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Being a midwife has its perks – not just y’know, helping deliver babies… But it means I’m often one of the first people my friends and family talk to when they’re pregnant. They’ve just pee’d on a stick and seen a plus sign (insert squeals, tears etc etc) but then they start thinking, gosh what do I do now…
That’s where I come in!
In episode 1 I talk you through the first few things to do and think through when you’ve found out you’re pregnant. It’s a chat with your midwife friend on the down low, before sharing the good news with all your important people.
So listen in, or if you can’t right now, read on and I’ll give you a quick run-down on the main ideas I highlight…
1. You pee on a stick and its positive. Tick!
2. First thing to do – head to the chemist and buy some pregnancy multivitamins (eg. elevit, or swisse etc). Even if you think you have a great diet already, it’s a good idea to take a supplement with specific amounts of each vitamin to meet the increased nutritional needs that you have whilst growing a baby. In particular during pregnancy higher levels of folic acid, iodine, iron and calcium are important (I explain more in the poddy).
3. See your GP. This initial visit to the GP will have many purposes:
Blood Tests – Checking blood group (and whether you are a positive or negative group), if you have any antibodies present in your blood, whether you are rubella immune, to see if you have Hep B, Hep C, HIV or Syphillis, and checking your iron levels and thyroid function. The results of these blood tests may affect the management of your pregnancy.
Determine EDB (Estimated Date of Birth) – try to remember the date of the first day of your last menstrual period (LMP). From this date, 280 days are added to give you an expected due date. Don’t stress if you can’t remember this date. Or if your cycle is irregular. Most pregnancy care providers will want a Dating Scan (an ultrasound around 6-8 weeks) which shows the baby with a beating heart and gives a fairly accurate age of the baby based on its measurements. From this an EDB can be calculated. Also as a side note: this is just an estimated date and your baby can actually arrive anytime from 37-42 weeks and still be considered ready to be born. Only something like 5% of babies are actually born on their EDB!
Screening for Chromosomal Abnormalities – In the first trimester it is important to think about whether you want to screen for chromosomal abnormalities like Downs Syndrome. From 10 weeks an NIPT (Non-Invasive Prenatal Test) can be attended which is a blood test that is not currently covered by Medicare or Private Health Insurances in Australia so will cost you. Otherwise you can have a Nuchal Translucency test at about 12 weeks which is a combination of ultrasound and blood test.
Plan your Model of Care – start to think about who you want caring for you through your pregnancy, labour, birth and postnatally. Do you want a midwife, or a range of midwives, or an obstetrician, or your GP? Do you plan to have your baby at a hospital or at home? Start googling your options because sometimes GP’s aren’t aware of all the options in your local area. I’d advise looking into Continuity of Midwifery Care programs as research shows very positive results in women who access this model of care.
4. Start thinking through changes to your diet and lifestyle. Things to cut out, things to watch and things to start doing. I’ll skip over them, but listen to the podcast to hear more information about each point.
· Quit smoking. There are so many risks to both the pregnancy and the baby (and of course the known risks to women) of smoking that you should really stop. Call Quitline or visit ww.icanquit.com.au
Stop drinking alcohol
Cut down on caffeine intake to 300mg per day (basically x1 espresso coffee or 3-4cups of tea)
Watch what foods you eat. I list out a number of foods to avoid and what foods you can have if cooked at a temperature greater than 75 degrees Celsius. Basically the food restrictions/recommendations are so that you avoid listeriosis, e.coli and salmonella which can have very harmful effects on your pregnancy. For more specific and detailed information on this visit https://www.foodauthority.nsw.gov.au/
Watch your weight gain – you are not eating for two. Yes, you need more nutrients but the #2 is tiny, so doubling your intake (especially of processed, bad foods) is not necessary. At that first visit with your GP, weigh yourself and work out your BMI. From this you can determine how much weight is appropriate to gain in pregnancy. And keep an eye on it through the following months as excess weight gain is known to be associated with pregnancy complications as well as weight retention postnatally. Visit https://www.gethealthynsw.com.au/healthier-you/healthy-in-pregnancy/pregnancy-weight-gain-calculator/
Medications – if you are taking any medications it is important to check whether they are safe in pregnancy as some medications can cause problems with fetal development and birth defects. Chat with your GP about this or call Mothersafe https://www.seslhd.health.nsw.gov.au/royal-hospital-for-women/services-clinics/directory/mothersafe
5. Take care of yourself. Sleep when you need sleep. And enjoy connecting with this baby through things like a pregnancy app where you can find out when your baby resembles the size of a lemon or a watermelon!
Have I missed anything? Mama’s what would you recommend if your sister or friend asked you the same question early on in their pregnancy? Let me know – follow me on Facebook and Instagram @mumwillknow.
Have a great week!
Photo by @meghan_mosakowski