Prenatal Guidelines

Diet During Pregnancy

We recommend you gain 25-35 pounds if your weight is normal, less if overweight and more if tin. Dietary guidelines are included.

Your prenatal vitamins supply iron and folic acid, the only supplements you need, if you follow this diet. Take your vitamins with juice high in vitamin C to maximize the absorption of iron. Do not take it with coffee, tea or milk. High iron foods include red meats, iron fortified cereals and breads, black strap molasses and dark green leafy vegetables. Additional nutrition information is provided in this folder.

Prenatal Classes

Sentara Leigh offers many classes for expectant parents. Childbirth classes are recommended for all patients, particularly those with their first pregnancy. Breastfeeding classes are available and this class gives you information which will be very valuable during those early days. Please visit their website to view available classes and to register at Sentara Leigh Classes & Events.

Prenatal Warning Signs

Call the Group for Women immediately at 757-466-6350 if any of the following occur:

  • A headache which is severe (not relieved by Tylenol), feels different with lights or spots in your eyes, feeling of confusion or facial swelling.
  • Vaginal bleeding with or without cramping
  • Thinking or knowing that your water has broken.
  • A significant decrease in baby’s activity, once the baby has become active.
  • Labor-like contractions every 15 minutes for 3 hours, 3 weeks or more before your due date.
  • There are two types of contractions during a normal pregnancy.
  • Braxton-Hicks Contractions: These occur throughout your pregnancy. They tend to be very irregular in timing. Your uterus is all-of-a-sudden very tight without a buildup sensation. They tend to be felt high in the abdomen and feel more like pressure than pain.
  • Labor Contractions: True labor contractions come at regular intervals (i.e. 5 minutes apart). They are felt in the lower abdomen or back. The build, peak, then subside, get longer, stronger and closer together, and feel like menstrual cramps.

Exercise During Pregnancy

  • We encourage you to be physically active throughout your pregnancy with just a few restrictions:
  • Do not start a new activity or sport you have not been participating in previously.
  • Do not do anything where you could hurt yourself seriously.
  • Do not do any activity to the point of being breathless, or if unable to carry on a conversation.
  • You may continue aerobic exercise if your routine is low impact. With pain, bleeding, fluid from your vagina, etc., stop immediately and call the office.
  • Do not lie on your back or do abdominal exercises after 16 weeks of pregnancy.

Work During Pregnancy

Working is usually safe during pregnancy though some consideration may be necessary. Shifts of 8 hours a day with 10 minute breaks twice a day and meal break is needed. If you stand at work, sit during your break, and vice versa. Avoid chemical exposure, lifting more than 25 pounds, fatigue or dangerous activities.

Toxoplasmosis and Pregnancy

This disease, if contracted during pregnancy, may affect the baby. To avoid it: do not handle cat litter, wear gardening gloves, and wash hands carefully after handling raw meat. It is transmitted hand to mouth. Testing is available if you are concerned.

Chemical Contact

In general, good advice is to avoid chemical contact during your first trimester. Hair coloring and permanents also may not “take” as usual. When cleaning, wear gloves, have good ventilation and wash any exposed area with water quickly.

Sexual Activity During Pregnancy

Sexual activity is permitted unless you have vaginal bleeding, suspect your water has broken, or have been told not to by your physician. If you have vaginal bleeding or suspect your water has broken, do not put anything into your vagina and call us immediately  to determine the cause.

Travel During Pregnancy

If you travel please be back before 32 weeks. Some travel requires special precautions, so please discuss your plans with us before you go.

Schedule Your Appointment

Please call us to schedule your appointment at (757) 466-5751 or fill out the contact form.

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