Pregnancy tips from a family physician (and mom of 3)
I delivered babies for over 23 years and continue to see women of childbearing-age daily. What advice would I like to give you?
Take a prenatal vitamin throughout childbearing years as 50% of pregnancies are unplanned. Generic vitamin is okay as long as it has 400 micrograms of folic acid (also called folate), 30 mg of elemental iron, and 600 IU of vitamin D. This helps the fetus with spinal growth and musculoskeletal development.
Weight gain suggestions. This is based on your pre-pregnancy weight. If you are underweight, consider gaining 28 to 40 pounds. If you are a normal weight (BMI 20-25), gain 25 to 35 pounds. If you are overweight (BMI 25-30) gain 15 to 25 pounds or if you are obese (BMI > 30) gain 11 to 20 pounds. Need to calculate your BMI? https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/BMI/bmicalc.htm
What should you eat while pregnant? Aim for a well-balanced diet, rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Avoid unpasteurized foods (like soft cheeses) and lunchmeats as this can cause listeriosis. Also avoid artificial sweeteners, and alcohol and marijuana.
Marijuana. Sometimes patients tell me they use marijuana to help with nausea of pregnancy. There are MUCH BETTER WAYS to stop nausea that will not harm the fetus. Ask your physician for help and stop using marijuana.
Can you drink coffee (caffeine)? Yes, but limit yourself to 200 mg per day which is two small cups of coffee.
Exercise is also encouraged. 30 minutes most days of the week is good although avoid contact sports, activities with high risk of falling, hot yoga, scuba diving, or sky diving). Sex can continue throughout an uncomplicated pregnancy.
Bring all your pre-conception and pregnancy questions to your doctor, they can address all your concerns.
I hope this has helped.