while you are pregnant can bring up all sorts of questions. A nine to five schedule
can be stressful for a mom-to-be.
Not only is
there that extra weight to carry around, but planning a happy and
involves navigating tricky issues like scheduling your doctor's
visits, whether it's safe to travel, and how to deal with morning
anticipating and planning for some of these challenges, working mothers-to-be
can enjoy these nine months both on the job and off," says Dr. Tamara Kuittinen,
an emergency medicine physician at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University
Medical Center and expecting mother.
with your OB/GYN about any questions or concerns. There are no signs or symptoms
that you shouldn't discuss during your pregnancy. This will help us catch any
potential problems that can be prevented or treated in order to keep you and your
baby safe and healthy.
is especially the case for mothers over the age of 35, who are at higher risk
for complications like pre-term labor and preeclampsia," says Dr. Laurie
Zephyrin, an OB/GYN physician and an expert in public health.
physicians at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center
answer 10 frequently asked questions by women juggling a job and a pregnancy.
How do I schedule doctor's visits? In the beginning of your pregnancy you will see the doctor once a month; in the second trimester the frequency of your visits will increase, culminating in weekly visits in your final month. To avoid
missing work, schedule your appointments during your lunch break. Many doctors offer early and late hours. Don't skip these visits. Mothers that see their prenatal care provider regularly have healthier babies and are less likely to have babies
born with low birth weight or other problems.
Is it safe to see the dentist? While you're busy with your pregnancy-related doctor's appointments, don't forget about the rest of your health upkeep -- including your teeth. Contrary to the popular misconception that pregnant women should skip
their regular dental visits, dental hygiene during pregnancy is very important.
In fact, some studies link poor dental hygiene with preterm labor. However, be
sure to tell your dentist that you're pregnant. Avoid X-rays, if possible.
3. I have
morning sickness. What do I do? More than half of pregnant
women experience morning
sickness or fatigue. Morning sickness usually occurs only
in the first trimester.
While the phenomenon remains a medical
mystery, it is believed to be caused by rising hormone levels.
One way to cope is to drink and eat in small amounts throughout
the day. For some, eating crackers may be all they can handle.
Save your eating and important work decisions for the time of
day you usually feel best.
There is usually no cause for concern,
but if you can't keep down fluids, you should see your doctor.
As for first
trimester fatigue, it usually resolves by the fourth month.
Eating balanced meals, taking your prenatal vitamins and taking
short naps may help.
What can I do about insomnia? While insomnia is little understood by medical
science, it is fairly common among pregnant women, especially in the second and
third trimesters when the growth of the belly can cause discomfort in the back.
Sleeping on your side may help with back discomfort. Snoring is also more common
among pregnant women. Tips include using a full-body pillow and staying on a regular
sleep schedule. If you wake up, do something productive and focused like paying
your bills or reading a book.
I still drink my morning cup of coffee? You should reduce
your caffeine intake. There is recent research that demonstrates
high caffeine intake may increase your risk of miscarriage. But
there's no need to get worried or quit outright. If you drink
two cups before getting pregnant, switch to one cup. If you drink
one cup, consider decaf. Remember caffeine is present in some
sodas and teas as well.
for lunch and other meals? Plan your meals around good pregnancy nutritional
needs. Fruits, veggies, grains, protein and dairy are
all essential. To make meal planning easier, keep list of the
food groups that you should get daily on the refrigerator with
a list of specific foods in each group that you enjoy. You might
eat a whole grain cereal with fruit for breakfast; tangerines,
apples, cheese cubes, yogurt or walnuts for snacks; pre-packed
chicken breast for lunch; and a dinner of salmon steak. But stay
away from fish high in mercury, including shark, swordfish, king
mackerel, tilefish and albacore tuna.
Can I hit the gym after work? Confirm with your doctor that you have a
normal, low-risk pregnancy. If you do, it's safe to keep up your exercise routine.
In fact it's an excellent way to beat stress and keep your baby healthy by improving
blood flow. It is best to let your doctor know about your exercise programs at
your first prenatal visit and get her opinion on its appropriateness during your
pregnancy. Keep in mind you may have to tailor the intensity of your exercise
program as your pregnancy progresses. Be careful with exercises like yoga and
Pilates that require stretching -- your joints and ligaments are looser during
pregnancy, making you more injury prone. Finally, remember walking is a fantastic
exercise and stress reliever. Put on your sneakers and get walking!
I travel? Unless you have a high-risk
pregnancy, the best time to travel is during the middle
of pregnancy, between 14 and 28 weeks. You should consult with
your doctor first, especially if traveling to foreign countries.
Before you leave, scout out local hospitals with obstetric services
and make sure you have a detailed copy of your pregnancy record
with you at all times. During your travels make sure you drink
plenty of fluids. If sitting for a long time during travel, make
sure to get up and walk around at least once an hour to decrease
your risk of forming blood clots in your legs. You may also want
to consider wearing support or pressure stockings.
What if I get sick? Tylenol is usually safe in pregnancy. It is best to
check with your OB before taking any medication, even over-the-counter drugs.
As for herbal medications, it's best to stay away from natural remedies that have
not been studied in pregnancy. Herbal supplements like Echinacea are not regulated
by the Food and Drug Administration and have not been studied in pregnancy. Urinary
tract infections are common in pregnancy, so call your doctor if you experience
burning and irritation during urination. Drinking lots of fluids when you're sick
is even more important when you're pregnant. If your temperature is above 100.4,
see your doctor. Avoid contact with people that are sick (i.e., children or co-workers
with colds), wash your hands frequently, and use antibacterial gels which may
help keep germs at bay.
How do I plan for delivery while still working? The length of your maternity
leave depends on a variety of factors, including whether you had any complications of pregnancy or if you are suffering from post-pregnancy issues like muscle pain or post-partum depression.
Check your job's maternity leave policies early on. Return to work when you're
physically and emotionally ready. Plan your delivery by getting your due date
from your doctor and educate yourself about the signs of labor. Be ready with
a game plan. Have a suitcase ready with key items you will need in the hospital.
Make sure you have someone who can drive you to the hospital and take care of
any of your other children while you're away.
New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center For more information, patients may call (866) NYP-NEWS or visit http://www.nyp.org..
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