Questions About Pregnancy? We Have Answers!

June 28, 2024  By: Women's Health Team

female african american patient with female provider

Content medically reviewed by Kirsten Sjostrand, DO

Congratulations — you're expecting a new bundle of joy. If you are feeling a wide range of emotions and thinking of a whole list of questions about pregnancy, know that you're not alone.

"You can ask us anything, there are no silly questions," said Kirsten Sjostrand, DO, OB/GYN at Essentia Health. "Everybody has their own pregnancy experiences, but you probably don't have any questions we haven’t heard before. There's never anything to be embarrassed about. Our goal is to help you have a healthy, safe and enjoyable pregnancy experience."

While it's always best to talk to your provider about your concerns, we've compiled some common pregnancy questions here to help ease concerns as you get ready to welcome the newest member of your family. 

When Will I Have My First Ultrasound?

Each pregnancy is unique, but typically your first obstetrics or midwifery appointment at Essentia Health will be around 8 weeks after your last menstrual period. Your provider will review your medical history, talk about any risk factors such as high blood pressure and smoking, and do a physical exam. It's also a great opportunity to ask any questions you have about prenatal care. 

The first ultrasound, as part of early prenatal care, is usually done between 8 and 12 weeks. 

"One of our main goals at the ultrasound appointment is to confirm the estimated due date and see how well the baby is growing," Dr. Sjostrand said. "We'll also screen for certain birth defects."

During this visit, you'll have a chance to talk about your pregnancy symptoms, such as morning sickness, as well as pregnancy nutrition and any other questions you might have.

What Foods Should I Avoid During Pregnancy?

When you are pregnant, becoming ill from bacteria in food can have negative consequences for your developing baby. For that reason, you should avoid certain foods that carry a higher risk of harmful bacteria. These include:
  • Deli meats and hot dogs unless they are cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165 F to kill any bacteria that may be present.
  • Premade deli salads, such as chicken salad or seafood salad.
  • Raw alfalfa or bean sprouts.
  • Raw or undercooked fish, meat and eggs.
  • Unpasteurized juice or cider.
  • Unpasteurized milk and cheese.
When preparing meats, make sure to cook them and wash your hands, knives, and counter or cutting board thoroughly. Expecting mothers should also avoid fish that contains high levels of mercury.

Can I Have Caffeine?

Caffeine is safe in moderation — no more than 200 milligrams, or about one 12-ounce cup of coffee, per day.

How Much Weight Should I Expect to Gain?

The amount of weight you should expect to gain during your pregnancy is based on your body mass index (BMI). Women with an average BMI who are pregnant with one baby should gain between about 25 to 35 pounds. If you are higher weight or are pregnant with multiples, talk to your provider to determine a safe amount of weight to gain.

Is It Safe to Exercise?

If you were already physically active before pregnancy, experts recommend getting 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise on most days of the week, for a total of 150 minutes per week. If you haven’t been active regularly, it's best to start slowly, 10 to 15 minutes at a time. Talk to your OB/GYN for the best exercise program for you.
Keep in mind some sports and activities should be avoided if they pose a risk of falling or injuring the abdomen. These include:
  • Contact sports such as basketball or soccer.
  • Gymnastics.
  • Horseback riding.
  • Skiing.
Walking, swimming and yoga are some of the safest forms of exercise while you are pregnant

What Medications Can I Take During Pregnancy?

"Some prescription medications can continue to be taken while pregnant, but others should be stopped," Dr. Sjostrand said. "That’s why it's important to talk to your provider as soon as you become pregnant to establish a plan."
For over-the-counter medications, most are off-limits except for acetaminophen.
While they're not medications, prenatal vitamins should be taken throughout pregnancy. Be sure your prenatal vitamin has folic acid, omega-3 fatty acids, iron, choline, calcium, B vitamins and vitamin C.
Are you looking for a provider to guide you through a safe pregnancy and delivery? Schedule an appointment with your pregnancy provider at Essentia Health

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