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Pregnancy Health Tips from Mom-Doctors

  • Ashley Roman, MD, MPH 1 of 27
    taking-prenatal-vitamins

    Tip 1: Taking prenatal vitamins

    Taking prenatal vitaminsVitamins are no good to you if you throw them up. One trick if you have morning sickness and can't choke down your prenatal vitamins is to chew a childrens Flintstones Vitamin instead. Flintstones Complete vitamins, for instance, contain 400 micrograms of folic acid, which is what most experts recommend pregnant women get each day.

  • Rallie McAllister, MD, MPH 2 of 27
    getting-more-calcium

    Tip 2: Getting more calcium

    Getting more calciumIve never been able to tolerate dairy products very well, because I'm a little lactose intolerant. Plus when it comes to taking calcium in the form of those gigantic horse pills, I'm a wimp! Fortunately, I found a brand of liquid calcium at my health food store. A couple of tablespoons a day gave me all the calcium I needed without upsetting my stomach.

  • Gina Dado, MD 3 of 27
    weaning-off-the-bean

    Tip 3: Weaning off the bean

    Weaning off the bean I drink a significant amount of coffee - four or five cups a day. You can drink one or two cups of coffee daily during pregnancy, so during my pregnancies, I made a pot with half decaf coffee and half regular. That way, I could still drink four cups, but Id only get two cups of caffeinated coffee each day.

  • Marra Francis, MD 4 of 27
    telling-your-partner-the-good-news

    Tip 4: Telling your partner the good news

    Telling your partner the good newsWhen I found out I was pregnant with my oldest daughter, my husband and I were living in New York City. We were going out to dinner that night to celebrate his birthday. I put the ultrasound photo into a frame that said Daddy and Me, and I hid it in my purse.

    When my husband asked if I wanted to order wine, I said, I think you should open your last present first. He knew what it was right away, and he ordered a martini and I got iced tea.

  • Ann Kulze, MD 5 of 27
    coping-with-morning-sickness

    Tip 5: Coping with morning sickness

    Coping with morning sicknessDuring my first pregnancy, I had intense morning sickness 24/7. I discovered one thing that was amazingly effective: chopped, fresh ginger. It was a godsend for me; it enabled me to function. I took a thumbnail-size piece of fresh gingerroot, chopped it fine, and steeped it like you would tea in hot water, for two to three minutes. Id sip that all day long and chew up the ginger at the bottom of each mug.

    Afterward, my nausea was decreased by about 50 percent. Nothing else, not even prescription drugs, was as effective as the ginger tea.
  • Jennifer Gilbert, DO 6 of 27
    taking-photos-of-your-belly

    Tip 6: Taking photos of your belly

    Taking photos of your bellyMy favorite part of my pregnancy was taking photos of my pregnant belly. It would have been neat to have started this earlier, but I was superstitious and scared to do it too soon, so I wouldn't let my husband take any photos until week 32! But at week 32, we wrote 32 on my belly in lipstick and took a photo, and then we did the same the next week, and the week after that. After that we started writing messages to our babies in lipstick on my belly before taking the pictures. It was fun!

  • Sadaf T. Bhutta, MBBS 7 of 27
    easing-the-heartburn

    Tip 7: Easing the (heart)burn

    Easing the (heart)burnWhen I was pregnant with triplets, I had terrible, unrelenting heartburn. I discovered that eating ice cream and sipping a little milk helped. So I coated that heartburn with some ice cream! The ice cream (plus medication my doctor prescribed) eased the heartburn enough that it wasn't waking me up anymore. Of course, by then I was waking up for a zillion other reasons.

  • Rallie McAllister, MD, MPH 8 of 27
    going-to-prenatal-visits

    Tip 8: Going to prenatal visits

    Going to prenatal visitsAlthough I'm a physician myself, I had lots of questions for my obstetrician during my pregnancy. I wanted to make sure that the signs and symptoms I was experiencing during pregnancy were normal. Because I had trouble remembering my questions during the excitement of my visits, I began to jot them down on a piece of paper.

    After misplacing my list several times, I began writing my questions in my date book. If my next appointment was on the first of November, Id write my questions on the November 1 page. Because I kept my date book with me at all times, I could write down my questions whenever they occurred to me, and I didn't have any trouble finding them when I met with my doctor.

  • Rallie McAllister, MD, MPH 9 of 27
    noticing-odd-tastes-and-smells

    Tip 9: Noticing odd tastes and smells

    Noticing odd tastes and smellsDuring my pregnancy, I wasn't sensitive to many smells at home, but the minute I stepped into the hospital, I would begin to feel queasy. I was especially sensitive to chemical smells, including the industrial cleaning solutions, air fresheners, and antiseptic soaps and lotions.

    To counteract the unpleasant, nausea-inducing smells, I carried a small tube of eucalyptus ointment in my pocket, and I dabbed a bit under my nose whenever the need arose. I found the smell of the eucalyptus blocked the unpleasant odors around me, quelled my nausea, and had a calming effect on me. As a backup, I carried a pack of ginger candy in my pocket, which helped alleviate my nausea.

  • Katja Rowell, MD 10 of 27
    feeling-overheated-and-sweating

    Tip 10: Feeling overheated and sweating

    Feeling overheated and sweatingI was pregnant during the summer, and it was very hot. I carried a battery operated fan everywhere - even into meetings. I also carried a bottle of water all of the time, and I drank as much as I could to stay hydrated.

    I wore layers. I often had just a sundress or a cotton top with spaghetti straps under my white coat!

  • Ellen Kruger, MD 11 of 27
    handling-unsolicited-advice

    Tip 11: Handling unsolicited advice

    Handling unsolicited adviceWhen people give you unsolicited advice, feel free to blurt out the rudest thing you can think of. Then blame it on the pregnancy hormones.

  • Kathie Bowling, MD 12 of 27
    preventing-and-treating-back-pain

    Tip 12: Preventing and treating back pain

    Preventing and treating back painIm 4 feet 11 inches tall, and I was not one of those ideal weight gainers. I put on 40 pounds with each pregnancy. (The ideal is 25, and most women gain between 35 and 40 pounds.)

    That was a lot of weight to lug around on my frame. I had bad sciatic pain. One thing that helped was to rest lying on the side opposite of my pain.

  • Aline Tanios, MD 13 of 27
    easing-swelling

    Tip 13: Easing swelling

    Easing swellingDuring my pregnancy, I had bad swelling of my feet and fingers. Whenever I had the chance, Id put my feet up, especially at night when I was watching TV. I think its helpful to keep a foot stool nearby.

    Also, it sounds counterintuitive, but it helps to stay hydrated. Don't stop drinking if you're swelling. I drank a lot of water during my pregnancy, and an occasional caffeinated soda.

  • Sonia Ng, MD 14 of 27
    resting-despite-restless-legs-syndrome

    Tip 14: Resting despite restless legs syndrome

    Resting despite restless legs syndromeDuring my pregnancy, I couldn't stop moving my legs, especially at night. It was hard to sleep. My husband couldn't sleep in the same bed because I kept kicking him. I found that sleeping with a pillow between my legs helped. And thank goodness, the restless legs syndrome went away after my baby was born.

  • Erika Schwartz, MD 15 of 27
    coping-with-cravings

    Tip 15: Coping with cravings

    Coping with cravingsI think its important to listen to your body. Cravings are a normal part of pregnancy. Theyre not a sign that anything is wrong. If you're craving something unhealthy, try to eat something healthier, such as yogurt instead of ice cream. But if you really must have that ice cream, eat it.

  • Rallie McAllister, MD, MPH 16 of 27
    adjusting-to-your-center-of-gravity-and-preventing-falls

    Tip 16: Adjusting to your center of gravity
    and preventing falls

    Adjusting to your center of gravity and preventing fallsAs my belly expanded during pregnancy, I found that I had more trouble keeping my balance, especially when I carried my purse or my briefcase slung over one shoulder. I once fell in the middle of the hospital parking lot for no apparent reason, and it was so embarrassing because two elderly ladies insisted on helping me up. I think I weighed more than both of them put together.

    Packing the contents of my purse and my briefcase in a backpack helped distribute the weight more evenly, and it allowed me to keep both hands and arms free for better balance. In the final trimester, when the backpack was too heavy to carry comfortably, I transferred everything to a roll-behind briefcase. I could easily pull it wherever I went without struggling to keep my balance or straining to bear the extra weight.

  • Dianna K. Kim, MD 17 of 27
    considering-cord-blood-banking

    Tip 17: Considering cord blood banking

    Considering cord blood bankingMy husband and I decided to bank each of our childrens cord blood. We thought we would do that just in case something happened. Researchers are finding more and more applications for stem cells, so I think that in the future cord blood might be even more useful. Its like life insurance.

  • Rallie McAllister, MD, MPH 18 of 27
    treating-a-stuffy-nose

    Tip 18: Treating a stuffy nose

    Treating a stuffy noseI had a stuffy nose with each of my pregnancies, but I didn't want to use medicated nasal sprays. Breathing in the steam from a cup of hot tea worked wonders for me. When I didn't have time for tea, I got a lot of relief from a few squirts of a saline nasal spray.

  • Kerri A. Daniels, MD 19 of 27
    getting-sleep

    Tip 19: Getting sleep

    Getting sleepA few weeks before the end of my pregnancy, I had a terrible time getting comfortable and sleeping at night. What was especially difficult was that I couldn't sleep on my stomach. I bought a body pillow that you can bend into shapes. I wrapped it around me to get into a more comfortable position so I could sleep at night.

  • Patricia S. Brown, MD 20 of 27
    preventing-stretch-marks

    Tip 20: Preventing stretch marks

    Preventing stretch marks I was determined not to get stretch marks. I put cocoa butter on my belly every night and sometimes in the morning too. I love that stuff! I didn't buy anything extravagant - just a cheap brand from a five-and-dime store. But it was great! I only got one stretch mark, and that popped out the day before I delivered, right on my belly button. Its still there.

  • Diane Truong, MD, FAAP 21 of 27
    soothing-itchy-skin

    Tip 21: Soothing itchy skin

    Soothing itchy skinDuring my pregnancy, I had itching on my belly. I put a lot of vitamin E and cocoa butter lotion on the area. If the itching was very intense, I put an ice pack on it, which really helped.

  • Mary Mason, MD 22 of 27
    preparing-your-pets-for-the-baby

    Tip 22: Preparing your pets for the baby

    Preparing your pets for the babyOur cat was our baby before our babies were born. My husband and I bought a tent for our babys crib to keep the cat out of it. We were concerned how the cat would react to the baby because she was already five years old when our daughter was born. We were right. When the baby came home, the cat was not very happy!

  • Ellen Kruger, MD 23 of 27
    easing-your-fears

    Tip 23: Easing your fears

    Easing your fearsPregnancy is overwhelming. This is probably good preparation for parenting, which is even more overwhelming. At some point during my pregnancy, I realized that I was doing my best, and then I would just fake the rest. I stopped trying to control every variable. We all muddle through. I just try to use my best judgment.

  • Michelle Paley, MD, PA 24 of 27
    preparing-your-home-and-stocking-up-on-food-and-supplies

    Tip 24: Preparing your home and stocking up
    on food and supplies

    Preparing your home and stocking up on food and suppliesI had our babysitter start work a few weeks before my baby was born. This was so helpful because she helped me set up the nursery. She also prepared a lot of meals that we froze and then ate after we came home from the hospital.

    Another thing I did ahead of time was buy thank-you cards, announcements, and stamps. I even printed out all of the address labels in advance! I didn't want to have to deal with setting that all up after I came home with the baby because setting up those spreadsheets is like speaking Chinese to me. I tried to make the process as easy as possible.

  • Tyeese Gaines Reid, DO 25 of 27
    dealing-with-the-foot-pain

    Tip 25: Dealing with foot pain

    Dealing with foot painBe good to your feet, or they will make you pay. My favorite shoes during pregnancy are the brown Hush Puppies loafers that I still wear now. They helped me stand for hours while ob-serving surgeries then and now. Of all the orthopedic brands, Hush Puppies had the trendier styles. Before my Hush Puppies, my arches would ache endlessly. They definitely quieted my dogs.

  • Hana R. Solomon, MD 26 of 27
    controlling-pain-during-labor

    Tip 26: Controlling pain during labor

    Controlling pain during laborI think its impossible to have a healthy, natural birth when you're lying on your back and tied up with IVs and monitors. Lying down is the wrong thing to be doing. My secret to making it through labor was walking. I walked until I didn't think I could walk anymore, and then I walked some more. Along the way, my midwife checked me. I kept walking until I thought that my poop was coming out, but in fact it was the baby. I didn't want to have the baby in the hallway, so I got into bed and pushed.

    Also, I think you have to have your mind ready for labor. Understand that its going to be hard, but of course you can do it. It also helps to have someone you really trust in the room with you during labor. Theres going to be a point when you'll think to yourself, I can't do this. Thats when you look into the eyes of that person, and you put your soul in his or her hands, and you keep pushing. And then you have the baby.

  • Elizabeth Berger, MD 27 of 27
    seeing-your-baby-for-the-first-time

    Tip 27: Seeing your baby for the first time

    Seeing your baby for the first time I cannot adequately describe how I felt when my babies were born. At the time, the analogy came to me forcefully that it was just as if I had died and there really was a Heaven with the Prophets and the Angels, and that you could look at them clearly and see they were like real people, with eyelashes and fingernails. My babys eyelashes and fingernails seemed that impossible and vivid to me. Just to look at them seemed impossible.

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