So I wanted to write a series of posts dedicated to anyone who is pregnant or looking to fall pregnant, to share some advice on some of the wonderful and some not so wonderful things us women go through during pregnancy! It’s certainly not the most glamorous of times and there are a LOT of changes which happen to our bodies! So I wanted to kick off the series with a few points which are particularly relevant to anyone in their first 2 trimesters. I would love to know of any questions you may have about what’s coming your way, or any terminology you need help with, or anything you’ve experienced too!
“Booking in” appointment;
You’re officially pregnant in the eyes of the NHS! This will be your first contact with the midwives at your local GP and it will feel nice to finally talk it through with a health professional and it will feel all the more real. Here she will go through many things with you and fill out a hundred forms! You will be given “your notes” which you will need to take to every appointment thereafter and into labour with you. You will have a couple of blood tests here as well which will be sent off for testing lots of different aspects, from iron levels to your immunity to particular diseases. You will also have a urine test which will check for diabetes and excess protein. You won’t be examined at this stage but be ready for lots of questions. These will vary from personal questions about your relationship to family history and your lifestyle. Your midwife will then book in your first scan – yippee!
You may have heard of this, and you may have already been taking it. But for those of you who have never heard of it…here’s the lowdown. It’s a type of B vitamin which is important in the prevention of neural tube defects such as spina bifida and helps to ensure that your baby’s spine develops correctly. It also aids cell division and the formation of red blood cells which is important throughout pregnancy. Guidelines say pre-conception and the first 3 months of pregnancy are the most important time to top up on this vitamin via supplement, but you can absolutely take it the whole way through. Your body will get rid of any extra that it doesn’t need so don’t worry about taking too much. As well as foods such as wholemeal bread, baked beans, chickpeas & leafy green vegetables a lot of cereals are fortified with Folic acid making it easy to find naturally but it’s advised to supplement with a tablet too – these are given free through the NHS if you can’t afford them so make sure you’re asking for them.
Decoding your Midwife’s notes;
There are so many acronyms and abbreviations for you to get your head around, so I will include more as we go along but for now here’s some you may have seen in your initial booking in or 1st scan notes.
- Weeks or gestation – The length of your pregnancy so far. this is taken from you –
- LMP – Your last monthly period
- EDD – Estimated due date
- Hb – This stands for haemoglobin, the substance found in red blood cells that carries oxygen around your body and to your baby.
For me these kicked in around the time the morning (all day) sickness faded out, so around 17 weeks. Personally I have been craving sparkling water, chocolate & limes. Last time I was addicted to apple juice and vinegar! All of these you could say are pretty unexciting really. But some expectant mums can be craving some seriously weird things such as coal, ice or even sponges! As strange as your cravings may be, and mostly they are just down to hormonal changes (the answer to most preggo related changes!!) they could be worth looking into what is causing them as it could be down to a deficiency which you should check out. For example ice and random things like soil or ash could mean an iron deficiency…definitely don’t help yourself to a pinch of the garden though as this could lead to illness. Make sure you’re stocking up on iron tablets instead. Interestingly a craving for chocolate could actually mean you need to top up your magnesium levels, so although not quite as tasty, you need to be tucking into beans, seeds and spinach! Cravings for sweet things could mean a drop in blood sugar levels, so make sure you’re eating little and often. I wrote here about some healthier alternatives to keep you filled up and I also wrote here about how to help with the dreaded morning sickness!
Keep your eyes peeled for the next instalment of the series and remember to comment below if you have anything in particular you want me to include. Take care xxx