancy. Latex (water based) paints may be used.
- Cat box liter: Toxoplasmosis is a parasitic infection that can be transmitted to people from cat feces. Pregnancy women should not employ the cat litter box. Contact with the cat feces while gardening can also transmit toxoplasmos. Wear gloves while working in the yard or garden.
- Occupational hazards/chemicals: In November 1985, the OSHA Standards Act or Right to Know Law was passed. This law gives any worker the right to know what kinds of chemicals she works with daily, and what known health hazards they may cause. It is both your responsibility and your employer’s responsibility to educate yourselves about any chemicals and their hazards in your work place, especially during pregnancy. They should be able to provide you with Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) that provide you with information on any chemical to which you are exposed.
Mild hair loss is common in pregnancy and for three to six months after delivery. This loss is self-limiting and reversible. Permanents are not dangerous, but the results may be less satisfactory than when you are not pregnant. Hair colorings, both permanent and non-permanent, are generally considered safe to use after the first trimester.
If you have a problem or question which requires our immediate attention please contact the office.
After office hours, nights, or on weekends call the operator at Kosciusko Community Hospital at 574-267-3200. Tell the operator that you are an obstetrical patient of ours and that you need a doctor to call you as soon as possible. Often times a question can be answered by obstetrical nurses on duty at the hospital. If you have a serious emergency then proceed to the emergency room at KCH only or if out of town, proceed to the nearest emergency room.
Douching is prohibited during pregnancy.
Dizziness & Fainting
This occurs frequently with some women during the early months of pregnancy and usually is associated with cardiovascular changes that are going on inside your body. If you get up quickly, the heart cannot pump the blood fast enough to get the brain and you may get a little lightheaded. To help prevent this, rise up from the lying down position to a sitting position for a few minutes. Then slowly stand to allow your body time to compensate for that change in position. If this problem occurs frequently, please call our office. Carbohydrate consumption may also result in hypoglycemic episodes 1 ½ to 2 hours after eating.
When bothered by frequent, watery stools, remember to replace that thing which your body is rapidly losing, mainly fluids. It is not important to force yourself to each solid food at this time. In fact that may make diarrhea worse. Instead drink large amounts of half strength sports drinks, Gatorade or other liquids such as clear soups, broths, or Jello. Avoid fruit juices, coffee, and milk products. During this time you may also be experiencing muscle aches, headaches, and fever, so take acetaminophen in the usual prescribed adult dosages. Most episodes of diarrhea resolve on their own in 24-36 hours. When the frequency of your stool starts to decrease you may gradually resume solid foods, beginning with dry carbohydrates such as crackers, pretzels or toast. If diarrhea persists longer than 36 hours, please contact the office.
What about dental care during pregnancy?
Routine dental care can be maintained throughout your pregnancy. Be sure you tell your dentist you are pregnant. It would be preferable to have routine x-rays done after the first trimester. Any time x-rays are done, you should be shielded with a lead apron. If more extensive dental work needs to be done and is not urgent, it would be preferable to wait until after the first trimester and have it done under local anesthetic. If the need arises to have extensive dental work under anesthesia, please call the office so we can check with your physician.