12 Week ultrasound
If you have not yet had any type of pregnancy ultrasound and you are around 12 weeks pregnant, your maternity care provider may suggest you have one. There are many reasons for having an ultrasound at this stage, but one of the most common is to screen for one of the congenital chromosomal abnormalities – Trisomy 21, otherwise known as Down Syndrome. This means that there is an extra chromosome – 21 contained in every cell of the body.
All types of ultrasound are a simple medical procedure which is otherwise known as a scan. This involves high frequency sound waves transmitted through the body and then picked up on a screen.
During pregnancy, a device known as a transducer is used to move along the mother’s abdomen and this sends sound waves via her abdomen and through her uterus. These sound waves bounce off the baby in the form of echoes. A computer picks up the echo messages and translates them into an image on the screen. As the baby moves and kicks, images can be seen on the ultrasound screen.
Anaemia in pregnancy
Anaemia can develop at any time throughout your life, but it is more common during pregnancy.
This is why routine testing is done at regular intervals during a woman’s pregnancy, in particular within the first trimester and at around 20 weeks.
Avoid During Pregnancy
Most pregnant women are understandably keen to avoid anything that could potentially harm them or their baby. Minimising risk factors and knowing what to avoid during pregnancy are some of the ways to reduce the likelihood of problems, but there is a limit to how much you can control.
Congratulations! Now that you’ve made it through the first trimester, it’s time to break the good news to your nearest and dearest! Whether this is your first or your third time, a surprise or part of your plan – sharing this kind of news is always special.
It’s no surprise that most women experience some degree of back pain during their pregnancy. But it doesn’t have to be just tolerated and passed off as “one of those things”. Lower back pain in pregnancy can have a spiral effect on your enjoyment of being pregnant and maintaining household, family and work related activities. However, there are specific things which you can do to help relieve the extent of your backache and hopefully, alleviate it altogether.
One of the more exciting aspects of being pregnant is getting to organise a whole new wardrobe. For most women there’s a delicate balance between getting what they need and not overspending. And even though pregnancy can sometimes feel like it’s lasting a lifetime, at most it’s only going to be for nine months.
Breast self-examination guide
Breast self-examination is one of the most important roles that women can play in maintaining her breast health. By doing this regularly, you can familiarise yourself with how your breasts look and feel normally. This will enable you to notice any changes as a result.
Colouring Your Hair During Pregnancy
A common question women ask during pregnancy, is whether it is safe to colour their hair? At a time when they may not feel their best, a visit to the hairdresser or colouring it at home, can seem like a great little pick-me-up.
Constipation During Pregnancy
Constipation is one of the most common health issues relating to pregnancy. As familiar and universal as it is, constipation still remains one of the least talked about aspects of pregnancy. Embarrassment, combined with our general reluctance to talk about bowel functioning, means that many women are unsure if their experience is unique. But research around constipation is very reassuring; it seems that around 30% of pregnant women will experience it to some degree.
Dressing For Your Shape
There is no avoiding the changes your body undergoes during pregnancy and afterwards. So it is important to make sure that what you are wearing is practical and comfortable for you throughout this exciting time.
Driving during pregnancy
Driving or riding in a car during pregnancy can be a bit awkward. Imagine having to deal with a tight parking situation at a late stage.
As your body changes proportions, it puts new demands on sitting comfort too. But the safety belt and airbag are of course, as crucial as ever.
Effects of caffeine
When drunk in moderation, for most of us, caffeine is harmless and can even have some benefits. However, keep an eye on your intake and that of your children – whether it is green tea or chocolate.
Foods during pregnancy
You know it’s important to eat well during pregnancy, but exactly what constitutes “good” food? Which foods will help your pregnant body to function well and support your baby to grow to its full potential? It’s easy to become confused when there is so much information around, particularly when a lot of it is conflicting.
Hot baths and Pregnancy
One of the best things you can do for yourself during pregnancy is to find ways to relax and unwind.
Pregnancy can be a beautiful time for a woman but it’s easy to underestimate the toll it can take on your body. In addition to everyday stressors a woman experiences, pregnancy hormones can really shake things up. From morning sickness to muscle aches and racing emotions, pregnancy can cause many women excessive stress.
When you think of hazards around the home, one usually thinks of the ones that you can see – a rug you may trip on, a toy lying where it shouldn’t, stairs, etc. Of course, you have to look out for these when you are pregnant, after all, you aren’t as clear-minded and sure-footed as you perhaps were before pregnancy brain kicked in. Equally important, however, are the unseen hazards around the home – the ones you don’t always think of.
How much is too much caffeine
As we know, caffeine affects people differently according to their body’s ability to deal with it. As a general guideline though, you should consume less than 600 mg per day – around four cups of strong drip-percolated coffee, or five or six cups of tea (less is recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women). Some nutritionists believe that one to two cups a day is fine for the average person. However, if certain circumstances put you outside this category, abstaining isn’t going to hurt.
Many women confuse implantation bleeding with a period. Instead interpreting it as a sign of a light period or old blood loss. But in fact, implantation bleeding is relatively common – around 10-15% of pregnant women will experience some degree of bleeding in their pregnancy. Most progress to having a healthy baby 9 months later.
Iodine deficiency during pregnancy
During pregnancy, thyroid hormone requirements are increased by about 50% over pre-pregnancy levels. A lack of iodine during pregnancy can have a significant impact on the brain development of babies both in-utero and after being born. In addition, young children can experience developmental and learning problems if there is an iodine deficiency. If the deficiency is severe the child may get a condition called iodine-deficiency disorder (IDD).
Is sex safe during pregnancy?
Most women and their partners will be pleased to know the answer to this is yes, yes and yes again. Being pregnant is no reason to put a stop to having an active and fulfilling sex life, unless of course, there are medical reasons why you should hold off for a while.
One of many common side effects of pregnancy is itchy skin. And unless you’ve experienced this first hand you may wonder why it’s even worth mentioning – what’s a little itchiness you may ask yourself? But itchy skin during pregnancy has the potential to create a lot of distress because it can be so unrelenting.
Lifestyle while pregnant
It won’t be news to you that you’re going to need to make some lifestyle changes now that you’re pregnant. Some may be tough, just remember that it is all for a very good reason.
From your clothing, to your conversations, your exercise regime and even your vices – all these changes may sometimes make you feel like a different person altogether.
Linea Nigra is a Latin term which quite literally means “black line”. This is a good way to describe the dark vertical line which so often appears on the abdomen of pregnant women.
It’s estimated that around 75%, of pregnant women will experience some degree of Linea Nigra.
Depending on the individual woman and her skin, Linea Nigra can be quite light and barely visible, while for others it can be much darker than the surrounding skin and stand out much more clearly.
Maternity evening wear
Just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean you can’t look and feel amazing when dressing up or attending formal events. You just need the right outfit and a few tips.
Fortunately, maternity swimwear, like most other maternity clothing, has undergone a revolution in both design and manufacture. This has been helped enormously by changes in the stretchability and inherent strength of certain fibres such as Spandex, Elastene and Lycra. These fibres are what give swimwear its stretch and quick drying features. This combination of qualities as well as recoil resilience and quick drying is essential when it comes to swimwear.
Even if you’ve never actually practiced meditation, now that you’re pregnant it would be worthwhile for you to consider it. Apart from numerous health benefits to both you and your baby, there are no side effects or negative outcomes of practicing meditation during pregnancy and as they say in the classics “It can only be a good thing”.
The mucous plug is another one of those pregnancy-specific terms, which comes to mean something pretty important when you’ve got one. And during pregnancy the mucous plug takes on a whole new dimension of importance, because without it your baby would be at risk of bacterial infection.
Music In The Womb
Gwyneth Paltrow allegedly spent time during her pregnancies playing her husband, Chris Martin of Coldplay’s, music to her babies. And while there are conflicting reports on whether or not playing music to your baby in utero will aid their intelligence, an exciting new study has found that children recognise and prefer music they were exposed to in the womb, for at least a year after they are born.
Nipple and breast changes
Pregnancy is a time of transition for breasts. Even if you’ve never really thought much about yours since puberty, you’re likely to be investing a little thought into them now that you’re having a baby.
Despite what the media wants us to believe about breasts and what they represent, breasts are essentially designed to support human life. Our babies’ lives to be exact, and really, what could be more important?
Oral Health and Pregnancy
Maintaining good oral health during pregnancy might be the last thing on your mind as you deal with food cravings and morning sickness. However it’s important to look after your mouth and everything in it.
Pelvic floor exercises
There is a huge amount of information available on pregnancy, birth and post-natal recovery. Though you’ve probably found a lot of it is conflicting and at odds with each other. This means decision-making about healthcare is often not as easy as it could be. But when it comes to information about the importance of the pelvic floor muscles, experts generally agree that this is an area of vital significance. There is no doubt that having a healthy, toned and fit pelvic floor will make your life more comfortable. Not just during your pregnancy but for years to come.
Pelvic girdle pain
Pelvic girdle pain in pregnancy is another one of those uncomfortable by-products of growing a little person towards maturity. Although your baby will be none the wiser about your discomfort, you’ll be reminded about their presence each time you go to stand, sit, lie down or even go for a walk. And when they choose to change their position a bit and find a more comfortable way to lie, you’re likely to be doing the same thing as well.
Pregnancy and caffeine
No wonder millions of people around the world drink it: caffeine-containing beverages, such as coffee and tea, are the most popular psychoactive drug. But should we be concerned about the ever-increasing array of drinks that contain caffeine?
Pregnancy Breast Care
It is easy to neglect breast self-examinations during pregnancy and breastfeeding. The huge changes to your body and, often, lack of sleep make it hard to continue doing so. There are also many different lumps in your breast that can occur during this time, including blocked ducts and lipomas (benign overgrowths of fat tissue).
Pregnancy is a normal state and in the majority of fit and healthy women there are few, if any, complications. Even so, your body will undergo significant changes from the way it usually functions, so it will help to have some understanding of what to expect when you are pregnant.
Depression can be a sensitive topic. It’s typically a private condition and it can be difficult for many of us to talk about our feelings.
During pregnancy, you will experience an extensive range of emotions. These may range from bliss and excitement to stress or even fear. The changes your physical body goes through can also affect how you feel and react in different situations.
Pregnancy dietary guidelines
Even if you’ve never given much thought to your diet before, becoming pregnant will inspire you when it comes to food and nutrition. There are certain vitamins and minerals that can really make a difference to your baby’s growth and development, and steering clear of the bad stuff is important since whatever you eat and drink eventually will find its way to your baby.
Pregnancy eating plan
Pregnant women need to eat healthy foods most of the time, while still enjoying the occasional treat. Pregnancy is not a time for deprivation or giving up everything you hold precious and dear. For so many of us, food is a source of great pleasure and to feel as if you need to put your taste buds on hold for 9 months is not only unrealistic, it is also very unkind.
International standards have always assumed that women are in their reproductive years when aged between 15 and 44, and while medical technology has made it possible for some women to get pregnant in their late forties and even older, in general, these pregnancies rely on the use of donor eggs from much younger women.
There are many lovely aspects to being pregnant. The building sense of excitement, preparation for the new baby, just becoming a parent – the list is endless. But it’s only fair to say that pregnancy is not always pleasant. Right up on the list of the not so wonderful pregnancy experiences are haemorrhoids. You may have heard them referred to as “piles” – which are the same thing, just with a different name.
Massage during pregnancy has gained a lot of popularity in recent years. Originally, it tended to be limited to groups of women who favoured alternative therapies. But now it is seen as a valid and useful means of reducing general pregnancy discomfort. Recently research and evidence have shown a scientific basis for its benefits, though pregnant women seemed to have known this for a very long time.
It used to be thought that pregnancy is a time when women need to eat for two. This old chestnut has been proven wrong many times though as any urban myth, it still has some followers. The scientific evidence is, that it is not so much the quantity of food that needs to increase, so much as the quality of the nutrients contained in the food.
Pregnancy pains and discomfort
Although some discomfort is a normal part of being pregnant, understanding what causes it and how to relieve it will make the world of difference. It’s important to know how to alleviate your discomfort in order to preserve your wellbeing, comfort and happiness.
Pregnancy pamper treatments
Congratulations on your pregnancy! The next 9 months will see incredible changes taking place as you prepare for the arrival of your baby. Remember: it’s important to make some time to pamper yourself as well. Sometimes however, the demands of other siblings, time or budget constraints can make that almost impossible. So here’s a little list of treats you can give yourself each month that won’t break the budget, or take up too much of your precious time.
Pregnancy weight gain
Every woman is an individual and unique. Genetics, gender, age, environment, diet, occupation, lifestyle factors and metabolism all play a role in what any of us weigh and how much weight we gain or lose over our lifetimes.
Sex During Pregnancy
Far from being considered off limits, sex during pregnancy is a very popular pastime for many couples. The shackles of worry about contraception are lifted and it can almost be like a green light has gone on in the bedroom. If you had problems conceiving and sex has become a clinical, carefully timed event, then you’ll find much of the stress and performance anxiety has lifted. This can free up valuable energy for you to invest towards a genuinely fulfilling sexual relationship.
At this stage of pregnancy, many women can also begin to feel self-consciously big. Remember though that your baby bump doesn't mean you can’t be stylish. Your body shape may have changed but there are still so many ways to make yourself feel beautiful and relaxed. Treat yourself to a gorgeous piece of maternity evening wear, flaunt your baby belly with a fitted t-shirt or indulge in a calming massage – you deserve it!
Skincare Butterfly masks
Even if you’ve never really thought much about the condition of your skin, becoming pregnant may change all that. Your face may take on an entirely different “glow”; tiny veins may start appearing on your cheeks and chest and, for some reason, you feel as if you’re revisiting your adolescence when pimples start appearing out of nowhere. Don’t feel you’re imagining all this.
Sleeping During Pregnancy
Getting a good night’s sleep during your pregnancy can be hard to come by as your body works towards developing your baby and you are preparing for the physical event of childbirth. Being able to get sufficient rest is an essential part of your pregnancy but it seems strange that when your body needs it the most, sleep eludes you. Trying to find an ideal sleeping position and adjusting to the changes of each trimester can often be a challenge.
You may have always associated varicose veins with your grandmother more than yourself. That is, until you became pregnant. For most women pregnancy is a time when a whole new range of health-related issues may become all too familiar.
Almost all of the advice around stretch mark treatment and removal stresses the benefits of prevention in the first place. But if you’re one of the many women who did all that they could during pregnancy and still developed stretch marks, don’t despair.
Thrush In Pregnancy
Of all the minor complications of pregnancy, vaginal thrush has to be one of the most common. In fact, most women have had at least one episode of vaginal thrush in their lives long before they are pregnant. Thrush is also known by its other names – vaginal candidiasis or moniliasis. It is more common during pregnancy than in any other time. But be reassured, there is no evidence that thrush in pregnancy is harmful to the developing baby.
Travel During Pregnancy
As a general rule, pregnancy is not considered a great time for travelling. However, to put your life on hold for nine months is impossible and it is likely you will want to take holidays and have weekends away within this time. However, it is generally recommended that pregnant women do not travel to tropical areas within developing countries and to try and limit any travel within the last six weeks of their pregnancy.
Most women will have at least one pregnancy ultrasound, either in very early stages of their pregnancy or at around 20 weeks of gestation. So even if you have never personally had one, you will probably have heard of pregnancy ultrasounds and aren’t entirely unfamiliar with how they are done. Pregnancy ultrasounds are just one of the many screening tools available to assess that all is going well with a mother’s pregnancy and the growth and development of her baby.
Vitamins and supplement
Supplements are often referred to as ‘food supplements’, ‘nutritional supplements’ and ‘dietary supplements’. As yet, there is no universally agreed definition, and definitions vary from country to country.
Your normal work conditions, that perhaps may not have posed any health concerns before, could now be potentially hazardous to you and your unborn baby. You may need to take some preventative action to ensure your own, and your baby’s safety. If you answer “yes” to any of the following points you should speak to your employer about changing the nature or location of your work.
You do you - selfcare
While a lot of attention gets paid to looking after yourself physically in pregnancy through diet and exercise, for example, looking after yourself mentally and emotionally is as important. After all, hormones aside, this is a life-changing event.