Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 2nd 2013 Contents does not affect the baby in any
Is it safe to use a seatbelt dur-
Many patients request a doc-
tors letter to exempt them
from wearing seatbelts during
the pregnancy because of the
misconception that wearing
seatbelts in the pregnancy may
be dangerous. I always advise
them that what is dangerous is
NOT wearing your seatbelts.
Research has consistently
shown that the best way to
protect your growing baby is to
protect yourself. The seatbelt
must be properly positioned
with the lap belt secured below
the bump, low and snug on the
hip bones. Never wear the belt
across or above your belly. The
shoulder belt should fit snugly
between the breasts. If you are
involved in any kind of vehicular
accident you should seek med-
ical attention as soon as possi-
ble- even if you feel fine, to
ensure that all is well with both
you and baby.
What medication can I use in
• As a general rule you should al-
ways consult your doctor or
pharmacist before using any
medication in pregnancy. This is
because some drugs can ad-
versely affect the developing
baby especially when taken in
the early weeks of pregnancy. If
you are on medication for any
medical problem you should see
your doctor as soon as you be-
come pregnant to see whether
the drug should be discontinued
or changed to one which is safer
• Even over the counter drugs can
be dangerous including ibupro-
fen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen.
Herbal medication and remedies
may also be harmful and should
be avoided in pregnancy.
• Some medications are known to
be safe. Acetaminophen (Parac-
etamol, Panadol, Tylenol) is safe
to be used for headaches, back-
aches and other aches and pains
that are common in pregnancy.
• Do not use multi symptom
remedies as these contain a vari-
ety of medications some of
which may not be safe in preg-
• As a general rule for pregnancy if
you are not sure if something is
safe for you and your baby --
then avoid it until you ask your
doctor or health professional. In
the next article we will continue
to look at pregnancy do's and
dont's including sex, exercise,
travel and sleep.
If you have any questions that you
would like answered pertaining to
pregnancy please email me at askdr-
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt June 2, 2013
Dr. Reiaz Mohammed, MB.BS (UWI), MRCOG (UK)
Specialist Obstetrician & Gynecologist
Gulf View Medical Centre.
By knowing what to expect, what
to do and what NOT to do, a couple
can feel more empowered to make
healthy choices during their preg-
nancy. Below are some common
questions that patients have about
How will I know if I am pregnant?
The symptoms of pregnancy vary
from woman to woman and even
from one pregnancy to the next.
• The most common indicator that you
may be pregnant is that you miss
your period. Some women can bleed
while they are pregnant, but typically
the bleeding will be shorter or lighter
than a normal period.
• Your breasts may be tender to touch,
sore or swollen. You may also notice
that you feel more tired than usual.
• Nausea (feeling upset) and vomiting
may start 2 to 8 weeks after becom-
• Passing urine more often than usual
is also a common symptom of preg-
• If you think you are pregnant the first
step is to do a home urine pregnancy
test. Most pregnancy tests cannot
detect pregnancy until one week after
your missed period so if you do one
earlier than this and get a negative re-
sult, you should repeat it a few days
• If you are pregnant or are unsure
about the result you should visit your
doctor. A blood test can also be done
to determine if you are pregnant.
What can I do to avoid/help "morn-
Although commonly referred to
as "morning sickness", the nausea
and vomiting of pregnancy can
occur at any time of the day- not
just the morning. There are several
lifestyle and dietary changes that
• As soon as you wake on mornings,
have a few crackers and then rest for
about 15 minutes before getting out
• Eat small frequent meals instead of 3
large meals for the day. Avoid spicy,
fatty and fried foods. It is best to stick
to foods which are high in carbohy-
drates such as bread and crackers.
• The age old remedy of ginger tea has
actually been proven to help decrease
the nausea and vomiting of preg-
nancy. Ginger cookies and crackers
may be just as effective.
• If you are vomiting it is important to
stay hydrated. Try to drink small
amounts of fluids often. Water and
coconut water are good. Try to avoid
highly carbonated (bubbly) drinks,
sugary drinks and milk.
• If you cannot tolerate fluids, or vomit
blood you should see your doctor as
soon as possible. There are a number
of medications that can be used that
are safe to both you and your devel-
What Vitamins should I be on?
• If you are planning to become preg-
nant or as soon as you know that you
are pregnant you should start using
Folic acid. Folic acid is a Vitamin which
helps decrease the risk of the baby
developing a defect in the spinal cord.
Folic acid supplements may also de-
crease the risk of cleft lip and palate
and heart defects in the baby. For
healthy patients it is recommended
that you have 400mcg of Folic acid
every day for the first 12 weeks of
pregnancy. Some patients may need
higher doses and prolonged use de-
pending on their medical history.
• You will have blood tests in preg-
nancy that will determine if you need
any additional vitamins. There are
many pregnancy multivitamins avail-
able on the market. Your doctor may
recommend one after the first
trimester. Some of them may cause
nausea, vomiting or constipation.
When you are taking these Vitamins
it is best to take it with water or juice
to aid in the absorption of iron from
the Vitamin. Avoid taking it with milk.
• Do not use your normal multivitamin
throughout the pregnancy as they
may contain levels of Vitamins that
can be harmful to the developing
• Do not use cod liver oil supplements
during your pregnancy, although they
contain omega 3 fatty acids they may
also contain levels of Vitamin A that
are harmful to the baby.
What foods should I avoid in preg-
There are lots of misconceptions
about what foods can affect the
baby. The table below shows which
foods should be avoided and the ra-
• One of the biggest misconceptions
about eating and pregnancy is that
the pregnant patient has to "eat for
two", this often results in patients
overeating and eating unhealthily re-
sulting in too much weight gain dur-
ing the pregnancy. Many patients are
happy to know that eating pepper
Becoming a mother can be one of the most exciting times of a
woman's life; however it can also be one of the most stressful.
Pregnancy is a time of great change. You may experience many
physical and emotional changes which can be confusing and dis-
tressing. It can also be a challenging time for your partner. Your
partner may be uncertain about how to help during pregnancy,
be concerned about financial matters and how your pregnancy
may affect your relationship.
Liver and Liver products, e.g. liver
Liver contains high levels of Vita-
min A which can increase the risk
of brain and heart abnormalities
of the baby.
Food items which may contain
raw or undercooked eggs e.g.
mayonnaise or mousse.
Soft chesses e.g. brie, camem-
bert, blue cheese.
Goat's milk and cheese
Raw shellfish and fish
These foods may carry a bacteria
called Listeria which if contracted
during pregnancy increases the
chance of miscarriage and still-
birth (the baby dies inside the
womb before delivery).
Shark, Swordfish, Marlin
These fish may contain higher
levels of mercury that can ad-
versely affect the development
of the baby's nervous system.
Unripe pawpaw and pineapple These may increase the risk of
miscarriage or preterm labour.
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