Skip to Main Content
Feature Article

Your Pregnancy Questions Answered

Q: I stopped taking birth control a year ago and my husband and I want to welcome our first child into our lives soon. Unfortunately, I recently found out that my irregular periods might be the reason I have yet to get pregnant. What do we do now?

A: Infertility in women is often treated with oral ovulation induction medications such as Clomid and Femara, with or without intrauterine insemination. Use of these drugs is usually limited to six attempts. If your health care provider recommends this treatment, and if the first two or three attempts are unsuccessful, ask about a referral to a provider who specializes in infertility, such as myself, so the treatment may be closely monitored and fine-tuned to maximize changes of ovulation before more expensive and complex treatment options must be considered.

Irina Kiseleva, WHCNP, Samaritan Obstetrics & Gynecology – North Albany

Q: For my first pregnancy, the only food I was told to avoid was ocean fish. Now my pregnant friends are avoiding all kinds of foods. Which foods do I really need to avoid?

A: It is important to eat healthy foods and get all the vitamins and minerals you and your growing baby need. Definitely eat a diet rich in iron. Eat leafy greens, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, plenty of calcium-rich foods like broccoli and low-fat milk and yogurt, and lean protein sources such as chicken, turkey, beans, and tempeh. Research has shown it is a good idea for pregnant women to avoid fish that contain a high amount of mercury, such as swordfish and albacore tuna, and limit other fish such as salmon, canned chunk tuna and cod. Due to bacteria and other concerns, do not eat raw fish, unpasteurized milk, eggs or meat that has not been fully cooked and cold deli meats. And of course steer clear of alcohol and caffeine. When in doubt, check with your health care provider.

Jennifer Jagger, CNM, Samaritan Obstetrics & Gynecology – Corvallis

Q: I’ve always been pretty active. How much exercise is OK during my pregnancy?

A: It is generally safe for healthy women to exercise during pregnancy and it might even relieve discomfort you may be experiencing. I recommend walking, swimming, stationary cycling and yoga. I generally advise women to avoid weight bearing activities or especially challenging yoga positions. Always drink plenty of fluids and exercise in moderation – not to the point of exhaustion. In the second and third trimesters, avoid exercises in which you lie on your back. The most important piece of advice, though, is to check in with your health care provider about exercise that is right for you.

Tessa Reff, MD, Sweet Home Family Medicine

Q: I am just finishing up my first trimester of pregnancy, and I have already gained five pounds. How much weight gain is normal and healthy?

A: There is no one size fits all recommendation for pregnancy weight gain, it depends on several factors including your pre-pregnancy weight. Keep eating right and exercising appropriately and keep the following guidelines in mind. The average woman should gain about two to four pounds during the first trimester, and one pound a week after that. If you were at a normal weight before you got pregnancy, gaining between 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy is about right. A woman who was overweight before pregnancy would want to gain 15 to 25 pounds, and a woman who was underweight would want to gain 28 to 40 pounds. Gaining too much weight can put you at risk for gestational diabetes, and gaining too little could result in your baby being born at a low birth weight. Talk with your health care provider about what is right for you.

Lindsay Kern, MD, Samaritan Pacific Women’s Health Group

The OB/GYN clinics of Samaritan Health Services offer the full spectrum of women’s obstetric and gynecological care. For more information, visit