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Your Pregnancy

Take care of yourself during pregnancy. Tiredness seems to contribute to morning sickness. Try to get to bed early. Nap during the day if you can, and if you feel tired. Eat healthy food. Eating small amounts frequently can help with morning sickness. Ginger can help, as can dry crackers or toast before you get out of bed in the morning. The best thing is to remember that morning sickness is a good sign, of a healthy pregnancy. Often a pregnancy which miscarries did not have much morning sickness (as was the case with my miscarriage). In the two pregnancies I have had since then I have welcomed the discomfort of morning sickness! After about 12 weeks it usually eases, or goes away altogether, and you can enjoy being pregnant without too many discomforts for a while. Generally in the last 3 months you start to feel tired again and various other problems may arise (such as varicose veins, heartburn, high blood pressure, etc. Consult your midwife about any problems, pains, etc you may experience).

Make sure you are well informed about any decisions you need to make, during your pregnancy, during birth, and soon after the birth. There are several controversial issues, and it is your responsibility to look at both sides and decide which makes the most sense to you. This process is often confusing, because both sides are convinced that they are right, and have statistics to back up their claims. You must sift through the evidence and look for errors in logic, contradictions, and straight out lies. Ask older people whom you trust what they think. Wisdom comes with years and experience. Some examples would be: Ultrasounds and tests during pregnancy – are they really necessary, and how safe are they? Pain management during birth – what are the pro's and con's of each method, what do you feel comfortable about using, and what would you not consider? Vitamin K for your newborn – what are the risks in giving it, versus the risks of not giving it? Is it better to be injected or given orally? Will you choose to circumcise if you have a boy? What are both sides of the immunisation debate? What are the risks of both, are vaccines safe and effective, what are vaccines made of, does anyone stand to gain anything from your decision?

It is important to keep fit during pregnancy. Walking 20 minutes a least 4 times a week is good exercise. Swimming and Pilates are also very good exercise during pregnancy.

Maternity clothes are sized the same as you would normally wear. If you are a size 12 normally, you will be size 12 in maternity wear. Get a maternity bra as close to the end of your pregnancy as possible. You may find you need a larger size bra earlier during the pregnancy. Do not wear under wire bras during pregnancy. When you buy maternity bras (you should need 2 or 3), you can get a professional to fit one for you at a lingerie shop. They are usually cheaper, however, from a department store. If you fit one yourself make sure there is at least room for two fingers to fit sideways under the diagonal side over your chest. This where your breasts will enlarge when they fill up with milk. You can buy disposable breast pads or washable breast pads to wear inside your bra to absorb leaking milk. I use mens' handkerchiefs, which work just as well.

The advice nowadays seems to be not to prepare your nipples for breastfeeding. However, I tried not preparing them for my third baby, and did not spend much time with it for my seventh, and both times I had cracks and sore nipples. For my other pregnancies I did prepare my nipples. During the last month or six weeks I would massage Vitamin E (wheatgerm oil) into the nipples and areola daily. I would also massage them between my finger and thumb often during the day to help prepare them for feeding. If you can get sun on them (without burning!!) that is good – an alternative is to blow a warm hairdryer on them for 10 minutes or so every day. A baby's suck is incredibly strong and I believe soft, tender nipples need some warning. After each feed in the first week or two I massage a thick lanolin into the nipple and areola. The one I have used is called “Lansinoh”. It helps protect the nipple and repair damage, and I have found it extremely effective.

When you pack your hospital bag put in some vaseline jelly or bee balm. This is to smother baby's bottom with. It will make the sticky, dark meconium (baby's first bowel motions) clean off easily. Without it, meconium can be quite difficult to get off baby's skin.

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