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We recommend that you take a daily prenatal vitamin during your pregnancy and for the first six weeks after delivery. To avoid an upset stomach, do not take vitamins on an empty stomach. Vitamins can be taken any time of the day. Vitamins can be broken in half, if necessary, to make swallowing easier. If nausea and vomiting during early pregnancy keeps you from taking your vitamins one week, try again next week. Avoid taking the prenatal vitamin with milk.
General Health and Hygiene
You will have a tendency to perspire more than usual during pregnancy. Daily bathing in a tub or shower is a good practice. Use caution when bathing to avoid a fall. Do not douche or use feminine hygiene sprays, powders. Washing your vaginal area from front to back with a washcloth and a mild soap is all that is necessary. Pregnancy may cause women to have a heavier-than-normal vaginal discharge. Daily washing will prevent an odor problem from developing.
Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause physical and mental abnormalities in the baby. Alcohol intake of any type or amount during pregnancy is not recommended.
Bleeding in Early Pregnancy
Approximately one out of five women suffer the loss of their pregnancy through miscarriage. Miscarriage is generally preceded by lower abdominal cramping, similar to menstrual cramps and by some form of vaginal bleeding (either spotting or heavier flow). All bleeding should be evaluated at the hospital, but very often is not an indication of miscarriage. Many other less traumatic events in pregnancy may cause cramping and bleeding, and these need to be evaluated. You or your care provider can do nothing to prevent an impending miscarriage. Some providers recommend bed-rest with no intercourse when bleeding or when cramps occur during early pregnancy, but there is really no evidence that this helps. Approximately 40% of women who have these symptoms will miscarry.
Exposure to Infectious Diseases
If you have been around a person who has rubella (German or three-day measles) or chickenpox, call the clinic for instructions. Report that you are pregnant and have been exposed to rubella or chickenpox. Do not come to the Women's Health Center when you have a rash that may be infectious. You could be exposing other women in the clinic to the infectious disease.
Sex During Pregnancy
Sexual relations during pregnancy is an individual matter. In a normal pregnancy, you may continue to have intercourse as long as it is comfortable. Nausea and vomiting, fatigue, mood changes, worries, and emotions greatly influence the sexual desires and needs of both women and men. Communication between partners about feelings and needs are most important. If you experience complications such as bleeding or premature labor, you may be instructed to limit sexual relations for a period of time.
Smoking is not good for your health at any time, and smoking is harmful to the health of your unborn child as well. Smoking interferes with the amount of oxygen and food that your unborn child receives. There is greater risk for physical, mental, and growth problems for the babies of mothers who smoke. If you do smoke, cut down on the number of cigarettes and try to stop smoking entirely. Secondary smoke is also bad for you and your baby. For Smoking Cessation Classes, call Health Promotions at 288-8488 or visit their web page..
This is a mild infectious disease, which may be transmitted by eating raw meat or handling cat feces. Exposure during pregnancy should be avoided. If there are cats in the home, someone other than the expectant mother should empty the litter box. All meat should be thoroughly cooked.
Travel During Pregnancy
Traveling usually does not have adverse effects on you or your baby during pregnancy. If you travel by car, be sure to wear the seat belt and your shoulder harness. On long trips, stop the car every hour or two, empty your bladder, have something to drink, and walk around for about ten minutes. This improves circulation, helps prevent swelling, and avoids other complications. If you are planning to travel by air, check with your airline. Some airlines will not allow you to fly after 36 weeks. Be sure to eat well and drink plenty of decaffeinated liquids when traveling. Avoid long trips near the end of pregnancy because your baby may decide to make his/her appearance early. Take a copy of your OB records with you if you have to travel late in pregnancy, if you are moving, or if you will be gone for a long time.
Travel After 34 Weeks
If you choose to travel after your 34th week of pregnancy and deliver at a different location than where you normally receive maternity care, your claim may be denied. You may have to pay the medical bill. Under the TRICARE program, delivery after 34 weeks gestation is considered an expected and normal event. It is not considered an emergency treatment, and repayment by TRICARE is not authorized. Generally, TRICARE or the U.S. Army will not reimburse you for expenses associated with non-emergency delivery. It is the responsibility of the patient. The clearance to travel you receive from your provider refers only to your medical ability to travel, and it is an opinion as to the effect travel may have on your pregnancy. The provider is not authorized to give approval for non-emergency treatment. There is no pre-approval to cover non-emergency delivery claims that occur while traveling.
Inform your provider or the technician that you are or may be pregnant before being x-rayed. Be sure that you wear a lead apron that wraps completely around your abdomen.
Work, Exercise and Activity
Normal activity should be continued throughout your pregnancy unless you develop problems. If your pregnancy is going well and you wish to, you can work until the day you deliver. Be sure to inform your care provider of your type of work. Active-duty women must keep the Occupational Health appointment. Women who are not active duty but are concerned about on-the-job hazards may contact Occupational Health for an appointment.
Exercise is important throughout pregnancy. Walking, swimming, yoga, and stationary biking are some of the exercises that can be continued. Pregnancy is not the time to begin a new sport. However, if you are accustomed to participating in a sport, continue as long as you are comfortable and you and your baby are not in danger of accidental injury. Use the "Talk Test" to determine if you are working too hard – if you cannot carry on a simple conversation while exercising, you are working too hard and need to slow down.
Use Common Sense
If it hurts, don't do it. Regular exercise such as outdoor walking is recommended to help tone and strengthen your muscles for labor. It also helps to avoid excessive weight gain, to relieve stress, and to improve sleep. Avoid whirlpools, saunas, and prolonged sunbathing. During any exercise that causes you to become overheated, drink extra water so that you remain well hydrated. Use good body mechanics at all times. When doing household or work chores, be sure to lift objects properly to avoid strain on your back. Lifting should be limited to 25 pounds or less. Also, avoid sudden or exaggerated motions to prevent other muscle strains. Remember that your center of gravity changes as pregnancy progresses. This may increase your risk of falls.
page last modified on: 5/7/2013