Frequently Asked Questions

Should I take prenatal vitamins?

  • Except for iron, folic acid, and possibly calcium a well-rounded diet should supply all of the nutrients you need during your pregnancy. A multivitamin or mineral supplement may be required to get enough of these nutrients. Take prenatal vitamins as directed. Large doses of anything, even a good thing, can be harmful. Don’t take more than the RDA for any vitamin or mineral – especially vitamin A – without getting your doctor’s approval. Very high levels of vitamin A have been linked with severe birth defects. Your prenatal multivitamin should contain no more than 5,000 IU of vitamin A. If you are already taking a multivitamin, let your doctor know.
  • If your prenatal vitamin makes you sick, try taking it at a different time of day, or with a meal. Try over-the-counter vitamins with at least 400 micrograms of folic acid in them. If you are still unable to tolerate the vitamins because of nausea, please call us during office hours and we will prescribe a vitamin with folic acid that may also improve nausea.

What can I do/take for ...?

  • Morning sickness (may also be noon or night)
    • Try small, frequent feedings especially high carbohydrate snacks. It is important to keep yourself hydrated. Even if you are having trouble keeping foods down, constantly sip fluids (such as Gatorade, Ginger Ale or juices). You may also try Vitamin B6 50 mg twice a day with or without one-half Unisom pill (OTC). You may try ginger capsules 250 mg four times a day. You may also try wearing sea bands, (anti-motion sickness wrist bands available at drug or marine supply stores). if you are unable to keep any type of foods or liquids down for over 12 hours or if you have lost greater than five pounds please call us.
  • Cold or sinus congestion.
    • Saline only nasal spray, Vicks Vapor Rub, and Tylenol, antihistamines and decongestants on the medication sheet. If your symptoms continue see your primary care doctor.
  • Sore throat or cough.
    • Over-the-counter cough drops, plain Robitussin Cough DM and Tylenol.
  • Headache or muscle ache.
    • Tylenol, ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin). (No ibuprofen before 13 weeks or after 28 weeks).
  • Constipation.
    • Increase fiber and water intake. Increase fruit and vegetable intake and try raisins or prunes. May take Metamucil, Fibercon, Psyllium or Colace (stool softener). Next try small amounts of laxatives such as Senokot, Dulcolax, or milk of magnesia.
  • Indigestion / heartburn.
    • Eat small, frequent meals. Avoid eating large meals before bedtime. Avoid spicy/fried foods. May try Mylanta, Maalox, TUMS and Rolaids, Zantac 75- 150 mg once or twice a day. Tagamet or Pepcid AC according to package directions.
  • Diarrhea.
    • Avoid spicy, fried foods. Drink plenty of clear liquids. May take lmodium AD, Metamucil or Kaopectate.

Can I lie on my back?

Lying flat on your back in the third trimester (28 weeks and beyond) may decrease the circulation of blood to your heart and uterus and make you feel light-headed. For this reason, we encourage you not to lie flat on your back for long periods of time. However, as long as you are not feeling light-headed, there is no harm in lying on your back for short periods of time and there is no harm if you wake up and find that you have rolled onto your back in your sleep.

Can I take herbs during pregnancy?

The use of any herbs, or herbal supplements is of no proven benefit, and may possibly be harmful to the pregnancy. If you feel you need to use something for a specific reason, please consult one of our doctors.

Can I dye my hair?

There are no known adverse effects. Try not to use before 20 weeks. Probably OK in third trimester.

Are there any foods that I should avoid?

Meals should be thoroughly cooked (red meats at least medium). Because of concern of a listeria infection during pregnancy, hot dogs and lunch meats should be heated so the center is steaming. Avoid unpasteurized cheeses such as brie, feta and blue veined cheese. While seafood is healthy for you, the mercury content in certain fish or excessive amounts of seafood can be dangerous for a fetal or child’s developing brain. See www.epa.gov/mercury/advisories.html and www.fsis.usda.gov/Fact_Sheets/Protect_Your_Baby/index.asp for further information on listeria and seafood consumption in pregnant women.

Can I eat fish and shellfish?

  • Do not eat (because they may contain high levels of mercury):
    • Shark
    • Swordfish
    • King Mackerel
    • Tilefish
  • Eat up to 12 ounces (2 average meals) a week of a variety of fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury or 6 oz. of tuna per week.
    • Five of the most commonly eaten fish that are low in mercury are shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollack and catfish.
  • Check local advisories about the safety of fish caught by family and friends in your local lakes, rivers and coastal areas.
    • For Maryland locally caught fish visit the MOE Fish Consumption Advisory website and the Maryland Fish Consumption Guidelines

Where can I get tips on healthy eating?

The MyPyramid for Pregnancy and Breastfeeding website can be accessed from the www.MyPyramid.gov home page. Pregnant and breastfeeding women visiting the site can obtain a meal plan personalized for their age, size and activity level. You can also find tips on eating a balanced diet, healthy weight gain, food safety, physical activity and use of dietary supplements.