A midwife is someone who has trained in normal birth. Midwife literally means a helping woman. An obstetrician is trained in abnormal births. If your pregnancy is normal it is beneficial to go to a midwife.

A good night’s rest can seem an impossible quest, especially in late pregnancy when your baby may kick and turn during the night. Sleeping on your front or your back feels uncomfortable and is unadvisable. Sleeping on your side is best. The weight of your baby and pregnant uterus is then not pushing directly onto your major abdominal blood vessels which would slow down the blood flow to you and your baby, allowing an unrestricted flow of blood to the placenta and baby. Lie on your preferred side, put one or two pillows between your legs, and rest your upper leg on the pillows. You may also need a pillow under your bump for support and comfort.

The midwife on duty will see to you and monitor you and your baby. Only once your baby is ready to be born is your doctor called to the labour ward. So, your doctor is only with you during labour for a very short while during the actual birth. If you have a private midwife looking after you, she will be the one monitoring you throughout your labour and staying on to birth your baby.

As you get closer to giving birth, it gets harder and harder to sleep well at night. Loss of mobility and arching joints make getting into a comfortable sleeping position difficult. Some sleep accessories and a night-time routine may help. To get your body more relaxed and ready for sleep, before getting into bed –

  • Take a warm shower and do some slow stretches to ease tension in your neck, shoulders and back. Do a hula dance and sway your hips from side to side, forward and back and in a circle
  • Take a warm bath and let the water relax your tired muscles. Have someone help you out the bath as a long soak can make you feel light-headed
  • To help your bed support your body better
    • Use a preggy roll for support of your legs, tummy and head
    • Use a sleeping bag to add a layer of softness between you and your mattress

If you wake up and can’t get comfortable

    • Take a stroll around your home after you go to the bathroom
    • Rest in a reclining chair

A urinary tract infection can affect any part of the urinary tract, including the bladder and kidneys. Symptoms include a constant need to urinate, irritation, or a burning sensation when urinating, low abdominal pain and, if untreated, blood in the urine and a fever. Delay in treatment may result in a kidney infection, causing severe illness and possible miscarriage or premature labour. A course of prescribed antibiotics will generally clear the infection

Yes it is safe to take them. Ensure it is a good quality probiotic. Some probiotics have low doses of the various strains that it would be useless taking them. Some of the probiotics have all sorts of scientific research done on them and the probiotic count is at a good level. In fact it would be beneficial to take a course of probiotics while planning to fall pregnant and to continue during pregnancy as it helps maintain a healthy gut, which in turn maintains a healthy immune system

Babies in utero go through periods of sleep and activity. They have their own sleep/wake cycle. Your baby’s movements and activity level indicate what state he is in. When your baby is asleep, he is in one of two sleep states. In quiet sleep there is very little movement. Your baby usually doesn’t respond to sounds or activity outside of the uterus. In active sleep he may move and stretch but isn’t likely to be responsive. When your baby is awake, he is either in the quiet alert or active alert state. During the quiet alert time you will be able to feel him move, even explore. This is when he is attentive and may even play with you. In the active alert state there is a lot of activity. Your own activity or rest may not affect his vigorous movements.

Over half of all pregnant moms get heartburn, an uncomfortable burning sensation that occurs when acid from your stomach’s digestive juices escape through the relaxed stomach valve and bubble up into your oesophagus. It’s due to pregnancy hormones relaxing the valve that usually stops the acid from welling back up. It may get worse later in pregnancy, as your growing bump also puts extra pressure on your stomach
What to do

• Eat smaller, more frequent meals. This will limit the amount of food in your stomach
• Don’t drink a lot with your meals or you’ll swallow more air, which will aggravate heartburn
• Cut down on alcohol and caffeine – they relax the muscle that usually holds the acid in
• Avoid foods that trigger heartburn – fatty and fried foods, tomato sauce, and spicy foods are often the culprit
• Tempting though it is to lie down after eating, make yourself sit in a comfortable upright position
• Before going to sleep, prop yourself up with pillows behind your head and one under your knees
• Avoid wearing clothing that is tight around your middle
• Take an antacid if necessary

This is nature’s way of preparing you for what is ahead – lots of broken sleep. It gets more difficult to sleep the further you go into your pregnancy. No position seems to be comfortable for very long. Again this is nature’s way of helping you prepare for your birth. If you didn’t get uncomfortable and look forward to this this pregnancy ending – it would be quite a traumatic adjustment when you went into labour.

Some sleep accessories and a night-time routine may help. To get your body more relaxed and ready for sleep, before getting into bed.

  • Take a warm shower and do some slow stretches to ease tension in your neck, shoulders and back. Do a hula dance and sway your hips from side to side, forward and back and in a circle. This moves around the baby and changes the area that it is placing pressure on in your pelvis
  • Take a warm bath and let the water relax your tired muscles. Have someone help you out the bath as a long soak can make you feel light-headed
  • Do some slow deep breathing
  • Ask your partner to give you a massage
  • To help get into a more comfortable position
    • Use a preggy roll or lots of pillows for support of your legs, tummy and head
    • Use an extra blanket or sleeping bag to add a layer of softness between you and your mattress
  • If you wake up and can’t get comfortable
    • Take a stroll around your home after you have been to the bathroom
    • Rest in a reclining chair
    • Listen to some relaxing, quiet music or some nature sounds
    • Dream about your precious baby that will soon be there

It is fine to travel, but a few important factors must be taken into account

  • Frequent stops – every 1 to 2 hours should be made for walking and stretching to prevent blood clots in the legs due to long periods of inactivity
  • You should empty your bladder regularly and drink frequently to prevent a urinary tract infection and becoming dehydrated
  • Remember to still snack frequently and don’t go for long periods without anything to eat
  • 6-8 weeks
    • A scan to confirm the viability of the pregnancy – check baby’s heart beat and that the foetus is within the uterus
    • Detect any gross abnormalities
    • Confirm the expected due date by measuring the baby from head to bottom up to 14 weeks
  • Nuchal scan 11 – 13 weeks
    • A nuchal scan measures the amount of fluid at the back of the baby’s neck. Higher than average levels can indicate a risk of Down’s syndrome. This measurement gives an indication of the risk, which can be further refined with a blood test. The blood test will only be conducted if the nuchal measurements indicate a need for a more accurate assessment
  • Foetal anomaly scan 18 – 24 weeks
    • This assessment uses the capabilities and safety of an ultrasound scan to give the baby a full check-up. It is the first real opportunity to assess the baby’s organs and well being. It is a detailed review of the baby’s anatomy, including the head, spine, heart and kidneys
  • 4 D bonding scan
    • A chance to see lifelike images of your baby. Good to have between 24 and 32 weeks

Definitely wear your seat belt during pregnancy. It can save your life as well as your baby’s. Position the lower strap low over your hips, under your preggy bump. The shoulder portion should ride over your shoulder and chest. A seat belt adjuster may help to keep the straps in the correct position. Place your seat as far back as is comfortable and ensure you can reach the pedals safely. This places maximum distance between your preggy bump and the steering wheel. Do not let your tummy touch the steering wheel while driving. Try to be at least 20cm from the steering wheel.

The fact that your partner hasn’t mentioned the pregnancy is not a sign of any problems necessarily at all. You are aware of your pregnancy and your whole life starts to revolve around it, as it is your body that is experiencing day to day changes. Your partner on the other hand, knows you are pregnant, is pleased you are pregnant and that is as much as it affects him. He does not dwell and concentrate on the pregnancy every moment. Although expectant parents do similar types of things to prepare for parenthood, they have different timelines. Many expectant partners talk of being glad pregnancy is nine months because they need that much time to be ready. Communication is the key to maintaining your relationship as you approach parenthood. Making time for each other can be especially challenging in the first few months after your baby is born. Starting now, set aside some quiet time to share your thoughts and concerns at least once a week. Establishing this habit during pregnancy will also help you after the baby is born.

What you are experiencing is perfectly normal. Give yourself time to adjust to the idea of being pregnant. It is not unusual to feel confused, or to feel ecstatic one minute and scared and not wanting to be pregnant the next. Once the pregnancy becomes more of a reality, you should start to enjoy your pregnancy to the full. Having a baby is a monumental change in your life.

Your baby’s size is dependent on many different factors, although genetics usually determines the size of a baby. Therefore if you are small in stature, your baby is likely to be small, and if you are tall, you are likely to have a larger baby. The birth weight does not necessarily relate to the eventual size of the adult. Medical conditions can also have a major effect on your baby’s size; pre-eclampsia can result in a small baby, and diabetes can cause a baby to be large. Your lifestyle and environment can also affect the size of your baby. What and how you eat is important for your baby’s welfare. If you eat a balanced diet, your baby should receive all the necessary nutrients to be able to grow to the optimum size. However, if you are malnourished, you can have a low birth weight baby and there may be problems with its health. Regular heavy smoking can cause small babies because smoking reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients reaching the baby

Babies in utero go through periods of sleep and activity. They have their own sleep/wake cycle. Your baby’s movements and activity level indicate what state she is in. When your baby is asleep, she is in one of two sleep states. In quiet sleep there is very little movement. Your baby usually doesn’t respond to sounds or activity outside of the uterus. In active sleep she may move and stretch but isn’t likely to be responsive. When your baby is awake, she is either in the quiet alert or active alert state. During the quiet alert time you will be able to feel her move, even explore. This is when she is attentive and may even play with you. In the active alert state there is a lot of activity. Your own activity or rest may not affect her vigorous movements.

The amount of sleep you need may change as your pregnancy progresses. In early pregnancy, you may be more tired than usual because of all the hormonal changes. During the middle months, you may not need as much sleep – you feel full of energy and vibrant. Further along in pregnancy you’ll be using more energy to move around and could become tired again. In late pregnancy you’ll probably wake up frequently during the night to go to the bathroom. So, try to sleep about 7-9 hours each night. This may mean going to bed earlier or rising later. When you are tired during the day, try to take a nap or sit down and rest. 10-20 minutes rest during your coffee break at work can make all the difference to your day

The fitter you are now the more stamina you will have during labour and the more likely you will be to bounce back after the birth. Labour is as the work says – hard work. You wouldn’t contemplate running a marathon without training for it – the same should go for labour. Get fit and train well – be prepared. If you have eaten well and exercised regularly, you should feel more energetic and be better able to look after a new baby. You are also more likely to regain your figure faster. Exercise is also a great reliever of stress. If you feel physically fit and well, you will enjoy your pregnancy more and be less prone to feelings of anxiety

When you sit or lie quietly and concentrate on a relaxing scene, your body will relax. There are several ways to do this. One way is for someone to describe a scene to you. As you listen to the description, imagine yourself being there. Even though you’re not paying attention to your muscles, you’ll begin to relax. Another way is to imagine a restful scene without someone describing it. Think of a location that you find appealing, such as a beach or a clearing in a forest with a stream running through it. Use all of your senses to imagine the details. What can you see, hear, smell, touch, and taste? A CD of nature sounds may aid your imagination.

The midwife on duty will see to you and monitor you and your baby. Only once your baby is ready to be born is your doctor called to the labour ward. So, your doctor is only with you during labour for a very sort while during the actual birth. If you have a private midwife looking after you, she will be the one monitoring you throughout your labour and staying on to birth your baby.

Identical twins are when one egg is fertilised by one sperm and then splits into two. The two embryos that are produced are always the same sex and are identical because they contain the same genetic material; these twins are known as monozygotic. Non-identical or fraternal twins are the result of two separate eggs being fertilised by two sperm at the same time. Two embryos implant and develop. The twins may look different and be different sexes

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