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Diet & Exercise
Q. I'm 27 weeks pregnant and would like to know if I can eat beer bread? The batter is made with one bottle of beer and then baked.
-Jennifer, New York
A. The amount of alcohol that remains in cooked foods is so minimal that it certainly wouldn't be harmful to you or your baby. I've never heard of anyone getting drunk after overindulging on pasta with vodka sauce or chicken cooked in wine. Have you?
You may want to avoid uncooked foods made with alcohol, however. I think many of us have a story like my old Aunt Ida who got a bit loopy after too many rum balls during the holidays.
Q. Can I drink coffee during pregnancy?
A. Some women completely abstain from caffeine during pregnancy while others continue their usual coffee klatch.
Caffeine consumption during pregnancy is considered one of those "maybe" risks. There have been no substantial studies done on humans proving that caffeine use is harmful to the fetus. It is believed, though, that high does of caffeine may possibly cause a higher risk of miscarriage, withdrawal and an increased risk of SIDS in newborns.
I think as long as you limit your intake to about one cup a day, you and your baby should be fine.
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Q. I'm pregnant and I usually take an iron pill at 8:30am, my prenatal vitamin at 5:30pm and my second iron at 8:30pm. I did this last night, woke up and took the iron pill again! Is it bad to take it two times in a row? I won't take it tonight and I'll get back on schedule tomorrow. Is it possible that I took too much? It says on the directions not to "double up."
A. During pregnancy your iron levels can be depleted, so it's important to continue with a supplement if your doctor recommends it. I wouldn't worry about taking too much. Your body can only absorb so much. From taking one extra dose, I imagine the worst you may experience is some noisy gas.
For some non-pregnant people, iron supplements can be detrimental. For example, people with hemochromatosis absorb too much iron. Older people who have excessive stored iron also should not take iron supplements.
Q. If you are active during your pregnancy, such as jumping around, will it harm your baby? What, if any, health issues will it cause?
A. I believe that as long as you are physically able and are not experiencing discomfort, you can jump to your heart's content.
I enjoy jogging and continued it until my eighth week of pregnancy. At that point, it just didn't feel right. It actually hurt to bounce my uterus around that much. I switched to walking.
Your body will tell you with a cramp, stabbing pain or nausea what activities are not good for you and your baby.
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Q. I am 11 weeks pregnant. My family planned a camping trip before I became pregnant. One of the activities we planned was river tubing. It's not white water rafting, but "lazy" river tubing. My husband is concerned and doesn't think I should go. Do you think it is harmful to lie in a tube going down a river for two hours?
A. There are some sports and activities that should be avoided during pregnancy because an accident may cause harm to the fetus. Activities that are not recommended during pregnancy include: downhill skiing; horseback riding; contact sports such as soccer, basketball and hockey; bungee jumping or sky diving; and scuba diving. Sports more suited to pregnancy include: brisk walking; swimming; jogging; tennis; golf; bowling; low-impact or water aerobics; and yoga and stretching. I think you can include river tubing in the "pregnancy-approved" list. Tubing is much less rigorous than swimming, jogging or aerobics. So, have a good time on your camping trip, tubing and all.
Q. Before I was pregnant I weighed 140 pounds and I'm 5'7. About five months into my pregnancy I started gaining five pounds a week. My doctor said that I had high blood pressure and put me on medication right away. Because of that I retained a lot of water weight. I gained 100 pounds. I really was good about what I ate during my pregnancy. I don't really know how much fat weight I gained. Can you tell me how to get rid of that water weight quickly? I'm not breastfeeding.
A. Excess water weight can be shed by perspiring heavily, taking a diuretic or dehydrating yourself by not drinking, none of which will take off more than a few pounds for a few hours.
If you really want to lose weight, you've got to do it the old-fashioned way:- diet and exercise. The hard part is finding the will power to start. I've found my "one part torture, one part nurture" regimen to work best for me.
The torture is the diet part. It's best to immediately switch to a low-calorie, low-carb diet plan. There are lots of diets out there to choose from. You can shop around and see what suits you best. I did the SlimFast diet. Since I work a lot and don't have time to prepare my meals, it was easy to just grab a shake for a meal. The first three days of the diet are torture. After that, the stomach begins to shrink and the habits of eating start to change.
The nurture part is the exercise. The key is to start out slowly. Don't work out so hard that you become so sore that you never want to do it again. For example, you can start by walking 15 minutes a day. By the end of the week you may want to increase your time. A week later you may want to increase your speed to a fast walk. Another week later you may want to try running for a few minutes and then walk the rest. Before you know it, you'll be thin and doing 10K races, like I am now.
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Q. When trying to conceive during those critical days in between my cycle, does exercising prohibit the sperm from reaching the egg? If I'm trying to conceive and have sex, should I abstain from doing moderate exercise, like a step aerobics class, the following days/evenings? Would not exercising increase my chances of the sperm reaching the egg? I’m just wondered if all the bouncing and gravity would "clean out" my uterus and keep sperm from uniting with egg.
A. Unless you jump right up after intercourse and start doing your step aerobics, I don't think you need to worry about shaking out all the sperm. The hardest trek for the sperm is from the vagina through the cervix, and that usually happens within hours of intercourse. (See the best sperm-meet-egg formula for more information.) After the sperm passes through the cervix, it may take a few hours or days for the sperm to meet the egg. Jumping around and exercise may even help at this point, as increased circulation could promote lubrication and movement of the sperm to the egg.
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