When am I due?
Pregnancy normally lasts 40 weeks (9 months & 1 week) from the date of the START of the last menstrual period. It is still considered normal if the baby arrives any time between 37 and 42 weeks. 78% of babies are born between 40-41 weeks. Conception has usually occurred about two weeks after the last period but particularly if your cycle is irregular it may have happened before or after this. Things can be further confused for example if you skip a period before becoming pregnant or if you have a bleed in early pregnancy which resembles a period. Your doctor will give you a due date based on a combination of information from your dates, the findings when you are examined and your ultrasound scan.
How long can I work?
Most women can safely continue working until about 34 weeks. This may be cut short or prolonged based on how you are feeling and whether any problems arise in your pregnancy.
Is Sex OK?
It is normally quite safe to continue having sex during pregnancy, but check with your doctor/midwife if you have any concerns.
How much should be baby be moving?
Most women first notice their baby’s movement around 20 weeks of pregnancy. Every woman experiences her baby’s movements differently, both how they feel and how often they happen. You would expect to feel at least 10 movements in a 12 hour period, say 9am -9pm Baby’s movements are a sign of its well-being and it is very important that if you feel that your baby is moving less than usual that you phone your doctor/midwife or the hospital.
How do I know I’m in labour?
Many women have a ‘show’ of a small amount of blood and mucus and some women find their waters break before going into labour. Labour pains feel a bit like period pains, only stronger. When they are strong (ie so much that they stop you walking and talking) and regular (about every 5 minutes or closer) then you are probably in labour. If in doubt phone the delivery suite of your hospital or your midwife or doctor.
What Can I Do About …..
Morning sickness, nausea & vomiting?
This common complaint usually lasts until 12-16 weeks of pregnancy. Keep some plain low fat biscuits by your bedside to have before getting up in the morning. Eat frequent small meals, stay well hydrated and keep low fat snacks ready to hand. You may have strong cravings for foods you do not normally eat. Be ready to experiment. Listen to your body! Extra Ginger or Vitamin B6 may help. If these things do not help and you continue to vomit see your doctor. Severe vomiting in pregnancy affects approximately one woman in 100.
Eat small frequent meals and do not eat within 2 hours of bedtime. Try raising the head of the bed (1 brick under each side). Over-the-counter heartburn remedies used as directed are safe. Plain yoghurt has also been known to provide relief. If pain is severe or persists see your doctor.
Constipation and Haemorrhoids
Constipation is common as pregnancy hormones make the bowel sluggish. Aim for a high fibre diet (fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grain breads, figs, prunes and high fibre cereal) with plenty of fluids (10-12 glasses per day) and moderate exercise for 30 minutes daily. If constipation or haemorrhoids persist see you pharmacist for preparations safe to use in pregnancy.
Your body is working very hard at this time maintaining your pregnancy, growing the baby and preparing your body for breastfeeding. Most women will need more sleep and rest than usual, especially in the first and last months of pregnancy. Listen to your body; rest when you feel tired and eat well. A midday nap may be helpful.
A small amount of vaginal bleeding in the first 3 months of pregnancy is common and usually does not lead to miscarriage. This causes worry for many women. If the bleeding persists for more than 2-3 days, gets heavier or becomes painful contact your doctor straight away. If you have any bleeding after 12 weeks of pregnancy you should see your doctor or contact your hospital immediately.
As the ligaments soften and stretch in preparation for birth you may experience lower back, thigh, groin or buttock pain. Try an afternoon rest and wear low-heeled shoes. Heat, massage and paracetamol may help. If pain is troublesome see your physiotherapist as specific exercises and aids can be very helpful. In the case of 2nd or 3rd pregnancies wearing cotton/lycra bike pants may give added support!
This often felt in the first and early second trimester as the uterus grows and rises from the pelvis stretching the ligaments in the groin and lower abdomen. Women often experience stitch-like pains which usually subside in about 15 – 20 mins. Hot packs may help. If pain is prolonged or severe see your doctor.
Avoid prolonged standing and aim for an afternoon rest with your feet up. Swimming is a very good exercise as it relieves the pressure on the legs and allows the leg muscles to work well giving good relief. Support stockings may help if the veins are painful