Pregnancy is a nine-month-long journey during which the fetus forms and grows in the mother’s womb. All mothers want the best for their baby, so we would like to shed some light on some common misconceptions.
1. Expectant mothers shouldn’t eat raw fish. Not long ago, there was a spate of Group.
B Streptococcus (GBS) infection associated with raw fish eaten yusheng-style at hawker centres. None was due to the consumption of sashimi-grade fish, which has to be frozen to -40°C to kill parasites such as tapeworms. Therefore, consuming properly prepared fish in restaurants is usually safe. With our warm climate, we advise against takeout as there is a higher chance of bacterial contamination. Pregnant women should also moderate their intake of mercury-containing fish such as tuna, mackerel and swordfish; salmon may be a better choice.
2. Pregnant women should eat for two.
Pregnant women only need an extra 300 calories or so a day for the fetus. Most pregnant women do get hungry more often, especially during the latter half of pregnancy, so it is important to choose foods that are nutritious, lower in calories, and better able to achieve satiety. An egg-on-wholemeal-bread sandwich has about the same number of calories as a piece of chocolate cake, but the former would help you feel full for longer.
3. Don’t get flu shots when you’re pregnant.
Influenza is a serious viral infection that can cause fever, muscle ache, headache, cough and sore throat. Pregnant women tend to have lower immunity and thus have a higher chance of complications, including pneumonia. Vaccination is recommended after the first trimester.
4. Avoid visiting the dentist during pregnancy.
Good dental health and hygiene is essential, more so when you are pregnant. Continue with your regular check-up or when you experience gum or teeth discomfort, and inform your dentist of your pregnancy. Cleaning and scaling procedures are safe; even local anaesthetic (LA) does not pose any risk to the fetus. However, if the LA contains epinephrine, it is important to avoid inadvertent intravascular injection, which may cause systemic constriction of blood vessels, leading to fetal hypoxia.
5. Pregnant women shouldn’t be having sex.
Sexual intercourse (SI) is fine throughout the pregnancy as long as it is progressing normally. In the first trimester, SI should be avoided if there is per-vaginal bleeding and signs of imminent miscarriage. In the later part of your pregnancy, your obstetrician may advise you to abstain from sex if you have a history of preterm contractions, per-vaginal bleeding, leaking amniotic fluid, or placenta previa (the placenta covers the cervical opening).