Raising your little bundle of joy for the first nine months is exciting yet terrifying at the same time. You realize that you aren’t just living for yourself now, but also for the life that is growing inside you.

To lessen your worries, we gathered some of the most common questions pregnant women ask and interviewed Dr. Arminda Veniegas, an obstetrician-gynecologist with at least 30 years of experience.

What are the earliest signs that I can expect?

For women who are planning or want to be pregnant, the first question that you may ask are the signs that you should look out for.  “One sign is late menstruation, and another is the feeling of nausea, vomiting, and dizziness. Usually these are the common symptoms,” Dr. Veniegas shares.

Should I take prenatal vitamins?

Pregnancy is an exciting, yet nerve-wracking nine months. Regardless of whether you had planned it or not, you are now responsible for yourself and your baby’s health. Dr. Veniegas advises pregnant women to take prenatal vitamins because “what you eat is not enough.”  Prenatal vitamins contain higher iron and folic acid levels, which are perfect for the prevention of certain abnormalities in the baby, as well as to offer support and growth for the baby’s growth and development.

What exercises are safe for pregnant women?

Exercise is needed for us to be healthy, and for pregnant woman, it may be even more vital. “Walking is the best exercise for women who are pregnant. Walking at least one to two hours is advisable,” Dr. Veniegas shares. For those who want a bit more activity than this, there are also exercises such as pregnancy yoga which are completely safe for most pregnant women.

How do I calculate my baby’s due date?

Expecting mothers may already be counting down the days of when their baby would arrive, and one thing which they may have a hard time counting down to is the exact day or week that their baby would be born.  Dr Veniegas shares that “calculation of pregnancy is from the first day of last menstruation.”

She gives an example that if your last period was during the first week of July, then your expected date would be somewhere in March. Afterwards, she shares that you will have to add a week to that, meaning that the second week of March would be the week where your expected date would lie. “But that is only the expected date. You may  go into labor around two to three weeks before that,” she adds.

Is it safe to have sex when you’re pregnant?

Although it may not be one of the first things pregnant or expecting women ask, it is still undoubtedly one of the imploring questions some may have. “We require the patient not to have sex around one month before delivery. As long as it is not a month before your expected date, you may have sex,” Dr. Veniegas advises.

However, she clarifies that this may not be advisable to all pregnant women. “If a woman undergoes premature labor, she has to rest. Or if  she has placenta previa, which will lead to early contractions if she has sex, a woman must not have sex during the nine months of her pregnancy,” she clarifies. As long as there are no contraindications, or signs that intercourse is detrimental to the woman’s health, pregnant women may have sex only until they are eight months into their term.

What should I expect from my first prenatal checkup?

The aspect of having to go to their first prenatal checkup may present itself daunting to some people, but Dr. Veniegas says that it is nothing to worry about. “They usually ask you whether or not it is your first pregnancy, this is because for the first pregnancy, you expect that the labor would be longer. Aside from this, we educate and prepare the patient for delivery; explaining to her what is and isn’t normal during pregnancy such as some pains, contractions, and discharge,” she states.

Obstetrician-gynecologists pay particular attention to the first trimester of the pregnancy because this is when the baby starts developing. “This is why prenatal checkups are important because we monitor different things such as your weight, blood pressure, and activity levels, among other things,” Dr. Veniegas says.

How do I prevent stretch marks?

Stretch marks are long, narrow streaks, stripes or lines that suddenly appear or develop on the skin. They are caused by the skin being stretched too quickly. Stretch marks are very common, especially in pregnant women. Dr Veniegas says that “stretch marks are not completely preventable, but we do have lotions that may lessen them.”

However she shares that there are lotions which can aid the skin and keep it moisturized and supple so that it can stretch more easily. “Stretch marks are very common, especially if the mother is thin. There are a lot of different medicines they can use. It’s a bit pricey, but women can even go to the dermatologist to ask for their professional advice regarding stretch marks.”

Why do I have heartburn during pregnancy?

Symptoms that are not felt before the pregnancy commonly cause a panic amongst pregnant women, and suddenly having heartburn is one of them. Heartburn is a painful feeling in your chest or throat that happens when stomach acid backs up into your esophagus, the tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach.

“Heartburn usually happens in the first trimester, where women experience nausea and vomiting,” Dr. Veniegas explains. Although heartburn can be quite common during pregnancies, make sure to alert your obstetrician-gynaecologist regarding any symptoms you may feel in your term.

Although Dr. Veniegas was able to answer these eight commonly asked questions, we’re sure that there are more questions you want answered. You can visit her at A.L. Veniegas Maternity Clinic, St. Vincent Hospital or at Metro Antipolo Hospital and Medical Center. So make sure to contact your obstetrician-gynecologist for any other concerns you may have. And if you don’t have one yet, then don’t worry!

SeeYouDoc also has a varied list of obstetrician-gynecologists that you can contact. Look for one closest to you and and book an appointment now. Remember that no concern or question is too small or light. So if you feel something during your pregnancy and are not sure of whether it is normal or not, it is better to be safe and ask your doctor.