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FAQ

Frequently asked questions and answers to Seoul Women's Hospital.

  • Q
  • Is it safe to fly during pregnancy?
  • A
  • The second trimester (from 4 months to 7 months of pregnancy) is relatively pleasant period during the entire pregnancy period. It has the lowest risk of complications. However, since 2~3 months and 8~9 months have a high risk of miscarriage and preterm birth, it is better to avoid travel. Also pregnant women should avoid driving on their own. It is recommended to make a short distance trip rather than a long distance and using train or airplane is safer than bus or car. If you want to travel overseas, please have a doctor’s note and medical record with you.

     

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  • Q
  • Can I perm or dye my hair?
  • A
  • Perm and dye have not caused a fetal malformation before. However, if you are allergic to hair dye, make sure you do the allergy patch test first. Perm and hair dye make wear you out as the process takes quite a time. Avoid the early stage when you tend to have a sever morning sickness. Also avoid after week 28 of pregnancy. It is safer to try it in second trimester.

     

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  • Q
  • Will X-ray in early weeks of pregnancy (week 8) affect the baby?
  • A
  • Radiation such as x-ray is known with its effect on the baby during pregnancy. Especially, if the mom is exposed in early trimester, it may cause a growth retardation and organ malformation. Between week 8 to 15 is known to be at high risk. From week 16 to over week 25 are also open to the risk of mental retardation. However, it is highly related to the level of exposure. If it is less than 5mrad, it may not increase the risk. Chest x-ray shows the level of 0.01~0.05mrad per image. However, to have a negative effect on the baby, you have to take more than 100 shoots. It would have been better if you did not take any, however, taking some x-ray shots wouldn’t be harmful. There is no need to worry too much or absolutely no reason to have an abortion. Given that everything is normal, the chance of having fetal malformation is about 3~4%. You may have to keep in mind that disorders not found back then could appear and increase the risk up to 6~7% when the baby reaches to the age 7~8.

     

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  • Q
  • I took cold medicine before I knew I was pregnant. Is it ok?
  • A
  • The medical approach on medications taken before pregnancy can be divided into two: all or none. That means, if the medication has harmed the baby, it would have resulted in miscarriage. If not, the baby would not have any problem. Most of the cases, medications would not affect the baby until 2 weeks after the fertilization. This is because the fetus and the mom are not linked yet. If it does have an influence, it will result in the form of miscarriage so you don’t have to worry about having a fetal malformation. However, if you took the medication in 3~9 weeks of fertilization (the time which the fetal organs form), medications may have negative influences on the baby. Even so, if you do not show any symptoms of potential miscarriage, you do not need to worry too much.

     

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  • Q
  • What to eat or not to eat during pregnancy?
  • A
  • During pregnancy, a woman needs to have a balanced diet as her body needs more calories for the fetal growth. Especially taking enough foods enriched with protein, calcium, iron and vitamins is important.

    Protein: Milk, fish, tofu, beans, meat, egg, cheese and dried fish
    Vitamins: Carrot, pumpkin, cow liver, banana, pea, egg yolk, mushroom, butter, apple, peach, orange, strawberry, tomato, watermelon, spinach, eggplant, onion, cucumber, Chinese cabbage, cabbage, and white radish
    Carbohydrate: Rice, barley, potato, sweet potato, red bean, and bread
    Iron and calcium: Milk, cheese, liver, mudfish, dried dollarfish, anchovy, shrimp, green vegetables, powdered milk, dried seaweed, and seaweed
    Fat: Butter, oil, peanuts, walnuts, and margarine

    Food to take with caution
    Sodium: Eating too much of salt may cause edema and toxemia. Keep a low-salt diet.
    Coffee: Limiting your caffeine consumption is required to have a regular sleep cycle. Drinking too much may cause frequent urination.
    Cold stuff: When you have morning sickness, cold food is better than hot food. However, taking too much cold foods can lead to diarrhea.
    Spice: A small amount of chili, mustard, and pepper may arouse appetite but avoid taking them when you are diagnosed with toxemia.
    Alcoholic drink: Avoid drinking alcohols as they are not safe for babies.
    Smoking: Smoking has a negative effect on baby’s health such as a shortage of oxygen and nutrition. The baby could be born too early or weigh less at birth.

    Healthy diet for working moms
    Many moms run out of time in the morning. Skipping breakfast and having lunch outside all the time can take a toll on you and your health. Try getting up early to have breakfast and have a balanced meal such as a homemade bento. For dinner, consider what you have had for breakfast and lunch and plan out your meal.
    Most of people believe that medication is harmful even they reach the third trimester. However, some medication can be used from the early stage of pregnancy.
    First trimester is when the baby’s brain, liver, kidney, fingers, toes, ears and other organs are divided and develop. Therefore, drugs, x-rays, and virus infection could cause fetal deformity.  It is recommended not to take medicine until the end of first trimester.
    If you have to take the medication, consult with ob/gyn specialists no matter what you need to take. Misuse or abuse of drugs can lead to fetal malformation and even abortion.

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  • Q
  • Drinking & smoking during pregnancy
  • A
  • Smoking before pregnancy does not have a direct effect on the baby; however, smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of having low birth-weight infant and premature birth. Also habitual drinking during pregnancy may cause fetal alcohol syndrome, increasing the risk of fetal malformation. Once pregnancy is confirmed, you must quit smoking and drinking.

     

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  • Q
  • I’m in my early trimester and with Rubella!
  • A
  • Rubella is generally not big of an issue when you are not pregnant. However, if you get one prior to 16 weeks of pregnancy, the baby has a high risk of having congenital rubella syndrome. If you are in the first month of pregnancy and got the disease, the risk of having fetal malformation  is about 50%; in 2 months, about 25%; and in 3 months, about 15%. Fetal malformation includes cataract, glaucoma, visual disturbance, cardiac lesion, hearing disorder, and growth disorders. If the doctor confirms rubella, you need to consult with your gynecologist whether to give birth.
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  • Q
  • I got treated for bladder infection.
  • A
  • Risk of urinary tract infection increases during pregnancy. If not properly treated, it  may aggravate and turn into bladder infection or nephropyelitis. Antibiotics which are generally used to treat such diseases may have a harmful effect on the baby; therefore, consult with your ob/gyn first and get appropriate urological treatment.
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  • Q
  • I am pregnant but have diabetes.
  • A
  • Treatment for diabetes becomes harder when you are pregnant due to potential risks of complications. The risk of toxemia may increase 4 times higher than those who do not have diabetes. Also the risks of infections and difficult labor are high, which could endanger the you and your baby’s health. Fetus can inherit diabetes as well. Therefore, if you become pregnant when you have diabetes, it is extremely important to receive a proper diabetic treatment.
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