Pregnancy FAQ

I just found out I’m pregnant! When should I schedule my first appointment?

We are happy to see you as soon as you would like.  We can often see the baby’s heartbeat by ultrasound as early as 5-6 weeks.

How often should I expect my appointments?

For the majority of the pregnancy, appointments will be every 4 weeks.  Because we have ultrasound and lab equipment in the office, we often combine important testing with your appointment for additional convenience. During the third trimester starting around 28 weeks, appointments will be every 2-3 weeks.  We will see you at least weekly during the last month of pregnancy leading up to the due date.

Do I need genetic testing?

For couples with certain ethnic backgrounds, we offer testing to see if you are a carrier for high risk diseases specific to that ethnicity. All patients regardless of age can also consider testing for disorders such as Down Syndrome. Please see the ACOG website for an overview of the available tests. This will discussed further at your initial visits.

What medications are safe to take?

• Pain reliever: Tylenol (acetaminophen) in limited amounts is the safest option. It is best to avoid other medications such as ibuprofen, aspirin, Motrin, Advil for the duration of the pregnancy.
•Heartburn: Tums controls symptoms for most patients. Maalox or Pepcid are also safe to use.
•Cold symptoms: Saline nasal spray and Robitussin are both safe to use. It is best to avoid Sudafed and similar products as they can affect your blood pressure.
•Constipation: Colace is a stool softener and is safe to use. You should also increase fiber intake with a supplement such as Konsyl or Metamucil and make sure to drink lots of water.
•Allergies: Claritin or Zyrtec are safe to use (without the “D” or decongestant) for seasonal allergies. For allergic reactions, Benadryl is also safe to use.

For any other medications, please call our office and ask to speak to one of the nurses. In the case of an emergency, leave a message for the on-call doctor.

What foods should I avoid?

•Unpasteurized cheeses
•High mercury fish including shark, tilefish, swordfish and king mackerel.  Albacore tuna should be limited to 6 oz once a week.  Other fish and shellfish are an important part of a healthy diet. They contain high-quality protein and other essential nutrients, are low in saturated fat, and contain omega – 3 fatty acids which can boost brain development.  Five of the most commonly eaten fish that are low in mercury are shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock and catfish.
•Excessive caffeine – One caffeinated beverage a day (coffee, tea, soda) is felt to be safe.

How much weight am I expected to gain?

For women starting pregnancy at a healthy weight, women can expect to gain 25-35 pounds.  In the first trimester, small meals throughout the day may be needed to decrease nausea and to maintain blood sugar levels.  While women should not restrict calories or diet during pregnancy, this is a great time to eat healthy and enjoy a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.

Can I exercise? Can I have sex?

For most women, exercise and sex are safe during the entire pregnancy.  Women can see many benefits from regular exercise.  Low-impact exercises such as walking and stretching can help to avoid excessive weight gain and keep a woman conditioned for labor and delivery.  In general, listen to your body and avoid excessive exhaustion or over-heating.  If you are experiencing bleeding or painful cramping, it is best to avoid these until speaking with your provider.

Can I go to the dentist?

Patients are encouraged to maintain good dental hygiene and see their dentists as needed.  If your dentist requires a release, please call the office or speak to our office staff at your next appointment.

Recommended resources



  • Local resources:
    • The Family Collection – Faith Ploude, BA, RLC, IBCLC

Postpartum depression:

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