Sure we all know that smoking and alcohol consumption are on the ‘what not to do’ list when pregnant but did you know some massages and even a soak in the jacuzzi are off limits? MH fills you in.
WORDS JOANNA ONG
There is never a lack of advice when one gets pregnant. Similarly, there will be an abundance of questions especially for first-time mums regarding pregnancy. You want the best for your baby and naturally, there may be many concerns for some women. Our experts have some advice to ease your fears.
One of the many questions mummies-to-be have is if heels are safe to be worn while pregnant.
Dr Claudia Chi, consultant from NUH Women’s Centre, National University Hospital, says that as your weight increases and body shape changes during pregnancy, your centre of gravity is also shifting constantly. In addition, hormonal changes in pregnancy cause loosening of your ligaments and thus increase the instability of your joints. These compromise your balance and make you more at risk of falling and injuring yourself during pregnancy.
Wearing heels disrupts your alignment and it further increases your risk of falling and hurting yourself and possibly your baby during pregnancy, especially in the later part of the pregnancy when the bump is more prominent. Wearing heels also puts more strain on your back, hip, knee and ankle joints.
Swelling of ankles and feet is common in pregnancy
and this will make wearing heels even more uncomfortable.
It is therefore advisable to avoid high heels during pregnancy.
If you do choose to wear heels, do ensure you take extra care
and minimise the duration of wearing them.
There is limited evidence available to suggest that it is probably safe to colour your hair while pregnant, concludes Dr Chi. Some studies have found that high doses of chemicals in hair dyes may cause harm but these doses are far greater than the amount a woman is exposed to when colouring her hair. Since the first trimester of pregnancy is when a baby’s major organs are forming, many women choose to wait to dye their hair until after this period (first 12 weeks of pregnancy) when the risk of chemical substances harming the baby is thought to be much lower.
Dr Chi adds that if you choose to colour your hair yourself, you can reduce the risk by making sure you wear gloves, leave the hair dye on for the minimum time, stay in a well-ventilated room and rinse your scalp thoroughly after using hair dye. Highlighting your hair, by putting the dye only onto strands of hair, also reduces the risk as the chemicals used are only absorbed by your hair, and not by your scalp or bloodstream. Semi-permanent pure vegetable dyes, such as henna, may be a safer alternative. If you are concerned about the use of hair dye during pregnancy, consult your doctor or consider delaying any chemical hair treatments.
Pamper Me Silly
According to Dr Christopher Ng, OBGYN at GynaeMD Women's & Rejuvenation Clinic at Camden Medical Centre, massage and spa treatments are generally safe but make sure that you choose one that is familiar with accommodating pregnant women or better still have packages specifically designed for pregnant women.
Sex and the Baby
Dr Ng adds that sexual intercourse during pregnancy is fine as long as there is no vaginal bleeding, contractions or pain afterwards. If you're healthy and up to it, go ahead, unless your doctor advises not to. As your baby bump grows, you may have to try different positions to stay comfortable. But rest assured, sex won't hurt your little one.
Time for a Hot Bath
Heidi Murkoff, Arlene Eisenberg and Sandee Hathaway, authors of What to Expect When You’re Expecting, advise that you refrain from long stays in the hot tubs.
Anything that raises the body temperature over 38.9 degree Celsius
and keeps it there for a while – whether it’s a dip in a hot tub or
an extremely hot bath, long sessions in the sauna or steam room or
an extreme workout in hot weather – is potentially hazardous
to the developing embryo or foetus, particularly in the early months.
Always play it safe by keeping your belly out of the hot tub. However, feel free to soak your feet instead.
Show Me Your Teeth
Dr Keith A. Eddleman, director of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at The Mount Sinai Hospital mentions on Webmd.com that pregnant women with periodontal disease have an increased risk of preterm delivery and other adverse pregnancy outcomes. You should make sure that your oral health is addressed before you get pregnant too.
According to Dr Eddleman, there's an increased amount of blood flow and vascularisation that occurs during pregnancy. Some of the hormones that stimulate blood vessel growth in other areas of the body can stimulate the growth of blood vessels in the gums. They tend to bleed a little bit more too. So, if you started off with gums that are not in great shape, many women can have bleeding problems in their gums while they are pregnant. In that case, it would be good to pay your dentist a visit and let them know that you’re pregnant beforehand.