Pregnancy FAQs

When you’re on a TTC journey, it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day worries about getting pregnant. Sometimes, women spend so much time working toward conception that they don’t put much (or any) thought into what to expect once they are pregnant. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions or FAQs about pregnancy, broken down into three categories: Health and Wellness, Body Change, and Appointments.


Health and Wellness


What prenatal vitamins should I take?

Prenatal vitamins are an important part of a self-care regimen during pregnancy. While you should be (and probably are) eating a healthy, balanced diet, prenatal vitamins can help fill any nutritional gaps. A good prenatal vitamin contains folic acid, iron, calcium, and iodine, with each one playing a significant role during your pregnancy journey. Folic acid is important in the prevention of neural tube defects, which develop in the first month after conception and impact the fetus’s brain and spinal cord. Iron helps both the mother and child’s blood carry oxygen, while calcium can play a role in preventing a mother’s bone density loss. Finally, Iodine is necessary for thyroid function. Vitamins A, B12, C, D, E, and zinc are also important for a pregnant woman, so do your research or ask your provider for prenatal vitamin recommendations that include all of these.


What is an ideal diet for pregnancy?

A healthy diet during pregnancy is crucial for a baby’s development. You should aim for a protein-rich diet that includes fresh fruit, vegetables, and whole grains. A general guide is to consume two to four servings of fruit, four or more servings of vegetables, six to 11 ounces of grains, three servings of protein, and four servings of dairy products a day. As everyone’s bodies are different, you should talk to your doctor about the right diet for you.

During your pregnancy, you shouldn’t be restricting calories or eating to lose weight, as dieting during pregnancy can be detrimental you and your child. Typically, you should consume an additional 100-300 calories a day while pregnant. This amount varies individually and by trimester.


What food should I avoid while pregnant?

While pregnant, you should avoid unpasteurized dairy, deli meat, and raw sprouts because of bacteria. You should also avoid certain fish and raw sushi due to high mercury levels.


Can I drink coffee during my pregnancy?

You are able to have coffee during pregnancy, but only up to 200 milligrams (around 12 oz) per day.


Is it safe to exercise while I’m pregnant?

Exercise is recommended during pregnancy to help improve energy levels, mood, and sleep. It’s recommended that pregnant women walk, swim, or participate in pregnancy-focused yoga. You’ll want to avoid any form of exercise that puts you at a higher risk of falling or injuring your abdomen though. After the third month of your pregnancy, you’ll also want to steer clear of any workout that has you lying flat on your back. Finally, it’s always recommended to avoid exercising in high heat or humidity and to drink plenty of water after an activity.


Can I take a hot bath during my pregnancy?

It’s okay to take a bath during your pregnancy (as long as the water isn’t too hot), but saunas and hot tubs should be avoided. Exposure to heat in the first trimester has been associated with neural tube defects.



Body Changes


When will I start to show?

There isn’t a set time when you will start to show--this is different for every woman. If this is your first child, you could begin showing between 12 and 16 weeks. Many mothers start developing their baby bumps earlier if this isn’t their first child.


Are cramps normal during pregnancy?

Cramps are normal at the beginning and end of your pregnancy. You may also be feeling round ligament pain, which causes pelvic discomfort. Round ligaments, which support the uterus, begin to stretch as the uterus grows in your second trimester, but the pain subsides as your pregnancy progresses.


How can I treat morning sickness?

If you’re experiencing an intense bout of morning sickness, there are a few home remedies and lifestyle changes you can incorporate to ease your symptoms. Instead of eating large meals, opt for smaller, more frequent meals and snacks. Avoid spicy and high-fat foods as these may increase your chance of morning sickness. Be sure to stay hydrated--you don’t necessarily have to stick to water, and incorporating carbonated beverages (such as ginger ale) can help with morning sickness but do aim for caffeine-free. If changing your diet isn’t helping, you can try to take a walk every day outside as long as the weather is decent (don’t walk outside if it is too hot or humid or if there is a chance that you could fall and injure your abdomen).




What can I expect at an ultrasound appointment?

Early ultrasounds are used to confirm a heartbeat and assess your gestational age, which will help your doctor establish a due date. These initial ultrasounds are typically best performed vaginally, so you will be asked to remove your clothing from the waist day and will be positioned in stirrups, much like you would be for a routine pelvic exam. The ultrasounds performed in your second and third trimester are performed abdominally and don’t usually require any preparation. You’ll be asked to lay back and relax on the exam table.


What can I expect at my first prenatal checkup?

During a prenatal checkup, the doctor will obtain a thorough medical history and complete a physical exam. They will also obtain any prenatal labs, prescribe prenatal vitamins, and listen to your baby’s heartbeat. Here, they may also perform an ultrasound vaginally to help establish a due date, along with your last menstrual period. You’ll also be given the opportunity to ask any questions about your pregnancy.


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