In this episode of AskMeDoctor, Dr Timothy, an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist form Tung Shin Hospital and Sunway Medical Centre Velocity answers the top 10 pregnancy FAQs that you will go through when you are carrying for two, or more.\u00a0 FAQ 1: What are the physical changes that a pregnant woman can expect? Dr Timothy: All pregnant women will experience some forms of body changes. Weight gain is one of them.\u00a0On average, a pregnant woman will gain 12\u201315kg throughout the pregnancy. Skin changes are also common. Mainly, itchiness over the stretch marks, dark lines appearing on the abdomen as well as acne outbreak in some.\u00a0 Backaches and pelvic pain are also common. This is mainly due to the stretching and relaxation of the ligaments that support the pelvis and back.\u00a0 FAQ 2: What is the average amount of weight gain during pregnancy? Dr Timothy: Normal weight gain depends on the women\u2019s BMI at the start of pregnancy. BMI is calculated by dividing weight in kilograms over height in metre squared.\u00a0 Based on the WHO guidelines, a normal BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9. While BMI of 18.49 and below is considered underweight.\u00a0 A BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight, while a BMI of more than 30 is considered obese. For women with normal BMI, the normal weight gain in pregnancy is about 12\u201315kg.\u00a0 While for underweight women, the normal weight gain should be around 12\u201318kg throughout the pregnancy.\u00a0 For those who are overweight, the weight gain should be lesser, at about 7\u201311kg. While for a woman who is obese, it should be even lesser, at about 5\u20139kg throughout the pregnancy.\u00a0 FAQ 3: Is a pregnant woman really eating for two (or more)? Dr Timothy: It is a myth that pregnant women should eat for two. You do need to increase intake of certain nutrients, vitamins and minerals but in the right balance. If you are eating excessively, chances are that your calorie intake is in excess of your calorie usage.\u00a0 Pregnant women only require an extra 300 calories per day. In short, if you are taking excess calories, this will contribute to excessive weight gain.\u00a0 FAQ 4: For a vegan pregnant mom, how can I eat appropriately for two (my baby and I)? Dr Timothy: It is important that you take a balanced diet during your pregnancy. As for vegans, you need to ensure that you are getting enough vitamin B12 and iron, which are mainly found in meat and fish, as well as vitamin D.\u00a0 You may want to include dark green vegetables, fortified cereals, wholemeal bread, fortified soy milk, as well as dried fruits in your diet, as some of these vitamins and minerals may be deficient in a vegan diet, you may need to consider supplements.\u00a0 FAQ 5: Is it true that drinking a cup of coffee a day is safe for my baby? Dr Timothy: Most evidence shows that caffeine usage and pregnancy are inconclusive. Caffeine is not only found in coffee but also in tea, cola and energy drinks.\u00a0 Excessive caffeine intake during pregnancy is thought to cause miscarriage and low-birth-weight baby. However, the evidence is inconclusive. It is best to limit caffeine intake to about 200mg or less a day.\u00a0 FAQ 6: How can I control my pregnancy cravings? Dr Timothy: You can have food and drinks that you crave, but remember to take them in moderation. You can substitute unhealthy food with healthy alternatives like dark chocolate,\u00a0frozen yoghurt, dried fruits, nuts wholemeal biscuits, as well as low-fat dairy products.\u00a0 FAQ 7: How can I stay fit as a pregnant mother? Is there any exercise during the first trimester I can do or I should avoid? Dr Timothy: You should remain fit throughout your pregnancy because exercising also helps to improve your stamina for labour and delivery. Exercising does not cause any harm to the baby during the first trimester.\u00a0 Exercises that are safe during pregnancy are walking, swimming, stationary cycling, yoga, as well as water aerobics. However, if you have any complications like bleeding during the early stage of pregnancy, a low-lying placenta, weakened or incompetent cervix, rupture of membranes or preterm labour, you should be cautious and speak to your doctor before embarking on any exercises.\u00a0 FAQ 8: Can I do kegel exercises during pregnancy? Dr Timothy: Kegel exercise or pelvic-floor exercise helps strengthen the pelvic floor muscles that support the bladder, vagina, uterus and the bowel. In pregnancy, kegel exercise helps women to gain control of the muscles that are involved in labour and delivery.\u00a0 It is also recommended to do kegel exercise after delivery to promote perineal healing, to regain bladder control, as well as to prevent pelvic organ prolapse in future. FAQ 9: Is it safe to travel during pregnancy? Dr Timothy: It is usually safe to travel before 36 weeks of pregnancy unless you have some pregnancy complications. Most women will postpone their trip during the first trimester because of morning sickness, as well as fear of miscarriage.\u00a0 They will start travelling from the 4th to 8th months of pregnancy. If you are flying, do check with your airline regarding their policy. Most airlines will allow you to travel before 36 weeks of pregnancy. But if you are travelling after 28 weeks of pregnancy, you may need a letter from your doctor.\u00a0\u00a0 If you are on a long journey, either by flight or road trip, there is a risk of developing deep-vein thrombosis. So, remember to keep yourself hydrated, stretch and exercise your legs and feet during the journey. If you are travelling overseas, you may need vaccination for certain diseases and illnesses that are common in that country.\u00a0 FAQ 10: Is it safe for me to have sexual intercourse during pregnancy? Dr Timothy: It is perfectly safe to have sexual intercourse throughout pregnancy, from the first trimester up to the moment before delivery. As long as you do not have any complications.\u00a0 Sexual intercourse does not cause miscarriage, preterm labour or harm the baby. However, you may need to avoid sexual intercourse if you have vaginal bleeding, a low-lying placenta, a weakened cervix or rupture of membranes.\u00a0 However, during pregnancy, you may need to experiment and find a comfortable position, especially during the later stages of your pregnancy.\u00a0 https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/watch?vX5QX6E22xbs Every pregnancy is different. It may be an easy and smooth journey or it may be a (very) challenging one. Nevertheless, cherish the moment as in the end, it is indeed a beautiful experience. If you have any questions regarding your pregnancy, ask your inquiries on the next episode of our AskMeDoctor! series on our Facebook page.