Obstetrician’s Guide to Pregnancy Do’s and Don’ts

Published 10th August 2020 | Dr Ujwala Parashar

Obstetrician’s Guide to Pregnancy Do’s and Don’ts

A typical pregnancy has 3 trimesters (around 40 weeks) followed by the post-partum period.

Each trimester has common changes;  and some diet and lifestyle modifications can aid in a trouble-free pregnancy and a healthy baby.

First Trimester (week 1 – week 13)

Women commonly experience:

·       Nausea and vomiting

·       Cravings and aversions

·       A heightened sense of smell

·       Mood swings

It’s not uncommon for women to lose a little weight during their first trimester due to nausea, vomiting and a loss of appetite. Ideally, your daily diet should include:

·       Fruit – 3-4 servings of fresh, frozen, or canned fruit (natural juice only), dried fruit, and 100% fruit juice.

·       Vegetables – 3-5 servings with as much colour variety as possible (think of a rainbow).

·       Dairy – 3 servings. Dairy provides calcium for your baby to grow and keeps your bones strong. Choose milk, cheese, and yoghurt and if lactose intolerant, choose lactose free.

·       Protein – 2-3 servings. Lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, legumes, nuts, seeds.

·       Whole grains – 3 servings. An important fibre source - whole grain breads, cereals, crackers, pasta. 

Second Trimester (week 13 – week 26)

Women commonly experience:

·       Round ligament pains

·       Nipple changes

·       Stretch marks

·       Feel the baby moving

Third Trimester (week 27 to the end of the pregnancy)

Women commonly experience:

·       Strong kicks from the baby

·       Swollen feet

·       Leaking from the breasts

·       Frequent urination

Diet during second and third trimesters

Maintain the same diet choices as outlined for first trimester including iron rich foods. In the third trimester women can experience reflux and heartburn, try to eat small meals and snacks every few hours. 

Postpartum (period of 6 weeks after birth)

Women can experience:

·       Lochia (vaginal discharge containing blood, mucus, uterine tissue)

·       Fatigue

·       Sore, leaking breasts

·       Baby “blues”

·       Postpartum depression

Maintaining a healthy diet will help you feel fuller and give the extra energy you need. Iron rich foods are beneficial and foods rich in vitamin C can assist with wound healing for C section deliveries.

Other diet tips:

·       Don’t overeat. You only need about 300 more calories daily

·       Drink lots of water

Food and beverages to avoid:

·       Salt

·       Raw, undercooked meat, deli meat

·       Unpasteurised dairy 

·       Liver, foods rich in vitamin A

·       Pate

·       Raw or undercooked eggs (including mayonnaise)

·       Soft cheeses, blue-veined cheeses

·       Undercooked, raw fish. Limit fish with high mercury (salmon and sardines are good choices)

·       Caffeine, alcohol

What immunisations are required?

Pregnant women’s immune systems are weaker than usual. Pre-planning should include vaccinations for hepatitis B, measles, mumps, rubella and chickenpox as these cannot be administered during pregnancy. If not undertaken prior, these are safe for breast feeding mothers and babies and should occur as soon as possible after birth.

You should also be immunised for influenza and whooping cough. These can be administered pre-pregnancy or during pregnancy (influenza at any time, whooping cough from 21 – 32 weeks).

What exercise is suitable?

Pregnant women without complications should continue with aerobic and strength conditioning exercises to maintain good fitness; with a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise daily.

Suitable exercises include:

·       Walking

·       Swimming

·       Cycling

·       Jogging

·       Yoga

·       Pilates

Pelvic floor exercises are important during pregnancy, and we provide this service through our onsite physiotherapist as part of our care plan.

Dr Ujwala Parashar, Obstetrician & Gynaecologist

Sam Samant

Dr Ujwala Parashar is a highly trained female obstetrician and gynaecologist with over 15 years of professional experience and training, practicing in Sydney's North Shore and Barangaroo. If you would like more information on conception, or if you are seeking obstetric options and advice, please contact us or call 1300 811 827 to arrange a consultation with her.