Dunwoody OB/GYN

Frequently Asked Pregnancy Questions

Some Frequently Asked Pregnancy Questions

Can I have sex during pregnancy?

For most women, with uncomplicated, low-risk pregnancies sex is extremely safe. Approaching the third trimester, a pregnant woman should avoid lying on her back due to the extra pressure placed on her veins—this could lead to a drop in blood pressure and dizziness. Other, more comfortable positions should be utilized.

When can I tell my baby’s gender?

Between your 18th and 22nd week of pregnancy, you will have a second trimester Ultrasound. During this time the gender of your baby should be able to be determined. Prior to this time your baby may not be well enough developed to determine its gender, and after this time it may be too cramped in the womb to get a good view.

How much weight should I gain?

  • The average woman should gain about 2 to 4 pounds during her first three months of pregnancy,
    and 1 pound a week for the remainder of her pregnancy:
  • If you're at a normal weight before pregnancy, gain between 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy.
  • If you are overweight before pregnancy, gain 15 to 25 pounds.
  • If you are underweight prior to pregnancy, gain 28 to 40 pounds.


What is a quad marker screen (AFP-4)?

  • The quad marker screen is a blood test that provides a woman and her doctor with useful information about her pregnancy. The test predicts the likelihood of a certain problem occurring. It does not diagnose the problem. The quad marker screen determines if a woman is at higher or lower risk of carrying a baby with a birth defect. This test is taken between the 15th and 20th week of pregnancy. Substances in the blood are measured to detect:
  • Problems in the development of the fetus's brain and spinal cord, called open neural tube defects, approximately 75-80% of these defects.
  • Genetic Disorders such as Downs Syndrome, approximately 75%

What are cord blood stem cells?

Stem cells are immature cells that can transform into other kinds of cells and reproduce themselves. Cord blood stem cells are collected in the umbilical cord at birth and can produce all of the blood cells in the body.
Cord blood stem cells can be used to treat blood-related diseases, such as leukemia, lymphoma, and sickle cell anemia. They can also treat people whose bone marrow has been damaged by chemotherapy or radiation. During treatment, these cells are injected into the bloodstream. Once there, doctors hope that they will make new, healthy blood cells.

How are cord blood stem cells collected?

The procedure is simple. It's safe and painless for both mother and child. Right after birth, the umbilical cord is clamped and cut, and the baby is passed off to a pediatrician. Meanwhile, your doctor uses a sterile solution to wash a small area of the umbilical cord, two to four inches, that is still attached to the placenta. Then he will stick a needle into the cord's umbilical vein. The blood will flow by gravity through the needle, through a tube, and into a collection bag. The whole process takes a two to four minutes. Three tubes of the mother’s blood is also drawn for testing.
It is important to remember that cord blood can only be collected at birth.

Can I travel during pregnancy?

Every pregnancy is different. It is important to discuss any travel plans with your doctor before traveling. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) says that the second trimester is the safest time for air travel, when you're at the lowest risk of miscarriage or premature labor. Generally, if you have a healthy, uncomplicated pregnancy, there's no special risk posed by commercial air travel. (ACOG recommends that pregnant women stop flying at 36 weeks' gestation.) Be sure to stay hydrated during the flight by drinking plenty of fluids, particularly water. If you are traveling by land, please make frequent stops in order to keep good circulation.

Although not encouraged, if you must travel in your third trimester, please obtain a copy of your medical records to keep with you.

What are some safe travel tips?

Whether traveling by plane, car or train it is important to stay hydrated. Make frequent stops to keep the blood circulating through your body—be sure to stretch your legs and back and always wear your safety belt.

What are Braxton Hicks contractions and what is their purpose?

Braxton Hicks contractions are irregular contractions that happen even in very early pregnancy. However, in early pregnancy, they often go undetected. When most women reach around 24 to 28 weeks, they will actually feel these contractions. They're not painful; they're very low in pressure. Women typically notice a tightening that quickly passes.