During the first trimester, nausea and vomiting are very common. For most people this is mild and doesn’t require any treatment. Other people may experience more severe nausea and vomiting, which may occur every day. If you find your symptoms to be more severe, the following suggestions can be helpful. If you have tried the suggestions below and find that you are unable to keep any liquids or food down, please call our office as there are prescription medications that can help.
Eat five or six small meals per day.
Avoid high fat and spicy foods.
Avoid food tastes, textures and/or odors that make you nauseous.
Drink small amounts of cold, clear, carbonated liquids between meals. Ginger ale is an excellent choice.
Drink herbal teas containing mint or ginger.
Take Vitamin B6, 25mg, three times a day and Unisom, one tablet, at bedtime.
Use Sea-Band or Relief Band acupressure wrist bands.
Dramamine, 50mg, every 6 hours.
Chew gum or ginger candies as often as needed.
During your pregnancy, you may travel by any means, including air, up until one month before your due date, as long as your pregnancy is uncomplicated. During the last month of your pregnancy, we recommend you stay within one hour of the hospital.
If you smoked prior to getting pregnant, then now is the ideal time to quit. Women who smoke during pregnancy have higher rates of complications including:
-an ectopic pregnancy
-problems with the way the placenta attaches to the uterus
-low birth weight babies (less than 5 1/2 lbs)
Each time you smoke a cigarette during pregnancy, you are exposing your baby to harmful chemicals such as tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide. These chemicals cause less nutrients and oxygen to reach your baby. Women who continue to smoke after delivery put their babies at an increased risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
The less you smoke, the less harm occurs. Decreasing the amount you smoke is better than not quitting at all. However, completely quitting is ideal for both you and your baby’s health.
There are several resources available to help you quit smoking. During your first prenatal visit, you and your doctor can discuss these options. The Colorado Quit Line https://coquitline.org/en-US/ and B4 babies https://www.htop.org/project/b4-babies-beyond/ both provide resources for smoking cessation.
Back pain is probably the most common discomfort encountered during pregnancy. It is usually caused by strain on the back muscles from various causes. There are several simple things that can be done to improve back pain, including awareness of how you sit, stand and move. A few suggestions from the American Congress for Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) are:
-Wear low-heeled shoes with good support
-Do not lift heavy items without assistance
-Place one foot up on a box or stool when standing for long periods of time
-Do not bend over from the waist to pick things up; rather squat down, bend your knees and keep your back straight
-Sit in chairs with good back support or use a small pillow behind your lower back
-Try to sleep on your side with one or two pillows between your legs for support
-Apply heat or cold to the area of discomfort or massage it
-Soak in a warm bathtub
-Tylenol may be used if the above suggestions do not help
There are also simple exercises and stretches (https://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Back-Pain-During-Pregnancy?IsMobileSet=false#can)that may relieve the pain in your back.
If you have tried all of the above and are still having severe back pain, you may buy a prenatal support belt to help give your back additional support. These can be purchased at local maternity stores or online.
Many over-the-counter and most prescription medications are safe to take during pregnancy. The following list of over-the-counter medications can safely be used to treat many common problems you may encounter during your pregnancy. However, if you ever have any questions regarding the safety of a medication, please call our office.
Aches, Pains, Fever and Headaches – Tylenol and Tylenol Extra Strength.
DO NOT take Motrin, Ibuprofen, Aleve or Naprosyn for any of these problems.
Heartburn – Rolaids or Tums are best to try first for heartburn. Others that are may be used are Maalox or Mylanta liquid, Zantac, Pepcid, Prilosec or Prevacid.
DO NOT USE Pepto-Bismol in pregnancy.
Seasonal Allergies – Benadryl, Zyrtec, Claritin or Allegra
Sore throat – Any lozenges or spray can be used
Congestion or Runny Nose – Sudafed
Cough – Robitussin, Robitussin DM, Mucinex D or Mucinex
Insomnia -Tylenol PM, Unisom or Benadryl
Constipation – Colace or Dulcolax 2-3 times per day, any fiber supplement once a day, or Miralax once a day
Cold & Flu:
As far as it is known, the medications listed below do not cause any harmful effects during pregnancy. They have been used extensively in pregnancy, but no formal studies have been done. There is no 100% safety guaranteed; therefore, if you can get by without medication, that is your best choice.
General: Cold and flu symptoms usually last a week regardless of what you do. Since these illnesses are viral, antibiotics are not effective. Taking ineffective medication may result in risk without benefit. It also results in bacteria becoming resistant to the antibiotic, so it will have no effect when it is needed. Sore throats are rarely strep if the sore throat is less than seven days old. If there is any doubt, come in for a throat culture.
Good home remedies
-Increase your fluid intake by 50%. Juices high in vitamin C, such as orange juice, are especially good.
-A humidifier for increasing moisture in the air is helpful. Consider one for the bedroom. Cool mist is best, but steam also works well.
-Controlled studies show taking zinc will cut the time of your flu in half and taking zinc when not ill will reduce the number of illnesses by half. Take 100 mg per day when sick and 50 mg per day to prevent illness. Zinc can be taken in pill form or by lozenges.
-Get plenty of rest.
-Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet.
-Avoid caffeine. Caffeine is a diuretic and may lead to dehydration.
Congestion: There are several over-the-counter medications that will relieve congestion.
-Sudafed: Take as directed on the label. Be careful of any medication containing phenypropanolamine because it can elevate blood pressure. Please check with your doctor if you have a history of high blood pressure.
-Afrin: It can be purchased in nasal spray or drop form. Prolonged use can cause dependency.
Cough: The use of Robitussin DM or PE cough syrup should help. Use as directed on the label.
Sore Throat: Gargle with Chloraseptic or Cepastat four times per day. Each preparation comes in lozenges as well. A salt water gargle is acceptable if you want to try a more “natural” method.
Fever, Aches and Pains: Tylenol is recommended for fever, aches and pains from the flu. Drugs such as Motrin, Aleve and Nuprin have been on the market for a relatively short period of time and their safety has not been as thoroughly proven as Tylenol (acetaminophen). Aspirin can delay onset of labor, irritate the stomach and cause clotting problems. Aspirin should be avoided.
When to call your doctor
-Fever over 101
-Symptoms over seven days that do not appear to be improving.
-Difficulty breathing. (Not including a stuffy nose)
-Coughing up bloody or rusty sputum.
-You are much more likely to be able to talk to your doctor if you call during office hours – 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. weekdays.
Note: Generics may be substituted for brand names in the suggested medications above.
During the last six months of your pregnancy, you need to eat approximately 300 more calories per day to promote a healthy pregnancy. A healthy weight gain for women starting at a normal body weight is between 25 and 35 pounds. If you start the pregnancy overweight, you should gain less. If you start the pregnancy underweight, you should expect to gain more. Discuss with your doctor what the right weight gain is for you. To learn more about nutrition and weight gain, click here.
It is important for you to get adequate exercise during your pregnancy. Many exercises done prior to pregnancy may be continued during pregnancy. Even if you did not exercise prior to pregnancy, it is safe to begin an exercise program. Exercising in pregnancy has many benefits including improving your energy and mood, decreasing muscle aches and pains, promoting better sleep and helping during the labor process. Find out more on exercising in pregnancy here.
St. Mary’s hospital also offers exercise classes through the Life Center for pregnant women. For more information call 970-298-6100.
Midwives and Midwifery Services
- American College of Nurse Midwives
- Bedrest/Complicated Pregnancies: Sidelines 888-447-4754
- Breastfeeding Information: La Leche League International
- Hypnobirth/Doula: Maran Parry
- Doula/Childbirth Educator: Tracy Atkins 970-863-4273
- Midwife Connection
- Our Bodies, Ourselves: Pregnancy and Birth
- St. Mary’s Hospital Women & Children’s Services
Mesa Midwives Favorite Reading
- Guide to Childbirth by Ina Mae Gaskin
- The Complete Book of Pregnancy and Childbirth by Sheila Kitzinger
- Mothering Magazine Having a Baby Naturally by Peggy OMara
- The Natural Pregnancy Book by Aviva Jill Romm
- The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer and Rhonda Wheeler
- Obstetric Myth Verses Realities: A Guide to the Medical Literature by Henci Goer
- The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child by Robert Sears
- The Baby Book: Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby From Birth to Age Two by William Sears, Martha Sears and James Sears.
- Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child by Janet Zind