#1 Does a positive pregnancy test at home mean that I am pregnant?
Well, not necessarily. A urinary pregnancy test, commonly known as UPT is not a confirmatory test. They are reliable to a great extent and yield a great number of true positive results. But they are also prone to presenting negative test results rather frequently. A blood test done at the clinic to look for HCG levels is the best way to confirm pregnancy. If you feel that you shouldn’t have tested negative, it would be advisable to get a blood test done, the results of which are far more accurate.
#2 Around when can I expect my baby to start kicking?
This depends on whether this is your first pregnancy or whether you have more children. If you are a first-time mother, you can expect to feel your baby kick around 16 to 25 weeks of pregnancy, but ideally closer to 25 weeks (20-23 weeks most commonly). The very first movements that your baby makes which you appreciate are collectively called ‘quickening’. We know that you are quite eager to feel your baby and interact with them, but be patient. If this is your second pregnancy, you will be able to appreciate the quickening much sooner this time.
#3 Can I drink alc0hol when I am pregnant?
It is not at all advisable to drink alc0hol during pregnancy. Several studies have proven that alc0hol has severe adverse effects on fetal growth and can lead to a complicated syndrome known as Foetal Alc0hol Syndr0me. There is no safe level of alc0hol that has been established when it comes to pregnancy. You might want to be cautious even if your doctor tells you that you can have just a little bit with dinner. Fetal alc0hol syndr0me is in no way a light disease. The baby is born with facial abn0rmalities that are evident, can suffer from mental retardati0n and may have retar ded growth as well. You might feel that the risk is comparatively very low and the chances of your baby developing the syndr0me isn’t very high but the question remains as to whether you are willing to take such a huge risk.
#4 Should pregnancy be measured by weeks or months?
For the sake of complete accuracy, especially when you have to bring your doctor to speed about certain dates and pregnancy milestones, it is better to use weeks instead of months. This is very important because foetal milestones are calculated in weeks and all the developmental stages are tracked every week. Hence, it is best to always measure your pregnancy in weeks rather than use months. It makes a big difference from a medical perspective.
#5 How much weight gain is considered normal during pregnancy?
Gaining weight during pregnancy is very normal and not something to be worried about but the quantity of weight that you put on must be kept track of. The weight that you gain depends on the number of children that you have during the pregnancy as well. For a single pregnancy, the ideal weight gain should be between 20 to 30 pounds. You can achieve this gain by increasing your daily calorie intake by 300. The best thing to do is add plenty of protein-rich food that has plenty of micronutrients as well.
#6 What activities should I avoid during the first trimester of pregnancy?
During your first trimester of pregnancy, unless you are very prone to m1scarr1ages and have been advised to take it particularly easy, you can pretty much carry about with your day-to-day activities. However, there are a few things you would be better off avoiding and they include extremely risky and adventurous activities such as heavy lifting, skeeing, scuba diving and skydiving. These are associated with risks of a severe injury that can lead to m1scarr1ages and even possibly, put your life at risk as well. Everything else that you do on a regular day should be fine, but it is best to speak with your doctor first.
#7 Why does pregnancy have to be so tiring?
This is quite a tough question but when you think about it, the answer is quite simple. It is not at all easy for your body to grow a whole other person no matter how tiny they are. Your body is creating something literally from scratch and a lot of ‘material’ from your body is being used up to supplement the process. For about 40 weeks, your body is very busy building, growing and nourishing a whole other person and every tissue is being created. Now you know why this whole thing is as exhausting as it is.
#8 What foods should I avoid during pregnancy?
You will hear plenty of old wives tales regarding what foods you can and cannot eat during pregnancy your aunt or neighbour might have a whole list. Relax, it is not that tedious. However since pregnancy is a time when your natural immunity is suppressed, you and your baby are prone to infections that wouldn’t normally affect you. So you should be avoiding foods that have a known risk of being infected by bacteria such as milk that is not pasteurised, undercooked meat or fish, raw fish, mould-ripened cheeses and so on. Raw eggs and foods containing them must be strictly avoided. Make eggless versions of mousse and ice cream if you must.
#9 What’s the deal with these cravings during pregnancy?
No one knows exactly why pregnancy makes women crave certain kinds of food, or sometimes non-food items but studies have shown somewhat indicative evidence that this has something to do with hormonal changes and heightened general senses including taste. Your body is working hard to produce plenty of blood and this can affect cravings which is a way of your body asking you to replenish and provide enough energy and micronutrients so that it can keep the good work going. Sometimes when women have a deficiency of iron, they suffer from a condition known as Pi.ca, which is a craving for non-food objects such as dirt.
#10 Are all household products safe to keep around and use during pregnancy?
It is best to avoid any household product that emits strong fumes of any kind and these include floor cleaners and paints. Paint is especially notorious and best if avoided completely because some of them comprise toxic components such as mercury and lead. Get someone else to complete the paint job while you avoid the room or area for a couple of days, just to be safe. Harmful insecticides can be replaced with environmentally friendly and non-toxic versions that are deemed safe for pregnant women.
#11 Does excess worry or stress lead to misca.rriages?
It is very very unlikely and yes, virtually impossible for you to stress yourself into having a miscarr1age, so don’t worry about it, for real. Your stress levels and anxiety might be high as pregnancy is quite a taxing time and hormones and emotions are flying all around. What you need to realize is that your body is well prepared to deal with all this and more. Having said that, being stressed out is never a good thing and you must actively take measures to avoid it or cope with it in healthy ways. You can talk to a wellness expert or your doctor about all your pregnancy-related concerns (and whatever else is bothering you). You can try yoga, meditation, light exercise and other healthy activities that are known to reduce stress.
#12 Is it okay to self-medicate if you come down with a fever during pregnancy?
It doesn’t matter what medication you are planning to take, even if it is deemed safe according to the label and available over-the-counter, you must always consult your physician before taking any medication during pregnancy. This is for the absolute safety of you and your baby. You might have popped aspir1n like candy before whenever you had a headache but pregnancy cannot be like that. You need to realize that anything you consume can affect your baby. Hence you must never self-medicate during pregnancy, even if it is just a fever.
#13 Can I sleep on my back during pregnancy?
If you are someone who is used to and is very comfortable sleeping on your back, tough luck. You can sleep on your back up to 20 weeks of your pregnancy, but after that, you must avoid doing so. Lying on your back can be quite dangerous after this stage because your uterus is getting quite big and heavy. It is aligned along the same blood vessels that run up your back. When you lie on your back, the uterus compresses these blood vessels and restrict blood flow. This can lead to a loss of consci0usness. You should instead start getting used to sleeping on your sides.
#14 Is it okay to use my mobile phone when I am pregnant?
You are not alone if you have come across several scary posts warning you to stay away from your phones during your pregnancy (and forever). Truth is, studies are still going on to determine whether mobile phones can affect you or your unborn child. So far, it is all good and no negative side effects of mobile phone usage have impacted pregnancy, the mother or the baby in any way. Because we are not sure, it would be better to cut short the usage of your phone during this period and maybe read a book instead. You don’t want to risk anything.
#15 Should I get an ep1dural during childbirth?
Ideally, this is not something you should be worrying about right until the moment you are in the delivery room going through active lab0r. Your experience is unique to you but most women experience similar anxieties, physical pain and stress during the process of lab0r. Getting an ep1dural is safe and numerous women do it every year (well over 80% of women who give birth vag1nally in the hospitals choose to have an ep1dural anaesthetic). There is also the fact that since the birth of mankind, women have been giving birth with no sort of pain relief. So it is entirely up to what you are feeling at that moment.