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15 First-Time Pregnancy Questions and Answers

First Time Pregnancy Questions and AnswersIf you’ve recently found out that you’re pregnant or are planning to start a family, you probably have quite a few questions. At Northland Women’s Health in Kansas City, Missouri, we help support healthy pregnancies.

Below are fifteen of pregnant women's most common questions and straightforward answers to get you started.

1. What Foods Should I Stay Away From?

Generally, sugary, starchy, and fatty foods aren’t healthy. Instead, opt for lean meats, fruits, vegetables, and some dairy.

Seafood: Ensure all seafood is cooked thoroughly. Raw seafood can contain bacteria and other parasites, potentially making pregnant women or the fetus ill. This means you should avoid sushi, sashimi, raw oysters, raw clams, raw scallops, and ceviche, among other raw kinds of seafood.

Unpasteurized Juice or Cider: Unpasteurized juices, even fresh-squeezed, can contain E. coli or other harmful germs.

Raw Dairy: Similar to juices, unpasteurized milk can contain harmful bacteria or germs. Ensure to consume only pasteurized dairy products. Don’t eat soft cheeses unless they specifically contain “made with pasteurized milk” on the label.

Undercooked Eggs: Undercooked eggs can potentially carry salmonella. Ensure eggs are fully cooked until the whites are firm. Foods that may contain raw eggs and should be avoided include: Homemade eggnog, raw batters, homemade Caesar salad dressing, tiramisu, eggs benedict, homemade ice cream, and fresh or homemade hollandaise sauce.

Raw Dough: Unbaked doughs can contain E. coli and salmonella. Ensure all batters or baked goods are thoroughly cooked before consuming.

For additional information on foods to avoid while pregnant, reference this guide published by the FDA. Download it here.

2. Can I Keep Drinking Coffee?

Moderate amounts of caffeine are acceptable. However, coffee is a stimulant that impacts the nerves. You should avoid excessive amounts. Stick to one 12-ounce cup of coffee per day.

For a more in-depth look at coffee and alternatives while pregnant, check out this article from The Bump.

3. What Vitamins Should I Take When Pregnant?

First Time Pregnancy Questions and AnswersTaking the right supplements and vitamins is important to ensure a healthy pregnancy.

  • Folic acid: Helps to form the neural tube and prevent significant congenital disabilities.
  • Iron: used to prevent iron deficiency anemia and can be found in fish, lean red meat, and dark green leafy vegetables.
  • Calcium: It’s recommended pregnant women take 1200 mg/day of calcium per day
  • Vitamin D: Improves fetal growth and reduces risks for preeclampsia, preterm birth, and gestational diabetes.
  • Choline: Typically, 450 milligrams of choline per day are needed to support a baby’s brain and spinal cord development and to protect it against neural tube defects.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: These are the building blocks of the fetal brain and retina; they can be found in fish oil, some prenatal vitamins, and seafood like salmon and mackerel.
  • Vitamin B complex (B6, B9, and B12): Minimizes the risk of birth defects and relieves pregnancy symptoms.
  • Vitamin C: You’ll need at least 85 mg of Vitamin C each day. A deficiency in vitamin C can cause brain damage to the baby.

4. Can I Still Exercise?

Exercise is encouraged and can lead to significant quality of life improvements during your pregnancy. Some exercise activities should be avoided, such as heavy weightlifting, lying on your back, or strong abdominal twists, all of which could lead to complications and injury.

Other activities to avoid include:

  1. Contact sports
  2. Extreme sports
  3. Horseback riding
  4. Scuba diving
  5. High-altitude activities

The ACOG has a number of common questions answered on this page.

5. Is Shortness of Breath Normal?

Yes. The rise in progesterone begins early during a pregnancy, and it’s part of the natural changes that occur during a pregnancy. The increase of this hormone can often lead to a feeling of shortness of breath. Most of the time, this feeling is harmless and expected.

If you are pregnant and having trouble breathing or catching your breath more than expected, contact your health provider immediately or consider heading to the emergency room.

6. What Prenatal Vitamins Do I Need?

Eating a balanced and healthy diet is the first step in taking good care of your pregnancy. In addition, many women opt for a vitamin prenatal supplement. Prenatal vitamins can include iron supplements, vitamins C, D, B6, B12, and folic acid. Your health provider may also recommend supplements not covered by a standard daily prenatal vitamin supplement.

7. How Often Should I Visit an OB-GYN?

First Time Pregnancy Questions and AnswersYour first visit can be the moment you get pregnant. OB-GYNs also offer pre-pregnancy counseling and planning during the initial stages. A typical schedule of visits is listed below:

First Trimester and Second Trimester: Every four weeks

Early Third Trimester (28 - 36 weeks): Every two weeks

Late Third Trimester (36 weeks - delivery): Every week

8. Why Am I Bleeding? Is it Normal?

Vaginal bleeding can occur early or late in pregnancy. It’s normal to have some bleeding early on in the pregnancy. The causes of bleeding can be serious or minor.

Bleeding during late-stage pregnancy can be a sign of something quite serious. Contact an obstetrician–gynecologist (ob-gyn) if you have any bleeding at any time during pregnancy.

Bleeding occurs in the first trimester in 15 to 25 out of 100 pregnancies. Light bleeding or spotting can occur 1 to 2 weeks after fertilization. It’s common to experience some spotting or light bleeding after sexual intercourse, Pap test, or pelvic exam.

9. How Much Weight Should I Gain?

Most women gain approximately one pound per week while pregnant, leading to a total gain of around 35 pounds. These numbers can vary depending on your BMI before your pregnancy and how many babies you are carrying.

Too much weight can lead to complications at birth. Too little weight gain is associated with delivering a baby who is too small and who may have difficulties breastfeeding. Weight gain is far more important during the second or third trimester, as this can impact the baby’s health.

10. What Does Early Pregnancy Feel Like?

First Time Pregnancy Questions and AnswersCommon symptoms of early pregnancy can include missed periods, vomiting, breast changes, constantly feeling lethargic, and frequently urinating. Other symptoms can include moodiness, bloating, light spotting, cramping, constipation, food aversions, and nasal congestion.

While most of these symptoms can be experienced without being pregnant, you may also have very few or even none of these symptoms.

11. What’s Included in Proper Prenatal Health?

Schedule prenatal care with a women’s health specialist as early as possible. Follow your healthcare provider’s advice. Mothers who do not get prenatal care are more likely to have babies with low birth weight and health complications.

12. What are the Stages of Labor?

First Stage: Labor begins when the opening of the uterus (the cervix) starts to thin and open wider. Contractions get stronger, lasting from 30 to 60 seconds, and come every 5 to 20 minutes, along with some bloody discharge.  

Second Stage: The cervix is fully open and ready for childbirth. You need to start to push your baby out, and this can last 20 minutes or a few hours.

Third Stage: This starts after your baby is born. During this stage, your placenta separates from the wall of your uterus; the placenta and the membranes that support the baby are expelled through the vagina.

13. Should I get an Epidural or Not?

Getting an epidural is an individualized choice and a generally safe form of anesthesia. If you have any questions about epidural anesthesia, your healthcare provider can provide you with all the information you need.

14. Can I Have Still Sex While Pregnant?

Yes. It’s okay to have sex. However, you might find that you have less interest in it and that certain positions are more difficult due to pregnancy. It’s an old wive’s tale that you cannot have intercourse while pregnant.

15. How Long am I Allowed to Go Past my Due Date?

You can go up to 2 weeks; after 42 weeks, the baby’s health may be at risk.

Newly Pregnant? Find an Obstetrician in Kansas City, MO

If you have any further questions, our team of trained women’s health specialists and physicians is ready to help you at every stage of your pregnancy journey. Contact us today to book your first appointment.


Northland Women's Health Care, P.C.
8600 NE 82nd St. •  Kansas City, MO 64158  •  Phone: 816-741-9122  •  Fax: 816-741-9665