Frequently Asked Questions

In addition to the materials you received in the orientation folder, for your convenience, we have listed answers to some commonly asked questions. Whenever possible, please write down any questions to review at your prenatal visits.

1.  Who will deliver my baby?

Because we are a group practice and rotate coverage, any one of our eight doctors may attend your delivery. If you would like to meet any of our other physicians, please inform our front desk staff so they can book your next visit accordingly.

2. Which medications are safe?
  • Tylenol for headache and fever
  • Robitussin DM for cough
  • Ricola, Halls, Chloraseptic spray for sore throat
  • Sudafed (plain) for congestion
  • Benadryl, Zyrtec, Claritin for allergies
  • Kaopectate/Imodium, Pepto-Bismol for diarrhea
  • Colace, Milk of Magnesia or Metamucil for constipation
  • Monistat or Gynelotrimin for yeast infections
  • Tums, Mylanta, Maalox, Gaviscon, Gelusil, or Pepcid AC for heartburn
  • Vitamin B6 (50 mg once a day), Unisom, Ginger and Seabands for nausea
3. What routine tests should I expect to have, and when are they done?
  • First Office Visit: Blood type, complete blood count, hepatitis B and C, syphilis, rubella, HIV, urine culture, cystic fibrosis carrier screening, ultrasound. Optional: Familial dysautonomia carrier screening for those of Ashkenazi Jewish heritage to test for Tay-Sachs and Canavan’s diseases.
  • State Screen*: Screening for Trisomy 18, Trisomy 21 (Down Syndrome), open neural tube defects and Smith-Lemli Opitz Syndrome. First and second trimester blood draws combined with Nuchal Translucency ultrasound.
  • NIPT: Blood draw at 10 weeks gestation or later. This test screens for Trisomy 21, 18 and 13 and can determine your baby’s gender.
  • Ob Complete Ultrasound: Done between 18 and 20 weeks.
  • Glucose Test: Screening for gestational diabetes. Done between 24 and 28 weeks.
  • Group B Streptococcus: Done at 36 weeks.
4. Are there any other tests I should know about?

Your physician may recommend additional testing. These tests are generally recommended based on reported personal or family history. Examples of these special tests are:

  • Chorionic Villus Sampling*: Diagnostic test for identifying chromosomal abnormalities and other inherited disorders. Done at 10 to 13 weeks.
  • Amniocentesis*: Prenatal test for birth defects. Done at 16 to 18 weeks.

*To inquire about these tests, please call our Obstetrical Coordinator, Judi Ball at 415.831.2198 or at

5. I was exposed to chicken pox. Do I need to worry?

If you had chicken pox as a child, you are immune and do not need to worry. If you have no history of chicken pox and are exposed, please call our office.

6. I was exposed to a child with “slapped cheek” syndrome.  Do I need to worry?

“Slapped cheek” syndrome, also known as fifth disease, is a common viral infection in children caused by parvovirus B19. Although it rarely causes infections in the developing fetus, please notify us of your exposure.

7. Can I color my hair and get my nails done?


8. Can I travel?

As long as your pregnancy is uncomplicated, travel by air or car is fine as long as emergency care is available at your destination. We recommend the purchase of travel insurance (see your travel agent for details). Travel must be completed by 36 weeks.

9. Can I exercise?

Yes, exercise is encouraged. There is no recommended heart rate restriction. It is acceptable to maintain the same level of activity that you had before pregnancy, provided that you feel comfortable. We encourage exercises for the lower back, such as yoga and stretching.

10. Can I have intercourse?

Yes. Intercourse will not cause harm. You may notice some spotting or light bleeding up to 48 hours after intercourse. This is normal. If bleeding is heavy or persists beyond 48 hours, please call our office.

11. Is it safe to sleep on my back?

By the time most pregnant women reach the third trimester (28 weeks), they no longer feel comfortable sleeping on their backs. Most women will want to sleep on their sides to feel more comfortable. A long body pillow can help provide more comfort sleeping in side positions.

12. How much caffeine is acceptable?

Generally, we suggest limiting your caffeine intake to two (2) hot or cold drinks, or approximately 200 mg, per day.

13. Which cheeses are safe to eat during pregnancy?

Any cheese that has been pasteurized, including soft cheeses, is safe to eat in pregnancy.

14. What are the risks of  consuming mercury in seafood?

For information about the risks of mercury in fish and shellfish, call the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s food information line at 1-888-(SAFEFOOD) 723-3366, or read What You Need to Know about Mercury in Fish and Shellfish.

For information about the safety of locally caught fish and shellfish, visit the Environmental Protection Agency’s fish advisory website or your state or local health department.

15. I plan to do some painting. What do I need to know?

Avoid oil-based paint. Latex-based paint is acceptable as long as adequate ventilation is available.

16. What if I need to file for short-term disability?

We encourage you to speak with your human resources department about your benefits package.

You can visit our Disability & Maternity Leave section of our website.

If you do not currently hold a California State Identification Card, you are invited to file your state disability by paper claim form. Once you have obtained the current DE2501 tri-fold red font packet and have complete your portion of the forms, including signatures and dates, please leave the original documents with us. Once we have completed the doctor’s certificate, we will return the original packet to you so that you may mail them to the state.

Timeline: You will need to mail the forms seven (7) days after the first day of your disability, and no later than forty-nine (49) days from the beginning of your claim. Please note: The guidelines and procedures for the state are often different than disability insurance policies that you may have through your employer. We are happy to work with you to complete all necessary paperwork. Please direct questions regarding your disability to our Disability Coordinator, Cynthia at 415-831-2173 or

All disability forms are subject to a $20 processing fee.

17. What is this new paid family leave I keep hearing about?

In the summer of 2004, the state of California began offering six weeks of paid family leave for “baby bonding,” in addition to any disability leave you may be eligible for. The claim form for PFL will be mailed to you by EDD once your disability benefits have termed. Please note that we do NOT need to fill out the doctor’s certificate on this claim form, as you do not need our authorization to take baby bonding time. Should your spouse or partner wish to take PFL, he or she may request this form online from the California Employment Development Department.

18. Do you recommend a book that will answer further questions about my pregnancy?

The Joy of Pregnancy by our perinatal educator Tori Kropp, R.N., a perinatal nurse who has delivered thousands of babies at California Pacific Medical Center, will tell you everything you need to know to have a happy, healthy pregnancy.