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    10 Things Pregnant People Secretly Want To Know, Answered By A Doctor

    "Is it OK for a pregnant woman to..."

    Pregnant people are famous for googling a lot of questions — understandably — about what is happening during their pregnancies.

    A pregnant woman is on the computer
    Prostock-studio / Getty Images

    So we thought, Why not get a real OB-GYN to answer the questions pregnant people google the most?

    Enter Dr. Bana Kashani, an OB-GYN and subspecialist in reproductive endocrinology and infertility, who agreed to give her professional answers to some of these oft-googled questions.

    1. Is it OK for pregnant women to drink coffee or eat shrimp?


    Kashani: "Caffeine or coffee is OK to consume in limited quantities during pregnancy. The actual amount of caffeine that is advised per day is less than 200 milligrams, total, between coffee, tea, and soda, but I am a little more conservative and would probably say at most you should have 1 cup a day. Anyone who is drinking more than that has a higher risk of having a miscarriage.

    "As for shrimp, it is perfectly fine as long as you don’t have a shrimp or shellfish allergy."

    2. I'm pregnant; why am I so gassy?


    Kashani: "Progesterone increases during pregnancy and slows down bowel movements, so often you can be more gassy as a result. Also, the uterus is growing and taking up space where the intestines normally are. This can cause changes in bowel movement and make you more gassy."

    3. Why do pregnant women crave pickles and ice?


    Kashani: "Pickles, I think, are just a myth, but there are definitely changes in taste buds during pregnancy that can lead to craving more salty, sour, or sweet things, so that’s why some people gravitate toward pickles, when previously they didn’t. But it is kind of a myth that every pregnant woman craves pickles.

    "In terms of ice, it is oftentimes just because pregnant women feel hotter than nonpregnant women because of all the hormones, particularly the hormone progesterone. The other reason is that a lot of pregnant women have mild anemia or low blood levels because of the changes that come with pregnancy. This actually can cause you to crave ice. If it’s very severe, it’s a condition called pica — that's where you crave abnormal things essentially because your blood counts are low or you have anemia."

    4. Why do pregnant women throw up?


    Kashani: "The pregnancy hormone levels, also known as HGC, which are high and increasing — especially in the first trimester of pregnancy — make women sensitive and cause nausea. We don’t know exactly why or why it happens more to some women than others. But it’s related to the hormone levels.

    "Later in pregnancy, sometimes the pressure on the abdomen from a growing baby and the movement of intestines and organs can make the stomach more sensitive and cause a feeling of nausea or throwing up."

    5. Why do pregnant women get headaches?


    Kashani: "The change in hormone status in pregnancy can make some women more susceptible to headaches. And then there are some women who have headaches prior to getting pregnant who actually see their headaches get better during pregnancy because of the changes in hormones.

    "The other reason for headaches can be related to dehydration because pregnant women need to drink more water typically, compared to when they’re not pregnant. So if you’re dehydrated, that can cause you to get headaches as well."

    6. I'm pregnant; why am I so tired?


    Kashani: "You’re growing a baby inside of you, which, as you can imagine, is also kind of sucking your own energy out as it's allowing the baby to grow, so being tired is very common. In addition to that, the pregnancy hormone progesterone often does cause you to feel more fatigued.

    "Later in pregnancy, as the baby grows bigger, more women get uncomfortable and don’t sleep as well, so during the day, you can feel more tired. It’s completely normal."

    7. Is it OK for pregnant women to run or swim?


    Kashani: "Exercise is perfectly fine as long as you’re doing what you were doing prior to getting pregnant. So if you used to run a mile per day, it is perfectly fine to continue that regimen while you’re pregnant. However, don’t all of a sudden decide while you are pregnant to go from doing nothing to training for a marathon. Keep the same activity level that you had prior to pregnancy during pregnancy.

    "Swimming is perfectly fine; it’s just you want to be cautious of ever being in a pool or hot tub that’s higher than your own body temperature because that’s not good during pregnancy."

    8. I'm pregnant; why is my discharge yellow?


    Kashani: "Discharge is very common in pregnancy, and it's due to changes in the hormone environment that increase vaginal discharge and mucus. This is normal; however, if you notice a change — like it becomes foul-smelling or you have other symptoms, like burning or itching — then you need to talk to your doctor."

    9. Should pregnant women get the COVID-19 vaccine?


    Kashani: "This is all based on a pregnant woman’s risk of being exposed to COVID-19. So if you are a high-risk person, meaning particularly a healthcare worker who works directly with COVID-positive patients, then the benefit of getting the vaccine absolutely outweighs the risks of the unknown that come with the vaccine.

    "The other reason why it is beneficial to consider the COVID-19 vaccine in high-risk pregnant women is that if you get COVID-19 when you’re pregnant, particularly in the third trimester, it is much more severe of a disease process, and more pregnant women end up having to be hospitalized and intubated or put on the ventilator. So, for those reasons, if you’re very high risk, it is probably advised and recommended. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) stated that it is safe for pregnant women to consider the vaccine if you are in a high-risk situation."

    10. If a pregnant woman drinks alcohol, what happens?


    Kashani: "Alcohol is considered a substance that can have a direct effect on the growing baby and can cause changes in brain development and even other anatomical changes within their body. So when you ingest alcohol, it can be passed along through the placenta directly to the baby via the bloodstream, and you just don’t have control to know if even a little bit can get directly to the baby and what effect it will have."

    You can follow Dr. Bana Kashani on Instagram or visit her website.