Common Pregnancy Questions and Concerns

I feel too sick to eat. Is my baby going to grow properly?

Eating too little will not affect your baby’s growth. Your baby will get all the nutrition s/he needs from your natural stores and from whatever you do manage to hold down.
Be sure you’re taking your prenatal vitamins and try to eat smaller meals more frequently. If you are vomiting to the point that you are dehydrated, however, you will need to see a doctor, who may prescribe an anti-nausea medication.

I ate sushi/drank alcohol/soaked in a hot tub before I knew I was pregnant. Will my baby be OK?

If you did something early in your pregnancy that is contraindicated during pregnancy, try not to worry too much. There’s nothing you can do about it now, so put your best foot forward, vow not to do it again until after your baby is born, and hope for the best. In the vast majority of cases, everything will be fine – especially if the activity was done within the first four weeks of the pregnancy (before a pregnancy test will come up positive), because the embryo hasn’t implanted yet and is therefore not connected to the maternal blood supply.

I am experiencing vaginal bleeding during pregnancy. Do I need to see a doctor? Am I miscarrying?
Twenty to thirty percent of pregnant women experience bleeding during their first half of pregnancy and approximately half the time these women do not end up miscarrying. In the first week or two after conception you may experience implantation bleeding, which is a result of the embryo attaching to your uterine lining. This is actually a good thing and is nothing to be concerned about. Bleeding in your second or third trimester could indicate a problem and you should contact your doctor immediately. You should go to the emergency room if your bleeding at any stage in pregnancy is severe or if it is accompanied by fever, intense stomach cramps, dizziness or fainting. If you pass clot-like material or tissue, you should bring this to your doctor to be examined. Do not use tampons or have sex if you are experiencing vaginal bleeding.

Is it safe to have sex during pregnancy?

Your baby is surrounded with a cushion of amniotic fluid and by your uterus as well as a layer of muscles. Unless you have pregnancy complications, having sex is perfectly safe. If you are at risk for preterm labor or have certain other issues, your doctor will let you know that you should not have sex and for how long to abstain. Otherwise, you’re all clear!

Does it matter what position I sleep in?

As long as you physically can still sleep on your stomach, it is safe to do so. You won’t crush your baby! Later in pregnancy, though, this won’t really be possible. The best position to sleep in is on your left side, which allows for maximum blood flow. Sleeping on your back is the least safe, as it puts pressure on your major blood vessels and can decrease circulation to your heart and to the baby. But if you wake up on your back, don’t panic! Just roll over onto your side and go back to sleep.

Can I take over-the-counter medications when I’m pregnant?

Before you take any medication during pregnancy, including over-the-counter cold-and-flu medications and allergy medications you must check with your doctor or with a pharmacist. Herbal remedies are not necessarily safe during pregnancy either. Even aspirin has side effects of interfering with blood clotting, which can lead to maternal or fetal bleeding. Never assume it is okay to take a medication before checking with a medical professional.

How do I know if I’m in labor?

Some good signs that you are in labor are:

  • You are having regular contractions that are getting steadily longer, stronger and closer together.
  • Activity, such as walking, increases your contractions.
  • You feel the contractions in your back. (Not everyone experiences “back labor,” but if you do it’s probably the real thing.)
  • You have a bloody, mucousy discharge.
  • Your water has broken.

If lying down, taking a walk, or drinking a couple of glasses of water or juice makes the contractions subside and the contractions are irregular, it is probably “false labor” or pre-labor.