7. Your Nutrition

Caffeine is a stimulant found in many beverages and foods, including coffee, tea, various soft drinks and chocolate. It may also be found in some medicine, such as headache remedies.

You may be more sensitive to caffeine during pregnancy. For over 20 years, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recommended pregnant women avoid caffeine. It isn’t good for you or baby. If you drink as little as two 8-ounce cups of coffee a day, you may be doubling your risk of early miscarriage.

A Caffeine Warning

If a woman takes a lot of caffeine, it may affect her baby’s respiratory system. One study showed exposure before birth might be linked to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Cut down on caffeine, or eliminate it from your diet. Caffeine crosses the placenta to the baby—if you’re jittery, your baby may suffer from the same effects. And caffeine passes into breast milk, which can cause irritability and sleeplessness if you breastfeed baby.

The list below details the amounts of caffeine from various sources:

• coffee, 5 ounces—from 60 to 140mg and higher

• tea, 5 ounces—from 30 to 65mg

• cocoa, 8 ounces—5mg

• 1½ ounce chocolate bar—10 to 30mg

• baking chocolate, 1 ounce—25mg

• soft drinks, 12 ounces—from 35 to 55mg

• pain-relief tablets, standard dose—40mg

• allergy and cold remedies, standard dose—25mg

Tip for Week 13

When cutting down on caffeine during pregnancy, read labels. More than 200 foods, beverages and over-the-counter medicines contain caffeine!

8. Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is transmitted to humans by ticks. About 80% of those bitten have a bite with a distinctive look, called a bull’s eye. There may also be flulike symptoms. After 4 to 6 weeks, symptoms may become more serious.

Early on, blood tests may not diagnose Lyme disease. A blood test done later can establish the diagnosis.

We know Lyme disease can cross the placenta. However, at this time we don’t know if it is dangerous to the baby.

Treatment for Lyme disease requires long-term antibiotic therapy. Many medications used to treat Lyme disease are safe to use during pregnancy.

Avoid exposure if you can. Stay out of areas with ticks, especially heavily wooded areas. If you can’t, wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, a hat or scarf, socks and boots or closed shoes. Be sure to check your hair when you come in; ticks often attach themselves there. Check your clothing to make sure no ticks remain in folds, cuffs or pockets.

Some Information May Scare You

The information is not included to frighten you; it’s there to provide facts about particular medical situations that may occur during pregnancy.

If a woman experiences a serious problem, she and her partner will probably want to know as much about it as possible. If a woman has a friend or knows someone who has problems during pregnancy, reading about it might relieve her fears. We also hope our discussions can help you start a dialogue with your doctor, if you have questions.

Nearly all pregnancies are uneventful, and serious situations don’t arise. However, please know we have tried to cover as many aspects of pregnancy as we possibly can so you’ll have all the information at hand that you might need and want. Knowledge is power, so having various facts available can help you feel more in control of your own pregnancy. We hope reading information helps you relax and have a great pregnancy experience.

If you find serious discussions frighten you, don’t read them! Or if the information doesn’t apply to your pregnancy, just skip over it. But realize information is there if you want to know more about a particular situation.

9. Gas (Flatulence)

Are you experiencing more gas (flatulence) than normal? It’s not uncommon. What you eat definitely has an impact on gas production. And foods that trigger gas may change each trimester.

Eating slowly may help reduce the amount of air you take in, which in turn helps reduce gas. Keep exercising—it can help break up gas pockets. Stay away from certain foods, including sugar, some dairy and bread products. Sorbitol, a sugar substitute found in many “lite” foods, can also cause gas.

10. Nuchal Translucency Screening

Nuchal translucency screening is a test to help healthcare providers and pregnant women find answers about whether a baby has Down syndrome. An advantage of this test is results are available in the first trimester. Because results are available early, a couple may make earlier decisions regarding the pregnancy, if they choose to do so.

A detailed ultrasound allows the healthcare provider to measure the space behind baby’s neck. When combined with the blood tests, the results of these two tests (ultrasound and blood test) can be used to predict a woman’s risk of having a baby with Down syndrome.

Be careful with bottled waters—some contain caffeine.

11. Exercise for Week 13


Stand with your feet apart and your knees relaxed. Holding a light weight in your right hand (a 16-ounce can will do fine), extend your right arm straight over your head. Contract your tummy muscles, bend slightly at the waist, then swing your arm down and over your left foot. Complete the exercise by making a complete circle and returning your arm to the original position, above your right shoulder. Repeat 8 times on each side. Strengthens back and shoulder muscles.


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