To be pregnant and having a baby growing inside of you can feel magical, especially when baby starts moving and kicking. Many women positively bloom in pregnancy, with hair and skin glowing at their best and may sail through the whole 9 months, loving the whole experience. Most women, though, will have a mixture of positive and negative feelings, as 9 months is a long time and there will be different phases to go through. So there will be times when they feel happy and well and others when they feel tired and not so well. To make your pregnancy a more positive and enjoyable experience, it helps to become more knowledgeable about what to expect and how to lead a healthier lifestyle, to look after yourself and your growing bump.
If your usual monthly periods are late and you suspect that you might be pregnant you can get a pregnancy test kit from any local pharmacy. If the pregnancy test is positive then you should make an appointment to see your doctor or midwife. Your surgery will be able to put you in touch with your midwife. There are tests that your midwife will need to do before you are 10 weeks pregnant so if you think you are over 10 weeks pregnant you should see your midwife as soon as possible.
Early symptoms of pregnancy
In early pregnancy, as well as missing your periods, you might feel unusually tired, your breasts could be tender, some food & drink may smell or taste different, you might have cravings for certain foods and have bouts of nausea and morning sickness.
Bleeding in pregnancy
It is not uncommon for women to experience bleeding in early pregnancy, within the first 12 weeks. Try not to be alarmed if this does happen to you as many women who have experienced this do go on to have a healthy pregnancy. However, it can sometimes be a sign of something more serious so you should urgently be seen by your doctor or midwife.
Ultrasound baby scans
It’s an exciting and emotional moment when parents get to see an image of their growing baby on the monitor screen when having a ultrasound scan. It is usual for maternity hospitals in the UK to perform 2 scans during pregnancy for the following reasons:
First scan at 10 to 14 weeks:
The purpose of the first scan is to:
> estimate you baby’s due date
> find your baby’s heartbeat
> check for multiple babies
> measure your baby
Second scan at 18 to 21 weeks:
The purpose of the second scan is to:
> check the health and growth of your baby
> check the position of the placenta
What it feels like to go into labour
It can be confusing for pregnant women to know whether they are actually going into labour or not, especially as it is common for them to experience false contractions known as Braxton Hicks in the weeks leading up to going into labour.
Difference between Braxton Hicks & real contractions:
What Braxton Hicks feel like:
> come and go at irregular intervals
> causes a tightening of your abdomen but no pain
> will go away if you change position or empty your bladder
What labour contractions feel like:
> painful cramps which get more intense as time passes
> starts in lower back then comes to the front of abdomen
> can be timed at regular intervals which get shorter as time passes
Signs and symptoms of labour:
> contractions which are painful period like cramps (see above)
> lower back pain
> pinkish or brown discharge
> waters break
At what stage of labour should you go to hospital
When your contractions are coming at regular 5 minute intervals or if your waters break you should go to hospital with your hospital bag Go to Childbirth Tips for what to put in your hospital bag. Call your midwife, hospital or dr if you are unsure about anything. Some hospitals prefer you to call before you go to the hospital but this should be written in your maternity notes.
Meeting other mums to be
As the months pass pregnant women can typically begin to feel alone with their feelings as their family and friends may not fully understand what they are going through. It can help to talk to others who are also expecting a baby to compare experiences and share the journey to motherhood. Our service here at MumsMeetUp helps to combat loneliness by making it simple for mums and mums to be to find and meet up with others living nearby and it is totally free to use. Sign up here to meet other pregnant mums to be in your area.
TOP TIP: If you feel something is not right during your pregnancy, however minor you think it is, do not delay in seeking medical advice from your midwife or GP.
The following videos by NHS Choices are packed full of facts and advice about pregnancy by Midwives. They are a must view for pregnant women and their partners.