Once the news of your pregnancy wears off, the euphoria you experience may start to turn into anxiety. Be sure to make an appointment with an obstetrician & gynaecologist to address any concerns you have.
If you’re unsure of what to ask your doctor during your first visit, we’ve got you covered!
Q: What type of tests or screenings will I need to do in the coming months?
For the first trimester (at 10 – 12 weeks), your doctor will usually recommend an ultrasound scan and antenatal blood tests. Prenatal testing for Down syndrome is also typically recommended. At 20 weeks of pregnancy, there is usually a detailed fetal anomaly scan on the foetus. Your obstetrician & gynaecologist may also order a glucose screening to test for gestational diabetes at 28 weeks of gestation.
Q: How much weight should I gain in the course of my pregnancy?
Anywhere from 11 – 15kg, depending on what your average weight was during the start of your pregnancy. If you are already overweight, your doctor will recommend you gain no more than 11kg.
Q: Am I genetically predisposed to certain medical conditions that may be considered of high risk to the fetus? If so, what are the preventative measures I can undertake to minimise my risks?
High blood pressure, diabetes and autoimmune diseases such as lupus and multiple sclerosis can increase a woman’s risk for preeclampsia, preterm birth or stillbirth. Discuss with your doctor on viable steps you may take to reduce these prospects.
Q: What are some normal pregnancy symptoms to expect and how can I manage them?
Usual symptoms include bloating, heartburn, fatigue, tender breasts, fatigue, constipation, headaches, food aversions or cravings, mood swings and nausea. Your obstetrician & gynaecologist can advise you on signs to watch out for so that you may be better prepared.
Q: What kinds of food should I start eating more of?
Lentils and spinach are considered to be superfoods for pregnant women as they contain more than half of your daily folate requirement in a single serving. They are also rich in potassium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium and vitamins A and B6, necessary nutrients that aid in the growth of fetal tissue and organs. Walnuts, raspberries, wild salmon, kale, lean chicken, sweet potatoes, avocado and chocolate (in small doses) are also recommended. If you’re a vegetarian or a pescatarian, consult your doctor on what best to incorporate in your pregnancy diet.
Q: What should I start eating less of or abstain from eating altogether?
Anything raw is a definite no-no, and this goes for fish, shellfish, eggs and sometimes even vegetables, as trapped mud in some vegetables may be breeding ground for E. coli and salmonella.
Avoid soft cheeses such as brie, gorgonzola, camembert, roquefort, feta or queso as they are made from unpasteurised milk and may contain listeria.
Abstain from alcohol as it may pass through the placenta and into the baby’s blood stream, resulting in fetal alcohol syndrome.
Any fish that registers high mercury levels should also be avoided, such as shark, swordfish, tilefish, canned tuna and king mackerel.
Q: Should I start eating for two?
Overeating can result in excessive weight gain and gestational diabetes, which in turn can put you at risk for pregnancy complications. If you feel hungry often, choose healthier snacks such as blueberries, hummus, yogurt parfait, kale chips or granola mix.
Practise moderation in everything, including sex, exercise, massages (avoid deep-tissue) and hair treatments (opt for highlights or henna if you are concerned about chemicals seeping into the skin and bloodstream). If you are going for a manicure or pedicure, ask for 3-free nail polish if you’re wary of the ‘toxic trio’ of dibutyl phthalate, toluene and formaldehyde.
Feel free to ask your doctor any other questions that are weighing on your mind.
You can read more about Parkway East Hospital’s maternity packages and services, or make an appointment with an O&G specialist.
Article reviewed by Dr Ting Hua Sieng, obstetrician & gynaecologist at Parkway East Hospital