Is it safe to drink a lot of water during pregnancy?

Taking a lot of fluids during pregnancy ensures that an expectant mother is well hydrated. PHOTO by RACHEL Mabala

What you need to know:

Eating a well-balanced diet daily and attending regular antenatal care are crucial in ensuring a safe pregnancy.

Dear Doctor: Is it true that drinking a lot of water during pregnancy is bad for the baby?
Dear Manjeri: It is wrongly believed that drinking a lot of water during pregnancy can cause swelling of the genitals of the woman and lead to abnormal development of the foetus.
When the genitals swell, it is often attributed to an infection or too much fluid surrounding the baby, a condition called polyhydramnios.
Polyhydramnios, which means excess water surrounding the baby, does not happen because an expectant mother drinks a lot of water. It mostly occurs due to an abnormality in the foetus, which makes it difficult to absorb the water in the surrounding area.
This can also be associated with maternal diabetes.
Taking a lot of fluids during pregnancy ensures that an expectant mother is well hydrated, apart from preventing constipation or urinary tract infections, which are common during pregnancy.
Many women in the early stages of pregnancy, who have nausea or vomiting fear taking water which they claim worsens the symptoms. Others find drinking water unpleasant and therefore avoid it completely. That said, it is safe and important to drink a lot of fluids, including water during pregnancy.

Dear Doctor: Why is viagra a death trap? There are many cases of old men being found dead in bed with an erection these days. Don’t you think they should stop giving Viagra to old men?
Dr Phenehas Olum
Dear Dr Phenehas: Viagra (Sildenafil Citrate or blue pill) is a drug used by men who have erection problems. It can also be used by people with pulmonary hypertension, in which case the drug used here is called Revatio or white pill) to avoid being confused with viagra. Mountain climbers also use this drug to prevent mountain sickness.

In Uganda, viagra, just like marijuana and other drugs, is increasingly being self-prescribed by young men, senior citizens and even women for recreational purposes, purportedly to increase sexual strength.
Unfortunately, many take it with alcohol or other substances, leading to adverse effects.

Apart from boosting libido, viagra is wrongly being taken for anxiety-related first date sex failure, impression or need to effectively deal with multiple partners. Few women also use it to impress their sexual partners, all of which are not part of the drug’s indications.

Viagra is approved for the treatment of men who have difficulty having and or maintaining an erection, provided they can get sexually stimulated or excited.

Not every death that occurs in bed is due to Viagra.
Even babies can die in bed (cot death).
However, death of senior citizens while in bed will be thought to be due to viagra because they are the ones who are prone to erection problem and use viagra more. Also, not everyone found with an erection after death has used viagra. In fact, an erection can occur after death (post mortem erection.
Death erection or angel lust, though mostly observed among men who have died violently such as from execution, particularly by hanging or gunshots, can occur in anyone.

To avoid side effects, the drug requires a doctor’s prescription and guidance before a person uses it. Fortunately, most side effects are mild unless one uses high doses and the effects are not permanent.

However, if a person is on drugs (nitrates) for heart pain (angina pectoris), has had a heart attack or stroke, they are likely to suffer fatal side effects if they take the drug and as such, should inform the doctor before the drug is prescribed.

Sex is a physical (and mental) exercise which in a few cases can over work the heart into its failure and when death occurs, it may not necessarily be due to Viagra. It is helpful for all people, especially senior citizens to go for annual medical check-ups to reduce exertion-related problems, including worsening heart problems that could lead to premature death.

Dear Doctor: My wife is two months pregnant, yet she experienced her periods. What causes such a situation?


Dear Patrick: When a woman misses her periods even without carrying out confirmatory tests, she may be thought to be pregnant. Sometimes, a woman can miss her periods when she is not pregnant, and when she finally gets it (periods), it is thought to be a miscarriage.

Bleeding in the early stages of pregnancy may mean the womb is threatening to miscarry or has already miscarried but some pregnancy products are still retained in the womb. If bleeding and the abdominal pains stop, it means the products of pregnancy may have all been expelled.

When there is bleeding during pregnancy, an ultrasound should be done to make sure the baby in the womb is still alive. If the baby is alive, there are high chances that even after repeated bleeding, the baby will survive and later be born.
Many causes of bleeding during pregnancy are a result of the death of the baby in the womb. When this happens, the body automatically expels the dead baby by causing a miscarriage.
When a woman experiences bleeding during pregnancy, she needs to visit an antenatal clinic for help because it can result in serious problems including developing infections or bleeding to death.

Dear Doctor: How many times should a baby breastfeed every day?

Dear Nightangel: Many mothers wait for the baby to cry from hunger before they can breastfeed. This is wrong. Sometimes, the baby may take long to cry when it is hungry, or may cry for other reasons rather than hunger. It is important to start breastfeeding a newborn baby as soon as possible, to help boost early milk production.

Because new born babies have smaller stomachs and breast milk digests easily, a baby may feel hungry more often than an adult. It is then appropriate that during the first month of life, a newborn baby should breastfeed up to 12 times a day. After one month, this can be reduced to eight times a day, as the baby’s stomach grows bigger and the baby feeds longer.
Frequent breastfeeding, at least every three hours helps to stimulate milk production and prevent unwanted pregnancy (natural family planning), if done exclusively for the first six months.