Pregnancy Safety

Ultrasound Safety
Ultrasound procedures are commonly performed in prenatal care to check the health and well-being of a fetus.
An ultrasound performed at 18 to 20 weeks of pregnancy allows doctors to ensure proper fetal development and delineate any anomalies. However, people who purchase ultrasounds to perform at-home tests are discouraged to do so.

“We don’t know, in the long term, how it can affect the baby if you get multiple ultrasounds,” Dr. Lisa cautions. “It should be in the hands of a medical professional.”

4-D Ultrasound
OB/GYN Dr. Lisa Masterson performs a
n ultrasound in 2-D, considered the standard of care, as well as a 4-D ultrasound , the latest technology. 

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Pregnancy and Dentistry

Hormone changes during pregnancy can affect a woman’s oral health, but many women put off dental work while pregnant for fear of harming her baby. However, experts maintain that routine dental cleanings can and should be performed at any time during pregnancy. Women with periodontal, or gum, disease can be seven times more likely to deliver prematurely than women with healthy gums. Gestational gingivitis, inflammation or swelling of the gums can also cause tooth and bone loss.

Dentist Dr. Mark Liechtung, from Manhattan Dental Arts of New York, says the best thing a future mother can do in regards to her dental care and upcoming pregnancy is to plan ahead. “Tell your dental care practitioner that you’re preparing to have a family,” he advises. “Then the dentist can take precautions.”

Sex During Pregnancy
Many expecting couples worry about having sexual intercourse during pregnancy for fear of injuring the baby, and because the mother's protruding belly makes it physically difficult.

Pregnancy Sex Rumors

Dr. Lisa stresses that sex during pregnancy is important for maintaining your relationship with your spouse, and encourages it throughout pregnancy. 

"As long as things are going well during pregnancy, you can have sex," Dr. Lisa says. "You just have to practice with different positions."

What Side to Sleep on
Brianna, from Pacific Palisades, California, is 20 weeks pregnant and has been told that she should only sleep on her left side. But doing so has left her sore and worried if she wakes up in any other position. She asks Dr. Lisa what side is best to sleep on.

“You can [lie] on your right side, too,” Dr. Lisa says. “After the second trimester, though, you just don’t want to go flat on your back because the uterus can be heavy enough to compress the major vessel that’s supporting [the] baby. So what you want to do is if you’re even just wedged, you’re fine, but really, in studies, maximal is the left side, but you’re OK if you’re on your right side.

“You’re just going to get more and more uncomfortable when you sleep, so you may need to take catnaps, too,” Dr. Lisa adds. “But that’s absolutely normal during pregnancy.”

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Summer Pregnancy Risks
OB/GYN Dr. Lisa Masterson offers tips to keeping mom and baby safe during the summer months:

• Dehydration can cause pre-term labor, so it’s essential for women to keep themselves hydrated. Drinking plenty of water and sports drinks and wearing cool clothing will help keep a woman’s body in balance.
• Decrease salt intake, as salt will aggravate dehydration and contribute to the risk of pre-term labor.
• Avoid flip flops because a woman’s center of gravity is off during pregancy. Instead, wear sandals that can provide support.
• Wear lots of skin protection because the high levels of estrogen increase a woman’s chance of developing melasma, also known as the pregnancy mask, or splotchy marks on the face. Make sure to wear an SPF of 50 every day.
• Stay active! Swimming is a great activity because it keeps a woman cool and relieves aches and pains as well.

More on safety.