We asked parents and future parents what they most wanted to know about pregnancy. Read on for expert answers from Dr. Aron Schuftan. Missed the first Q&A round? Visit www.parentguidenews.com/Articles/PregnancyQAPart1.
How can gestational diabetes affect my baby?
The most worrisome issue when confronting gestational diabetes is having a big baby that can get "stuck" in the birth canal. Traditionally, the baby's head is the largest body part, and once the head is delivered, the body "slides" right out. In a pregnancy with uncontrolled gestational diabetes, the baby is exposed to more sugar than normal due to higher levels of glucose circulating in the mother's blood stream. As a result, the baby's shoulders and abdomen get bigger than the head, creating a higher risk of a shoulder dystocia, in which the head comes out but the body gets stuck. This is a serious emergency. There can also be issues with amniotic fl uid levels and premature aging of the placenta in uncontrolled gestational diabetics. However, gestational diabetes can be controlled, and if it is, you should be fi ne. Talk to your health care provider about your concerns, and final additional information at www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/gestational/.
Should I be concerned if I experience any spotting during pregnancy?
Some spotting is common in pregnancy, especially around weeks fi ve to six as your placenta starts to develop. This is often called "implantation bleeding." However, all spotting should be taken seriously, and a possible miscarriage should be ruled out. If your blood is Rh-negative, your partner's blood is Rh-positive, and you experience spotting, you may want to talk to your doctor about getting a shot of RhoGAM.
How much caffeine is safe to consume per day when pregnant?
Caffeine should be avoided in early pregnancy. One study has suggested that more than 200 mg of caffeine (about 2 cups of coffee) a day doubles the risk of miscarriage in the first trimester. Try switching to decaf.
Contractions should be how far apart and last for what duration of time before you alert your doctor that labor is starting?
Usually, we use the five-one-one rule, meaning contractions occur every five minutes and last one minute for one hour. But if you have a high-risk pregnancy or a history of a "fast" delivery, you should talk to your doctor about when she would like to be notified.
For the hospital, what should I pack for myself, my partner, and my baby?
Recommended items for your hospital bag are:
- Liquids for hydration: water, sports drinks, diluted juice, coconut juice, etc.
- Snacks like popcorn, dried fruit, snack bars
- A handheld fan
- Hair clips or bands
- A MP3 player with small speakers or headphones
- A gown, T-shirt, and socks for labor and delivery (all of which can be thrown away)
- Extra pillows
- Eyeglasses, contact lenses, and contact lense solution
- Extra clothes (i.e. comfy pants, underwear, slippers, socks, a nightgown, a bathrobe)
- Toiletries (i.e. lip balm, deodorant, a brush/comb, toothpaste and a toothbrush, lotion)
- Sanitary pads
- A nursing pillow, bras, and nipple cream
- Your driver's license
- A medical ID card
- Your pediatrician's contact information
- Cash/credit cards
- A diaper bag and diapers
- Clothes for baby (i.e. onesies, socks, a hat, blankets)
- For your partner: a camera, cell phone with charger, a change of clothes, toiletries