5. How Your Actions Affect Your Baby’s Development
Outside Noises Can Affect Baby
Can a baby hear sounds from outside its
mom’s body while inside the uterus? From various studies, we know
sounds penetrate amniotic fluid and reach your baby’s developing ears.
In fact, ultrasounds done around this time have shown babies reacting
to loud noises.
If you work in a noisy place, you may
want to request a quieter area. Data suggests chronic loud noise and
short, intense bursts of sound may cause hearing damage to the baby
It’s OK to expose your growing
baby to loud noises, such as a concert, every once in a while. But if
you’re repeatedly exposed to noise that is so loud it forces you to
shout, it may be dangerous for your growing baby.
Moving during Pregnancy
Moving to a new city at any time can be
stressful; when you’re pregnant, it can also be challenging. How can
you find a new healthcare provider? What hospital will you use?
Before you leave your old home, find a
hospital in the area you’re moving to that you want to use, then find a
healthcare provider (who is accepting new patients) who delivers at
that hospital. Do this as soon as you learn you’re moving because it
may take some time to get in to see the new healthcare provider for
your first appointment.
A real-estate agent should be able to
help in this situation. Ask about a hospital with a level-2 or level-3
nursery. These hospitals are better able to deal with various
complications of pregnancy and birth. Even if you haven’t had any
problems, you’ll rest easier knowing the hospital can handle an
When you’ve chosen the hospital, call the
labor-and-delivery department and ask to speak with a supervisor.
Explain your situation, and ask for recommendations for three or four
good obstetricians who deliver at the hospital, who are accepting new
When you have the names, call each office
and explain your situation. Request information about fees and
insurance coverage. Ask if you can get an
appointment for the first week you’re in town. Then make your decision
about which healthcare provider you want to use, and call back and
confirm your appointment.
After you decide on someone, go to the
healthcare provider you now see, and ask for copies of your medical
records. Be sure they include results of any tests you’ve had. Take
everything with you. If the office says they’ll send them to the new
healthcare provider, tell them that’s fine, but you must also have
copies to take with you. Sending records can take a long time.
If you haven’t had your
alpha-fetoprotein test or a triple-screen test done, and you are
between 15 and 19 weeks of pregnancy, ask your current healthcare
provider to order them and have the results sent to you at your new
address. It can take several weeks to get the results of these two
tests, and it will be helpful for your new healthcare provider to have
the results when you go to see him or her. Ask your healthcare provider
to write a short letter of introduction that you can give to your new
healthcare provider. This is a brief summary of your pregnancy, current
health and health concerns.
6. Your Nutrition
Many pregnant women are concerned about
eating out. Some want to know if they can eat certain types of food,
such as Mexican, Vietnamese, Thai or Greek food. They’re concerned
spicy or rich foods could be harmful to the baby. It’s OK to eat out,
but you might find certain foods don’t agree with you.
The best types of food to eat at
restaurants are those you tolerate well at home. Chicken, fish, fresh
vegetables and salads are usually good choices. Eating foods at
restaurants that feature spicy foods or unusual cuisine may cause
stomach or intestinal distress. You may even notice an increase in
weight from water retention after eating at a restaurant.
Avoid restaurants that serve highly
salted food, food high in sodium or food loaded with calories and fat,
such as gravies, fried food, junk food and rich desserts. It may be difficult to control your calorie intake at specialty restaurants.
Another challenge of eating out is
maintaining a healthy diet if you work outside the home. It may be
necessary to go to business lunches or to travel for your company. Be
selective. If you can choose off the menu, look for healthy or low-fat
choices. Ask about preparation—maybe a dish can be steamed instead of
fried. On a business trip, take along some of your own food. Choose
healthy, nonperishable foods, such as fruits and vegetables, that don’t
Crohn’s Disease and Pregnancy
Crohn’s disease is a chronic illness in
which the intestine or bowel becomes inflamed and scarred with sores;
it usually affects the part of the small intestine called the ileum. However, Crohn’s can occur in any part of the large or small intestine, stomach, esophagus or even the mouth.
Crohn’s disease is part of a group of diseases called inflammatory bowel disease or IBD.
See the discussion of IBD in Week 18. Crohn’s disease most commonly
occurs between ages 15 and 30. Sufferers experience periods of severe
symptoms followed by periods with no symptoms. Symptoms include chronic
diarrhea, rectal bleeding, weight loss, fever, abdominal pain and/or
tenderness and a feeling of fullness in the lower-right abdomen.
Tip for Week 24
Overeating and eating before going
to bed at night are two major causes of heartburn. Eating five or six
small, nutritious meals a day and skipping snacks before bedtime may
help you feel better.
If you have active Crohn’s disease,
getting pregnant may be more difficult. An active disease raises the
risk of problems. A flare-up may occur during pregnancy, most often in
the third trimester, but flare-ups are often mild and respond to
Is Food Hot Enough to Be Safe?
Don’t rely on a taste test to determine
if food is hot enough to be safe to eat. When reheating leftovers, use
a quick-reading thermometer to make sure food has reached an interior
temperature of 165F. This is the temperature at which harmful bacteria
Symptoms may be less severe because
pregnancy alters the immune system. Being pregnant may also protect
against future flare-ups and may reduce the need for surgery. During
pregnancy, your body produces the hormone relaxin. Researchers believe
relaxin may also curb the formation of scar tissue.
You probably won’t need to change your
medicines during pregnancy. Sulfasalazine, mesalamine, balsalazide and
olsalazine don’t hurt the baby. Infliximab (Remicade) and adalimumab
(Humira) may be necessary during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Avoid
methotrexate during pregnancy.
You may need various tests during
pregnancy. Experts believe it’s safe to have a colonoscopy,
sigmoidoscopy, upper endoscopy, rectal biopsy or abdominal ultrasound
during pregnancy. Avoid X-rays and CT scans. Ask your pregnancy
healthcare provider about an MRI if one is recommended.
If you’ve had a bowel resection, you
probably won’t have problems during pregnancy. An ileostomy may
decrease fertility. If you develop an abnormal opening near your rectum
or in the vaginal area, you may need a Cesarean delivery.
The type of delivery you have depends on
the condition of the tissues around the vagina and anus. A Cesarean may
be recommended if you develop a fistula or to reduce your risk of
Many women suffer flare-ups
immediately after birth. Healthcare providers believe this is due to
the hormonal changes after pregnancy.