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Sean O. Henry, MD of Upper East Side NYC has created this page to assist you with educational resources & the most frequently asked questions our NYC Gynecologists & Obstetricians are asked when a woman finds out that she is pregnant.  You can certainly contact us at anytime for answers to your specific questions.

Educational OBGYN Resources for patients:

Frequently Asked Pregnancy Questions:

How much weight should I gain during my pregnancy? If you are within an appropriate weight for your height, than we recommend that you gain between 25 – 35 pounds for the duration of your pregnancy. Most women gain very little weight during the first trimester; 0 – 5 pounds is normal.

What can I do about nausea? Your OBGYN will tell you that nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy is not always limited to “morning” sickness. Eat small, frequent meals starting first thing in the morning. Avoid greasy and spicy foods. Make sure you are taking in plenty of fluids. Consider sipping on a carbonated drink. “Sea Bands” motion-sickness wrist pressure bands are available at drug stores and may be helpful. You may also try Vitamin B6 supplements, 100mg/day. Prescription medications may be recommended in some cases. Please contact Sean O. Henry, MD if you are unable to keep down food and liquids for more than 12 hours.

What medications can I take for…? Listed below are medications that you can safely use for minor symptoms and discomforts of pregnancy. In general, our obstetricians recommended that any unnecessary medications be avoided, especially in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Medications for chronic medical problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, thyroid disease, and seizure disorders should be continued until you can talk to your obstetrician about them.

  • Pain/Headaches/Fever: Acetaminophen (Tylenol) Do not use: aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen
  • Cold symptoms: Robitussin regular or DM for cough Pseudoephedrine (sudafed), saline nasal spray, humidifier for congestion Salt water gargles, Cepacol lozenges for sore throat
  • Allergy symptoms: Benadryl, Claritin, Zyrtec
  • Heartburn/Indigestion: Tums, Mylanta, Pepcid or Zantac : Do not use: Pepto-Bismol
  • Constipation: Colace, fiber supplements (Metamucil, Benefiber, Citrucel, Fibercon) Increase water intake and natural fiber in your diet
  • Hemorrhoids Avoid constipation, Preparation H, Tucks pads
  • Yeast infection: Monistat 7
  • Diarrhea: Imodium

Can I sleep on my back during my pregnancy? Our OBGYNs would prefer that you not sleep on your back. The 2 major blood vessels that go up and down by the spinal cord are called the vena cava and the aorta. When you lay flat on your back, those vessels are compressed and decrease blood flow to and from the uterus. Many women will feel faint and lightheaded when they are on their back for any length of time and will naturally change position. A tilt to one side or the other is fine.

Can I have my hair colored or permed? Yes you can, but due to changes in your hair follicles, it may not “take” as it does when you are not pregnant

Can I exercise while pregnant? Exercise in pregnancy is healthy. Most moderate intensity exercise routines can be safely continued in pregnancy. Recommended activities include walking, swimming, stationary bicycle, low impact aerobics, yoga, and free weights. Avoid activities requiring extended time flat on your back or standing still in one position. You may find that your balance is not as good during pregnancy. Drink plenty of fluids during your workouts, and discontinue any activity which causes abdominal pain, cramping, or back strain. Your Obstetrician will counsel you if any obstetrical/health reason arises requiring you to modify your routine.

Can I get in the hot tub or sauna during pregnancy? Hot tubs or saunas can increase your core body temperature and that can be dangerous to the developing fetus, so we recommend that you not use them in pregnancy. Tub baths however are fine.

What should I be eating? A healthy balanced diet is very important during your pregnancy. The key to good nutrition is including a wide variety of foods including proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and minerals.

Things to avoid include raw or undercooked meat, alcohol, predatory fish (shark, swordfish, king mackeral, and tile fish), unpasteurized milk and soft cheeses. Reheat deli meats until they are steaming hot. Limit consumption of fish from local rivers, lakes or ponds to no more than one 6 oz serving per week. Limit other fresh or canned ocean fish (salmon, tuna, flounder) or seafood (shrimp, oysters, clams) to no more than 12 oz per week. Make sure to wash all fruits and vegetables thoroughly. It is also recommended that you take a daily prenatal vitamin containing at least 1mg of folic acid to reduce the risk of birth defects and to ensure you are getting the extra nutrients that you need.

What tests do I need by my OBGYN if I’m over 35 years old and pregnant? We know that due to physical changes in the body, the risk of certain pregnancy complications increases as the pregnant mother ages. These include risks of chromosome abnormalities such as Down’s syndrome. All women who will be 35 or older at delivery are offered prenatal testing. These tests are always optional. The risk for carrying a pregnancy affected by a chromosome problem is 1/132 at 35yo and increases to 1/40 by age 40. Options for definitive diagnosis include second trimester amniocentesis (extraction of a small amount of amniotic fluid through the mother’s abdomen) and chorionic villus sampling (CVS) in which the placenta is sampled between 10-14 weeks. Both tests carry a small miscarriage risk. Noninvasive testing is also available which can provide some additional risk information. A first trimester ultrasound measurement of the fetal nuchal skin fold combined with a blood test can identify up to 90% of Down’s syndrome cases. Some women over 35 prefer to have no specialized testing.

Can I tan while I am pregnant?  We do not medically recommend tanning at anytime, whether pregnant or not. Little is medically known about the safety of self-tanning products.

Can I travel? If you are experiencing a normal pregnancy without complications, you may travel by car or air up until the 36th week. Our Obstetricians recommend that you stretch your legs while traveling at least every 2 hours and increase your fluid intake to avoid dehydration.

How will I know when I am in labor? You may have intermittent contractions through much of the pregnancy. These are called “Braxton-Hick”s contractions and they may or may not be painful. Labor occurs when the uterus tightens with contractions regularly every few minutes with increasing intensity. Other signs that labor may be approaching include a bloody or thick mucous discharge, increasing pelvic pressure, or loose stools. Your water may break during your labor or before it even starts. Or your obstetrician may break the water to help encourage labor in the hospital. Please phone your obstetrician immediately when your contractions are strong and regular, about every 5 minutes, for about one hour. You should also call  your obstetrician if you believe your water is broken, if you have a large amount of vaginal bleeding.

If you have any questions about your pregnancy, as always, please feel free to contact Grand Central OBGYN of NYC anytime.

For more information in regard to Sean O. Henry, MD’s NYC Obstetricians or NYC Gynecologists or to schedule an appointment today at our Upper East Side NYC OBGYN practice by phoning (212) 599-4400,

Sean O. Henry, MD
800A 5th Avenue, suite 503
New York, NY 10065
(212) 599-4400