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Health and Safety

Alcohol and Pregnancy

The following infographic by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) explains the health risks associated with drinking alcohol while pregnant.

Marijuana and Pregnancy

Marijuana and pregnancy don't mix, as highlighted in this infographic by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). 

Opioid Use Disorder and Pregnancy

If you're pregnant and addicted to opioids, ask your OB/GYN or other physician about safe treatment options, as recommended in this infographic by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).  

Back Pain During Pregnancy 

Several changes to the body in pregnancy can lead to back pain.  Strain on the back muscles, abdominal muscle weakness and pregnancy hormones all contribute to back pain. The main cause of back pain during pregnancy is strain on the back muscles. As your pregnancy progresses, your womb becomes heavier.  Because this increased weight is carried in the front of the body, you naturally bend forward. To keep your balance, your posture changes. You may find yourself leaning backward, which can make the back muscles work harder.  This extra strain can lead to pain, soreness, and stiffness. Your abdominal muscles support the spine and play an important role in the health of the back. During pregnancy, these muscles become stretched and may weaken. These changes also can increase your risk of hurting your back when you exercise.

During pregnancy, circulating hormones relax the ligaments in the joints of the pelvis and back.  This loosening is beneficial, allowing the joints to become more flexible, but it can cause back pain if the joints become too mobile.

To help prevent back pain during pregnancy, be aware of how you stand, sit, and move. Below are some helpful tips:

Wear shoes with good arch support. Flat shoes usually provide little support unless they have arch supports built in. High heels can further shift your balance forward and make you more likely to fall.

You might want to avoid these.

Consider a firmer mattress. A firm mattress may provide more support to your back during pregnancy.

Avoid bending over from the waist to pick things up. Instead, squat down, bending your knees, and keeping you back straight.

Sit in chairs with good back support or use a small pillow behind the low part of your back. Special devices called lumbar supports are available at office and medical supply stores.

Try to sleep on your side with one or two pillows between your legs or under your abdomen for support.

If you have severe pain, or if the pain persists for more than two weeks, contact your doctor.  Back pain is a symptom of preterm labor and it also can be a sign of a urinary tract infection.  Contact your doctor right away if you have fever, burning when you urinate, or vaginal bleeding in addition to your back pain.

Bleeding During Pregnancy

Vaginal bleeding during pregnancy has many causes. Some are serious.  Bleeding can occur early or late in the pregnancy.  Bleeding in early pregnancy is common. In many cases, it doesn’t signal a major problem.  Bleeding later in pregnancy can be more serious.  It’s best to contact your doctor if you have bleeding at any time during pregnancy.

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