In Part 2 of this series, House Call Doctor answers 5 more common pregnancy questions.
Pregnancy is such a special and unique time in a woman’s life. Not all the same rules apply to us during this time period, and I often get asked many questions about the “do’s and don’ts” of pregnancy.
In last week’s episode I answered 5 of the 10 most common questions my patients ask me, and today I will continue to answer the next 5:
Question #6: Is it Ok to Exercise?
In general, I tell my patients that it’s Ok to continue their pre-pregnancy exercise plan. However, pregnancy may not be the right time to initiate a tough exercise regimen. Walking, yoga, and swimming (but no scuba diving) are great options, at about 30 minutes a day. However, make sure to avoid any activity which carries an increased risk of trauma, such as skiing, biking, skateboarding, snowboarding, or skydiving. There may be certain conditions in which your obstetrician may tell you to avoid exercise altogether – an incompetent cervix, vaginal bleeding, heart or lung disease, preterm labor risk, or preeclampsia, are just a few. Make sure you ask your doctor if the exercise you are doing is safe.
Question #7: Is it Ok to See a Dentist?
Yes! In fact, pregnant women have a higher risk of dental decay due to the acid reflux and vomiting that often accompanies pregnancy. Acidic stomach contents erode teeth. Just make sure that you get your obstetrician’s blessing to see the dentist, and tell your dentist that you are pregnant. You will need to use a special shield to protect your abdomen from any x-ray radiation.
Question #8: Is it Ok to Travel?
Domestic travel is generally fine up to 36 weeks of gestation; 35 weeks for international travel. However, depending on your personal circumstances and risk factors, your doctor may ask you to not travel (for instance, those patients at risk of pre-term labor or other complications). If you do end up traveling, make sure to move for ten minutes every two hours in order to avoid developing potentially dangerous blood clots in your legs. Wearing support hose may also help. Also, drink plenty of fluids when you fly to combat the low cabin humidity and risk of dehydration. Always take your prenatal records with you. And never travel prior to discussing this with your obstetrician first.
Question #9: Is it Ok to Have Sex?
First of all, it’s completely normal if your libido is diminished during pregnancy, especially during the first and third trimesters due to hormonal changes. However, it is safe for most pregnant women without any complications to have intercourse. Sex may be contraindicated if you have placenta previa, vaginal bleeding, preterm labor, or if you are on bed rest for any reason. Make sure to ask your doctor if having sex is ok for you personally. This is a common question, so don’t be shy! (After all, that’s how you got into this situation in the first place!)
Question #10: Can I Dye My Hair?
There’s no good evidence that hair dye may be harmful to the fetus, but it’s not proven safe either. I typically tell my patients to avoid dying their hair just to be on the safe side, especially during the first trimester. And definitely no hair dying if your scalp contains any cuts or openings. And no facial hair dying since chemicals are more easily absorbed through the skin of the face.
Now that you’ve heard my answers to the ten most common questions during pregnancy, you can use them as a reminder to meet with your obstetrician and discuss what is specifically right for you. Each person is different, and each pregnancy is different. My answers may not apply to everyone. Therefore, it’s really important to open up the dialogue with your own doctor and find out what is safest for you and your baby.