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Pregnancy Questions Answered Part 2

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Almost everyone you meet will have an opinion about your pregnancy. Your tummy is either too big or too small; you should do this and not do that. It can become quite frustrating -especially when you are bombarded with conflicting information. The best way to prevent this is to ask your doctor, NO question is a stupid question.  Some topics may seem embarrassing to bring up but I can assure you that the majority of pregnant patients and their partners have the same questions and concerns. Hopefully I will be able to clarify some of your pregnancy concerns.



Is it safe to have sex during pregnancy?
If you have had a healthy pregnancy there is no reason why a couple cannot have sex during pregnancy. It helps to keep a level of intimacy between you and your partner.  It not only helps to keep your relationship healthy but it also decreases the chances of having sexual problems after the baby is born. The main concern that couples have is that sex can hurt the baby. Even with your partner on top, sex is safe during pregnancy. The thick mucus plug that seals the mouth of the womb (cervix) helps guard against infection and the amniotic sac (water bag) and strong muscles of the womb help protect the baby. 

Sometimes it can be difficult to find a comfortable position for sex, especially in the later stages of pregnancy. Many pregnant women find that being on top is best as it puts no weight on the abdomen and allows more control. There are certain circumstances when your doctor may advise against sex during pregnancy. If you have had bleeding in early pregnancy it may be best to avoid sex until you reach 14 weeks. You may also be advised to avoid sex if you have a history of cervical weakness, if your water bag has burst or if you have a low lying afterbirth (placenta). 
Remember that your partner will have concerns. Communication and openness are the keys to maintaining a healthy relationship during your pregnancy and afterwards.



Should I exercise during pregnancy?
It is recommended that pregnant women get at least 30 minutes of exercise per day. It should include a combination of both aerobic physical activity and muscle strengthening exercises.
Aerobic activity is any activity that makes your heart and lungs work harder e.g. brisk walking and swimming. Muscle strengthening activities include climbing stairs, walking uphill and any similar resistance exercises. 


There are certain precautions that pregnant women should take when exercising.
1)    After 16 weeks of pregnancy, you should not exercise while you are lying on your back. 
2)    You should avoid exercises where you may lose your balance and fall such as cycling and gymnastics.
3)    Contact sports such as squash, boxing etc are obviously not advised during pregnancy.


There are many benefits of exercise during pregnancy. You are more likely to keep a healthy weight during and after your pregnancy, you sleep better and feel less tired. You have a lower risk of developing varicose veins, swelling of the feet, back pain, diabetes and high blood pressure if you exercise during the pregnancy. You are also more likely to have a shorter labour and have fewer complications during the delivery of your baby. It is therefore very important for pregnant women to try and build exercise into their daily routine. Take the stairs-not the elevator; take a brisk walk at lunchtime, the less it seems like formal exercise the easier it will become.



Is it true that you shouldn’t sleep on your back during pregnancy?
This is true.
Although it is safe to do so during the first 16 weeks I normally advise patients to get into the habit of sleeping on their left side from early on in the pregnancy. Lying on your back can interfere with the blood flow to the baby. Sleeping on your left side is best because it increases the flow of blood and nutrients to the baby. It may also help the kidneys get rid of excess fluids and waste thereby decreasing swelling in your body. When lying on your left side bend your knees and place two or more pillows between them to keep pressure off the muscles around your hips. If you wake up at night and find you are lying on your back, don’t panic just turn over to your left side and go back to sleep.



Dr. Reiaz Mohammed, MB.BS (UWI), MRCOG (UK)
Specialist Obstetrician & Gynecologist
Gulf View Medical Centre.


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