Pregnancy Q & A

(This article is also available in an audio format)

Question

I am experiencing terrible heart-burn. Is there anything I can do to relieve it?

Answer

Over half of all pregnant moms get heartburn, an uncomfortable burning sensation that occurs when acid from your stomach’s digestive juices escape through the relaxed stomach valve and bubble up into your oesophagus. It’s due to pregnancy hormones relaxing the valve that usually stops the acid from welling back up. It may get worse later in pregnancy, as your growing bump also puts extra pressure on your stomach

What to do

  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals. This will limit the amount of food in your stomach
  • Don’t drink a lot with your meals or you’ll swallow more air, which will aggravate heartburn
  • Cut down on alcohol and caffeine – they relax the muscle that usually holds the acid in
  • Avoid foods that trigger heartburn – fatty and fried foods, tomato sauce, and spicy foods are often the culprit
  • Tempting though it is to lie down after eating, make yourself sit in a comfortable upright position
  • Before going to sleep, prop yourself up with pillows behind your head and one under your knees
  • Avoid wearing clothing that is tight around your middle
  • Take an antacid if necessary

Question

I am pregnant and not sleeping well at all. Help is needed- please?

Answer

This is nature’s way of preparing you for what is ahead – lots of broken sleep. It gets more difficult to sleep the further you go into your pregnancy. No position seems to be comfortable for very long. Again this is nature’s way of helping you prepare for your birth. If you didn’t get uncomfortable and look forward to this this pregnancy ending – it would be quite a traumatic adjustment when you went into labour.

Some sleep accessories and a night-time routine may help. To get your body more relaxed and ready for sleep, before getting into bed –

  • Take a warm shower and do some slow stretches to ease tension in your neck, shoulders and back. Do a hula dance and sway your hips from side to side, forward and back and in a circle. This moves around the baby and changes the area that it is placing pressure on in your pelvis
  • Take a warm bath and let the water relax your tired muscles. Have someone help you out the bath as a long soak can make you feel light-headed
  • Do some slow deep breathing
  • Ask your partner to give you a massage
  • To help get into a more comfortable position
  • Use a preggy roll or lots of pillows for support of your legs, tummy and head
  • Use an extra blanket or sleeping bag to add a layer of softness between you and your mattress
  • If you wake up and can’t get comfortable
  • Take a stroll around your home after you have been to the bathroom
  • Rest in a reclining chair
  • Listen to some relaxing, quiet music or some nature sounds
  • Dream about your precious baby that will soon be there

Question

Is it safe to travel long distances by car while I am pregnant?

Answer

It is fine to travel, but a few important factors must be taken into account

  • Frequent stops – every 1 to 2 hours should be made for walking and stretching to prevent blood clots in the legs due to long periods of inactivity
  • You should empty your bladder regularly and drink frequently to prevent a urinary tract infection and becoming dehydrated
  • Remember to still snack frequently and don’t go for long periods without anything to eat

Question

Why do I need various scans done during my pregnancy?

Answer

  • 6-8 weeks
    • A scan to confirm the viability of the pregnancy – check baby’s heart beat and that the foetus is within the uterus
    • Detect any gross abnormalities
    • Confirm the expected due date by measuring the baby from head to bottom up to 14 weeks
  • Nuchal scan 11 – 13 weeks
    • A nuchal scan measures the amount of fluid at the back of the baby’s neck. Higher than average levels can indicate a risk of Down’s syndrome. This measurement gives an indication of the risk, which can be further refined with a blood test. The blood test will only be conducted if the nuchal measurements indicate a need for a more accurate assessment
  • Foetal anomaly scan 18 – 24 weeks
    • This assessment uses the capabilities and safety of an ultrasound scan to give the baby a full check-up. It is the first real opportunity to assess the baby’s organs and well being. It is a detailed review of the baby’s anatomy, including the head, spine, heart and kidneys
  • 4 D bonding scan
    • A chance to see lifelike images of your baby. Good to have between 24 and 32 weeks

Question

Is it safe to wear a seat belt during pregnancy?

Answer

Definitely wear your seat belt during pregnancy. It can save your life as well as your baby’s. Position the lower strap low over your hips, under your preggy bump. The shoulder portion should ride over your shoulder and chest. A seat belt adjuster may help to keep the straps in the correct position. Place your seat as far back as is comfortable and ensure you can reach the pedals safely. This places maximum distance between your preggy bump and the steering wheel. Do not let your tummy touch the steering wheel while driving. Try to be at least 20cm from the steering wheel.

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