Yay! You’re officially “growing a human” — now what? When you’re a new mom-to-be, few things can be as confusing or as daunting as the complex world of pregnancy. But before you start pouring through the pages of your brand-new copy of What to Expect When You’re Expecting, we’ve got answers to some of your most pressing pregnancy questions right here.

What types of food is exactly is off limits during pregnancy?

First thing’s first — ensure you and your baby are getting essential vitamins and minerals by taking a daily prenatal vitamin and focusing on a healthy, balanced diet mostly comprised of clean, whole foods. Avoid fish and shellfish with high levels of mercury. (Low-mercury fish include shrimp, salmon, tilapia, cod, catfish and canned light tuna.) Also steer clear of undercooked or raw fish — sorry, sushi lovers! Raw, undercooked or processed meat are also off-limits, including hamburgers, pork and poultry, while hotdogs and deli meat must be thoroughly reheated to ensure the removal of any potential bacteria. Alcohol, raw eggs, unwashed produce and unpasteurized cheese are also a no-go. A common misconception is that pregnant women cannot enjoy feta or goat cheese at all, but they can — as long as it is pasteurized. As for caffeine, fret not! You can still have your daily cup o’ joe as long as it is limited to 200mg of caffeine per day (equal to approximately 2-3 cups).

What can I safely take to help combat the first-trimester nausea?

The majority of pregnant women will experience a bit of nausea or morning sickness at some point during their pregnancy, most commonly occurring during the first trimester. Relief can come in many forms including proper hydration, fresh air, plenty of rest and eating several small meals a day to avoid becoming hungry or getting too full. In addition, noshing on bland, carb-rich crackers and the flavor of ginger (ginger ale, ginger tea, ginger gum or lollipop) can work wonders when the sickness creeps in. Natural products specially formulated for nausea relief such as Sea Bands, PregEase and vitamin B6 supplements can also help alleviate any discomfort. Consult your doctor for additional suggestions.

Is it safe to continue my usual exercise regimen during pregnancy?

Typically, if you were physically active before pregnancy, then it is safe to continue your active lifestyle during pregnancy. Light to moderate exercise while pregnant is actually strongly encouraged, as it helps strengthen your back and abdominal muscles. Working out while expecting serves a host of benefits including improved balance, relief from some common pregnancy discomforts, and a smoother recovery post-delivery. Particularly good workouts for pregnant women include yoga, swimming and stationary cycling — and you can never go wrong with walking. Steer clear of exercises that pose a fall risk, don’t exert yourself to the point of physical exhaustion, and once the second and third trimesters hit, avoid exercises that require lying on your back such as stomach crunches and sit-ups. Definitely consult your doctor before starting a new regimen, and note that some conditions such as preeclampsia, hypertension or heart disease may require limited physical activity.

How much weight should I gain during pregnancy?

Fear not — weight gain during pregnancy is inevitable, but it is possible to gain too little or too much. If you don’t get enough caloric intake, your baby runs the risk of being born at a low birth weight, and if you have too much, you run the risk of being diagnosed with a condition like gestational diabetes. Weight gain recommendations vary according to your BMI, but a healthy woman in a normal weight range should gain approximately 25 to 35 pounds during her pregnancy. For those overweight before pregnancy, 15 to 25 pounds is suggested, and for those underweight, 28 to 40 pounds.

When should I call my doctor in between prenatal visits?

For first-time parents, pregnancy is completely unchartered territory. What’s “normal” and what’s not? There are a few instances that should absolutely require a call to your physician in between prenatal appointments, and they include the following:

  • Moderate to heavy vaginal bleeding (light spotting can occur for some women during the first trimester)
  • Chills and a fever over 100F
  • Unusual or severe abdominal cramping and pelvic pain
  • Persistent headache, especially if accompanied by fainting, dizziness or blurred vision
  • Pain or burning sensation with urination
  • Sudden swelling of hands, feet or face
  • Significant decrease of baby’s moments after 28 weeks (less than 10 movements over a two-hour period)
  • Severe or persistent diarrhea or vomiting
  • Premature labor signs such as consistent pelvic pains, tightening in the lower back or significant fluid discharge
  • Feelings of depression or thoughts of harming yourself or the baby

And if you’re unsure, better safe than sorry. Beaches OBGYN has an on-call physician available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Have more questions for our doctors? Contact Beaches OBGYN at (904) 241-9775 for more information or to schedule an appointment.