Unless you’ve been told to refrain or there is a specific problem with the pregnancy, such as bleeding, leaking bag of water, or preterm contractions, sexual intercourse is safe during pregnancy. It may be necessary to experiment to avoid discomfort. If intercourse is painful or causes bleeding or prolonged contractions (it is normal to have some contractions following intercourse), please talk with your physician or midwife.
Medicines Safe to Take
Before taking any over-the-counter or prescription medication not mentioned below, you should check with the office.
You should not take aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen sodium unless directed to do so by your physician or midwife. Regular strength acetaminophen (Tylenol) is the medication of choice for pain or fever. If you have a fever of 100.4 or higher, please call the office.
For sinus congestion with colds, allergies, or flu, pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) may be used. You also may use a saline nasal spray, such as Ocean or Nasal. Do not use Neosynephrine nasal spray for longer than 3 days. You may take Robitussin DM for coughs or chest congestion. A warm salt-water gargle is recommended for a sore throat. Throat drops, spray, or lozenges are acceptable. A cool air vaporizer may help you sleep at night. Increased fluid intake and getting sufficient rest are essential. If your nasal or throat drainage changes from a clear color, please call the office.
Spotting of blood may occur in 40% of all normal pregnancies during the first trimester. If you are spotting, begin best rest and call the office. Avoid heavy lifting, exercise, and sexual intercourse for 48 hours after the last episode of spotting.
You should be drinking 8 to 10 glasses of liquids a day while you’re pregnant. This will help to prevent you becoming constipated in the first place. Fruit juices such as prune and apple juice are very good at keeping you regular and should be included. You should also increase the fiber in your diet by eating bran or shredded wheat cereals, bran muffins, raw fruits and vegetables. Daily exercise, particularly walking, will also help to prevent constipation. If constipation should occur, there are several non-prescription medications that may be used – Metamucil, Citrucel, Fibercon, Per Diem, Fibermed Biscuits, Haley’s MO, and Milk of Magnesia.
Should this happen increase your fluids intake to at least 6 to 8 glasses every day. Avoid milk or milk products until the diarrhea has stopped. Eat foods such as bananas, rice, apple sauce, tea, and toast for 24 hours. If you obtain no relief you may use Kaopectate or Imodium which can be purchased without a prescription. If the diarrhea continues for more than 24 hours, please call the office.
Some edema, or swelling, is normal during pregnancy. Generally edema appears in the ankles and legs during the final months of pregnancy. To reduce your discomfort you should elevate your legs whenever possible. Other things you can do are to rest on your left side and reduce your intake of foods containing salt (many foods such as fast food, pizza, deli meats, boxed food, ready made meals and food from a can or jar such as spaghetti sauce and canned tomatoes contain large amounts of salt). Drinking an adequate amount of water is the best way to get rid of excess swelling, so drink 8 to 10 glasses a day. Please call the office if the swelling is severe or if accompanied by a headache unrelieved by Tylenol, or if you have visual changes, or upper right abdominal pain.
Heartburn or Indigestion
Eat small, frequent meals (5 or 6 a day). Drink liquids, especially milk, between meals rather than with meals. Avoid fatty or fried foods, alcohol (which we recommend you avoid at all times during your pregnancy) and carbonated beverages. Sit up during and for one hour following meals. You may use non-prescription low sodium antacids such as Maalox, Tums or Rolaids – do not use one with simethicone (an anti-gas formula). Zantac or Pepcid may be helpful. You can also try eating crackers. If no relief with these measures, notify your provider.
Nausea (Morning Sickness)
Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy is commonly referred to as “morning sickness”, but it can occur at any time of the day or night, usually when the stomach is empty. Keeping something in your stomach by eating small, frequent meals (5 or 6 a day) will help to prevent it from happening. Avoid spicy and greasy foods. Try antacids to help settle your stomach and eat a clear liquid diet for 24 hours. If nausea is a problem when you get up in the morning, try a high protein snack before bed and eat something before getting out of bed in the morning such as pretzels or soda crackers. Dehydration can also increase your nausea so drink plenty of fluids. Avoid unpleasant odors. Over-the-counter seasickness medication helps some people. Taking your vitamin at night may help, or switching to a chewable formula. Emetrol, a sugar-based syrup, can be purchased without a prescription and may be helpful. Vitamin B6 over-the-counter is a good first choice in treating morning sickness. If these conservative measures are not successful in getting your nausea/vomiting to an acceptable level, please notify your provider.
You should call the office anytime you are unable to keep fluids down for 24 hours.
Urinary Tract Infections
Symptoms of a urinary tract infection include pain or burning with urination and increased frequency of urination. The urine may be cloudy or have a strong odor. Unexplained lower abdominal cramping, often accompanied by a backache, can also mean a UTI. An untreated urinary tract infection can cause premature labor, so do not delay seeking treatment. If you suffer from these symptoms you should call the office and we will arrange a urinalysis for you. It is essential to drink plenty of water and fruit juices (8 to 10 glasses a day) if you think you have a urinary tract infection. You should also avoid caffeinated and carbonated beverages, as they can irritate the bladder and increase your pain and discomfort.
The important warning signs of pregnancy are:
Leaking vaginal fluid
Change or decrease in baby’s movement (once you start feeling movement at 18-24 weeks)
Sever headaches accompanied by increased swelling in hands and feet and/or face and visual changes such as spots before your eyes
Burning with urination
Temperature above 100.4 degrees