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Pregnancy Clinic

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

We have some of the top maternity professionals in the country and we'll be meeting some mums to be to find out how they're coping while carrying their bundle of joy.

It's predicted that this year that over 75000 women will give birth, a one percent rise in childbirth from last year, and the rate has been increasing since the fifties and doesn't look set to stop.

Dr. Peter Boylan - Consultant Obstetrician/Gynaecologist from Holles Street Maternity Hospital, where he was master from 1991 until 1998. He is also the author of 'The Irish Pregnancy Book', which is a guide for expectant mothers.

Based on his 30 years experience of helping mother in his clinics, Dr Peter Boylan explains clearly what happens in pregnancy, how mother and baby's health develops and what to expect in labour and delivery.

Grainne Ryan - Public Health Nurse

Presenter of Baby on Board Series 2. Grainne is a public health nurse and midwife and mother of three children. Areas of interest child development, parenting issues, adolescent development and post natal depression. Grainne works and lives in Ennis Co. Clare.

Geraldine Debonis

What do you wish you knew about your pregnancy?

1. Nausea and Vomiting

Nausea is the most common gastrointestinal symptom of pregnancy, occurring in 80-85pc of all cases in the first three months.

Nausea and vomiting do not have harmful effects on pregnancy outcomes; however, it can severely impact on your quality of life. Commonly called morning sickness, it can last all day for some women. It normally resolves itself around 16-20 weeks.

. Before getting out of bed, eat a high carbohydrate food like crackers or melba toast.
. Eat small frequent meals rather than large infrequent ones.

. Avoid highly seasoned foods.

. If breakfast is usually eaten late in the morning eat a snack before bedtime to avoid long periods between meals (low blood sugar).

. Drink ginger tea or eat ginger snacks.

. Try wrist acupressure bands.

Point to note: Mothers shouldn't worry about having less to eat because of nausea. The baby will get the nutrients it needs and you shouldn't force feed yourself because you are pregnant if it results in vomiting.

2. Urinary Problems:

One of the earliest signs of pregnancy can be passing urine often. Sometimes it continues right through pregnancy. In the later stages, it is the result of the baby's head pressing on the bladder.

Some women find it helps to rock backwards and forwards while they are on the toilet. This lessens the pressure of the womb on the bladder so that you can empty it properly.

Urinary infections are common in pregnancy. The common symptoms are going to the toilet literally every few minutes, pain while passing water, or if there is any blood, you should see your GP.

It is better to get antibiotics and clear the infection than to leave it. An infection in the kidneys can spread throughout the body and it will be more harmful than leaving it.

Going to the toilet frequently does not mean that you have a kidney infection, and a visit to the GP can often mean taking antibiotics when you don't need to.

3. Fatigue and Mood Swings:

Grainne's most common questions from mothers to be at the first trimester is 'when will the tiredness go?!!!'

Are extreme fatigue and mood swings normal?

Fatigue is normal from the beginning and can last up to 20 weeks. It is because of all the bodily changes and an increase tenfold of the progesterone in the body. Hormone changes are enormous, the muscle slows down and there is a physical effect which is likened to jet leg that never goes away.

What is the best way to cope?

Although it is hard to go through the first weeks of pregnancy while working and getting on with life, his prediction is that most women in your life, although you haven't told anyone, will guess in the first few weeks that you may be pregnant. He also adds that the men in the office won't notice anything until you're gone on maternity leave!

His advice is to listen to your body, and to note that if you don't have a choice but to get on with your normal daily struggle, it won't do the baby any harm, so leading a normal life is nothing to worry about for the baby, but you should take your time, relax and lie down for the benefit of your own well being.

Unfortunatly there is nothing a woman can do to avoid it, no vitamins or dietary supplements will improve tiredness while pregnant.

Mood Swings:

During pregnancy as with PMT hormones are getting down to work, the hormonal fluctuations cause mood swings which can leave you feeling a little volatile. Hormones alone are not to blame for the mood swings in pregnancy a lot of it can actually be part of the emotional response to news that your are becoming a parent.

You have to deal with body changes that come with growing a baby (fatigue, morning sickness, weight gain and difficulty sleeping) and also the practical side too such as financial cost, what to do about work, new responsibility.

It is understandable that these fears, concerns and anxieties can get on top of even the most joyful expectant mother and father building up the stress that is relieved through mood swings. Generally the mood swings lift after the first trimester. However if you persistently feel blue it is important to talk to your midwife or doctor.

. Take time out (massage, soak in the bath, long walk)

. Eat well ( ensure that your body gets all the nutrients it needs to grow a healthy baby, good eating habits will also help to regulate your hormones also it will give you more energy to help cope when you do feel down in the dumps.

. Exercise ( swimming yoga walking exercising as regularly as you can will help to boost the level of happy hormones in your body).

. Talk it out

. Foster your Relationship - is often partners that suffer the brunt of pregnancy moods. Tell your partner how you feel, how you feel about them and your pregnancy despite the emotional outbursts.

4. Cramping Pain in Tummy

Does it happen from the beginning?

This happens from 6 - 8 weeks and is not uncommon. It is like a bad period pain that happens randomly, you could have it for a few days and then never again, or on different days, there's no pattern.

Why does it happen?

This is a result of stretching in the womb.

Anything you can do to relieve or reduce it?

There's nothing you can do but it can be worrying for women, so the main thing to know is that it is normal.

When should you see a doctor?

If the pain is severe or if there is any bleeding.

5. Lifestyle and Diet Changes

Diet - Should your appetite increase?

You should keep to exactly the same diet for the first few weeks, and don't limit or increase at all.

What can I not eat and drink?

A per UK guidelines these are the foods to avoid:-

. Soft mould ripened cheeses such as Camembert, Brie and vlue veined cheese

. Pate

. Liver and liver products

. Uncooked or undercooked ready prepared meals

. Uncooked or cured meat, such as salami

. Raw shellfish, such as oysters

. Fish containing relatively high levels of methylmercury, such as shark, swordfish and marlin.

. Limit Tuna to no more than two modicums size cans or one fresh tuna steak per week

. Limit caffeine to 300 milligrams a day.

. Don't eat non pasteurized cheeses, or uncooked meat, but otherwise women can eat red meat, fish and nuts, and they can also have tea and coffee, as this is a common myth that you should cut out caffeine.

Is an occasional glass of wine/alcohol going to harm an unborn baby?

It is recommended that they limit their alcohol intake to an occasional glass of wine.

What else can I take that people think is not allowed for a pregnant woman?

Shellfish is okay as long as it is cooked properly.
Cream cheese and liver pate again is okay as long as it is completely fresh

Any common misconceptions?

Women think that they should stop exercising when they find out they are pregnant. There is no harm in keeping up your gym routine but the only problem may be that when pregnant the ligaments are more likely to damage, so it may result in more injury.

Swimming and pilates are therefore most recommended, but nothing is ruled out, (with exception maybe to kickboxing)

Women also worry about sleeping on the tummy, but this is okay, they can sleep on back, tummy, side etc and it won't harm the baby.

Is there anything that you can do when the baby is in the womb that affects their temperament?

No, a baby's temperament depends on genetics and environment once they are born. In other words it doesn't matter if you listen to Mozart and take extra baths and all the things we do to create a calm atmosphere for them when they are in the womb. In fact it is their environment once they are born that will affect the baby's behaviour.

6. Any plus sides?

When the tiredness lifts and nausea stops usually in the second trimester women glow. They have increased energy, hair can look very healthy and there is what people often call a 'glow' associated with pregnancy

However most women end up with skin problems when they are pregnant, although some would say their skin improves. In general it has very little benefit for the mother in terms of appearance.

Grainne's advice for the Dads:-

What should men be aware of during the first 3 months?

Women are often extremely tired in the first three months and this is when they are keeping the pregnancy a 'secret' and may not want to tell any one the news until their scan.

Men need to realise that the tiredness can often affect their mood in early pregnancy and this once carefree happy partner has turned into an exhausted nauseated person. Emotions may be high especially if the pregnancy is unplanned and the woman is unsure of the relationship, career and financial situation.

Men often worry about if it is ok to have sex with their partner at this time and are aftraid that they will damage the growing baby. Men are often consumed with having to provide for his 'family to be'. It can often be a bit of a shock when he realises he is not as free to head off with the boys if his partner is at home exhausted, probably a taste of what it may be like in the future

With special thanks to
Doreen Buckey Antenatal Classes
Contact: 0876245927