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About your pregnancy
Congratulations on becoming an expectant parent-this is a very exciting time in your life, even though you may be inclined to feel flat and sick at first. Your baby is very special and deserves every opportunity to get a flying start in life by growing healthily in your womb. Pregnancy is really a very normal event in the life cycle and usually goes very smoothly, especially if you have regular medical care.
Why have regular checks?
Antenatal care is considered to be the best opportunity in life for preventive medicine. It is important to check the many things that can cause problems-these are uncommon, but preventable. A special problem is pre-eclampsia, a condition of weight gain, high blood pressure and kidney stress, which shows up as protein in the urine.
Areas that need to be checked include:
When should you be checked?
The recommended routine is as early as possible and then every 4 to 6 weeks until 28 weeks of gestation, then every 2 weeks until 36 weeks, and then weekly until the baby arrives (usually 40 weeks).
What common things can cause problems in the baby?
What is usually prescribed?
Iron and folic acid tablets.
What important areas should you attend to?
A healthy diet is very important and should contain at least the following daily allowances:
1. Eat most:
2. Eat moderately:
3. Eat least:
4. Bran with cereal helps prevent constipation of pregnancy.
Trained therapists will advise on antenatal exercises, back care, postural advice, relaxation skills, pain relief in labour, general exercises and beneficial activities such as swimming.
Breastfeeding and nursing mothers
Breastfeeding is highly recommended. Contact a local nursing mothers group for support and guidance if you need help.
Employment and travel
Check with your doctor. Avoid standing in trains. Avoid international air travel after 28 weeks.
You should continue your normal activities. Housework and other activities should be performed to just short of feeling fatigued. However, get sufficient rest and sleep.
Continued sexual activity, which may have to be modified from time to time, is most appropriate, unless advised otherwise.
When should you contact your doctor or the hospital?
Contact your doctor or seek medical help:
Copyright 1995: John Murtagh, Professor of