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FAQ

  • How often will I be seen during my pregnancy?

    Most patients will be seen every 4 weeks through the first half of their pregnancy, then every 2 weeks until the last month, and weekly from the last month until delivered. If complications arise, this will be adjusted as needed to provide optimal care.

  •  What will happen at my appointments?

    At each appointment your weight, blood pressure, and urine will be checked. The baby's heart beat will be seen or heard with ultrasound, and your stomach measured to check for fetal growth. At different time there may be blood drawn for testing purposes, but you will be informed of this in advance if any special preparation is needed.

  • How often will I get an ultrasound?

    You will be offered an ultrasound when you first become pregnant to verify the pregancy and help determine the due date. You may elect to have another ultrasound in conjunction with the first trimester nuchal screening test for birth defects, and again at 18-20 weeks for completion of birth defect screening.

    Additional ultrasounds may be recommended at various times throughout the pregancy if needed to ensure the pregnancy is progressing normally.

  • How long will you let me go past my due date?

    Your due date will be determined by ultrasound and your period early in your pregancy. If there are no complications for you or your baby, then we would prefer you enter labor spontajneously. If you have not entered labor by one week past your due date, then an induction will be discussed with you.

    Elective inductions will not be scheduled prior to 39 weeks (one week before your due date). This is now a city-wide policy to help prevent babies from having premature lungs when delivered. Medically indicated inductions will be scheduled depending on the severity of the problem and the timing will be discussed with you.

  • Can I try a vaginal delivery after having a C-section?

    In many cases this can be attempted, but can be associated with some very real and serious complications. Your physician will discuss this with you in much more detail and will provide you with some additional information to help you make this decision. This type of vaginal delivery will only be performed at MercyOne Medical Center - Downtown.

  • Which prenatal vitamins should I take?

    Vitamins containing at least 800 micrograms (0.8 mg) of folate or folic acid are recommended starting 12 weeks before conception and throughout the pregnancy. Most multivitamins and all prenatal vitamins should contain this. Prescription vitamins contain even more folate and iron than over-the counter ones, but there is no added benefit other than some may be better tolerated than others.

  • Are hot tubs and saunas safe?

    These generally should be avoided during pregancy. Bath water can be warm, but should not exceed 90 degrees, and the jets on jacuzzi-type tubs should be avoided.

  • Can I color my hair?

    It is safe to color, highlight and perm your hair when pregnant.

  • Can I get a massage?

    Massages are a great way to relax. The massage therapist should be made aware that you are pregnant and you should avoid lying flat on your back during this time.

  • Is painting safe?

    Latex paints are safe to be around, but you should still try to keep the area well ventilated and leave if you feel nauseated. You should avoid oil based paints and stains, or any paint with a noxious odor. You should avoid standing on ladders and should not scrape/sand any lead based paints.

  • When is it safe to travel?

    Traveling by plane or car is okay up until the 36th week of pregnancy. We recommend stretching and walking hourly on long trips to help prevent blood clots. Drink plenty of water. Patients with twins or those with high risk pregnancies need to be cleared by their physician prior to travel. No cruise after 24 weeks.

  • Can I eat fish?

    Nearly all fish contain some low levels of mercury, but also provide healthy nutrients. Fish with low mercury levels should be limited to 8-12 ounces per week and include: Pollack, Shrimp, Catfish, Salmon, Canned Tuna (Albacore is higher in mercury than light Tuna) and all fresh water fish. Fish with high mercury levels which should be avoided include: Swordfish, Tilefish, King Mackerel and Shark.

    If you have a specific concern, take a look at the FDA’s website regarding eating fish in pregnancy. www.fda.gov/food/consumers/advice-about-eating-fish

  • Can I see my dentist?

    It is recommended that you keep up with routine dental exams and to have dental work when pregnant. Local anesthetics with or without epinephrine can be used. Most antibiotics are safe during pregnancy, except Tetracyclines and Doxycyclines. X-rays are OK if needed, but lead aprons should be used to shield both the baby and your thyroid.

    Please inform your dentist that you are pregnant when scheduling your appointment with them

  • Should I receive a flu vaccine?

    The flu vaccine is recommended for all pregnant wome at any stage of their pregnancy.

  • What if I'm exposed to shingles?

    If you know someone with shingles, you should avoid direct contact with them. Wash your hands with soap and water frequently. If you have had chicken pox in the past you should already be immune, but you should discuss your exposure with your physician.

  • What about Fifth's Disease?

    If you have had direct exposure to someone with Fifth’s Disease, you should contact our office and will likely need to be tested 2 weeks following your exposure.

  • What about Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease?

    This is a common childhood viral illness. Try to limit any direct exposure to affected individuals and practice good hand washing care. This is typically not a cause for concern during pregnancy and antibiotics are not needed.

  • What about Whooping Cough?

    This can be quite contagious and antibiotics are often recommended if you have had close contact with an infected individual. Please notify us if you have had any direct exposures. A preventative vaccine is now recommended during each pregnancy

  • Can I use a sugar substitute?

    Artificial sweeteners such as Nutrasweet® and Splenda® are safe during pregnancy. Experts disagree regarding saccharin, therefore its use should probably be limited.

  • Can I drink caffeine?

    Caffeine is found in coffee, tea, soft drinks, cocoa and chocolate products. A safe amount of caffeine has not been thoroughly established. Most studies suggest up to 200mg of caffiene a day is okay during pregnancy.

  • Can I drink alcohol?

    Simple answer is no. No one knows how much alcohol is safe in pregnancy. The March of Dimes recommendation is no alcohol, even in moderation, during pregnancy.

  • What position should I sleep in?

    As of 2019, mothers are encouraged to sleep in any position they find comfortable. Pillows can be helpful with reducing hip strain.

  • Can smoking really harm my baby?

    Simple answer is yes. First and second hand smoke can cause prenatal complications such as preterm labor, placental abruption, high blood pressure and preeclampsia. Smoking is also associated with reduced birth weight due to carbon monoxide poisoning and reduced oxygen to your baby.

    Finally, smoking has been linked to an increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), still birth, asthma and ear infections in newborns.

  • Can I exercise during pregnancy?

    Low impact, aerobic exercise like swimming, walking, yoga (avoid heated yoga) and prenatal aerobics, are recommended throughout pregnancy unless you have been instructed to rest. You should try to exercise 30-45 minutes, 3-5 times per week. You should be able to carry on a conversation while exercising and stay well hydrated.

  • Helpful items you may need during and after pregnancy.

    Breast pumps, anti-nausea bands and maternity support belts are conveniently located at the West Lakes Medical Equipment store located between the Cafe and Internal Medicine at The Iowa Clinic’s West Des Moines Campus.

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