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Pregnancy Q&A: Is it safe?

  Is it safe to eat or drink foods with artificial sweeteners?

Yes, Splenda® is made from all-natural ingredients and is safe to consume during pregnancy. However, avoid large quantities of aspartame, which is found in artificial sweeteners.

  What should I do for a cold?

Drink a lot of fluids, eat well and rest. A vaporizer may help. Tylenol® (Tylenol® cold and flu), Sudafed®, Dimetapp® and plain Robitussin are permitted after the first trimester. Do not take anything with ibuprofen in it, such as Advil®.

  We want to paint the baby's nursery before he/she arrives. Can I stay in the house?

Although it isn't encouraged, you can if you use an acrylic paint and the house is well ventilated. If you feel dizzy or lightheaded, stop the project and go outside.

  I rarely had heartburn before pregnancy - what's causing it, and what can I take?

Two things are at work here. First, your growing baby is crowding your stomach and forcing acid into your esophagus. Second, the hormones of pregnancy cause you to be more susceptible to reflux. Pay attention to which foods are aggravating it and alter your diet to avoid them. Eating smaller meals, drinking milk and staying away from spicy foods, carbonated beverages and late-night meals can also help. Safe medications include Rolaids®, Riopan®, Maalox®, Tums®, Pepcid AC® and Zantac®. If the problem persists, talk to your OB/GYN.

  Are dental X-rays & Novocain OK?

Local anesthesia is fine. For dental X-rays, be certain your abdomen is shielded if an X-ray is absolutely necessary.

  Should I alter my travel plans during pregnancy?

If your pregnancy is uncomplicated, no. If traveling by car, plan to stop every two hours and get out to walk to avoid blood clots. After 34 weeks, check with your physician. Always make sure your insurance and prenatal information are up-to-date and you have your physician's contact information with you.

  What do I do for hemorrhoids?

Purchase Anusol-HC® at the pharmacy and follow directions on the box, or use a stool softener such as Metamucil®, Citrucel® or colace. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids.

  May I take any medication for a headache?

Headaches are not uncommon during the first 17 weeks. If needed, Regular or Extra Strength Tylenol® may be used according to package directions. Don't take anything with ibuprofen in it, such as Advil®.

 What can I do about constipation?

For constipation, increase your water intake and try adding high-fiber foods to your diet, such as bran, whole grains, cereals, fruit (fresh or dried), raw vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, celery, etc.), and cooked vegetables (cauliflower, potatoes, rhubarb, string beans, corn, broccoli, spinach, asparagus, etc.) You may also try Metamucil®, Citrucel® or Fibercon® (colace).

  May I use a tanning booth or a hot tub?

Using a tanning booth is not recommended. Your body is going through a lot of changes right now, so you may tend to burn more than tan. If you must be in the sun, apply sunscreen generously and drink plenty of water. Hot tub use is not recommended during pregnancy, especially in the first trimester. You should avoid anything that would raise your core body temperature, including saunas and steam rooms.

  What symptoms should I report to my doctor?

Severe headaches, contractions, cramping or bleeding, any abnormal loss of fluid from the vagina, decreased movement of your baby, fever over 100.4 degrees or any other feelings that cause you serious concern.