Planning to get pregnant
In an ideal world, before a woman gets pregnant she should ensure she's a healthy as possible.
Its best to:
- Start taking over the counter Folic acid supplements. These can be bought from any pharmacy, and even from a well-stocked supermarket. You cannot take these supplements for too long before you get pregnant, and if you've taken it for more than 3 months prior to conception all well and good. If the pregnancy was not planned, then start taking the folic acid supplement as soon as you discover that you're expecting. You should continue taking the folic acid supplement until you are 13 weeks pregnant.
- If you are a smoker, you should try to stop smoking.
- If you have never been vaccinated against German measles (rubella) then you should get vaccinated. Rubella is one of the vaccines given in the MMR vaccine.
Knowing you are pregnant
Over the counter urine pregnancy tests are very accurate. They tend to detect a pregnancy from when the menstral period is just a couple of days late.
Generally a pregnancy is said to last for 40 weeks. When calculating how many weeks pregnant you are, we tend to start counting from the first day of the last menstrual period. (Biologically, the egg that got released is more likely to have become fertilized 2 weeks after the first day of the last period).
The vast majority of pregnancies last between 38 and 42 weeks. So, if the doctor calculates a due date for you, you should take this as "plus or minus 2 weeks.
Whilst you are pregnant
- It is very common to suffer from Morning sickness. This is a condition which makes the sufferer feel or be sick. It is best to eat little and often to reduce the symptoms, as it is much worse the greater the amount of time that has elapsed since taking in food.
- If you smoke, you should attempt to stop smoking as soon as you possibly can. If you need help with this, please ask at the surgery.
- It is best to drink no alcohol whilst you are expecting.
- Nowadays may people buy pre-washed salads, but it is advisable to re-wash the salads, to ensure there are no potentially harmful germs in it.
- You should avoid drinking Cranberry juice.
- The chances of having a baby born with nut allergy is reduced if the expectant mother does not eat nuts whilst she is expecting.
- It is best not to take any non-prescribed drugs whist expecting. Paracetamol and gaviscon are safe, but for all others please check with a pharmacist or a midwife beforehand.
Routine Antenatal Care
- As soon as you discover you are pregnant it is best to make an appointment to see the midwife. These can be made by contacting reception. Please note that the midwife visits Shepley Health Centre every Wednesday morning.
- One of the early things the midwife will organise for you is an ultrasound scan. In the early days very little detail can be seen. But the number of weeks someone is pregnant (and also whether it is a singleton or twin pregnancy) can be determined very accurately.
- Routine antenatal care also includes blood tests, and when you are 20 weeks pregnant a further ultrasound scan. This scan is looking for problems, many of which show up by this time.