PREGNANCY RESOURCES

We are delighted that you have chosen UConn Health for your care, we are committed to offering you the highest level of patient care through our expert physicians and experienced nurses.

As your pregnancy progresses, we understand that you will have many questions regarding you and your baby’s health and growth. Below you will find helpful resources to help ease your concerns. Our nurses and physicians are always available for questions. If you have additional questions, please write them down and bring them with you to your next appointment. Your provider would be happy to address any questions as they arise. Call 860-679-2492 to speak with your provider if it can’t wait for your next visit.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

There are seven doctors in the UConn Health group and any of our doctors could deliver your baby. During your pregnancy, we suggest you take the opportunity to meet with all of us. See our team page for names and specialties.

On occasion, the high-risk obstetric doctors will cover deliveries. If any questions or concerns arise during your pregnancy, you might be asked to see a high-risk obstetrics doctor in the Maternal-Fetal Medicine (MFM) office. See our MFM doctors on our team page.

FOOD SAFETY FOR MOMS-TO-BE

Foodborne illness is a sickness that occurs when people eat and drink harmful microorganisms (bacteria, parasites, viruses) or chemical contaminants found in some foods or drinking water. You and your growing fetus are at high-risk from some foodborne illnesses because during pregnancy your immune system is altered, which makes it harder for your body to fight off certain harmful foodborne microorganisms. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) provides more detail and resources on foodborne illness.

We know that although food safety is very important during pregnancy, it can also be very confusing. Therefore, here are some guidelines and simple steps to keep you and your baby safe.

  1.  Wash hands, utensils, and surfaces before and after cooking.
  2. Separate raw meat, poultry, and seafood from ready-to-eat foods. If possible, use one cutting board for raw meat and another for fresh fruit and vegetables. Place cooked food on a clean plate.
  3. Cook foods thoroughly using a food thermometer to check the temperature. The range of temperatures at which bacteria can grow is usually between 40° F and 140° F. Discard foods left out at room temperature for more than two hours.
  4. Refrigerate or freeze perishables. Your refrigerator should register at 40° F or below and the freezer at 0° F. Use ready-to-eat, perishable foods as soon as possible.

FOODS TO AVOID

As a mom to be, there are three specific foodborne risks that you need to be aware of, Listeria monocytogenes, Methylmercury, and Toxoplasma. These risks can cause serious illness or death to you and your unborn child. Follow these steps to ensure a health pregnancy.

LISTERIA MOMOCYTOGENES

A harmful bacterium that can grow at refrigerator temperatures where most other foodborne bacteria do not. It causes an illness called listeriosis. Listeria momocytogenes can be found in frigerated, ready-to-eat foods and unpasteurized milk and milk products.

How to prevent illness:

  • Follow the four simple steps above.
  • DO NOT EAT
    • Hot dogs and luncheon meats (unless they are reheated until steaming hot).
    • Soft cheese: Feta, Brie, Camembert, blue-veined cheeses, queso blanco, queso fresco, and Panela (Unless labeled as made with pasteurized milk. Check the label.)
    • Refrigerated pâtés or meat spreads.
    • Refrigerated smoked seafood. (unless it’s in a cooked dish, such as a casserole. Refrigerated smoked seafdood, such as salmon, trout, whitefish, cod, tuna, or mackerel, is most often labeled as nova-style, lox, kippered, smoked or jerky. These types of fish are found in the refrigerator section or sold at deli counters of grocery stores and delicatessens.)
    • Raw (unpasteurized) milk or foods that contain unpasteurized milk.

METHYLMERCURY

A metal that can be found in certain fish which, at high levels, can be harmful to an unborn baby’s developing nervous system. Large, long-living fish, such as shark, tilefish, king mackerel, and swordfish are the most common fish where methylmercury can be found.

How to prevent illness:

  • DO NOT EAT Shark, tilefish, king mackerel, or swordfish. These fish can contain high levels of methylmercury.
  • It’s ok to eat other cooked fish/seafood as long as a variety of toher kinds are selected during pregnancy or while a woman is trying to become pregnant. She can eat up to 12 oz. (2 average meals) a week of a variety of fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury. Five of the most commonly eaten fish that are low in mercury are shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock, and catfish. Anotehr commonly eaten fish, albacore (white) tuna has more mercury than canned light tuna. So, when choosing your two meals of fish and shellfish, you may eat up to 6 oz. (one average meal) of albacore tuna per week.

TOXOPLASMA GONDII

A harmful parasite which causes an illness called toxoplasmosis that can be difficult to detect. It can be found in raw and undercooked meat, unwashed fruits and vegetables, contaminated water and soil, dirty cat-litter boxes, and outdoor places where cat feces can be found.

How to prevent illness:

  • ALWAYS
    • Cook meat thoroughly.
    • If possible, have someone else change the litterbox. If you have to clean it, always wash your hands with soap and warm water afterwards.
    • Wear gloves when gardening or handling sand from a sandbox.
    • Avoid getting a new cat while pregnant.

Visit the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for more detail and resources on foodborne illness.

SAFE MEDICATIONS

Over-the-Counter Medications

The following is a list of medications that you may take for relief of specific symptoms. While the medications listed below are considered safe in pregnancy, it is best to limit their use, especially during the first trimester. Remember to use natural-type remedies when possible, rather than medicines (for example, hot lemon juice and honey for a sore throat). When taking over-the-counter medications, be sure to read the product label and follow the directions. If you have any questions about medications, please call your provider at 860-679-2792 before taking.

If you are being seen by our Maternal-Fetal Medicine doctors for your prenatal care, you are asked to contact their office prior to taking any medication as your health care may be affected by
over-the-counter medications.

SYMPTOMS

MEDICATION

Heart burn Calcium carbonate (Tums)
Ranitidine (Zantac)
Famotidine (Pepcid)
Cimetidine (Tagamet)
Constipation Metamucil, Citrucel
Docusate (Colace, Dulcolax)
Milk of Magnesia
Polyethyelene glycol (MiraLAX)
Diarrhea Loperamide (Imodium A-D)
Nausea Ginger, peppermint, or raspberry leaf tea
Emetrol
Headache, fever, sore throat Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
Sneezing, runny nose, itchy/watery eyes Chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton)
Diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
Nasal congestion Saline nasal spray or saline nasal irrigations
Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed)

Download and print safe medications.pdf.

BABY'S MOVEMENTS

Your Baby’s Activity Record

Healthy babies are usually active. Unborn babies sleep for short periods of time, but most of the time they will kick, roll, twist and turn. Counting your baby’s movements, or fetal movement counting, is a way to tell how your baby is doing. A healthy baby usually moves at least 10 times in 2 hours.

We recommend that you start counting movements around month seven, about 28 weeks and become more aware of your baby’s daily activity. As you get to know your baby’s movement pattern, you will be able to report any changes to your care provider.

HOW DO I COUNT MY BABIES MOVEMENTS?

  1. Choose a time of day that your baby is usually active. Try to count around the same time each day. It may be best to count after a meal.
  2. Get in a comfortable position. You can lie down or sit in a chair with your feet up.
  3. Write down the date and time that you begin counting your baby’s movements.
  4. Continue counting until your baby has moved 10 times. Count any movements including, kicks, rolls, swishes and flutters.
  5. After your baby has moved 10 times, write down the time on your chart.
  6. If you can’t feel your baby move, try to wake the baby by drinking a glass of juice or walking for a few minutes. Then start counting again.

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF MY BABY DOESN’T MOVE?

Call your doctor at 860-679-2792 right away if:

  • Your baby has not moved 10 times in 2 hours.
  • You notice a significant decrease in your baby’s activity.

Sample Chart

Sample movement chart

Download and print activity record chart.pdf.

DISCOMFORT DURING LABOR

The discomfort you experience during labor depends on several factors. There are different strategies you may use alone or in combination to help cope with your labor. Talk with your provider about your options in preparation of your baby’s birth.

Relaxation and breathing techniques (showering, birthing ball).

Analgesics or pain relieving drugs will help provide pain relief to allow breathing and relaxation techniques to become more effective.

Epidural anesthesia blocks most pain perception; numbs your body from the waist to toes.

Nitrous oxide (laughing gas) is a self-administered gas that can be breathed in to temporarily relieve pain, without long-lasting side effects. Learn more about using nitrous oxide during labor.