Information & Advice
Being pregnant is a very exciting time, whether it’s been a long journey to get pregnant or an unexpected surprise it’s equally important for you to take care of your body and your baby as early as possible.
There is a lot of advice and guidance to consider when pregnant both in terms of what you need to do for the health of you and your baby but also the preparations you need to make for the upcoming delivery. Unfortunately for some women pregnancy is a time of worry, we are here to answer as many questions as possible to reassure you so that you can relax as much as possible during this very special time.
For more information on early pregnancy, read consultant gynaecologist and early pregnancy lead, Ms Flemming’s blog article entitled “What’s Normal in Early Pregnancy”.
One of the most important questions is understanding when you’re baby is due, our due date calculator will work this out for you.
What pregnancy signs and symptoms should I expect?
You may already be experiencing some pregnancy signs and symptoms or maybe they are yet to arrive. Many ladies can feel ‘different’ in pregnancy, and whilst the majority experience symptoms during pregnancy it can be normal not to have any symptoms at all. The commonest symptoms are:
Nausea and vomiting: This is an early symptom that may start even before the period is missed and generally lasts until 14 weeks gestation. The nausea is usually worse in the morning and gets better through the day.
Simple remedies such as ginger and lemon may be helpful and avoiding eating foods with strong odour and smells. It is safe to take anti-emetic tablets (to prevent vomiting and nausea). The commonly prescribed anti-emetics are prochlorperazine (Stemetil), cyclizine and metoclopramide (Maxalon). All these are safe in pregnancy and should be taken as needed, usually maximum three times a day. Stemetil and Cyclizine can cause drowsiness and should be avoided if driving etc.
Hyperemesis gravidarum: This is when the vomiting is severe and persistent, as in the case of the Duchess of Cambridge, and hospital admission may be required for intra-venous fluids and medication. In some cases, ondansetron and very rarely steroids are given after admission in cases of intractable vomiting. An ultrasound scan is necessary to rule out multiple pregnancies.
Bleeding: in early pregnancy bleeding is also very common and is seen in as many as 40-50% of pregnancies. In these instances we recommend a scan to reassure the mother that the pregnancy is progressing normally.
Tiredness: Most women start to feel unusually tired and are inclined to rest more.
Breast tenderness: Engorgement of the breasts may start even before the period is missed and may make the breasts and nipples feel very sore.
Weight loss: This is not uncommon in the first 3 months of pregnancy due to nausea and aversion to some foods and food smells. It will have no adverse effect on the baby.
If your symptoms concern you for any reason please do not hesitate to contact us via phone or email at [email protected]
What supplements do I need to take to support my growing baby?
Certain nutrients are essential in pregnancy to help the developing baby, the key ones are:
Folic acid: This is essential in the early stages of pregnancy to help prevent conditions such as Spina Bifida and cleft palate, 400mcg should be taken daily until 14weeks gestation and ideally should be started 2/3months pre conception if possible. It works in synergy with the other B vitamins, so as well as supplementing, ensure you’re eating a wide selection of dark green leafy vegetables on a daily basis.
Omega 3: Baby’s developing brain needs a component of fat called DHA, found mainly from oily fish. This omega 3 fatty acid needs to be in plentiful supply throughout your pregnancy so its wise to include it right from the start.
Vitamin D: Vitamin D deficiency is very common and a cause of tiredness, it is also required support for bones in women and fetal bone development. We therefore recommend taking Vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy which may be included in a pregnancy multi-vitamin.
What should I avoid?
There are certain foods that the UK government advises pregnant women to avoid, because they can be risky to the baby especially in the first trimester.
Foods which can cause food poisoning: These are unpasteurised dairy products, certain soft cheeses, raw or undercooked meat and fish, some pates, some cured meats and raw eggs.
Alcohol & Caffeine: Total alcohol avoidance is best during pregnancy and limit caffeine to 200mg (about 1 strong cup of coffee, or 2 cups of tea) per day. Remember that fizzy drinks like coke contain caffeine.
Vitamin A: High levels of vitamin A can be damaging to the baby so consuming lots of liver and/or supplementing with a cod liver oil capsule is cautioned against
Medications: If you are taking any regular medications please check with your GP when you discover you are pregnant (preferably before you start trying for a baby). Paracetamol is safe during pregnancy but any other medication should be avoided unless advised by a doctor.
What do I need to do to arrange my pregnancy care?
You will need to identify your local NHS or private hospital where you wish to have your pregnancy care and delivery. You can :
- contact us for early pregnancy care and we will advise you further
- contact the maternity department in your local hospital
- request your GP to refer you to the hospital