Fri, Oct. 22, 2004
Some things every pregnant woman should know
Knight Ridder Newspapers
A few weeks ago when I found out I was pregnant, I really thought I knew it all.
After all, I had been working toward this goal since my November nuptials, and I thought I was pretty well-informed and educated on the subject.
But after going through a stack of books and magazines, visiting my doctor and having several conversations with experienced moms, I realized I had a lot to learn. It’s good that women have nine long months to learn about the process.
This is a list of just some of the things that I, as a first-time mom-to-be, have learned. It’s a good start, but don’t forget to use these months to scour the Internet, go to your bookstore or library, talk to your doctor and query other moms about their experiences. In short, find out as much as you can.

ï Find a doctor and get prenatal care as soon as you find out you are pregnant.
ï Know that you are going to be a magnet for everybody’s worst pregnancy and delivery horror stories.
ï Read as much as you can and when you get confused, put it all away.
ï If you’re suffering nausea and dizziness, try wearing an anti-seasickness bracelet around your wrist. You can find them at drugstores.
ï When you’re tired, sleep. Don’t try to push yourself; take that nap.
ï Start taking prenatal vitamins that have folic acid and iron. They are sold over the counter, or your doctor can prescribe them.
ï Avoid exposure to toxic substances and chemicals such as household cleaning products, insecticides and paint.
ï Quit bad habits such as smoking and eating junk food.
ï Drink lots of fluids, especially water.
ï Avoid caffeine.
ï Remember to wash your hands throughout the day to curb the spread of bacteria and viruses.
ï Join a support group for mothers-to-be or a childbirth class.
ï Ask your doctor before taking any kind of medication.
ï One thing that can help curb nausea is eating several small meals a day.
ï Avoid saunas, hot tubs and steam rooms.
ï Avoid X-rays, and if you need to have dental work or diagnostic testing, tell your dentist or physician that you are pregnant.
ï Never be afraid to ask your doctor a question.
ï Take precautions against listeriosis, a condition brought on by eating food containing the bacterium listeria, which is particularly dangerous to pregnant women.
ï Do not eat hot dogs and luncheon meats, unless they are reheated until steaming hot.
ï Do not eat soft cheese such as feta, brie and Camembert cheeses, blue-veined cheeses, queso blanco and queso fresco unless it is labeled as made with pasteurized milk.
ï Do not eat refrigerated pates or meat spreads. Canned or shelf-stable pates and meat spreads may be eaten.
ï Do not eat refrigerated, smoked seafood, unless it is in a cooked dish, such as a casserole. Canned or shelf-stable smoked seafood may be eaten.
ï Do not drink raw (unpasteurized) milk or eat foods that contain unpasteurized milk.
ï Wear loose-fitting clothes to avoid unnecessary restraint on your waist and stomach.
ï Wear a supportive bra to help with breast tenderness, which is common in pregnancy.
SOURCES: Katie Powers of Manatee (Fla.) Memorial Hospital’s Mom’s Place; the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; U.S. Food and Drug Administration; The Complete Book of Pregnancy and Childbirth by Sheila Kitzinger; What to Expect When You’re Expecting by Arlene Eisenberg, Heidi E. Murkoff and Sandee E. Hathaway; and experienced moms.