Pregnancy Frequently Asked Questions

An image of a baby's foot, resting in the parents hand.

Is it safe to get the Flu Vaccine during pregnancy?

Vaccination (not including the nasal spray vaccine) against influenza has been shown to be safe in pregnancy. In fact, it is recommended for patients who are at high risk of acquiring influenza in pregnancy, such as women with underlying medical disorders or healthcare providers.

How can I tell if I am in labor?

Regular, and increasingly painful uterine contractions are signs you are in labor. You can tell if your contractions are “real” and not Braxton Hicks by timing your contractions. Timing is usually easiest if you have someone helping you. You will start the timer at the beginning of your contraction, and end it at the beginning of the next. This time should stay constant or decrease, as well as your contractions become more painful. You are now in active labor. 

How do you know when it is not Braxton Hicks and time to go (to the hospital)?

Braxton Hicks contractions are also known as false labor. They usually begin sometime after the 20th week of pregnancy. These are very common, and are often known as a “warm up” for labor. Your body is literally stretching for delivery, and preparing for the big day. Braxton Hicks contractions are different from regular contractions because they are not predictable. Where regular contractions will be on a time schedule that either stays the same, or decreases, Braxton Hicks will not be rhythmic or regular. Usually they are more uncomfortable than painful, but sometimes they are felt earlier and are more intense in women who have had a previous pregnancy.

How much weight should I gain during my pregnancy?

The average recommended weight gain during pregnancy is 25 to 35 pounds.

How soon after delivery can I have intercourse?

It takes approximately 6 weeks for your uterus, cervix, and vaginal tissues to return to their normal pre-pregnant state. Remember that you will ovulate before having your first period after delivery. Because of this, it is recommended you speak with the provider at your 6 week postpartum check up about contraception. 

I am 14 weeks pregnant. Can I go to the dentist? What if I need dental work done?

Dental work during pregnancy is safe, however we do not advise x-rays. If needed please be sure to use the lead vest. If your dentist requires a note from our office, we will be glad to provide one. 

I am 16 weeks pregnant. I am having pain in both sides of my lower abdomen. Is this normal?

Although there are many reasons for abdominal pain during pregnancy, the most common condition is round ligament pain. The round ligaments are connective tissue ligaments that run from the upper aspect of the uterus down to the groin. As pregnancy progresses these ligaments enlarge and become stretched, and can cause pain. The pain sensation that women often feel involves both sides of the lower abdomen and sometimes the back. The pain is sharp in nature and can be worse on the right side. Certain movements may exacerbate the pain.

Round ligament pain has not been associated with any adverse outcomes of pregnancy. Treatments include heat on the affected area and rest. Medications often do not alleviate symptoms.

I am 30 weeks pregnant and having a lot of sciatic pain. What can I do? Is this common during pregnancy?

Sciatica (searing nerve pain that travels down your buttox , legs, and thighs) is a very common condition that usually occurs late in pregnancy and resolves after delivery. To help with the pain, lie on your opposite side of the pain, or sit on a tennis ball on a hard surface. 

I am a month pregnant and I’m cramping a lot. Is that bad?

Many women have cramping during early pregnancy. However, if you have persistent cramping, especially if it is associated with bleeding or spotting, it is important that you see your physician immediately.

I have had two miscarriages, what are my chances of having another one? Do I need any special testing?

If you have a prior liveborn infant, the risk of recurrent miscarriage is 20% to 25% after one miscarriage, 25% after two miscarriages, and 30% after three miscarriages.

Is it safe to travel by air during pregnancy?

Flying in airplanes is safe during pregnancy up until 34 weeks. After 34 weeks, Dr. Bianco will not authorize flying under any circumstances. 

Is the Consumption of Fish Dangerous During Pregnancy?

Healthcare officials have issued a new advisory on the dangers of eating fish. Healthcare officials are concerned that the level of mercury in fish might pose certain risks to a developing fetus.

What are Apgar scores and what do they mean?

The Apgar score measures the babies response to birth and life outside the womb. The scores are taken 1 and 5 minutes after delivery. APGAR is an acronym that stands for Appearance, Pulse, Grimace, Activity, and Respiration. The baby is scored on each category from 0-2, and then each score is totaled for the total score. Scores 7 and above are generally normal, 4-6 are low, and below 4 are critically low. 

What are the symptoms of pregnancy other than morning sickness and missed periods?

There are other signs and symptoms of pregnancy. You have mentioned two of the most common and the most obvious, an absence of menses. The others may be swollen feet or hands, change in appetite to include food aversions, food cravings, nausea, fatigue, frequent urination, breast changes and tenderness, metal taste in your mouth, and new sensitivity in your pelvic area. Pregnancy symptoms are different for not only every woman, but every pregnancy. If you are facing these symptoms and your pregnancy test is coming back negative call the office. 

What are your chances of being pregnant and still having a period?

From a physiologic standpoint it is not possible to continue having a period while you are pregnant. It is, however, possible for you to mistake “implantation bleeding” for a period. It does happen roughly 6 to 12 days after conception, so it’s easy to mistake as an “early period”. It is usually a lot lighter than a regular period (sometimes just very light spotting), and can contain more brown discharge, than bright red blood. Some women experience cramping with implantation, and it may resemble the cramps you get from your period. See how confusing this can get? If you’re unsure, try taking a pregnancy test, or call to schedule an appointment. 

What is an ectopic pregnancy?

Ectopic pregnancy, also known as tubal pregnancy, develops outside the uterus, usually in the fallopian tube.

What is the possibility of my passing herpes to my child during labor/delivery?

Because of the risk of transmission to your infant, the American College of OB/GYN recommends cesarean section if any herpes lesions are present at the time of your delivery.

What types of pain relief are available during and after childbirth?

There are several types of anesthesia that can be used during labor and delivery. It is important for each woman to understand her options beforehand. Please speak with a provider about your birthing plan before delivery.