What type of prenatal vitamins can I take and when should I begin taking them?
Any kind of daily multivitamin is fine. The most important ingredient is folic acid (or folate). There should be a minimum of 400 micrograms (or 0.4 milligrams) of folic acid per dose. Start taking vitamins any time; it is recommended to start three months before getting pregnant to reduce the risk of neural tube defects.
Now that I know that I am pregnant, what precautions do I need to take prior to my first appointment? (e.g., What foods should I avoid?)
Generally, it is best just to live a healthy lifestyle. Avoid activities involving extraordinary risk of trauma (e.g. skydiving, extreme sports). Avoid uncooked or undercooked meats, unpasteurized foods, the largest of the fish (shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish [golden or white snapper]).
Here is a link to the federal government food safety website outlining foods to avoid in pregnancy: foodsafety.gov
Can I take long-distance car rides and/or can I travel by air?
Travel by ground or air is safe in a low-risk pregnancy. If the travel time is over one hour, make sure you move your ankles and lower legs around periodically to reduce the risk of blood clotting. Stay well-hydrated.
Can I use an electric blanket?
To reduce risk, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that pregnant women use their electric blanket to heat up their bed prior to bedtime, then turn it off when sleeping, to avoid overheating. In addition, some studies suggest avoiding overheating during conception and early pregnancy.
Can I get a massage?
Yes. Make sure the therapist is aware that you are pregnant. Some massage therapists are certified in prenatal massage.
Can I continue in sports and exercise? If so, are there parameters that I should stay within?
Exercise you have been doing before pregnancy can be continued into the pregnancy. Avoid activities that could involve falling or getting hit in the abdomen. Do not exercise to the point of exhaustion. Stay well-hydrated. It is recommended you avoid exercises that involve only the abdominal muscles and avoid lying flat on your back after 20 weeks.
What can I take/use for constipation?
Constipation is a common issue in pregnancy. Drink plenty of fluids, especially water. Choose high-fiber foods in your diet. Add fiber supplements (e.g., raw bran, Metamucil®, Citrucel). In addition, stool softeners such as Colace can be taken throughout pregnancy if needed. These products are available over the counter.
How long does it take for my body to regulate on a new oral contraceptive?
It is reasonable to try a new oral contraceptive for three months before making changes due to minor side effects. If you have concerning symptoms (e.g., chest pain, change in vision, new migraine headaches, pain and redness in one leg or shortness of breath), stop the pills immediately and contact our office.
How long should I wait to feel the baby move before calling in?
In the first few weeks of feeling baby’s movement (20 to 26 weeks), movement may be subtle and intermittent. After that, there should be several periods of movement each day, although it is not expected to be constant. If the baby’s movement seems to you to be reduced, follow these guidelines:
- Lie on your side (either side).
- Have something to eat or drink.
- Do not be distracted by reading or watching TV, just think about movement.
- You should feel 10 movements (or more) in two hours. Subtle movements count, too; they do not have to be big kicks.
- If the movement does not meet this criterion, call our office or the physician on call.
What are the symptoms of a yeast infection? Can over-the-counter medications be used?
Typical symptoms include itching and burning in the genital area. There is often a white/yellowish/or greenish discharge that is clumpy like cottage cheese. Over-the-counter medication is the best thing to try first. A seven-day treatment is recommended. If the symptoms are not resolved with this, call the office and make an appointment to be seen. If possible, do not use the medication the night before being seen for this problem.
Do I come to you to treat a urinary tract infection?
If you are pregnant, we will evaluate and treat you for urinary tract infection. If you are not pregnant, we can treat you or you can contact your primary-care provider. Ideally, a urine sample should be submitted to a lab before antibiotic treatment is initiated.
Please let us know if you are trying to get pregnant or are late for your period. This could affect our choice of treatment for you.
How long does it take to schedule a well-woman visit?
There is a lot of variation depending on many factors. If there is a recent cancellation, you may be able to be seen within a few days. Typically it takes one to three months to schedule a well-woman (annual) visit with the provider of your choice.
Can I get my mammogram before my well-woman visit? (Why is it important to wait until my well-woman visit to get my mammogram?)
You can get a mammogram before your visit. You can self-refer (meaning you don’t need a referral) for a mammogram; however, we prefer to see you before the mammogram so that we can do a breast examination. If there are any findings on exam, we will write on the referral requesting the radiologist pay particular attention to that area of concern. We may order a different type of mammogram (diagnostic versus screening). In addition, it is far more likely that we will get the report from your mammogram if you present to the radiology facility with a referral slip from us.
Can I get lab work done at the office without an appointment?
You do not need an appointment to have blood drawn at the drawing station in our office; however, the blood work needs to have been ordered by one of our providers (you cannot come with a referral from other providers to have blood drawn).
Our lab hours are 8:30 am to 12:45 pm and 1:30 pm to 4:15 pm.
There are guidelines outlining the recommendations for Pap smear screening developed by national authorities on Pap smears and cervical cancer risk. These guidelines have been adopted by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Women who are at low risk for cervical cancer do not need a Pap smear at every visit (an annual visit is still recommended since many other preventive care goals are accomplished at the visit). Your provider will discuss your specific needs at your visit.