Every pregnant woman worries about different things. This is a list of the things that I was going through and what I was concerned about throughout my pregnancy.
1. Zika virus
This has been worrying me since I first read about it online. If you haven’t heard about this, it’s a virus that spreads through the bite a mosquito. Not just any mosquito, mind you, it is the Aedes aegypti mosquito that bites in the morning and late afternoon/evening hours. So those mosquito nets won’t even help you because they don’t bite you until you are awake. But just in case, use the mosquito nets. Like they say, better safe than sorry. The zika virus doesn’t hit people very hard. You just feel general aching, malaise, fever, pink eye, rash and headache. This lasts usually 2-7 days. Now the problem arises in pregnant women. It’s not the woman who gets affected too much, it’s the growing fetus inside of her. The first case for 2016 was from a baby that was born in Hawaii in January.
Now it has been spreading through sexual contact. It’s mainly males who are coming back to America and infecting their mates. The testes are not affected by the immune system of the body so that is why the virus lingers there. No one really knows how long. There are no reports yet as to women and their role in transferring the virus (if they do). So for safety, men should wear condoms when having sex.
There are also many conspiracy theories out there that we probably shouldn’t listen to. Here is an article debunking those myths: 4 Myths About the Zika Virus. Here is a map and number of cases nationwide: Zika in America. We should, at this time, avoid traveling to the following locations:
- Cape Verde
- Central America
- Pacific Islands
- South America
Here are all the things about Zika and pregnancy and how you can protect yourself from mosquito bites: Zika and Pregnancy
Now that it’s March, it’s getting a little warmer and I’m getting more worried. I’m trying not to stress so much but since this is our first baby, I’m freaking out more. I just don’t want anything to happen. I feel like as it gets closer to the date, I just might stay home a little more. We’ll see.
2. Gas pains or contractions
Just recently I have been feeling extra gas in my abdomen. On one occasion the pain started at the top of my belly and radiated all over the rest of my belly. When I stood up it hurt to stretch. I know this is going to be TMI for some of you but after I pooped the pain went away after a minute or two. I didn’t know what it was because I didn’t pass gas for the pain to go away. I was just relieved that it was gone.
After that I started looking up what it felt like to have contractions. Contractions feel like tightening of the muscles and you worry about this if this happens regularly. At this point you should call your doctor. My pain didn’t return, thankfully. I’m only in my 26th week so that would be very bad. I just hope I don’t feel contractions until much later.
I read that sharp pain is most likely gas so I should try to avoid gas producing foods. It was probably the spaghetti noodles that I ate that caused it or the raw tomatoes that I ate. Whatever it was, I’m not really sure what it was. I was feeling gassy before but it’s gotten worse now that I’m approaching the third trimester.
3. Moving during your pregnancy
It’s part of life. Things change and people change careers/jobs. My fiance got a job offer at a place in the city and we had to relocate. When we moved I had to obtain my medical records from my OB. I had to sign a release to get my records because due to HIPPA, they’re not allowed to just give out your medical information to just anybody. They need your signature. It protects you from criminals. One tip I want to tell you is that you have to remember to tell them that you need the records as soon as possible and make sure that the date you get the records is sooner that when you need them. This will ensure that you will get the records on time. You have to also call them often to make sure that they are really processing your request. They have a lot of things to do and they get really busy so they won’t make your request a priority. I, unfortunately, didn’t get my records in time. They said they would call me when they were ready but they weren’t before I moved. I was already in another state before I got my records. I had to call them to make sure they were sent to the right address.
I also had my first sonogram before I moved so I had to get those records as well. What I didn’t realize was that I had to get the CD of the images they took from the sonogram. They don’t give you the CD if you don’t request it. When I tried to make my appointment for my second sonogram they said they needed the CD. Calling to make sure that my CD got sent to the new hospital I was going to took about 4 to 5 phone calls. I think it was a misunderstanding on all parties on what was the appropriate thing to do in this situation. When I relayed the information from Maryland they said I needed the hospital to send a request for the release of my medical information. Then the hospital said that they don’t send the request, it’s Maryland that needs to. So eventually I found out that since it is continuation of care, the hospital only needs to fax a request for Maryland to send my medical records over. Wow, that took longer than I expected. So now I know. If I ever have to go through this again then I’ll know what to do.
Besides all of that, you also need to make your appointments ahead of time. I didn’t do that and my appointment was a little later than I would I have wanted. Just make sure that the OB you want to go to takes your insurance.
4. Food worries
Being pregnant, I have to avoid and lessen my intake of certain foods. I’ve been super paranoid with eating ever since I found out I was pregnant. I’ve just been looking up foods I can’t eat and what I can. Every time I go to a restaurant I have to make sure that what I’m eating is safe for the baby. It’s not necessarily what is safe for me, it’s what is safe for the baby.
Many of you know the standard list of what not to eat: raw foods, anything unpasteurized, anything alcoholic. They say not to eat soft cheeses but it’s just those that are not pasteurized. Some websites list foods into different categories of should not eat, maybe and safe. There is this pretty good list here: Parents. Some foods have been converted from not safe to safe. One example is soft cheese. If the milk is pasteurized then it is safe to eat. Many restaurants should have safe cheeses to eat but just to be safe, you can ask them if their cheeses are pasteurized. Also, as I have noticed in many places I have eaten at, they don’t necessarily cook their red meats all the way through when you ask them to. You always have to check before you eat it. More often than not the meat you get will not be how you want it. This is very frustrating because I’m already hungry to begin with and now the food is not cooked all the way through. I guess I’m not as assertive as I should be. One time it arrived red. Seriously!?!?!? Either the waiter didn’t tell them or the cook is just incompetent or just plain uncooperative.
Same goes with eggs. Eggs have to be well done and not runny for it to be safe to eat. I had to send my eggs back in a couple of places because they were too runny. Maybe I should have said I was pregnant…but then again, I don’t think that would have made a difference.
And there’s the thing with canned foods. Canned foods contain BPA levels that aren’t safe for the baby. I’ve been trying to avoid eating canned foods and also cooked foods that contain canned items. Maybe I’m freaking out too much canned foods. My sister ate canned foods when she was pregnant and her two children are fine.
The thing with these foods is that you have to eat in moderation. My mom said that when she was pregnant with my sister and me she only had to think about eating healthy and not any of the other things we have to worry about now. She still ate seafood and canned goods and my sister and I turned out healthy. I still worry about the foods I am eating.
Besides all the foods you are trying to avoid you also have to watch what you eat. There is a certain amount of weight that you should gain when pregnant. This website describes weight gain for different types of people: What to Expect. I was at a normal BMI before I got pregnant so I’m suppose to gain about 25-35 pounds. Some people think that you should eat for two and some people literally do because they don’t know until their doctor tells them not to. It just so hard to not eat a lot of food. I feel hungry more often now than before. Right now I am about 7-8 pounds over what I am suppose to gain. At my first appointment my doctor told me that I had to cut down on carbohydrates. That meant not eating rice!! I have tried to limit my rice intake but I’m not going to stop eating it. My doctor said to eat more protein because protein builds cells. I’ve been trying to eat a lot more meat because the baby needs the protein.
I’m sure in the future there will be more foods on the list of what to avoid. And it’s difficult to actually find approved foods to eat in the store. There was one post online that said that tofu and soy products were a little bit of a grey area when it comes to safety. I myself still drink soy milk and eat tofu. It’s very frustrating at times when you see these “do not eat” lists. Here’s one of those lists: 11 Foods to Avoid. In my own diet, I will not be cutting out rice. I did try to stop eating canned foods. How about you? What do you think of this? What foods did you try to avoid when you were pregnant?
Update [1/30/16]: I found out recently that there are cans that say “BPA free.” My mom was opening a can of sardines the other day and noticed that it stated that it was BPA free on the label. So there are canned foods out there that are safe to eat, you just have to look for them. Here is a link to just some of the brands that package their food in BPA free cans: BPA Free Canned Food Brands.
5. Flying on planes
If you guys haven’t already noticed, I worry too much and I look up everything. So, this past Christmas when I went to Colorado with my fiance I looked up if it was safe to be on a plane while pregnant. I already kinda knew but I wanted to make sure. So flying is only a problem if you have to do it frequently (like if you are a pilot or a flight attendant). The level of cosmic radiation when flying is minute and will not hurt the baby if you don’t fly frequently. Here’s more information on Mayo Clinic: Air Travel During Pregnancy.
Before you get onto the plane you have to go through security. I was worried about the amount of radiation I would get from airport screening machines. I read that the new machines may malfunction and give you more radiation than necessary. After reading this I was really anxious about going. TSA claim that it is safe and that only low amounts of radiation are released. I don’t really trust that at all. I would rather be safe. It is recommended to ask for a physical “pat down” instead, which is what I did. I was anxious that they wouldn’t let me do it but they were nice and didn’t question me. I just told them I wanted a pat down because I’m pregnant. I had to do this twice because one for the flight to Colorado and one for the flight home. The first time the woman ask me if I wanted a private or public pat down. I told her public because I thought that the private would take longer cause we would have to walk over there and I just wanted it to be done with. She told me everything she was going to do before she did it. It was done quickly and efficiently. The second time I had a pat down, the woman was more gentle and she actually talked to me. She even asked me what my due date was. So it really depends on where you are and who the TSA is. If there is no female nearby, they will request one. You just have to wait behind a glass gate.
I keep thinking that you probably get some radiation when standing in front of the screening machine. Not sure how much but I hope it is a minuscule amount. So that was that and it wasn’t as stressful as I made it out to be.
6. Weight gain and extra fluids
During pregnancy weight gain is inevitable. You just have to be careful with how much weight you gain. You can’t gain too little or too much. Right now I definitely have gained a little too much weight so I’m trying to watch what I eat more often. It’s hard to keep track of how much I’m eating because I don’t want to be sitting here counting calories. I do weight myself but sometimes I don’t know if it’s baby/water weight or fat. When you look it up they tell you how much weight you should gain and what will make you gain weight: What to Expect. So for me, since I was of normal BMI before I was pregnant, I should gain 25-35 pounds. Only 7 pounds of that is maternal fat stores and 2 pounds is for your breast tissues.
I don’t weigh myself all the time. You’re not suppose to because that will just drive you crazy. You should be weighing yourself every week at the same time every day and wearing the same amount of clothes. They say that you could also wait until a regular appointment to get weighed. Every time I got weighed at the OB clinic, they didn’t say that my weight was abnormal. I think they just don’t want to worry you unless it is just too much weight. I have gained about 26 pounds and I’m at week 26. I’m just trying not to gain a lot more. Eating at home helps a lot because you can control what you put in your food. I’ve been, sort of, measuring my food in those old Kellogg’s bowls that have that 1 Cup marking in them.
The swelling in pregnancy is pretty bad depending on who you are. It is different for everyone. I used to be able to wear my engagement ring which is a size 4.5 but now my finger has moved up one size to 5.5. I feel naked without my ring so we’re going to find a good chain to put it on so it doesn’t fall off. My hands have been swelling pretty bad and my joints also hurt a little. The PA I spoke to told me that pregnancy hormones make your joints loosen up to get ready for birth. It’s been uncomfortable opening tight bottles and opening doors because of my joints. My wrist has also puffed up a little so I have to loosen my watch when I wear it. My feet have swollen a bit too so my shoes feel tight. I had to find a wide pair of shoes to wear in the meantime. So usually your hands are suppose to be more swollen when you wake up and then your feet are more swollen when you go to bed. This makes sense because as you move around during the day, the fluids tend to flow downwards to your feet.
I’ve just been worrying about my blood pressure. I always ask whenever they take it. At my last appointment it was 124/80s. So far this is normal for pregnancy. I just don’t want that bottom number (diastolic, when your heart is resting between beats) to be 90 or above.