Can I drink caffeine?
According to the American College of OB/GYNs, “although there have been many studies on whether caffeine increases the risk of miscarriage, the results are unclear. Most experts state that consuming fewer than 200 mg of caffeine (one 12-ounce cup of coffee) a day during pregnancy is safe”.
Below is a list of typical amount of caffeine in common drinks:
- 8 oz of brewed coffee is about 137 milligrams of caffeine
- 8 oz of instant coffee is about 76 milligrams of caffeine
- 8 oz of brewed tea is about 48 milligrams of caffeine
- 8 oz of instant tea is about 26-36 milligrams of caffeine
- 12 oz caffeinated soda is about 37 milligrams of caffeine
- 1.45 oz of dark chocolate is about 30 milligrams of caffeine
Source: American College of OB/GYNs
How often will I visit my care provider?
It is very important to schedule and go to all prenatal appointments, even if you feel good. As long as you are doing well, your visits will be:
- Months 1 through 6 — About once a month. Some visits may be a phone call from an office nurse.
- Month 7 (32 weeks) through about month 8 (37 weeks) — Every 2 weeks. These visits will be shorter than your first appointment. There will not be as many tests done at each of these visits.
- Months 9 (37 weeks) through birth — About every week
How much weight will I gain?
Each woman and pregnancy is different, but in general the American College of OB/GYNs recommends that:
- Women who are underweight pre-pregnancy with a BMI less than 18.5, have a recommended range of total weight gain between 28 and 40 lbs.
- Women who are normal weight pre-pregnancy with a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9, have a recommended range of total weight gain between 25 and 35 lbs.
- Women who are considered overweight with a BMI between 25 and 29.9, have a recommended range of total weight gain between 15 and 25 lbs.
- Women who are considered obese with a BMI over 30, have a recommended range of total weight gain between 11 and 20 lbs.
What warning signs should I be concerned about?
Call your health care provider right away if any of these happen to you. It could mean something is not right and you need help right away:
- Chills or fever over 100.4 °F
- Swelling of hands or face or feet
- Any bleeding from your vagina
- Swelling of hands or face
- Changes or blurring of vision
- Severe or continuous headaches that are not relieved by Tylenol®
- Stomach pains that do not go away after heat and rest, or after a bowel movement
- Throwing up for 24 hours
- Painful or burning urination
- Your baby stops moving
- Fluid coming out of your vagina
- Bleeding from nipples, rectum, bladder, or coughing up blood
More Warning Signs:
- If you have stomach cramps more than 5 or 6 times in an hour and you are 3 weeks or more before your due date, call your health care provider.
- Pain, light cramping, and “stretching pains” in early pregnancy are normal. If this gets very painful, call your health care provider.
How do I count kicks?
Later in your pregnancy, the American College of OB/GYNs recommends that you should feel at least 10 kicks, flutters, swishes, or rolls within 2 hours. You will likely feel 10 movements in less time than that.
Can I travel during pregnancy?
You can travel safely by car, boat, plane or train through much of your pregnancy. After 36 weeks of pregnancy, airlines request that you not fly and your doctor may ask you to stay within driving distance of the hospital. Before week 36, a few simple precautions will keep you safe on your journeys.
Always wear a seatbelt when driving or riding in a car. Place the lap belt as low as possible across your abdomen, against your upper thighs, and the upper belt across your shoulder and between your breasts. Adjust both parts of the belt to fit snugly.
According to the American College of OB/GYNs, traveling by air is safe until week 36. Metal detectors at the airport security checkpoints do not harm fetuses. When you fly, ask for an aisle seat so that you can stand up and walk around whenever possible and reach the bathroom easily. If you must travel in your second or third trimester, be sure that you will be able to stand up and walk around at least every two hours to reduce swelling in your feet and legs.
Consult Your Physician
Schedule an appointment before you leave and take a copy of your medical records with you. If you plan to be away for more than a couple of weeks, ask your doctor for the name of a doctor in the area you are visiting, in case of emergency. In additional, if you are traveling out of the country, talk to your doctor. Depending on where you are going, you may need immunizations you can't have during pregnancy.
Can I go to the dentist?
In between all those trips to the doctor, the tour of the hospital and setting up the nursery, don’t forget to visit the dentist before your baby comes. Getting a checkup during pregnancy is safe and important for your dental health. It’s also an important part of your overall prenatal care.
Not only can you take care of cleanings and procedures before baby arrives, but your dentist can help you with any pregnancy-related dental symptoms you might be experiencing. Although many women make it nine months with no dental concerns, the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy can worsen some oral health conditions — or even create new ones.
For example, some women develop a condition known as “pregnancy gingivitis,” an inflammation of the gums that can cause swelling and tenderness. If left untreated, pregnancy gingivitis has been associated with pregnancy complications like premature birth. If you eat more carbohydrates during pregnancy than usual, you may experience cavities; and morning sickness is known for increasing the amount of acid your mouth is exposed to, which can eat away at your tooth enamel.
If you’re pregnant and need a filling or tooth pulled, one thing you don’t have to worry about is the safety of the numbing medications your dentist may use. Local anesthetics are safe for both you and your baby, according to the American Dental Association. It’s also safe to get an X-ray during pregnancy. Although radiation from dental X-rays is extremely low, your dentist or hygienist will cover you with a leaded apron that minimizes exposure to the abdomen.
How can I protect myself from Zika?
Zika virus is a health concern for pregnant women, as it can pose a risk to their unborn babies. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Zika is typically spread by mosquitoes but can also be transmitted through sex with an infected partner. The virus is linked to birth defects including microcephaly, a serious condition that can cause a baby to be born with a large head and incomplete brain development. Other problems among infants whose mothers were infected with Zika during pregnancy have also been reported.
Many areas in the United States have the type of mosquitoes that can spread Zika virus. Talk with your health care provider about the virus and take preventive measures against mosquito bites.
Here’s what you need to know about Zika and how to prevent it.
Other Diseases that Pose Serious Health Risks in Pregnancy
- German measles (rubella) or chicken pox: You’re probably already immune to these diseases, either because you had them as a child or have been vaccinated against them.
- Group B strep and hepatitis B: You will be or may already have been screened for these.
- Fifth disease: This viral disease is spread primarily by respiratory secretions such as saliva or mucus, and often results in a red rash on the arms, legs and cheeks. If you have a child in daycare or preschool where this infection often crops up, be sure to wash your hands after leaving the facility.
- Whooping cough: If you didn’t get the Tdap (pertussis) vaccine before becoming pregnant, talk to your health care provider about when to have it done. Whooping cough is dangerous to a developing fetus and to newborns. Others who will regularly take care of your baby should also receive the vaccine to lessen the likelihood of a family member or caregiver transmitting the disease to your newborn.
Simple Precautions to Keep You and Baby Healthy
- Stay away from raw or unpasteurized foods, which can carry illness-causing bacteria.
- Don’t clean cat litter boxes or come in contact with other animal droppings; a parasite passed in cat feces can cause toxoplasmosis, a potentially deadly infection for a developing fetus.
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before and after preparing or eating food, after using the toilet, or after coming into contact with someone who is ill or a surface that may have been contaminated by someone who is ill.
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Prenatal Care Classes
You’re pregnant, now what? What can you eat? How much can you exercise? What do you need to know to keep yourself and your baby healthy?
Online Pregnancy Class
Texas Health offers a free, interactive online class that covers information on your baby’s development, nutrition, exercise, discomforts, hazards to avoid, emotions and tips to help your partner. Register now!
Knowing what to expect may help you keep calm during your birth experience so you can focus on the most important thing — your new baby.
Prepared Childbirth Class
This class provides a comprehensive overview of the labor and birth experience and includes tools that support healthy pregnancies and deliveries. During the class, instructors will provide an overview of the birth process, labor support techniques, medications and birth options. Online and virtual classes are available. Register now!
Prepared Childbirth for Multiples
This class is exclusively for couples expecting twins, triplets or more. It combines preparation for childbirth and aspects of breastfeeding to better equip those expecting multiples. This series prepares couples not only for the birth, but also for the exciting challenges that lie ahead for the whole family. Register now!
This class reviews the reasons for cesarean birth, emotional and physical support for mothers, and the process and care for mom after a cesarean. Register now!
Natural Birth Classes
A natural, unmedicated vaginal birth is a reasonable goal for the majority of women. By doing research and attending classes you will gather knowledge that will help you overcome the fear and unknown of labor.
Natural Childbirth Class
This interactive class is designed for expectant parents who are interested in an un-medicated birth. In addition to an overview of the labor and birth process, participants are taught how to incorporate breathing techniques, movements, positioning and postures throughout the stages of labor. Register now!
Coping Skills for LaborThis unique class is designed for expectant parents who have already attended a Prepared Childbirth class and want to learn more about comfort measures and positioning to help manage labor. Register now!
Baby Care and Breastfeeding Classes
Putting on a diaper, burping a baby and accomplishing your breastfeeding goals &mdash let Texas Health teach you the skills to help you be successful.
Baby Care Basics
In this class, parents will practice how to bathe, diaper, swaddle and comfort the baby, as well as newborn characteristics, recognizing the baby’s cues and safe sleep. Online and virtual classes available. Register now!
Breastfeeding Basics Class
This class reviews the benefits of breastfeeding, getting started, making lots of milk, a father's role and strategies for working moms. Online and virtual classes available. Register now!
Happiest Baby on the Block Class
Have a fussy baby? In this class new parents will learn step-by-step how to help the baby sleep better and how to soothe even the fussiest baby in minutes. Register now!
Breastfeeding for Working Mothers
A class that teaches moms how to continue breastfeeding once they return to work, including how to prepare during maternity leave, and pumping and storing at work. Register now!
Baby Safety and CPR Classes
Keeping a baby safe includes proper sleep, car seat installation and CPR skills.
Baby Safety (includes CPR)
This class will review choosing safe baby gear, how to use the car seat correctly, risk factors for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and baby proofing the house. Online classes available. Register now!
Car Seat Safety Appointments
A session with a certified-child-passenger safety technician that teaches how to properly install the car seat in a vehicle. Register now!
This class teaches infant rescue CPR, relief of the choking infant, injury prevention and treating basic first-aid emergencies. Register now!
This course teaches rescuers skills in CPR and relief of choking for young ones ages birth through 8 years. Register now!
Classes for Family Members
Texas Health offers classes to prepare the entire family for a new baby.
Dad Basic Training
This class will help to prepare dad by discussing home preparation, dad’s role in daily activities, items to bring to the hospital, and caring for your postpartum wife. Register now!
Babies have not changed but what we know about them has. This class teaches grandparents how to keep their grandchildren safe and how to support the parents. Register now!
Prepare new big brothers and sisters by discussing adjustments to family life and their feelings about the new baby, and create an art project. Register now!
Prenatal fitness classes are available for women with or without previous fitness or yoga experience. A physician medical release is required to participate.
Pregnancy yoga guides expectant mothers through safe supportive movements to help strengthen body and mind for labor. Experienced instructors teach adapted postures, stretching, breathing and relaxation to help alleviate the discomforts of pregnancy, birth and post-delivery. Virtual classes available. Register now!
Pregnancy Cardio Fitness
This is an upbeat, fun and pregnancy-safe fitness class. This class is the perfect place to get an overall high-intensity, low-impact workout. Register now!
Prenatal Water Fitness
Prenatal Water Fitness is a low-impact water class designed specifically for mothers-to-be. This class includes an aerobic segment as well as stretching and toning segments, all in our indoor heated pool. Register now!
Mom and Baby Fitness Classes
Fitness for Moms and Babies
This cardio class is for moms and their babies. Instructor will lead class with aerobic activities as well as overall toning exercises. This class creates a unique and fun way to bond with other new moms in the community. Register now!
Water Fitness for Mom and Baby
The water class for mom and baby incorporates low-impact exercises with muscle-strengthening and toning segments. Each class includes abdominal and stretching exercises with your new bundle of joy. Register now!
Restore the Core and Pelvic Floor
This class will focus on safely rehabbing women’s abdominals and pelvic floor. The class will lead women through breathing and exercises that will teach her how to safely work out in all types of fitness. Virtual classes available. Register now!
The class is designed to promote better sleep, digestion, and assist in muscular and brain development. It is also incredibly useful for helping participating parent(s) to better bond with baby. Register now!
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Pre-Register for your Hospital Stay
Early planning and pre-registering for your hospital admission will help to ensure a smooth transition when it’s time to deliver your baby. You may complete the pre-registration process online at any time during your pregnancy, but the sooner the better. If you’ve reached the 4-month mark, it’s a great time to get this done and off your baby to-do list.
You will want to start by gathering relevant primary and secondary insurance information, the guarantor’s personal and employment specifics and emergency contact numbers.
Learn About Your Birth Options
From pain management, to types of births, to knowing what happens and when, Texas health wants to help you prepare for the arrival of your little one. Learn more about what you can expect during your labor and birth experience. Learn more!
Learn about Breastfeeding
Benefits of Breastfeeding
Your breasts have been growing larger as milk-making structures develop within them. Since the fifth or sixth month of pregnancy, your breasts have been able to produce milk for your baby. The American Academy of Pediatrics provides lots of information on the benefits of breastfeeding, including:
- Helps babies fight off colds, the flu, respiratory infections, ear infections and diarrhea
- Reduces the baby’s risk of many diseases, including asthma, diabetes and obesity
- Helps you return to a healthy weight faster.
Set up for Success
You know breast milk is the best thing for your baby, but you may not be sure what you’ll need. Here are a few suggested items:
- Breast pump — Expresses breast milk if you need to be away from infant
- Breastfeeding pillow — Helps you position baby to feed
- Nursing bras — Provides easy access to the breast; you should be fitted for a bra at 36 weeks
- Milk storage bags or containers — If you pump, these allow you to store milk
- Breast pads — Keeps your clothes dry in between feeds
- Nipple cream — If your breasts become dry, this will help and is safe for baby
Take a Breastfeeding Class
Breastfeeding classes are designed to help expectant parents prepare for breastfeeding. They offer information on the benefits of breastfeeding, getting off to a good start right after the baby is born, maintaining lactation and what to expect. Find a breastfeeding class.
Preparing a Sibling
Preparing your child for the birth of a sibling is best done before your baby is born. As your pregnancy continues, your child is likely to wonder about the change in your body. Let your child participate in discussions of how the baby will be cared for, what the baby will need and where the baby will sleep.
Involve the Big Brother or Sister
Let a sibling help prepare for the new baby by:
- Encouraging feeding, diapering and caring for a doll
- Attending sibling classes
- Visiting the hospital before delivery
- Asking for help packing your hospital suitcase and choosing the baby's coming-home clothes
- Giving gifts from new baby
- Asking the sibling to help take the new baby home from the hospital
At Home with the Baby
When you get home with the new baby:
- Spend special time each day with the older child
- Encourage the sibling to help in age-appropriate ways (singing to the baby, assisting with diaper changes, etc.)
- Let the sibling be guests’ tour guide and open baby's gifts
- Cuddle, read or sing to the sibling, when breastfeeding
Attend a Sibling Class
Texas Health offers a program that brings a group of siblings-to-be together and helps them explore their expectations and feelings about having a new baby in the family. Practice time for loving, holding and swaddling a baby and a tour of the hospital are included. Find a class now!
While obstetricians have traditionally been the go-to professionals for delivering babies in the United States, midwives are growing in popularity. Although midwives specialize in natural childbirth, the common myth that they only provide home births is far from true. Certified Nurse-Midwives can attend births at home, in a birth center or at a hospital.
What is a Certified Nurse Midwife?
In Texas, two kinds of midwives are available to support you through your birth experience: Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNMs) and Certified Professional Midwives/Licensed Midwives (CPMs). Certified Nurse-Midwives are independent health care providers who have received a bachelor's degree in nursing and either a master's or doctorate degree in midwifery. To learn more about midwifery care, visit the American College of Nurse-Midwives.
What Can a Midwife Do?
Certified Nurse-Midwives are qualified to order tests, provide treatments for common pregnancy issues, and prescribe epidurals and other pain relief medications when attending hospital births.
Find a Midwife
If you're interested in finding a midwife for your care, find one today by calling 1-877-THR-WELL or by searching a list of our Certified Nurse Midwives.
Finding the Right Pediatrician
Who will care for your child? The obvious answer is you. But beyond the nurturing that you and your partner will provide, there’s another person who will be instrumental in your baby’s well-being from the moment you first hold your little one in your arms — a pediatrician. A pediatrician will care for your child and manage their health and care. Learn more about selecting a pediatrician.
Gestational Diabetes Support
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Packing can be confusing when trying to determine what you will need for your baby's arrival.