Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 2nd 2014 Contents | HEALTH |
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 be-
come quite frustrating-especially when you are bom-
barded with conflicting information. The best way to
prevent this is to ask your doctor, NO question is a stu-
pid question. Some topics may seem embarrassing to
bring up but I can assure you that the majority of preg-
nant patients and their partners have the same ques-
tions and concerns. Hopefully I will be able to clarify
some of your pregnancy concerns.
Is it safe to have sex during
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 po-
sition for sex, especially in the later stages of preg-
nancy. Many pregnant women find that being on top
is best as it puts no weight on the abdomen and al-
lows 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
Remember that your partner will have concerns. Com-
munication and openness are the keys to maintaining
a healthy relationship during your pregnancy and af-
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 mus-
cle strengthening exercises.
Aerobic activity is any activity that makes your heart
and lungs work harder e.g. brisk walking and swim-
ming. Muscle strengthening activities include climbing
stairs, walking uphill and any similar resistance exer-
There are certain precautions that pregnant women
should take when exercising.
1) After 16 weeks of pregnancy, you should not ex-
ercise while you are lying on your back.
2) You should avoid exercises where you may lose
your balance and fall such as cycling and gymnas-
3) Contact sports such as squash, boxing etc are ob-
viously 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
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
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 preg-
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 flu-
ids and waste thereby decreasing swelling in your
When lying on your left side bend your knees and
place two or more pillows between them to keep pres-
sure 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.
By Dr. Reiaz Mohammed, MB.BS (UWI), MRCOG (UK)
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