1. Should I take a supplement in pregnancy?
“For mothers planning to conceive, I would recommend expecting mothers to increase their folic acid intake from the 400mcg to 600mcg to prevent birth defects of the baby’s brain and spinal cord. Folic acid supplements can be prescribed by doctors or bought from pharmacies.,” says Grace. Natural sources of folic acid include: Broccoli, peas, asparagus, chickpeas and brown rice.
2. My pregnancy sickness is severe. What medicines can I take and are they safe?
Taking medicine in early pregnancy is a common source of anxiety because of the potential impact on a developing foetus. However, a number of medications are safe to take when you’re pregnant and may help with the nausea, so ask your doctor about them. If nausea or vomiting is extreme – a condition called hyperemesis gravidarum – you may need hospital admission and intravenous hydration.
3. Can eating peanuts while pregnant increase my baby’s risk of developing allergies?
No. There’s no evidence to show that eating or not eating peanuts makes a difference to a baby’s risk of developing allergies, including to peanuts themselves. Excluding foods you yourself are allergic to or intolerant to, aim to eat as broad a range of foods as possible while pregnant.
(Read more: 15 Superfoods Every Pregnant Women Should Eat)
4. I love poached eggs as well as store-bought mayonnaise, but heard they're not safe to eat while pregnant. Is this true?
There is a very small risk of salmonella poisoning from raw or lightly cooked eggs. For this reason, the advice is to play it safe and only eat well-cooked eggs. For now, try scrambled eggs or omelettes instead of poached eggs. As for mayonnaise, supermarket mayonnaise is pasteurised and perfectly safe to eat, but avoid the homemade type made with raw eggs.
5. If possible, I would like to avoid getting stretch marks. Do the creams really work?
Stretch marks are tiny tears in the underlying tissue of the skin. They occur when the skin is stretched beyond its capacity because of rapid weight gain. While genetics plays a role – you’re more likely to get stretch marks if your mother had them – you can take steps to reduce your chances of getting them. Try not to gain too much weight, too quickly. Also, stay hydrated and eat a sensible, healthy diet. There is some evidence to suggest creams and oils may promote skin elasticity, but their value in preventing stretch marks is still controversial. Products that are recommended include vitamin E cream, cocoa butter and coconut oil.
6. I’m pregnant and am worried that having sex will cause another miscarriage. Will it?
If you’re having a normal, healthy pregnancy, it is quite safe to have sex throughout every trimester. Understandably, you’re anxious but your baby is well protected in his amniotic sac within the uterus. Having said that, if you’ve experienced any bleeding, had previous miscarriages or have a history of very early deliveries caused by an incompetent cervix, it’s wise to seek the advice of your healthcare professional.
(Read more: 10 Things You Shouldn’t Do Whilst Pregnant)
7. Is it true you should only lie on your side and not your back while pregnant?
After about 24 weeks, lying flat on your back can be uncomfortable because the weight of the uterus on the major blood vessels can lead to dizziness or breathlessness. Sleeping on either side or slightly upright is the best option. While it’s fine to lie flat at 16 weeks, try placing a pillow under your right hip to relieve pressure from your uterus.
8. Do I have to increase my caloric intake when I'm pregnant?
Dr Nathalie Chua, Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, Parkway East Hospital, says this is a myth she’d like to dispel. “Many women are expected to start eating for two when they’re pregnant but in reality, their intake should only be 200 to 300 calories more than that of a non-pregnant person,” she says. She also maintains that pregnancy is a normal journey that many women will undergo in their lifetime so enjoy the journey and don’t treat it like a medical problem.
9. I’ve been told cats can carry harmful bacteria that can be problematic for unborn babies. Should I give my cat away?
A parasitic disease known as toxoplasmosis is carried in the faeces of cats. While the symptoms are mild, it may cause miscarriage, especially during the first trimester. However, the disease is rare and this outcome is rarer still. So your cat can stay, with a few precautions. You need to be extra careful when dealing with your cat’s faeces. This means avoiding emptying the litter tray or, if you must do it, always wear rubber gloves.
(Read more: 10 Avoidable Baby-Making Mistakes)
10. I have always included weights as part of my gym routine, but should I skip them now that I'm expecting?
Pregnancy is a time to maintain your strength and fitness, rather than build it up. It may be better to find a class that maintains your strength, tone and fitness (such as aqua fitness, fitball exercises, Pilates and yoga), rather than continue lifting weights. If you are motivated to exercise outside the gym, try walking and swimming.
(Text by bauersyndication.com / Additional Reporting by Natalya Molok)