A Healthy Pregnancy


Do you know the facts?

Are you expecting? You have probably received lots of advice—perhaps unsolicited—about what you should or should not do.

We asked Jill K. Holden, MD, an obstetrician/gynecologist with Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital, to share some basic facts about staying healthy during pregnancy. For 20 years, Dr. Holden has been treating women and girls in our community, and she delivers close to 200 babies every year. Dr. Holden was named a “Top Doctor for Women” by Castle Connolly Medical Ltd., in a January 2011 special issue of Chicago magazine.

When you become pregnant, what is the most important first step?

  • Reduce physical exercise
  • Catch up on all vaccines
  • Increase the amount of your sleep 
  • Answer: Contact OB/Gyn and begin prenatal care


Healthy weight gain during pregnancy is:

  • No more than 50 pounds
  • 15 to 20 pounds
  • Answer: 20 to 40 pounds, but it depends somewhat on original weight (slender may gain more, heavier less)


Underlying high blood pressure (hypertension) does not affect the fetus.

  • True—Blood pressure naturally lowers, increases, then normalizes during pregnancy
  • Answer: False—Hypertension does not normalize and medications may affect the fetus


Gestational diabetes is a serious risk in pregnancy. Which of the following is true?

  • Excess insulin may spur abnormal growth of the baby
  • Affects 10 percent of pregnancies, regardless of weight or controlled eating
  • Can often be managed with diet and close monitoring, but may require medication
  • Answer:  All of the above


Influenza (“flu”) vaccines are harmful to the fetus.

  • True—Flu vaccines can increase your risk of miscarriage, prematurity and birth defects
  • Answer: False—Flu vaccines are recommended for pregnant women


Always check with your OB/Gyn about exercise, but the following is generally true:

  • Staying physically active is part of a healthy pregnancy
  • Avoid starting a new sport; but experienced hikers, bikers and runners may continue those activities
  • Slow down intermittently and drink lots of water
  • Answer: All of the above


A lesser-known infection, Group B Strep:

  • Causes serious illness, even death, in newborns
  • Can be passed to the infant in the birth canal
  • Can be screened at 35 to 37 weeks and treated with antibiotics for the mother
  • Answer: All of the above

Learn More about Obstetrics/Maternity