Pregnancy Guide for Surrogacy

An excessive amount of Caffeine
For java junkies like me, the research on caffeine during pregnancy has been maddeningly contradictory. Some studies point to problems such as for example miscarriage and low birth weight, while others show no such relationship. The latest consensus is that only exorbitant amounts of caffeine (more than 300 milligrams a day) are likely to cause these problems, says Dr. Kathleen Bradley, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist and assistant clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the UCLA School of Medicine. The caffeine content of different brews varies, but you should be able to stay under the 300-milligram mark by limiting your daily quaffing to one or two 5-ounce cups of coffee or tea or a few 12-ounce cans of soda. (Since even non-colas can pack quite a caffeine punch, check the label before you imbibe. ) And while chocolate does contain caffeine, it typically has much less-1 to 35 milligrams per one ounce-than coffee.

Cat Litter
Cat feces may play host to a parasite that triggers toxoplasmosis. The symptoms (fever, fatigue, and sore throat) act like those of a garden-variety flu, but the results (miscarriage, preterm labor, or serious health problems in the newborn) can be devastating. Even so, expecting on board does not mean you will need to send your puss packing, says Marion McCartney, a certified nurse-midwife and the director of professional services at the American University of Nurse-Midwives in Washington, D. C. It simply means you should put your mate on litter-box duty for the nine-month duration. It’s also a good idea to wash the hands after heavy petting sessions with the cat and after handling raw meat. Don’t feed yourself or the cat undercooked meat (which can harbor the parasite). Wear gloves if you are gardening and avoid kids’ sandboxes. (Roaming cats might use these as litter boxes. )

Certain Foods
Beware, foodies: Uncooked, soft cheeses (such as feta, Camembert, Brie, and blue-veined varieties), unpasteurized milk and the foods created from it, and raw or undercooked meats, fish, and poultry may contain listeria bacteria. During pregnancy, listeriosis (symptoms include fever, chills, diarrhoea, and nausea) could cause miscarriage, preterm labor, or stillbirth. Some seafood could also contain high levels of mercury, PCBs, and other toxic substances. If these foods are consumed during pregnancy, the baby is put at risk for developmental delays. (Your local health department may be able to tell you which fish to avoid. ) Experts advise that expecting mothers limit their servings of shark and swordfish-which contain higher degrees of mercury than other fish-to one three-ounce serving per month. Finally, lab tests have linked heavy consumption of saccharine to cancer. Though you are not likely to swill enough of the artificial sweetener to equal several times your human body weight, you might still want to forgo those little pink packets for now. Aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal) appears to be a safe sugar substitute.

Herbal Counteractants
You know that lots of prescription drugs are off-limits during pregnancy, but the natural remedies you are able to pick up at health-food stores are okay, aren’t they? Guess again: Herbal remedies may have a potent effect on your body-and your baby’s-cautions McCartney. Don’t take any such thing without running it by your health-care provider first. She will most likely tell you not to use any during your first trimester. Throughout your pregnancy, steer clear of goldenseal, mugwort, and pennyroyal, which have been associated with uterine contractions (which could possibly lead to miscarriage or preterm labor); Asian ginseng (which interferes with metabolism); and feverfew (though popular for migraine headaches, it has unpredictable effects on pregnant women). It’s also wise to avoid herbal teas that purport to have medicinal benefits.

Home Hazards
If you haven’t been gripped by that famous pregnancy cleaning-and-nesting frenzy, you will be soon. Safety tips for those 3 a. m. floor-scrubbing and nursery-decorating sessions: Read labels vigilantly. Wear gloves and work in well-ventilated areas. And prevent aerosols (which disperse more chemicals into the air than pump bottles do), oven cleaners, paint fumes, solvents, and furniture strippers. Even though frequent, heavy exposure to chemicals in the workplace (home workshops count, too) has been associated with birth defects, Bradley explains, home use of most services and products is more likely to make you feel faint or nauseous-not an excellent proposition when you’re nine months pregnant and perched on top of a ladder or wedged behind the toilet.

Soaking in the hot tub or relaxing in a sauna may seem like the perfect way to pamper your pregnant human anatomy, but raising your core temperature-especially during the first trimester-may boost the odds of birth defects. It’s safe to soak in a lukewarm bath, though. Just ensure that the temperature is not above 100 degrees and that you will get out after about 10 minutes, Resnik advises. Sustained exercise in very hot, humid weather can also raise your core temperature. When you do exercise, be sure to drink liquids before, during, and after, of course, if you find that you’re heating up, have a five- or ten-minute breather.

Lead exposure has been linked to miscarriage, preterm labor, low birth weight, and mental and behavioral problems in children. Residue from the toxic metal can lurk in places you might not suspect: houses built before 1978 (the year lead paint was banned), tap water, even calcium supplements. A couple of precautions will reduce the amount of lead you come into contact with: Call in a lead-abatement specialist if you reside in an older home with chipping or peeling paint. (Whatever you do, do not try to sand or scrape it off your self. ) Filtering your water may help, or have your tap water tested. (Call the Environmental Protection Agency’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 800-426-4791 for a testing lab in your area. ) Finally, invest the a calcium supplement, ask your physician to recommend one that’s low in lead, such as Tums 500 Calcium Supplement.

Oral Sex
Don’t worry, you needn’t swear off oral gratification entirely. (After all, when you hit that physically awkward last trimester, there may not be much else you are able to do between the sheets. ) But when he is pleasuring you, your mate should be careful not to blow air into your vagina, if that’s something that’s element of his, uh, repertoire. Why? Your blood vessels are dilated during pregnancy, and, although chances of this happening have become rare, a fatal air bubble could potentially enter your bloodstream, McCartney explains.

Certain Over-the-Counter Drugs
Your right back is aching, your heart is burning, and your stomach is roiling-do you have to forgo all pharmaceutical relief? Definitely not, says Bradley. But since even benign-seeming remedies, such as for instance aspirin, ibuprofen, and certain cold preparations, can cause problems for your baby, don’t pop any pill without your doctor’s approval. If one medication is off-limits, she can suggest an alternative. Acetaminophen (Tylenol), for instance, is fine.

Secondhand Smoke
You may have given up cigarettes, but if your mate’s still puffing away, your baby’s getting hefty doses of the 43 cancer-causing chemicals in cigarette smoke. In fact, exposure to secondhand smoke during pregnancy raises the risk of low birth weight, sudden infant death syndrome, and other health issues. So ask your partner to give up or to cut down-if not for his own health, then for yours as well as your baby’s. And tell anyone who lights up around you to kindly simply take it outside.

Each and every time you look down, your growing belly reminds you of just how much your life changes once your baby is born. Exciting, yes. Stressful? You bet. However, try to take it easy. Stress causes the release of hormones that reduce blood flow to the placenta and triggers contractions, and it has been linked to miscarriage, preterm birth, and low birth weight, Bradley explains. In the event that you hold a high-pressure job, do what you can to scale right back. If you’re feeling heat in your personal life, practice relaxation techniques, surround your self with supportive people, and seek counseling if you need to.

Laura Garcia

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