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Never take Pepto-Bismol, Aspirin, Ibuprofen or Motrin products when pregnant.

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Medications and Vaccinations

The following relief measures are perfectly safe to take while pregnant.

HeadacheNasal Congestion, Allergies/SinusesCold/Cough, Sore ThroatNauseaHeartburn, IndigestionDiarrheaConstipationGas/BloatingHemorrhoidsInsomnia

Symptom/Problem: Headache

Medication: Tylenol (Acetaminophen)

Other Relief Measures: Lay down and rest in a dark room. Try an ice pack.

Symptom/Problem: Nasal Congestion, Allergies/Sinuses

Medication: Tylenol Cold & Sinus, Sudafed, Claritin, Alavert, Benadryl, Loratadine, Actifed, Tavist

Other Relief Measures: Rest. Warm or cold pack on face/eyes, elevate head, use a vaporizer.

Symptom/Problem: Cold/Cough, Sore Throat

Medication: Non-alcohol cough syrup, Robitussin (Guaifenesin), throat lozenges

Other Relief Measures: Good hand washing. Drink plenty of fluids, gargle with warm salt water.

Symptom/Problem: Nausea

Medication: Ginger tea, Unison 25-50 mg every 8 hours with Vitamin B6

Other Relief Measures: Eat saltines or dry toast before getting out of bed. Eat small, frequent meals; avoid spicy, acidic or greasy foods.

Symptom/Problem: Heartburn, Indigestion

Medication: Zantac, OTC Pepcid, Tums, Maalox, Mylanta

Other Relief Measures: Avoid greasy, spicy or fried foods. Try not to lie down right after eating.

Symptom/Problem: Diarrhea

Medication: Imodium (NO Pepto-Bismal)

Other Relief Measures: B.R.A.T. diet (bananas, rice, apples, toast), clear liquids.

Symptom/Problem: Constipation

Medication: Fibercon, Metamucil, Milk of Magnesia

Other Relief Measures: Increase fluids.

Symptom/Problem: Gas/Bloating

Medication: Gas X, Bean-O, Simethicone

Other Relief Measures: Avoid apples, cabbage and fried foods.

Symptom/Problem: Hemorrhoids

Medication: Tucks medicated pads, Preparation H, Anusol H

Other Relief Measures: Sitz Bath

Symptom/Problem: Insomnia

Medication: Benadryl 25-50 mg, Tylenol PM

Other Relief Measures: Chamomile tea

Pregnant women should receive a dose of Tdap during each pregnancy between 27 and 36 weeks gestation to protect infants from Pertussis (also known as whooping cough).

Pertussis can cause serious and sometimes life-threatening complications in infants, especially within the first 6 months of life.

Speak with your OBGYN about the danger of whooping cough. It’s a highly contagious disease that can be especially serious – even fatal – for infants. Unfortunately, many people who spread it may not know they have it.

If you plan to be around a new baby or one is on the way, get vaccinated to help protect yourself and your family from whooping cough.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone, including those around babies, make sure their whooping cough vaccination is up to date.

What To Avoid

Do not consume:

  • More than 200 mg of caffeine per day (12 ounces).
  • Herbal supplements.
  • Raw or undercooked shellfish, meat or poultry.
  • Anything unpasteurized – from juice to soft “raw milk” cheeses to pickled fish.
  • Refrigerated meat of any kind or dry, uncooked sausages unless heated until steaming.
  • Runny or undercooked eggs.
  • Raw cookie dough or cake batter that contains raw eggs.
  • Pre-prepared deli salads – especially with eggs, chicken, ham or seafood.
  • Raw sprouts or any unwashed produce.

Steer clear of:

  • Renovations that may put you in contact with lead-based paint or toxic fumes.
  • Cleaning products that contain glycol ethers (found in oven and window cleaners) and phenols (found in mildew removers).
  • Perms or hair-coloring in your first trimester.
  • Tanning beds.
  • Cat litter duty.
  • Electric blankets.
  • Hot tubs over 100 degrees or longer than 30 minutes.
  • Foot massages (which can actually cause uterine contractions!).

Contact us if you notice sudden heavy or bright red bleeding with cramping.

What To Expect (Trimester Roadmap)

First Trimester: Week 1 through 12

What’s normal:
Morning sickness.
Food cravings and aversions.
Heightened sense of smell.
Mild breathlessness.
Swollen breasts.
Changes in libido.
Emotional peaks and valleys.

Physical/recreational activity:
Beginning a regular exercise program during pregnancy is encouraged and helpful for both mother and baby. Try to exercise 20-30 minutes a day, three times a week. Be sure to warm up and cool down with activity. Heart rate should not exceed 140. Don’t overheat; increase the amount of fluids you drink.

  • Avoid water skiing, electric blankets, scuba diving and tanning beds.
  • Horseback riding and rollerblading should be avoided if one is not experienced.
  • Downhill skiing is allowed when experienced and using safe slopes.
  • The best exercise during pregnancy is walking and swimming.

Sexual activity:
It is perfectly safe and healthy to be intimate during your first trimester unless:

  • You notice any vaginal bleeding.
  • Your water breaks.
  • You notice signs of premature labor.
  • Your provider advises against it.

Later in pregnancy, sexual activity may become uncomfortable as your abdomen grows.

Most pregnant women should increase their calories to 2100-2500 a day.

Eat well-balanced meals from all four food groups – follow the diet/nutrition recommendations in your book. You may not be able to eat three large meals a day—try smaller, more frequent meals.

Drink plenty of fluids; especially water (6-8 glasses per day).

Calcium—strive for 1000-1300 mg/day. Supplement if diet alone is not sufficient. You may use up to four TUMS EX tablets a day for supplement.

It is absolutely safe to travel unless your provider advises against it – always take a copy of your prenatal records with you.

While traveling, walk around every hour if possible, wear comfortable clothing and keep snacks and liquids available.

You may need approval from your provider to travel the last month of your pregnancy. Most airlines will not let pregnant women travel in their last month of pregnancy.

So long as your pregnancy is healthy, and depending on your field, how long and how much you work is completely up to you. Discuss any work concerns with your provider, and be sure to avoid hazardous materials/fumes when pregnant.

Talk to your provider about Group B Streptococcus:
GBS is a type of bacteria that can be found in up to 40% of pregnant women. If passed from a woman to her baby, the baby may develop GBS infection. A urine culture will be done during the first trimester to test for this and again at 36 weeks gestation. If the test is positive, you will be treated with antibiotics during labor. Treating the pregnant woman before labor cannot be relied on to prevent infection in the baby.

Second Trimester: Week 13 through 27

What’s normal:
Nausea diminishes or stops completely.
The ability to sense “quickening” – your baby moving inside you.
Feeling hiccups in your belly.
Mild breathlessness.
Changing shape.
Unpleasant or vivid dreams.
Renewed sex drive.

Childbirth classes:
Classes include Lamaze, breast-feeding and sibling preparation.

  • Call Bellin Ask-A-Nurse (433-7900) to inquire or register for classes. Bellin OB unit tours are available nightly at 7:30 PM. Call 433-3617 to register.
  • Call St Vincent’s central scheduling for listing of classes and schedules (433-8329).

Talk to your provider about permanent birth control options.
Is this your final pregnancy? Your provider can perform a tubal sterilization after childbirth to give you a permanent method of birth control that does not affect your menstrual cycle.

You can also learn more about Essure, the most effective, hormone-free, surgery-free permanent birth control option available. Essure is a very small, flexible insert that is placed in the fallopian tube through the vagina and cervix. Once placed, the tube grows inward and blocks the fallopian tube, preventing pregnancy. The procedure requires little to no anesthetic allowing a quick return to normal activities.

Third Trimester: Week 28 through 40

What’s normal:
Fatigue returns.
Moderate back, abdominal and pelvic pain.
Braxton Hicks contractions.
More moderate breathlessness.
Dry eyes.
Frequent urination.

Talk to your provider about anesthesia plans:
Women’s Specialty Care supports natural deliveries and offers pain relief with Nubain and epidurals.

Breast or bottle feeding:

Benefits of breast-feeding for the baby: Easier for the baby to digest, offers antibodies, hormones and protein.

Breast-feeding benefits for the mother:
Helps the uterus get back to size and quickly decreases bleeding, burns calories, no mess with bottles and decreases risk of breast cancer.

Your baby’s physician can help you choose the brand of formula to use in the hospital.

Newborn car seat:
State Law requires a car seat to take your baby home from the hospital. Position it rearward, away from airbags in the center back seat. Should you need assistance, one of our providers can help.

Postpartum birth control:
Discuss with your physician, even if you are planning to breast-feed.
Options include Depo Provera, birth control pills, condoms, etc.
See page 297 to 305 of Your Pregnancy & Birth book.

If you opt to have a circumcision performed, the procedure will take place prior to discharge from the hospital by either the baby’s doctor or your doctor.

For more information, refer to the book: Planning Your Pregnancy and Birth.

*These are only guidelines. If you have additional questions or concerns, please refer to your physician.

If you experience any of the following symptoms at any stage of pregnancy, call your provider right away. Keep in mind: These symptoms don’t automatically indicate pre-term labor or miscarriage. Bleeding can be present with healthy pregnancies. But it’s always smart to get checked.

What To Watch Out For

Bleeding from the vagina (with or without cramps).
Passing of blood-clot like tissue or white-pink mucus.
Blurry or impaired vision.
Severe stomach or back pain.
Chronic, severe headaches.
Contractions before 37 weeks that occur every 10 minutes or more.
Decrease in baby’s movements after 28 weeks.
Excessive vomiting, diarrhea and weight loss.
Fever or chills.
Pain or burning with urination.
Swelling of face, fingers, feet.
Intolerance of foods or liquids.
Muscular convulsions.

Early signs of miscarriage can be treated.
Women’s Specialty Care will perform a dilation and curettage, also known as a D&C, to stop bleeding and prevent infection.

If you’re mourning the loss a child:
Come to us. Open up to us. We can give you the exact kind of community and counsel you need. Don’t silence your grief. Give it a voice and a space to be heard.

Excellent miscarriage support sources include:


Monday – Friday 8am – 5pm

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