Expecting a baby is usually a life changing experience for both the mother-to-be and her husband or partner. Therefore it is paramount that you are well cared for. Richmond Practice has three consultant specialists in obstetrics and gynaecology who offer their expert view.
Why are my feet swollen during pregnancy?
By Ekho Zhang
Fifty to eighty percent of pregnant women have some swelling of the ankle and feet during pregnancy, especially towards approaching delivery. The medical term for this is ‘oedema’.
The pregnant uterus can press on the surrounding blood vessels, and slow down the blood travelling from the lower limbs to the heart. Water leaks out from small vessels (known as capillaries) into the surrounding tissues which therefore causes swelling.
You can try the following to reduce the swelling:
• Put your feet up and rest
• Lying on left lateral position
• Drinking water regularly
• Using TEDS stockings
• Avoid tight shoes
• Move around every hour
Consult your Doctor/Midwife, if you have:
• Face oedema
• Persistent ankle and feet oedema
• Calf tenderness
When does my baby start hearing my voice?
By Nele Dumpert
20 weeks marks the halfway point of your pregnancy. By this point, your baby has passed enormous developmental milestones during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy, and by now weighs around 250g and is approximately 20cm long. The body is fully formed, down to the smallest detail such as the shape of the nose and the bones of the inner ear.
Now is also the time when your baby starts to become aware of the surrounding world. He or she begins to develop all the senses: tasting the amniotic fluid, feeling movement and touch and listening to sounds outside the uterus. Your baby might even react differently to different sounds, like the voices of the parents which can already invoke a calming effect at this stage.
Even though your baby is so well protected and sheltered inside the womb, he or she can begin experiencing some of the little discomforts of life – baby can by now start having hiccups! The mother can often feel this as rhythmic jerking movements of the little one inside her tummy. But there is no need to worry; they are thought to be caused by intermittent spasms of the immature diaphragm and do not cause any harm to the baby.
Consult your Dr/Midwife, if:
• You need advice regarding your pregnancy
• You would like to have a reassurance scan
How can I have my baby checked for abnormalities?
By Elisabeth Peregrine
All pregnant women are usually offered an ultrasound scan mid-way through their pregnancy at around 20 weeks gestation: the fetal anomaly scan. The main purpose of this scan is to look for any abnormalities in your baby.
The scan usually takes about 30 minutes, and during the scan the sonographer will take a very close look at your baby. The main purpose of the scan is to check your baby for structural anomalies (congenital abnormalities). There are many congenital abnormalities that can be detected by a scan at this stage; however in a small number of cases, babies are born with anomalies that were not seen on the scan.
If the baby is lying in an awkward position it may be difficult for the sonographer to scan your baby. Therefore, the scan may take longer than expected, or you may be asked to come back for another scan if it cannot be completed.
Consult your Dr/Midwife, if:
• You are between 18 weeks and 20 weeks + 6 days
• You want to check your baby for structural anomalies
• You want to see your baby’s development