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10 Pregnancy Questions to Ask Your Doctor

When we are pregnant especially for the first time, there are so many things on our minds and hundreds of questions in our minds. Your healthcare expert may help you with all the information you just need to ask you them. Therefore, here we attempt to cover the most sort after questions to ease your worries so you can make room for all the happy thoughts and feelings.

What are prenatal vitamins and why should I take them regularly?

Prenatal vitamins are very important for development of baby, your healthcare expert will suggest you to regularly take them. If your healthcare provider lets you choose the prenatal vitamin then look for medication containing iron, folic acid, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, B-complex group of vitamins, zinc and iodine. Folic acid is extremely vital vitamin since it prevents neural tube defects like abnormalities of fetal brain and spinal cord. Iron helps in the development of placenta and fetus by supplying oxygen through blood. At the same time refrain from taking extra prenatal vitamins since the high dosage of some vitamins like vitamin A may be detrimental to the baby.

How much weight gain is expected in pregnancy?

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In order to reach the normal weight in your pregnancy, you must reflect on several aspects like the maternal weight former to pregnancy and the Body Mass Index (BMI). Your healthcare expert may help you help you guide healthy ways to maintain weight.
Take note of the following points for normal pregnancy weight gain:

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How much exercise is acceptable in pregnancy?

All pregnant woman can do at least 30 mins of moderate impact exercise. If you have not exercised for a long time then start with as little as 10 mins and built it up to 30 mins a day. Always consult a healthcare professional before starting any kind of physical activity.


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Your health expert will ask you not to exercise if you have any of the following:
  1. Heart and lung disease.
  2. Pre-eclampsia or high blood pressure that shoots up for the first-time during pregnancy.
  3. Cervical issues.
  4. Persistent vaginal bleed especially second and third trimester.
  5. Placental problems.
  6. Multiple pregnancy which may present with high risk of preterm labor.
  7. Severe anemia.
  8. Water breaking before the due date.
Some of the benefits of regular exercise are as below:
  1. Less backache, constipation, bloating and swelling and also sleeps well
  2. Improves mood and energy levels
  3. Prevents weight gain
  4. Promotes muscle tone and enhances strength
  5. Regular exercise can lessen chance of developing diabetes in gestation
  6. Shorten labor and lower risk of delivery via C-Section

Are frequent USG scan necessary to monitor baby’s growth and are they safe?

An ultrasound scan is non-invasive, safe and quick procedure which causes no pain and has not shown to have side effects or any adverse events in mother or the baby. USG scan can screen the fetus for aneuploidy.
In each trimester, the importance of USG is well illustrated below:
  1. First trimester
    USG performed in the first three months is aimed at evaluating the developing embryo within the womb, estimate the number of embryos and determine the gestational age and expected delivery date.
  1. Second trimester
    Usually USG is done around 18-20 weeks and mainly focused on evaluating the formation of fetal parts like the spine, limbs, brain and internal organs. The size of placenta along with where it is situated is checked and the gender of the baby is also known to the healthcare expert at this stage.
  2. Third trimester
    USG is done after 30 weeks to estimate the growth of the fetus. The position of baby is noted and location of placenta is checked to ensure that it is not blocking the cervix.
Ultrasound scans may not be completely accurate and there is no guarantee that the baby is normal as some abnormalities may not be detected using these tests. Your healthcare professional may advise you to go for other diagnostic tests to confirm any fetal abnormalities if USG scan shows slightest suspicion.

What are the different screening and diagnostic tests to determine if my baby has any genetic disorder?

Prenatal testing for genetic disorders gives an idea even prior to pregnancy about the baby having certain genetic disorders. Genetic disorders are the alterations in an individual’s genes or chromosomes. Aneuploidy is a disorder in which there are missing or extra chromosomes.
The various types of screening tests are as follows:
  1. Carrier screening
    It is done on parents with a blood or tissue sample to find if the parent is a carrier of a gene causing some inherited disorder.
  2. Cell-free DNA screening or Noninvasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT)
    A blood test is done to test the DNA from placenta that is in mother’s blood. The evaluation for chromosomal abnormalities like Down’s syndrome and trisomy 18 is done with this test. A positive test result of cell-free DNA test should be confirmed by a diagnostic test like amniocentesis or Chorionic villus sampling test. The thickness of a space at the back of baby’s neck is measured in an ultrasound scan called as nuchal translucency (NT) screening. If there is an abnormal measurement than there is increased chance of fetus having Down’s syndrome (trisomy 21), trisomy 18, etc.
  3. Second trimester screening
    The measurement of levels of four different substances in your blood done via taking a blood sample in a quadruple test which is done between 15-22 weeks of gestation. This test screens for Down’s syndrome, Edwards syndrome (trisomy 18) and neural tube defects like spina bifida, cleft palate, etc. Ultrasound scan is done between 18-22 weeks of gestation checks for important bodily imperfections in the brain, spine, facial features, abdomen, heart, and the limbs.
  4. Combined first- and second-trimester screening
    Combined test outcomes are more precise than only one test result.
Your healthcare provider will help you understand which diagnostic test is best suited to your need. Normally when a screening test is positive, your healthcare expert will ask you to do a diagnostic test.
The following are the routine diagnostic tests:
  1. Chorionic villus sampling (CVS)
    A tissue sample is taken via a small needle from placenta in the first trimester. A higher risk of miscarriage than amniocentesis procedure is observed in CVS.
  2. Amniocentesis
    Amniocentesis is an ultrasound guided procedure where a sterile needle is pierced in the womb and a small sample of amniotic fluid is taken for testing.
Genetic counseling is a process in which you see a genetic counselor before or during pregnancy to know more about the problems which your child may at risk of having or to understand options for prenatal screening. Your genetic counselor may help you comprehend the medical information, guide you to be prepared for possibility, explain the about babies with special needs, and also debate the matter of pregnancy termination.
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What is epidural and should I opt for it?

An epidural Anesthesia is widely used pain reliever used during labor. Your healthcare expert will explain you what combination of medications and dosage they may use.
Some of the benefits of epidural are as follows:
  1. It is a very effective pain reliever and as it acts in specific area which allows you to be alert and awake during the procedure.
  2. A very small amount reaches you baby rather than narcotic pain relievers.
  3. As you are pain free you may rest a while and when its time to push, you can use your energy.
The following are some of the risks involved in taking epidural anesthesia:
  1. Waiting period before the medication takes effect is 20 mins.
  2. Epidurals may cause a lowering of blood pressure so your healthcare expert may have to give you IV fluids, medications, oxygen as required.
  3. Intense headache may be observed along with spinal fluid leakage.
  4. Symptoms like shivering, ringing in ears, backaches, soreness in area of needle piercing, nausea, difficulty in urinating is experienced.
  5. Sometimes epidural causes difficulty in normal labor and delivery thus requiring assisted delivery via forceps or a C-Section.
  6. Body is often numb for a long time so walking may require assistance.
  7. In very few permanent nerve damage is recorded.

What is prenatal mood and anxiety disorders and can it happen to me?

Prenatal mood and anxiety disorders are emotional problems that may affect prospective parents or new parents. A lot of factors can cause perinatal mood and anxiety disorders like changes in hormones, biology, psychology and environment.
Some of the symptoms experienced are below:
  1. Extremely sad and hopeless and worrisome.
  2. Feeling anxiety or having panicky feeling.
  3. Thoughts of regret about having a baby.
  4. Trouble sleeping.
  5. Fear of being alone yet isolating her from family and friends.
  6. Profound anger and irritability.
  7. Unable to manage daily tasks, difficulty concentrating.
  8. Fears she will harm herself.
The management of such conditions may require the mother to be expressive about her issues and the healthcare expert will help you understand more in detail.
Some ways to manage these disorders are:
  1. A counselor or psychologist may help bring out issues through talk therapy.
  2. A psychiatric assessment may help your mental health expert to understand your issues and better work with you.
  3. Certain self-help techniques and taking part in group therapy may help.
  4. Medication and hospitalization may be necessary if your mental expert feels so.

What changes are normal in pregnancy and when should I be worried?

Pregnancy brings in a lot of changes. It is difficult to navigate and reach to a conclusion what is normal and when must I worry.
Here are some of the normal but worrisome changes in pregnancy:
  1. In case of slight swelling around face, hands, legs, feet and ankles.
  2. Stomach issues like nausea and vomiting along with heart burn, gas and bloating.
  3. Slight pain in back and leg cramps especially at night.
  4. You may experience leaking of urine, constipation, or hemorrhoids.
  5. Swollen gums that bleed quickly.
  6. Your nose may be stuffy and breathing issues are felt.
  7. Brown spots on face, stretch marks or varicose veins are noted.
There may be a problem and you should see a doctor if you notice the following:
  1. Suspected preterm labor- Vaginal bleeding or spotting, unusual fluid discharge, lower belly pain, lower back pain, or regular contractions that persist for long
  2. Urination issues- Pain or burning during urination and accompanied with fever
  3. Sudden or intense swelling- Swelling in face or fingers may occur
  4. Intensive pain- Severe headaches and intense stomach pain or cramps
  5. Mid-back pain
  6. Peculiar rash
  7. Fever along with dizziness, severe nausea or vomiting
  8. When in doubt always seek help of your healthcare professional

What aspects may put me at risk for adverse events during pregnancy?

A high-risk pregnancy is mainly due to a prior medical problem before pregnancy and sometimes a medical issue may occur during pregnancy which may cause harm to you or your baby.
Some circumstances which may result in high-risk pregnancy are as follows:
  • Higher the maternal age makes them more prone to adverse issues.
  • Indulgence in cigarettes, alcohol, and recreational drugs can increase the risks in pregnancy.
  • Maternal diseases like high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, epilepsy, thyroid disease, heart or blood disorders, asthma relapses, and infections may escalate pregnancy risk.
  • Complications which occur during pregnancy may cause high risk pregnancy. Some of the complications like unfavorable placenta location, restricted fetal growth in the womb, rhesus (Rh) sensitization, etc.
  • Twin pregnancy or high order multiple pregnancies may pose a risk as well.
  • If you have certain issues like pre-eclampsia in pregnancy then it may affect you in multiple pregnancies as well. History of preterm birth in previous pregnancy may precipitate increase chance of preterm birth in subsequent pregnancy.
Always talk to your healthcare professional to rule out any doubts you may have regarding any pre-existing diseases or medications or lifestyle changes. Some other steps you may take to enhance your pregnancy outcome are as below:
  • Prenatal visits are extremely important part of pregnancy and always consult your healthcare expert as it may help you in selection of the best prenatal vitamin supplement and help you deal with a pre-existing disease. They may also help you understand the genetic conditions risk and guide you to choose prenatal screening and diagnostic tests. You can inquire about genetic disorders even before planning to get pregnant so proper genetic counseling can be offered to you.
  • Consulting your healthcare experts to use or discontinue any over-the-counter or prescription medications is also important. Use of alcohol and cigarette is extremely dangerous for the baby’s growth.

How do I deal with post pregnancy depression?

Post pregnancy depression may be short-term occurrence of baby blues or a more serious variety of depression. Sharing your feelings with your health expert will make your treatment journey easier. Your mental health expert may assess you as:
  • A depression screening questionnaire may help your expert to understand your situation and better help you.
  • A blood test to rule out thyroid problem and other tests so that your health expert may further understand the cause if any for your current mental health.
Baby Blues
These usually are self-limiting and go away on their own within some days or few weeks. You can relax and take care of yourself. Talking to you family and friends may help and connecting with other new mothers can make you feel at ease.
Postpartum depression
It is managed through psychotherapy which includes mental health counseling and learning to cope with your feelings. Medications like anti-depressants are useful but there is chance of medication going in to breastmilk and adversely affecting baby, so your healthcare expert may always evaluate the benefit and risk involved and help you. A relapse may occur so always follow through and do not stop treatment without having a word with your health expert.
Hope you feel at ease after having a read and we expect you have a wonderful experience through out your pregnancy. Your healthcare professional can help you understand more on your concerns and help you have a desirable pregnancy result.
Have a safe and happy pregnancy!

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