Work and leisure

During the pregnancy you’ll wonder: what can you do and what can’t you do? Our midwives will answer some of the most frequently asked questions:

When you’re pregnant, you can’t dive. The nitrogen bubbles that form in the blood during diving are filtered in adult bodies. Children’s bodies (also those of unborn fetuses) aren’t capable of this and so it can harm the baby.

If you want to dye your hair, preferably avoid dye with hydrogen peroxide. This substance isn’t dangerous, but the dye may look different on your hair when you’re pregnant.

As a pregnant woman you have to be careful cleaning out the cat’s litter box. There’s a chance you might be infected with toxoplasmosis. Toxoplasmosis is spread by a parasite that is found in, among other things, the feces of cats. For that reason, it’s better for other people in the household to take care of the litter box. You don’t have to avoid general contact with cats or other pets, but it’s important to wash your hands after touching them. Read more about hygiene and toxoplasmosis here.

We advise avoiding visits to the sauna during the first three months of the pregnancy due to the changes in temperature, as well as high temperatures. In the months after, you can start visiting the sauna again, but only if you were already going to the sauna before you were pregnant. If you only rarely visited a sauna, avoid going until after your pregnancy.

Always inform staff at the sauna of your pregnancy, especially if you are being treated.

Avoid changes in temperature during your visit – avoid cold baths or very hot bubble baths. It’s very possible your body will react differently to the sauna during pregnancy, so carefully listen to your body.

Exercising is healthy, also when you’re pregnant. During the pregnancy, your body changes, which might mean your body might respond differently to exercise. Your muscles will become a little weaker, which means there’s a higher chance you might strain or sprain your muscles. Moreover, your uterus becomes larger, which changes the center of gravity in your body. This might cause your equilibrium slightly. Your body also absorbs carbohydrates at a faster rate, which is sped up by exercise, which can cause your blood sugar level to drop.  Due to accelerated breathing, it’s possible you’ll feel breathless quicker. It’s very important to listen to your body carefully during pregnancy. If, after exercising, you often experience stomachaches or a hard belly, it’s a sign you’ve overdone it.

Our midwives advise:

Drink plenty of water before, during and after exercise

Exercise only at medium intensity so that you don’t exhaust yourself or get breathless,

Don’t play sports that might cause injury to the stomach (contact sports), falling or overtaxing the joints.

Everybody comes into contact with radiation, but not every type of radiation is harmful. Too much radiation can be harmful to the ovum or sperm cells, or to an unborn child. X-rays are most harmful during the first twenty weeks of pregnancy. If you need to have X-rays taken during pregnancy, always report to your doctor that you are expecting.

You can’t see with the naked eye whether substances are harmful to reproduction. Moreover, physically you often notice little or any of any harmful influences. Most of the substances that have shown reproductive damage can be recognized by the label on the product’s packaging. This label contains the name of the substance and one or more of the following warnings:

  • This substance can cause genetic damage;
  • This substance can harm fertility;
  • This substance may damage the unborn child;
  • This substance may cause cancer;
  • This substance may be harmful when breastfeeding.

These substances have been proven to have effects on reproduction and on the offspring. On labels of composite substances with ingredients that are harmful to reproduction, the names of those components must be stated. The most recent list of carcinogens, mutagenic substances and substances that are harmful to reproduction in another way is available at the Ministry of Health and Safety (Ministerie van SZW). New data emerge regularly about the harmfulness of substances; the list will be updated frequently. The list and more information can be found here.

Our obstetricians strongly recommend visiting the dentist during pregnancy because your pregnancy hormones affect the teeth and gums. Always report to the dentist that you are pregnant. Anesthesia with the dentist is not harmful. Do you suspect you have a gum infection? Contact our practice.

If you are pregnant, you can work in the garden. However, be extra careful, as it’s often taxing, and there is a risk of a toxoplasmosis infection. Always wear gloves. When done, wash your hands thoroughly with a disinfectant. For more information on toxoplasmosis and infectious diseases click here.

When you are pregnant, it’s perfectly fine to go on a holiday. Keep in mind, however, that some vaccinations should be avoided during pregnancy. Try to avoid countries where malaria occurs, as pregnant women are more sensitive to this disease and it can have serious effects on the baby. Furthermore, sometimes hygiene levels aren’t as high as they are in the West. Therefore, make sure that vegetables are always washed and cooked and that fruit is peeled thoroughly. Tap water is often not potable; always buy bottled water.

If you want to go skiing, take into account the danger of falling. Up to 12 weeks pregnancy, the uterus is still protected by the pubis. After that, the womb is no longer protected, and can a fall can damage the child. It’s up to you whether you think it’s still responsible to go on a snow sports trip, keeping your level of experience in mind. The advice on vacationing in the mountains differs. Fact is that oxygen demand increases and you tire more easily. It’s important to keep moving and to take the time to acclimatize well. A short stay at up to 2,500 meters is permitted, but sleep is desired at below 1,500 meters.

You can paint during your pregnancy. Use a water-based product and ensure that the room is well-ventilated.

In the first 28 weeks of pregnancy you can generally fly by airplane without problems. However, frequent flights are not advised during pregnancy. You are more exposed to (cosmic) radiation. However, there are no indications that one trip increases the risk of abnormalities to the unborn child.

If you are going to fly, you must always bring a pregnancy statement with the due date. You can get these from our midwives. The flight declaration must not be older than seven days. Many airlines do not take pregnant women after they have been pregnant for 34 weeks. This, however, differs per airline. Some tips when for you are going to fly during pregnancy:

  • Try to reserve a seat on the isle and with additional legroom
  • Regularly stretch your legs to promote blood flow;
  • Drink plenty of water during the flight.

Bring our practice’s phone number so that you can always consult with us if something happens during your trip or vacation.

Making love during pregnancy is perfectly fine and is not harmful to the unborn child. However, it may result in a hard belly. Especially if you’ve given birth before, hard bellies can be painful and may feel like labor pain. This may last for several hours. Sometimes it helps to take a hot shower or put a hot water bottle on the lower abdomen: heat helps to relax the uterus. A little bit of blood loss is possible after making love, this is not harmful.

Avoid the tanning bed particularly during the first trimester. There are indications that an increase in your body temperature, especially in the first three months, may be harmful to your unborn child. We also advise against sauna visits for the same reason. Additionally, be careful with the sun and sunbathing because you are more sensitive develop dark skin patches (melasma or chloasma) during pregnancy. Use a sunscreen with a high sun protection factor and always keep your belly covered in the sun.