Health and Wellbeing

You are probably healthy already or you wouldn’t be pregnant. But a variety of questions will arise during the pregnancy and we hope the following information will be of help.

Baby Names:

There is a reason the French only allow certain names to be registered. Made up names have to be explained, pronounced and spelt by the owner for the rest of their lives. Because of this, they create problems with legal documents and they will always be shortened in the time honoured Australian tradition anyway.

Cats:

You may have heard that you can catch an infection called Toxoplasmosis from cats. This is an uncommon condition in Australia. For those of you who have ever had a cat, you may already be immune to this or your cat/s will not have had the disease. It is important not to get a new cat during your pregnancy, especially kittens. Most problems arise from kittens because they do not always use the litter box and you may come into contact with their droppings.

Painting and Redecorating Your House:

All paints and glues contain solvents which can be absorbed through your lungs or skin. If your house must be painted, try to spend a couple of days staying with family or friends to avoid the worst of the fumes. If you must paint, avoid oil-based paints and make sure that there is plenty of ventilation.

Sexual Relations:

During pregnancy ‘Adult Activity’ is usually safe. It is however the commonest cause of bleeding in pregnancy. Gentleness, understanding and restraint is called for.  Your obstetrician will advise you if you have any condition which may make it unsafe.
Remember, even after a vaginal delivery without stitches, sex can be painful. It will take about 6 weeks for everything to return to near normal. Breastfeeding can make the vagina quite dry and a lubricant can help.

Spraying For Insects and Spiders:

Safe pyrethrin-type sprays are available in cans or for use by pest control firms. The stronger sprays sometimes used by pest control firms (usually “anti-cholinesterases”) should be avoided as they may be absorbed by you and put your baby at risk. You will need to tell the firm that you are pregnant, but generally all the dangerous products are off the market. If spraying must be done it is best if you can stay elsewhere for a few days.

Travel – Domestic:

In the absence of any risk factors (previous premature delivery, placenta praevia), domestic travel is generally safe up until 36 weeks. During long plane or car trips you should stretch and move your legs regularly to avoid developing blood clots. Pregnancy is not the time to go bush, just in case you do require medical assistance.

Travel  – International:

After 32 weeks this is best avoided if possible. If you are travelling overseas at any time you must check to see which vaccinations you will need and if they will harm the baby. Many countries require Malaria prophylaxis and these tablets are potentially harmful to your baby. The best advice is not to go to a malaria area.
Please check with us before you book any overseas travel and always arrange medical insurance for your trip, which includes complications of pregnancy.

Exercise and Spas:

It is important to maintain a generally healthy lifestyle with gentle, regular exercise.  If you have not been a regular exerciser this is not the time to ‘get fit’. 15 minute walks and occasional swimming are ideal. For those who have regularly attended aerobics, weight training or running, a good rule is to reduce your activity by 50%. This means half as many exercise sessions and half the workload.
Within the first 6 weeks of pregnancy your blood volume increases by 40% and your cardiac output increases by 40%. Changes in respiration due to progesterone and the enlarging uterus pressing up on the diaphragm, reduce your respiratory reserve. Your resting heart rate will be about 15 beats per minute higher and so you will quickly reach 110 – 120 bmp when exercising.  Because of this reduction in cardiac and respiratory reserve, take it easy.

Temperature:

Ever wondered why pregnant women don’t need blankets in winter and really suffer from the heat in summer?
When your baby gets rid of excess energy, it radiates this heat to you. You then need to be able to radiate this heat to the environment. Sitting in hot saunas and spas for long periods can prevent this heat exchange from occurring and cause the baby to overheat. The enzyme pathways which allow us to function are often temperature dependent and start to malfunction as we overheat. Because of this we recommend caution and preferably avoidance of saunas.  Caution is required when using hot spas and saunas.

Hair Care

Thank you to Tina of Kristyna’s Hair Biz for this Guest spot information

Many women are naturally concerned about the well-being of their unborn child when it comes to using hair dyes or hair products. We have found that colouring your hair while pregnant is safe as the dyes do not penetrate through the skin. Rather, they rest on the outer layer of the scalp.

Some minor problems that may occur are:

  • Colour or Perms not taking completely because of hormonal changes in your body.
  • Nausea associated with the strong aromas generated by many of the colouring and perming agents.

There are a variety of products, in the colours that we stock, with very low peroxides. They are also low in ammonia.

There are some definite benefits to colouring your hair when pregnant:

  • It can make you feel good at a time when it appears you have lost control of your body.
  • You can be at your best when meeting your new baby (and Obstetrician) in the delivery suite.
  • Those candid shots in the labour ward have a more glamorous quality.

One of the most common problems we encounter is HAIR LOSS in new mothers.
This a very common problem due to hormonal changes in pregnancy and after delivery.
From my own experience I have found this to occur soon after the end of breastfeeding, although many women find that it occurs in the first 6 weeks after birth.

Another problem is going STRAIGHT.
Hair can lose its natural curl, gloss and body after childbirth. This isn’t helped by late nights, poor sleep and the general tearing out of hair when you can’t get the blighter to sleep!
Then there is the baby to consider. Don’t Panic !!!!!!!!!!!  It will all go back to normal, even if your life won’t.

Dentist

Thank you to Deb, a talented dentist and mother, for the following information:

A pregnant patient often has many questions for their dentist. Do not worry about seeking dental treatment during pregnancy.
Common concerns or questions often involve:

  • Local anaesthetics
  • Fluoride
  • Amalgam
  • X-rays
  • Bleeding, swollen or sore gums

Local Anaesthetics:

The most commonly used injections are classed as category A drugs. This basically means that they have been taken by a great many women (pregnant and not) and there has not been any proven increase in the frequency of malformations. Nor has there been any direct  or  indirect effect on the baby.
The use of inhalation anaesthetics (gases) is not recommended.

Flouride:

Fluoride is added to Brisbane water. Whilst fluoride mouthwashes can be of benefit to the mother in preventing decay, there is no need to take fluoride tablets. Fluoride does not pass across the placenta in significant concentrations to be of benefit to the developing baby’s teeth.
It will pass in breast milk, but the dosage needs to be taken 30 minutes before a feed. It is not something I personally recommend. Having fed two babies on demand myself, the idea of taking the correct dose, waiting half an hour whilst junior screams and coping with the spontaneous “let down reflex” its not pleasant.

Once tooth brushing starts, use a tiny amount of children’s fluoride toothpaste. As most children can not physically spit out, we have no way of calculating how much fluoride is being swallowed. Therefore, the ADA recommends to NOT giving a fluoride supplement until the child is properly spitting out all their toothpaste.
If in any doubt, talk to your dentist.

Amalgam:

This is quite a difficult area to touch on. The ADA states that amalgam is safe to use. However, the amalgam companies do advise caution during pregnancy, breast-feeding and in the under fives. Discuss filling material options with your dentist.
X-Rays: Dentists do try to avoid x-rays if they are not necessary. This is especially so during the first trimester or even if there was any doubt of “being pregnant”.
Lead aprons are routinely used as a protective shield to the reproductive organs and any new little developing bundles.

Bleeding, Swollen or Sore Gums:

The appearance of the gums in a pregnant woman can vary from no change to quite marked reddening and swelling of the tissues. This is due to the hormonal changes. The primary cause of bleeding gums is plaque and calculus (scale) sitting around the necks of the teeth.
Pregnancy hormones are a secondary effect and simply exaggerate the effect of the plaque. A scale and polish can help clear this problem.
Most people are horrified at the sight of bleeding in the mouth. However, if the area is avoided, more plaque builds up and the condition worsens. Thorough brushing is always recommended. If this is not possible due to “morning sickness”, try later during the day.  A good brush before bed is better than nothing. Some women find that the bleeding does not stop until after the birth or even after breastfeeding has ceased.

An alarming red lump is sometimes seen on the gum. It is harmless. It can be found say around the neck of a poorly fitting crown or a ledge on a filling where plaque collects. It is called a “pregnancy tumour”. If it is removed, it may regrow, so is often kept under review once the area has been cleaned. They tend to resolve after the birth.
“A tooth for every child” is a misconception. There is no mechanism for the physiological withdrawal of calcium from the teeth.
The moral of the story is to see a dentist and get all necessary dental treatment completed before planning a family. Tell your dentist of your future plans.

Please also start junior (or juniorette) off young at the dentist. Most will want to encourage children into the surgery from the tiny tot stage as it produces good patients and we like to see the new babies too!!