Anjali Tate, M.D.,  Gynecology, Obstetrics , San Jose, Silicon Valley, California

Obstetrics - FAQ







What should I eat while I am pregnant?

  • You should consume no more than 200 to 300 more calories than you did before you became pregnant.
  • Try to eat a well balanced diet and take prenatal vitamins.
  • Eat a variety of foods to get all the nutrients you need.


What shouldn’t I eat while pregnant?

  • Avoid alcohol during pregnancy.
  • Limit caffeine to no more than 300 mg. per day (two 5-ounce cups of coffee, three 5-ounce cups of tea or two 12-ounce glasses of caffeinated soda). Remember, chocolate contains caffeine -- the amount of caffeine in a chocolate bar is equal to 1/4 cup of coffee.
  • The use of saccharin is strongly discouraged during pregnancy. FDA-approved sweeteners include aspartame.


How much seafood can I eat?

The FDA recommends the following guidelines to reduce your exposure to the harmful effects of mercury.

  • Do not eat shark, swordfish, king mackerel, or tilefish because they contain high levels of mercury.
  • Eat up to 12 ounces (two average meals) a week of a variety of fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury. Five of the most commonly eaten fish and shellfish that are low in mercury are shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock, and catfish.
  • Another commonly eaten fish, albacore ("white") tuna, has more mercury than canned light tuna. So when choosing your two meals of fish and shellfish, you may eat up to six ounces (one average meal) of albacore tuna per week, they say.
  • Because tuna steak generally contains higher levels of mercury than canned light tuna, when choosing your two meals of fish and shellfish, you may eat up to 6 ounces (one average meal) of tuna steak per week.

Fish sticks and "fast-food" sandwiches are commonly made from fish that are low in mercury. Check local advisories about the safety of fish caught by family and friends in your local lakes, rivers, and coastal areas.

What prenatal vitamins should I take?

Prenatal Vitamins, now available without a prescription, are safe to take during pregnancy. Look for one that contains approximately: 

  • Vitamin A 4,000 IU
  • Folic acid 400 to 1,000 mcg
  • Vitamin D 400 IU 
  • Calcium 200 to 300 mg 
  • Vitamin C 70 mg 
  • Thiamine 1.5 mg
  • Pyridoxine 2.6 mg
  • Vitamin B-122.2 mcg
  • Vitamin E 10 mg
  • Zinc 15 mg 
  • Iron 30 mg
  • Riboflavin 1.6 mg

How much folic acid do I need?

  • Folic acid can reduce your risk of having a baby with a serious birth defect of the brain and spinal cord, called the "neural tube." 
  • The U.S. Public Health Service recommends that all women of childbearing age get 400 micrograms of folic acid each day. In fact, the FDA now requires that all flour products, such as breads, buns and bagels, be fortified with extra folic acid.

How much calcium do I need?

  • The U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance (USRDA) for calcium is 1200 milligrams (mg) per day for pregnant and lactating (breastfeeding) women over age 24.
  • The USRDA for women under age 24 is 1200 to 1500 mg. of calcium per day.

How much iron do I need?

  • The USRDA for iron is 30 milligrams (mg) per day for pregnant and lactating women. Your doctor may increase this dose if you become anemic.
  • Iron deficiency anemia is a condition in which the size and number of red blood cells are reduced.

Can I exercise while I am pregnant?

  • A regular exercise routine throughout your pregnancy can help you stay healthy and feel your best.
  • Most exercises are safe to perform during pregnancy, as long as you exercise with caution and do not overdo it.
  • Listen to your body and do what's most comfortable for you now. Do not let your heart rate exceed 140 beats per minute.

If you have an obstetric condition such as:

  • Bleeding or spotting
  • Low placenta
  • Previous premature births or history of early labor
  • Weak cervix

You should discontinue your exercise program and talk to your provider.

What medications can I take while I am pregnant?
The following medications and home remedies have no known harmful effects during pregnancy when taken according to the package directions:


Safe Medications to Take During Pregnancy*


  • Benadryl

Cold and Flu

  • Tylenol (acetaminophen) or Tylenol Cold
  • Warm salt/water gargle
  • Saline nasal drops or spray
  • Sudafed, Actifed, Dristan, Neosynephrine*
  • Robitussin DM, Trind-DM, Vicks Cough Syrup, Romilar, Halls*

    *Do not take "SA" (sustained action) forms of these drugs or the "Multi-Symptom" forms of these drugs.


  • Metamucil
  • Citrucil
  • Fiberall/Fibercon
  • Colace
  • Milk of Magnesia
  • Senekot


For 24 hours, only after 12 weeks of pregnancy:

  • Kaopectate
  • Immodium
  • Parepectolin

First Aid Ointment

  • J & J
  • Bacitracin
  • Neosporin


  • Tylenol (acetaminophen)


  • Maalox
  • Mylanta
  • Tums
  • Riopan
  • Titralac
  • Gaviscon


  • Preparation H
  • Anusol
  • Tucks
  • Witch hazel

Nausea and Vomiting

  • Vitamin B6 100 mg tablet
  • Emetrol (if not diabetic)
  • Emetrex
  • Sea bands


  • Hydrocortisone cream or ointment
  • Caladryl lotion or cream
  • Benadryl cream
  • Oatmeal bath (Aveeno)

Yeast Infection

  • Monistat or Terazol *
  • *Do not insert applicator too far

*Please Note: No drug can be considered 100% safe to use during pregnancy.

© The Cleveland Clinic 2000-2002

Can I Take Alternative Therapies During Pregnancy?
Most "natural" products have not been tested for their safety and effectiveness in non pregnant women, much less in pregnant women therefore it is advised to discontinue any herbal or “natural” products while pregnant

Can I color my hair?


Can perm my hair?


For preconception and pregnancy counseling, I invite you to call for an appointment

Dr. Anjali Tate


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Anjali Tate, M.D.
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