What Every Woman Googles During Pregnancy
When you figure out you’re pregnant, you’re ecstatic and rush to tell your partner the great news. But after reality sinks in, you realize how many questions you have. You’ve likely caught yourself saying, “Wait… is this safe to eat while pregnant?” or “Can I even take Advil anymore?”
If you’ve never been pregnant before, carrying a child is a new experience and you’re bound to feel unprepared. Before, women needed to rely on their friends, family, doctors and books for advice. Now, with technology, we find ourselves constantly running to our computer or phones to Google every question.
We’ve rounded up the top 6 questions every pregnant woman Googles — and have compiled the answers into one convenient location.
Is [Food] Safe During Pregnancy?
You want your baby to be the healthiest little boy or girl, so you’re being extra careful about what you’re eating. During pregnancy, there are a couple of foods that you should avoid or at least minimize in your diet. Some mothers stick to the basic foods to avoid, while others find themselves Googling every ingredient.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, the foods you should avoid include:
- Raw meat— Even undercooked beef can raise the risk of contamination with coliform bacteria.
- Deli/sandwich meat— Although unlikely, deli meats can be contaminated with listeria. Listeria can also infect the baby, possibly leading to a miscarriage.
- Fish containing mercury— This includes shark, swordfish, tilefish and king mackerel. Consuming mercury during pregnancy has been linked to brain damage.
- Raw eggs— If you use raw eggs in a recipe, you may exposure yourself to salmonella. Store bought foods are usually made with pasteurized eggs and are okay for pregnancy.
- Soft cheeses— Stay away from soft cheeses, especially imported varieties, unless they are made with pasteurized milk.
- Excessive caffeine— Since studies show that caffeine may be linked to miscarriage and premature birth, stick to under 200mg of caffeine per day and avoid it in the first trimester to play it safe.
- Alcohol— The most widely known substance to stay away from during pregnancy is alcohol. Drinking alcohol while expecting could affect your baby’s development and lead to fetal alcohol syndrome.
To save time researching, BabyCenter.com has a quick printable guide of the do and don’t foods during pregnancy.
Which Medications Can I Take During Pregnancy?
As soon as you feel a headache coming on, you’re rushing to your computer to type in “safe pain relievers for pregnancy.”
First, it’s best to try a cold compress or take a nap if you can. If that doesn’t work, your best option is acetaminophen (Tylenol or Tylenol Extra Strength). However, pregnant women should avoid ibuprofen (Advil, Mortin and Nuprin) since studies show that it may increase the risk of miscarriage and birth defects.
If you’re searching for cold medicine, chlorphenirmine and loratidine are safe to take. The antacids Maalox and famotidine are also okay to use. If you’re constipated and increasing your fiber intake isn’t helping, Metamucil, Citracel, Dulcolax and Milk of Magnesia are good options. Yeast infections are common during pregnancy and may be relived with Monistat or Gynelotrimin (but stay away from the oral pill such as diflucan or fluconzaole).
If you are already on or are prescribed a medication, make sure your doctor knows that you are expecting. If you are uncertain about the safety of any medication, check with your doctor first.
Tips to Control Morning Sickness?
Morning sickness is one of the most common pregnancy symptoms — especially at the beginning of your journey. Many women fear that they will throw up in a public place and try to Google tips to prevent nausea.
Here are a few tips:
- Take 25mg of Vitamin B6 three times a day with Unisom (over-the-counter antihistamine).
- Try drinking ginger ale or making ginger tea.
- Keep some plain soda crackers by your bed and eat a few before you get up in the morning. Getting something into your stomach right away can help prevent nausea.
- Eat high protein foods and try to stay away from fatty, rich foods.
- If the scents of food trigger your morning sickness, eat more cold foods. Hot foods are more likely to have an aroma.
- If you’re suffering from severe morning sickness, consult your doctor and ask if he or she can prescribe any safe medications such as scopolamine or promethazine.
- Some women find relief through alternative therapies such as reflexology or aromatherapy. If you choose this route, be sure you’re consulting a qualified practitioner who has experience with pregnant women.
- Purchase some vomit bags and keep them in your purse. That way, if anything happens in public, you’ll at least take comfort in knowing you won’t make a mess.
How Can I Tell Labor Contractions Apart from Braxton Hicks Contractions?
Most women know that there are two types of contractions: The “real” ones that signal you’re going into labor and the “fake” ones that are just preparing you for labor. Braxton Hicks contractions or “fake” contractions can feel like period cramps or like your abdominal area is tightening. These are usually not painful and don’t happen at regular intervals. You can experience these types of contractions during the second or third trimester. If the contractions are a bit painful or are making you feel uncomfortable, you can move positions, take a walk, take a nap or take a warm bath.
“Real” labor contractions:
- Are painful
- May cause back pain (“fake” contractions won’t)
- Happen at regular intervals and get closer together
- Usually last from 30-70 seconds
- Last longer and become more painful as the contractions continue
- Don’t stop when you move positions or become active
If you’re experiencing real labor contractions — congrats! The baby is on his or her way. If you’re not sure if the contractions are real or fake, call your doctor or midwife for advice.
What Vitamins Should I Be Taking During Pregnancy?
Eating a healthy, balanced diet is important during pregnancy, but taking prenatal vitamins is a good way to make sure you have all your bases covered.
You can purchase an all-in-one prenatal vitamin, or you can choose to purchase the vitamins separately to control your dosage.
Here are the most important vitamins for a healthy mom and baby:
- Folic acid— Folic acid is very important when you’re pregnant because it helps prevent neural tube birth defects (serious defects that affect the brain and spinal cord). Taking a supplement a month before you become pregnant and during the first trimester will reduce the chances up to 70%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It’s recommended that women take 400mcg daily for at least the first 12 weeks. You can also eat foods high in folic acid, such as nuts, beans and leafy green vegetables.
- Iron— During pregnancy, the blood in your body increases and more iron is needed for the baby, the placenta and to make more hemoglobin (red blood cells). Iron-deficiency anemia is associated with low birth weight, infant mortality and preterm delivery. It’s advised that pregnant women get 27mg of iron per day. Unfortunately, some iron pills may cause constipation, which can be an issue if you’re already experiencing bathroom troubles as a pregnancy symptom. If this is the case, you can eat foods high in iron, such as red meat, poultry, leafy green vegetables and iron-fortified cereals. Liquid iron can also be a good choice for those with sensitive stomachs.
- Calcium— Calcium is important for bone growth in your baby and to keep your own bone density. 1,000mg a day is recommended for pregnant women. Food sources of calcium include milk, calcium-fortified soy milk, yogurt and leafy green vegetables such as kale or bok choy.
- Other important vitamins a prenatal supplement should include are zinc, vitamin B12, iodine, vitamin C, vitamin D and thiamine.
What Are the Signs of a Miscarriage?
Seeing that positive pregnancy test is likely one of the most exciting moments in your life. However, with the good news comes worry. You’re probably constantly asking yourself, “is my baby okay?” Your worst fear at this point is a miscarriage.
Signs of a miscarriage:
- Back pain
- Passing tissue or blood clots
- Vaginal bleeding (light or heavy, ongoing or illregular)
- No pregnancy symptoms (ex. morning sickness)
- No baby movement
Although miscarriages aren’t 100% preventable and you can’t stop it once it has occurred, you should see your doctor if you suspect you’ve had one. To lower your risk of having a miscarriage, get the recommended amount of folic acid, manage your stress, limit your caffeine intake, maintain a healthy weight and abstain from alcohol and drugs. If you’ve had a miscarriage, read our guide on how to cope with a pregnancy loss.
What questions are you having during your pregnancy? Comment below! If you have any pregnant friends or family members, share this post with them, too!
P.S. Take the experience of being pregnant up a notch with our fetal dopplers. These pocket-sized devices allow you and your partner to hear your baby’s heartbeat through headphones. Sounds amazing, right?