more Pregnancy faq

Will eating fish and seafood during pregnancy harm my unborn baby?

Some varieties of fish may be contaminated with mercury (or “PCBs”), because of environmental pollutants. Larger, long-lived fish contain the highest levels of mercury. Mercury (which accumulates in the skin and fat in fish) has been found to cause cancer and it also crosses the placenta and can be harmful to unborn babies.

Pregnant women are advised to avoid eating shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish (also called golden or white snapper). Limit tuna steak and albacore “white” tuna to one serving a month and canned light tuna to one 6-ounce can a week. Never eat raw or undercooked fish or shellfish such as oysters, clams, mussels or sushi, which may contain bacteria including salmonella and hepatitis A.

Always cook or freeze fish to kill possible parasites. It is recommended that fish be cooked to 140 degrees Fahrenheit or frozen for at least a week at -10 degrees Fahrenheit, which will kill most parasite larvae.

What in the world is “Kegel” exercises?

Kegel exercises (or “pelvic floor muscle exercises”) are a series of simple internal exercises done to strengthen and tone the muscles in your vaginal, rectal and perineal area. Your pelvic floor muscles may be stretched and weakened as a result of pregnancy and birth, which may result in uncontrollable incontinence.

By doing Kegel exercises daily during pregnancy, you can prepare your muscles for delivery and have a faster recovery postpartum. To perform Kegel exercises, identify your vaginal muscles by starting and stopping urination. When you stop your urine, you have located the correct muscles. Tighten the muscle for a count of four and relax for a count of four, over and over again. Repeat these exercises 2-3 times a day for five minutes.

Is it alright to sleep on my stomach while I’m pregnant?

During the first trimester, any sleep position is alright. But after 12 weeks or so, lying on your stomach may put pressure on your unborn baby and should be avoided when possible. Besides that, it can put added strain on your neck and back, causing pain.

Early in pregnancy, you’ll need to get used to sleeping on your side, which is the best position for pregnant women, especially the left side, which allows maximum blood flow to your baby and also keeps your baby’s weight from applying pressure to the inferior vena cava (the large vein that carries blood back to your heart). In addition, lying on your side will help take pressure off your back. Place pillows between your knees and one behind your back for extra support and to keep you from rolling during the night. Special “pregnancy pillows” may help even more.

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