Don’t worry, be happy

Pregnancy can be baffling at the best of times. Time Out Kids spoke to the midwives at Health Bay Polyclinic about some of the most common concerns mums-to-be panic about – so you don’t have to


How often should my baby be kicking?
From 28 weeks the movements become more consistent due to baby being bigger. From this point it’s recommended that you should be feeling a ratio of 10 good movements every 12 hours. The World Health Organization recommends that any change in movements above 28 weeks should be checked out. This is because the only way an unborn baby can let us know it is unhappy is by slowing or suddenly increasing its movements. Spend a little time each day getting to know what is normal for your baby: is it more active in the morning or afternoon? Once you become familiar with this it should be easy to recognize a change.

I’m putting on lots of weight. Is this normal?
Each pregnant woman will gain weight, it’s a fact! Your body will lay down fat on the buttocks, thighs and upper arms, ready to convert into breast milk. Around 10 to 12 kilos is ‘normal’ but each pregnant woman is unique, it’s about gauging what is reasonable and healthy for you. Although you will require greater energy, eating for two is a myth: eat healthily and to your appetite, remain reasonably active and take the advice of your obstetrician or midwife.

My ankles are very swollen. Should I be worried?
Swollen ankles are one of the perks of pregnancy (NOT!) and affect many pregnant women. Generally there is nothing to worry about; it’s just a sign of how your body is compromising to grow the little person inside. However you should mention any swelling (or ‘oedema’, its medical name) to your doctor or midwife, any onset of symptoms such as headache, visual disturbances or upper tummy pain and swelling to feet or hands must be reported as soon as possible as this can sometimes be indicative of more serious problems.

I’ve got awful morning sickness and can’t eat certain foods. Will this affect my baby?
It is believed that ‘morning sickness’ is linked to minor hypoglycemia: classically it occurs when you have not eaten for a long period, for most women this means overnight, hence ‘morning’ sickness. The trick is to eat little and often to maintain a steady supply of carbohydrates and sugars into your blood stream, which will reduce nausea. For some people a low glycemic diet really helps (brown bread, pasta, rice etc, these ‘complex’ carbs will release sugar very slowly). As long as you are eating a good balance of food groups, you should be fine, if in doubt there are fabulous vitamin supplements available which are suitable for pregnancy.

I’ve had a bit of spotting, should I be concerned?
Any blood loss in pregnancy should be discussed with your obstetrician or midwife. Spotting, although common and usually benign, can be a symptom of other problems so should always be checked out.

I seem to be having lots of scans. Is that safe?
Ultrasound scans have been used widely in obstetrics since the 1950s, and there are no reported side effects. Scans provide us with useful, essential information about the developing baby and are performed at key times in pregnancy. Most importantly at 12 weeks, we are able to most accurately date the pregnancy by measuring the foetus. Then again at 20 weeks we are able to perform the ‘anomaly’ or ‘morphology’ scan. This is a longer scan than others as we need to collate vital information about the baby such as bone length, heart and brain development.

I love soft cheeses. Do I have to give them all up?
Pasteurized, spreadable soft cheeses are safe to eat during pregnancy as long as they have been refrigerated and are within the ‘use by’ date. Cheeses which should be avoided are those which have a mould rind such as brie and camembert, and this includes blue veined cheeses. With these, there is an increased risk of listeria infection, which can be harmful to unborn babies.

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