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NOTE: Opinions and advice provided on this website are based on the personal experience of the author, Stacy Quarty. Ms. Quarty in no way claims to be a professional source of medical, psychological or statistical information.

Alcohol Consumption
Am I Pregnant?
Back Pain
Belly Issues
Birth Control
Body Odors
Breast Changes
Breast Feeding
Calculating Conception / Due Dates
Cervical Cerclage
Cesarean Sections
Chronic Health Problems
Cigarette Smoking
Constipation, Diarrhea & Gas
Cotton Mouth
Diet & Exercise
Drug Use
Ectopic Pregnancy
Edema / Swelling
Fertility Drugs
Fetal Movement
Gestational Diabetes
Getting Pregnant
Harmful to the Fetus?
Heightened Thermostat
Horror-monal Hysteria
Hysterical Husbands & Partners
Incompetent Cervix
IVF (Invitro Fertilization)
Leg Issues
Maternity Leave
Morning Sickness
Placenta Previa
Placental Abruption
Postpartum Depression
Post-Pregnancy Issues
Premature Labor
Prenatal Testing
Pregnancy Symptoms?
Rh Factor
Sex, Orgasms & Masturbation
Single Parenting
Skin Changes
Sleep Deprivation
STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease)
Teen Pregnancy
Tilted Cervix
Unknown Pregnancy
Unwanted Advice, Comments & Touching
Uterine Cramps & Pains
UTI (Urinary Tract Infections)
Vaginal Discharge
Vaginal Pain
Vaginal Swelling
Vaginal Tears
Varicose Veins
VBACs (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean)
Weight Gain
Worries During Delivery
Yeast & Bacterial Infections

Harmful to the Fetus?


Accidents & Falling
Belly Issues
Chemicals & Cleaning Products
Electric Shock
EMF's (Electromagnetic Fields)
Exercise & Sports
Fibroid Tumors
Food & Drink
Hair Coloring & Bleach
Hair Removal

High Altitude
Hot Tubs
Lotions & Creams
Manicures & Pedicures
Medications & Vitamins
Paint & Toxic Fumes
UV, Sun Exposure & Tanning



Q. I'm getting married soon and have just discovered I'm pregnant! I already have my dress, which requires a corset. Is it safe to wear a steel-boned corset, laced loosely, at week 13 of a pregnancy?
-Catherine, Alabama

A. As long as the corset doesn't make you uncomfortable, deprive you of oxygen or make you feel overheated, I think you will be fine. You need to "trust your gut" on this one - if it doesn't feel right, don't wear it. Unfortunately, you probably won't be able to tell for sure until your big day. If the dress doesn't work without the corset, you may want to have an alternate outfit just in case.

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Q. I'm nine weeks along. The doctor told me to "take it easy" because I have been spotting, although the baby seems to be fine. My question relates to pregnancy constipation. I end up straining sometimes when I'm using the bathroom. Can I hurt the baby if I push too hard? I keep having this (probably irrational) fear that I'm going to accidentally push the baby out, or cause some kind of permanent damage.
-Anonymous, North Carolina

A. Straining while having a bowel movement will not harm the baby, but you could harm yourself in the end – and I mean your rear end. Constipation is a very common symptom of pregnancy and so are hemorrhoids, which are often brought on by pushing too hard while pooping. Once you develop a hemorrhoid, this area of your rectum will be forever weaker and prone to future hemorrhoid episodes.

Being a Hemorrhoid Queen myself, I would like to advise you to do all you can to stave them off, and if you do get them, do all you can to minimize them. Mine were so bad that I had to have surgery. I can honestly say it was the worst pain I've ever experienced – ten times more painful than a C-section, if you can believe that.

Back to the subject of your constipation and straining, you might try adding more fiber to your diet, drinking more liquids and, if all else fails, try the three tablespoon of olive oil method. My sister swears that olive oil was the only thing that got her digestive tract lubed up again.

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Q. I used latex caulking on my tub to fix some spots and got some caulking on my finger while smoothing it out. Now I'm worried about it absorbing in my skin and hurting the baby. I'm 25 weeks pregnant.
-Anonymous, New York

A. Unless you ate the caulking, I'm sure you and your baby will be fine. The percentage of caulking that possibly may have been absorbed through your skin is extremely minimal. You'd probably ingest more latex by smelling wet paint on a house across the street.

Q. Can a pregnant woman use a gas BBQ grill? Not changing the tank, but just standing over it when cooking.
-Jennifer, New York

A. As long as you exercise caution not to inhale too much propane gas when starting the grill, it's perfectly fine for a pregnant woman to cook up a few burgers on the grill. You'd probably be exposed to more toxins just by taking a walk down the road with two cars driving by, which, of course, is a minimal amount.

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Q. This may sound weird, but I have a mild obsession with turning a hair dryer on and letting it blow over my body (particularly near my belly). I just found out that I am pregnant and was wondering if using the hair dryer would harm my baby? My grandmother used to put me to sleep by blowing the hair dryer over me after a bath. I think this caused my weird obsession.
-Anonymous, North Carolina

A. I don't think you need to worry about continuing your harmless obsession. Using hairdryers while pregnant used to be considered one of those "maybe" risks to the developing fetus, along with using a computer or watching television. Today, there's no supporting evidence that any of these things can be harmful to your baby.

Q. I am 16 weeks pregnant and I have been losing a brown-colored blood for two weeks now and have been told that I have an infection. When it is cleared up will my baby be okay?
-Denise, New York

A. Without knowing what type infection you have, where it is and what type of treatment you have, it's hard to say if your baby will be affected or not. If your infection has invaded the placenta or amniotic sac, your baby may be at risk. If the infection is localized and can be treated with mild antibiotics, it will most likely not affect the baby.

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Q. What are the side effects of using a computer everyday?
-Anonymous, Kansas

A. Eye strain. And, if you are pregnant, eye strain. There have been no known studies showing that computer usage is in any way harmful to a developing fetus.

Q. I am about two months pregnant and have had a low body temperature (about 96 degrees) for the past few days. Is this a problem?
-Anonymous, Kentucky

A. If your core body temperature drops below 95 F you may have hypothermia, which can be brought on by extreme cold exposure or some illnesses. Your body will react by shivering, getting goose bumps, constricting blood vessels, accelerating heart rate and breathing, and you'll have a feeling of being cold. Prolonged bouts of hypothermia can be harmful to a developing fetus as the constriction of blood vessels could cut off the oxygen supply to the fetus.

If you think you have hypothermia, you should visit your doctor ASAP. If you haven't experienced these symptoms, you probably only have an inaccurate thermometer or temperature reading.

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Q. My husband and I rented a Doppler fetal heart rate monitor. Hearing my baby's heartbeat is so reassuring. Will bouncing sound waves off my baby every day cause a problem?
-Moira, Maryland

A. The Doppler, a hand-held ultrasound device, is not harmful to a developing fetus as it doesn’t use X-rays or other types of possibly harmful radiation. I don't think you need to worry about overusing it. Your baby probably gets more exposure to bouncing sound waves when you eat a meal or pass gas.

Q. I was wondering if it is okay to use a heating pad while pregnant. I am almost six months and get backaches easily from everyday activities.
-Tanya, Vermont

A. I think as long as your use of the heating pad is not extended, it's not on the highest setting (if electric) and it's just localized to your back, it should pose no problem during pregnancy. I've heard of some women putting an electric heating pad on a timer of an hour or less before bed so they could fall asleep. Another solution is to get a microwavable, moist-heat pad. These heating pads stay warm for about an hour and require no unplugging. (See: Snuggley Heating Pads for information about the microwavable pads.)

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Q. I am nine weeks pregnant and I work as a pharmacy technician in a long-term care facility. I touch and handle all kinds of prescription drugs all day long. Can these drugs be absorbed through my skin to harm the baby? Are there any particular drugs to avoid?
-Anonymous, Kansas

A. It's true that some medications can be absorbed through the skin, but I doubt it would be a quantity large enough to adversely affect you or your pregnancy. As a precaution, though, you may want to use rubber gloves while handling medications in the future, especially those drugs that do not come in a capsule form. They can more easily disintegrate and be absorbed through your skin.

Q. Like most pregnant women, I've had trouble sleeping. Ever since I was a child I would rock back and fourth on my side to help me fall asleep. Does this cause any potential problems, like shaken baby syndrome, or any other kind of development problems? Am I hurting the baby by rocking back and fourth?
-Dani, Pennsylvania

A. I don't think you need to worry about shaking or rocking your baby too hard. The fetus is well protected by your uterus and the amniotic fluid and sac. I think the only way you could put your baby at risk for “shaken baby syndrome” is if you operated a jackhammer on a daily basis. The only possible side effect that your rocking may cause is your baby may want to be rocked to sleep, too. Make sure you have a good rocking chair in the nursery!


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Disclaimer: This web site, Frankly Pregnant: The Reality Site of Pregnancy, and the book it represents, Frankly Pregnant: A Candid Week-by-Week Guide to the Unexpected Joys, Raging Hormones, and Common Experiences of Pregnancy, in no way claim to be sources for expert medical or professional advice of any kind.

©2006 Frankly Pregnant: The Reality Site of Pregnancy, by Stacy Quarty. All rights reserved.

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