The Baby View Pregnancy Guide is a handy overview of early pregnancy signs and pregnancy symptoms.
Early Signs of Pregnancy
Use our useful check-list to help determine whether you are pregnant or not. Please do seek medical advice if you have any concerns about being pregnant or if you have had a positive home pregnancy test and are experiencing bleeding. How early can I test for pregnancy?
- Missed period
- Positive home pregnancy test
- Tender or swollen breasts
- Mood swings
- Frequent bathroom breaks
- Dizziness or light headedness
- Strong sense of smell
- Food cravings
Eating in Pregnancy
During pregnancy your growing baby gets all the nutrients to grow and develop from you. It is important that you eat a nutritionally balanced diet to ensure baby grows healthy and strong while in the womb.
- Have three regular meals and two to three light snacks a day
- Include generous helpings of fruits and vegetables, wholegrain cereals and legumes to increase your dietary fibre intake.
- Reduce your caffeine intake and drink lots of water
- Avoid alcohol and smoking
Sleeping in Pregnancy
Sleep problems are very common throughout pregnancy due to hormonal changes. In the early days of pregnancy, many mums to be suffer from extreme fatigue. In later stages of pregnancy, other women experience increased rates of snoring, sleep apnoea, restless legs, difficulty falling asleep, repeated waking, frequent urination, discomfort aches and pains and being unable to find a comfortable sleeping position.
Some tips to help you sleep better:
- Use pillows to help support your baby bump
- Avoid caffeine in the afternoon
- Regular exercise and daily activity
There are so many options available to women on where and how they can give birth. There are many factors to take into consideration and it is important you are comfortable with your birth plan and it is a useful way to make sure everyone present at your birth knows what you want or don’t want.
A birth plan or labour plan is a guideline of what you wish to happen prior, during and after the birth. For example, if your midwife is unable to make it to the birth, having a birth plan will let your birthing team know what you want (i.e. no forceps but vercose is ok if your baby needs assistance, epidural is wanted or no drugs at all, you want skin to skin as soon as possible).
Some things to consider when preparing for the birth/labour stages of your pregnancy:
- Where will you give birth? Hospital, maternity unit or home birth.
- Water birth? Does your local hospital or birthing unit offer this? Hire a pool for a home birth.
- Do you want drugs or a TENS machine or drug free?
- Birthing partner? Who else in the room with you?
- What position will you birth in?
We do recommend talking about all the options with your Lead Maternity Carer (LMC, midwife or doctor) and your birthing partner.
What to Except in the 1st 6 weeks after birth
For the first 6 weeks, your baby will pretty much just eat, sleep and poo! This is an ideal time to concentrate on bonding with your baby, sleeping when your baby sleeps to make sure you don’t get too tired and just really enjoy these first few weeks.
After 6 weeks, your baby will start to explore their surroundings and you will start to notice your baby responding to you and recognising faces. You might even find yourself getting into a really good routine but don’t worry if there isn’t a routine (both my girls had no routines!).
One thing to really remember is that is no right way to parent, it is ok to ask for help if you find yourself struggling and the most important factors are making sure both you and your baby are happy and healthy – everything else will fall into place.
Feeding your Baby
It doesn’t matter if you choose to breast feed or bottle feed, just as long as you feed your baby! Be proud in the choice you make and don’t let anyone make you feel bad for your choice.
The message of today is Breast is Best but if you cannot breast feed then formula is perfectly ok and as long as your baby is healthy – it doesn’t matter in the big scheme of things.
You can choose to use a mixture of breast milk and formula to allow Dad or Grandparents to feed baby, giving you a rest. Another option is to express breast milk and give that to baby in a bottle which will still allow others to help out with feeding. See How to Express Breast milk for more information about expressing.
Where should baby sleep?
You can choose to put baby straight into a cot or use a bassinet/hammock or moses basket to begin with. Some parents put babies straight into a single bed using a product like the Safety T Sleep Wrap. There is also the option of co-sleeping where your baby shares your bed with you.
Co-sleeping is perfectly safe but there are precautions you do need to take to ensure your baby is safe. Do not co-sleep if you smoke drugs or drink alcohol or are a heavy sleeper. Do not let baby sleep with other siblings. Make sure blankets and covers cannot and do not cover baby’s face.
Buying for Baby
Your baby will need clothes, nappies (we highly recommend cloth nappies!), a baby carrier or pram, a car seat which is correctly fitted in your car, somewhere for your baby to sleep. These are essential items and the rest is over to you. You don’t need a lot of toys, baby seats etc. Your baby will be perfectly happy to lie on the floor (on a play mat if you have wooden floors). Playing with your baby on the floor instead of having baby in a seat/lounger/swing will encourage them to roll and interact with their environment a lot more. View our Baby Layette List.
Morning Sickness in Pregnancy
Morning sickness for the majority of women stops around the 12th week, but for many women it continues until the 14th to 16th week. About half of the women feel complete relief by 14 weeks. For the rest, it may take one more month or so for it to stop. It can return later, and for some unlucky women it can come and go throughout the entire pregnancy. There isn’t a set time for it to stop because each woman is different, and each pregnancy is different.
Morning sickness can occur at any stage of pregnancy but is more common in early pregnancy. It can start as soon as you become pregnant, before you even know you may be pregnant, this is usually due to all the hormones whizzing around inside you and your body trying to keep up with all the changes and surges of hormones.
Eating small meals and often can help ease the discomfort of morning sickness. Try eating a cracker before getting out of bed in the morning. Ginger is a good way to ease the nausea. Keep your fluids up.
Hyperemesis gravidarum is a condition characterized by severe nausea, vomiting, weight loss, and electrolyte disturbance. Mild cases are treated with dietary changes, rest and antacids. More severe cases often require a stay in the hospital so that the mother can receive fluid and nutrition through an intravenous line (IV). DO NOT take any medications to solve this problem without first consulting your health care provider.