A Beautiful and Healthy Pregnancy


Q. My feet are killing me, but I’ve heard foot massages bring on preterm contractions.

A. After a long day on your feet, a foot message sounds great. And you’re in luck! Dr. Kelly Meek, an obstetrician and gynecologist with Southeastern OB/GYN in Matthews, says, “I tell my patients to get a massage any time during their pregnancy. It is a terrific way to relieve some of the leg, back, shoulder, feet and neck pain many women suffer during pregnancy.”

Q. Is it safe to use scented or aromatherapy lotions and oils?

A. Every woman enjoys those occasional bubble baths with soothing scents and oil, and you still can even while you’re pregnant, says Meek.

Q. Is it OK to use hair removal products while I’m pregnant?

A. The battle with unwanted hair never seems to end, and it doesn’t have to even during your pregnancy. Meek says there is no problem using hair removal products like Nair, but says to be careful because “your skin may be more sensitive while you’re pregnant.”

Q. I’m a runner. Is it safe to still run?

A. Striving for that next mile is always the goal, but during pregnancy that drive may need to be put on hold. According to Meek, maintaining your routine is OK, as long as you were doing this before getting pregnant. “Exercising should be about health and well-being while you’re pregnant, not losing weight or training for an event,” she says.

Q. What type of skin care products should I avoid while I’m pregnant?

A. Keeping your skin beautiful is a top priority, especially during your pregnancy. Dr. Tara Kompare, better known as The Medicine Mom, suggests women avoid anything stronger than just a normal moisturizing lotion, especially anti-aging creams that contain high amounts of Vitamin A. Acne during pregnancy also can be a problem, but women still can use over-the-counter antiseptics containing benzoyl peroxide. But Kompare notes, “Prescription products used to treat acne, such as Retin-A and tetracycline, should be avoided during pregnancy.”

Q. I have cats. Is it safe for me to be around kitty litter?

A. Your furry little friends may cause more harm to you than you may think. Handling kitty litter is a big NO while you’re pregnant because “a parasite called Toxoplasmosis is found in the droppings and can be harmful to you and your baby,” says Meek.

Q. Is it safe for me to drink an occasional glass of wine?

A. How much is too much? That is always the question. Alcohol affects women differently and is related to fetal abnormalities. For a general rule, Meek advises, “Stay away from any alcohol as soon as you know you’re pregnant.”

Q. Is it safe to use self-tanning lotions or a tanning bed while I’m pregnant?

A. For women who are pregnant, using self-tanning lotions or spray-on tanning solutions is better. There may be a little absorption through the skin, says Meek, but there really isn’t any evidence of that. “And of course, any physician would tell his or her patients to stay away from tanning beds because of the risk for skin cancer.”

Q. What other over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers should I stay away from?

A. As a general rule women shouldn’t take any over-the-counter pills or liquids, avoiding medications like Motrin and Aspirin. “The only thing moms-to-be should be taking are prenatal vitamins with folic acid. But if you need to take something, say for a headache, the safest thing to take is Tylenol,” says Kompare.

Q. Can I highlight or dye my hair?

A. Just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean you can’t die your hair. Meek says that highlighting and dyeing your hair is safe, but adds, “If you’re a complete purist, wait until after the first trimester.”

Q. Can I drink diet sodas or caffeinated drinks while I’m pregnant?

A. Diet Pepsi, mochas and cappuccinos may be a part of your daily routine, but during your pregnancy, you should do some cut backs. Meek advises Splenda and NutraSweet are both OK, too. She also advises avoiding caffeine because it is linked to an increase in miscarriages.