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Obstetrics FAQ

  • If I want to become pregnant, when do I have to start taking folic acid?

    It has been proved that the ingestion of 400 micrograms of folic acid from the month before conception until the first three months of pregnancy reduces the risk of neural tube defects (spina bifida, anencephaly). Since only 50% of pregnancies are planned, every woman at childbearing age who is at risk of becoming pregnant (without any birth control) should take folic acid.

  • I want to get pregnant, when should I have intercourse?

    Ovulation occurs 14 days before the first day of the period (cycle’s first day), the luteal phase of the cycle is very regular, so if you have cycles of 28 days the ovulation will take place the 14th day of the cycle. To become pregnant you should have sex daily or every 48 hours around the ovulation day, considering the egg is viable for 12 to 24 hours and sperm can remain viable up to 3 days. When a couple begins their gestational desire the time to get pregnant varies from 1 to 12 months (at 12 months, 80% of couples have achieved pregnancy). So when a couple has been trying for more than 12 months they should consult with their gynaecologist to start a study of sterility.

  • What medication can I take if I have a cold during pregnancy?

    In general terms, you should confirm with your obstetrician that any medication you will take is safe for the fetus. As analgesics, Paracetamol and Buscapina are safe during pregnancy. You should go to your GP if fever to assess whether antibiotic treatment is needed. It is very important when a pregnant woman´s temperature is above 37,9º to take Paracetamol in order to lower it, since hyperthermia could be detrimental for the fetal neurological development. Mucolytics (Fluimicil) and cough syrups can sometimes be prescribed but always under medical indication and supervision. The doctor should assess the risk-benefit ratio for any medication prescribed.

  • Can I dye my hair, have a manicure done or use depilatory products during pregnancy?

    Yes, you can. There are vegetable dyes which are preferable to the chemical ones used in permanent or semi-permanent formulas, but the chemical ones can also be used. You can also paint your nails and continue plucking. The only things relatively contraindicated in pregnancy and lactation are laser hair removal and photoepilation, although nowadays there are no serious studies in pregnant women.

  • Can I use anti-cellulite creams during pregnancy?

    No, It is better to use an anti-stretch marks cream specific for pregnancy. If you have already used an anti-cellulite cream you do not need to worry because it is highly unlikely that this has had any harmful effects on the fetus, although there are no randomized studies in pregnancy.

  • Can I drink coffee, tea or infusions while pregnant?

    Too much caffeine (6 cups of coffee a day) has shown to increase the risk of abortion. You can consume tea and coffee in small amounts (1 or 2 cups a day). If you are a lover of this kind of drinks it is better to have them decaf. Most herbal teas and infusions can be taken without any problem during pregnancy and they contribute to the total fluid intake which is very important at this moment (2,5 - 3 l a day).

  • Is it safe to travel by plane while pregnant?

    If pregnancy is proceeding normally you can fly till the moment that the air company allows you to do so (around 32 -36 weeks), it depends on the company and on the destination. The company normally applies for an obstetrician’s certificate stating that it is not a high risk pregnancy. You have to remember to do exercises to prevent traveler's syndrome (thrombosis), walk down the aisle and make a good hydration on long trips because the risk of thrombosis is somehow higher in pregnancy. There is no risk to pass under a metal detector while pregnant.

  • I am pregnant and I suffer insomnia. What can I do?

    Insomnia is very common in pregnancy, you have to acquire good habits before bedtime, relaxing activities and do not have heavy meals before bedtime. Neither consume exciting drinks before sleeping like coffee, tea, coke. It is important to establish a time routine, relaxing infusions can help, chamomile, valerian, limeflower tea.

  • Replaces the non- invasive prenatal diagnosis (NIPD) the amniocentesis?

    No, the NIPD in maternal blood is a screening technique for chromosomal abnormalities of chromosomes 21, 18, 13, and X/Y as the first trimester screening test (EBA), with the particularity of having higher sensitivity for the diagnosis of Down syndrome increasing with this test from 90 to 99%. It must be taken into account that with invasive tests all chromosomes are analyzed and Down syndrome (trisomy 21) is only 50% of the fetal chromosomal abnormalities. If in the NIPD we got a high-risk result we have to perform an amniocentesis to confirm the diagnosis. This test is not covered by the health insurance company and prices range from 700 to 900€ depending on the laboratory, the results take from 14 to 21 days. For more information consult your obstetrician.

  • Is it useful perineal massage? When should I start?

    The daily perineal massage with primrose oil is useful to distend the perineum in order to try to avoid an episiotomy (cut in the perineum which is done in some vaginal deliveries to prevent a perineal tear) during delivery. You should begin from 32-33 weeks until the delivery day, it may be done by yourself or your partner.

  • Since when the delivery is safe?

    The term includes from 37 to 42 weeks, in our area the 8% of deliveries are pre-term (before 37 weeks gestation). We must distinguish the early preterm delivery (<32 weeks) from the late preterm delivery (32-36.6 weeks), the latest showing better perinatal outcomes. If for any reason an elective termination of pregnancy is required the ideal time for the baby to be born is from 39 weeks of gestation.


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