ByThomasBader, M.D.
OB/GYN chairman at Crozer-Chester Medical Center

At one time or another during their pregnancies, nearly all moms-to-be have questions about their pregnancies. Coupled with the hordes of (sometimes conflicting) answers thrown their way, it’s enough to overwhelm even the most well-read woman.

Expecting mothers may be leery of certain activities like getting a flu shot, dying their hair, taking a bath or cleaning their house. Here is some advice.

Not only can you get a flu shot, but if you’re pregnant at a certain time of year, it’s recommended. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that women who will be pregnant during flu season (November through March) get the flu shot, unless they have certain allergies or chronic illnesses.

If you get the flu while you’re pregnant, you are at greater risk for certain complications that could put you and your baby at risk, such as pneumonia. The risks of the flu are much, much higher than any risks posed by the flu shot, which is now made from a virus that is not active.

While a flu shot is okay, the CDC advises against pregnant women receiving the nasal-spray vaccine, which contains live viruses. In addition, women who are allergic to eggs or who have a rare condition known as Guillain-Barre Syndrome should not receive either form of the vaccination.

Getting pregnant doesn’t mean you have to stop looking your best. There is no evidence that hair dye is harmful to your baby. If you are still concerned, consider frosting or highlighting instead; the color cannot be absorbed through your hair. However, pregnancy hormones can cause physical changes in the texture of your hair, causing it to respond differently to perming, coloring and straightening ingredients, so you may not get the look you’re going for.

Taking a hot bath or shower is all right as long as the temperature is no more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit. If the water is too hot, your body may be overheated, which can directly and indirectly affect your baby. If you have to ease yourself into the water, it is too hot. You want to be able to sit in the tub comfortably, right away. This means the water temperature is close to your body temperature, which is exactly where it should be.

Can you still clean your house? While you may want to skip the bleach and other strong-smelling chemicals during early pregnancy, when morning sickness is at its peak, there’s no evidence that they’re harmful to your baby.

If you’re still concerned, you may want to look into purchasing some natural cleaning products free of chemicals and other harmful substances.

While these tips are meant to be helpful, when it comes to pregnancy, one rule of thumb stands firm: when you’re in doubt, talk to your health care provider. To learn more about Maternity Services at Crozer-Keystone Health System, call 1-855-CK-BABIES.

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