By Jasmine Sufi
Frequently Asked Questions During Pregnancy
Fertility is what I work with primarily, couples trying to conceive or trying to maintain a healthy pregnancy to term. We’ve touched upon many of the concerns that may contribute to infertility in past articles and I will continue to write more about it in upcoming articles as research expands and as my knowledge continues to grow. Today’s article however is going to answer some of the most frequent questions that patients have during pregnancy. There is a lot of information on the web and a lot of varied information one may get from friends, family and professionals. I’ve compiled the most common questions and how I go about answering them for my clients. Mind you some topics will have a huge variance in answers and one must be able to decide what is right for them and their particular situation. So please take the following as a guide as I’ve outlined for my clients over the years.
Is exercise safe during pregnancy?
Yes it is healthy to continue to do aerobic exercises during pregnancy. The best time to resume exercise regimens is in the 2nd trimester. Always decrease the intensity of exercise that you are used to. If you are a runner resume jogging, if you are a jogger, resume walking instead. Listen to your body and when it tells you that you are tired, stop the activity you are engaging in. Exercise is always good for most physiques, the reason why I would advise continued exercise in those that have always exercised is that the body is used to the activity and does not perceive it as stress. Therefore continuing exercise should not cause harm to the pregnancy and will help decrease stress and improve maternal health. Just be sure to tone everything down and not push your body to the limit. Listen to your body!
Is weight lifting and core body work safe during pregnancy?
It is advised to not do any weight work during the first trimester and no core abdominal work during the entirety of the pregnancy. This can cause added stress on the uterus and abdomen during the pregnancy.
If you have never exercised before please speak to you physician or midwife for advice.
Avoid exercises on your back or on your belly after the fourth month of pregnancy.
Avoid sauna, steam, whirlpool or hot environments that can raise the mother’s core body temperature above 38 C.
What should I avoid eating during pregnancy?
The amount of caffeine to be consumed prior to pregnancy and during pregnancy is hugely contended with many conflicting research stating whether it is good or bad for mothers to be. Health Canada states that minimizing caffeine intake to 150-300mg daily is ideal and will not pose harm to the growing fetus. Here is a breakdown of common foods and drinks that contain caffeine.
|Drink/Food||Caffeine Content (mg)|
|Chocolate (candy)||28 mg|
|Tea, leaf or bag||50mg|
Are herbal teas safe to drink during pregnancy?
Another big question that I am often asked is if drinking herbal teas are safe. Below is a list of teas that are safe to drink and contain no caffeine. Because some herbs can cause uterine contractions or increase blood flow by acting like a mild blood thinner I often advice to stick to fruit and food based teas, such as the list below also deemed by Health Canada as safe.
This list of safe herbal teas approved by health Canada during pregnancy includes:
Avoid taking Chamomile tea it can have harmful effects on the uterus.
Dairy is another food group that clients often ask about. I’m of the philosophy that we eat in moderation and dairy during pregnancy is important for the much needed calcium needed for the baby and mom. Most dairy products in Canada are safe because they are pasteurized meaning that bacteria and micro-organisms are killed through heating the dairy to a certain temperature. This makes it safe to consume during pregnancy. Do not eat unpasteurized cheeses or dairy products.
Avoid Brie, Camembert, blue cheeses (eg. Roquefort) or Mexican style Queso blanco as these are unpasteurized products.
Avoid eating raw eggs or foods that may contain raw egg such as ceasar salad, tiramisu and cake batter
Avoid eating raw meats, chicken and fish
Eat well cooked meats that are not pink.
www.Motherrisk.com – Have Registered Nurses that will answer all questions on what drugs and supplements are safe to use during pregnancy.
1-877-439-2744 Motherisk Helpline 1-800-436-8477 Morning Sickness 1-877-327-4636 Alcohol and Substance 1-866-937-7678 Exercise in Pregnancy
Health Canada, The sensible Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy
Eat Right Ontario, Food Safety During Pregnancy