We speak to some of the best in the business about bump, birth and those first few weeks
Before the first appointment, it’s good to be as prepared as possible. It’s great if a dating scan (12 weeks) has been completed as not only does it reassure the couple that all is well so far, but also provides the expected due date, which is helpful to plan for both sides. If you can bring along any information on previous blood tests your GP may have already done, or inform us of any that you have booked, this will ensure they are not repeated. For example, if someone is rhesus negative then we can discuss the process of anti-D injections in the pregnancy and after delivery. Any previous surgery, diseases or relevant hospital stays are also important to discuss, and if some papers are available this can be very helpful. However, a lot of women who are pregnant for the first time have not had any of the above done before their initial appointment, and so will have much additional information after they have seen me. Of course it’s helpful if you can come with all the information, but we can arrange collection of this after the first meeting. Besides the medical importance of the first appointment, it’s also crucial for forming a new relationship. Be sure you feel comfortable with your obstetrician as they’ll be there for the duration of your pregnancy and during labour.[quote_box_right]Besides the medical importance of the first appointment, it’s also crucial for forming a new relationship. Be sure you feel comfortable with your obstetrician as they’ll be there for the duration of your pregnancy and during labour.
I usually have a whole list of questions in order to get an overall impression of the health status and wellbeing of my client. Once all these questions are answered I ask the couple for their questions. Many arrive with a whole list, which will then lead to a discussion of what to do, or not to do, during pregnancy.
This appointment will cover a variety of concerns, whether instigated by the client or myself. This will include questions on travel (when is best to travel/how long/when do I stop flying), sports (which exercises should I do/is sport important in pregnancy and why), eating (weight gain/how much do I need to eat daily? What can I eat?) and sex-related queries (will sex lead to a miscarriage? Can we have normal sex? How long can we have sex in early pregnancy or all the way through?).
Blood pressure, weight and urine will always be checked, but otherwise there is no physical examination at the first obstetric consultation.
The First Pregnancy Ultrasound Scan
Dr Katharina Schramm, Gynaecologist and Obstetrician at +richmond practice
Your first pregnancy ultrasound scan is an exciting day; it’s difficult to forget the first time you hear the sound of your baby’s heartbeat. Suddenly, all the experiences and stories other mothers have shared become so real and personal. It is more than just a positive pregnancy test, it’s the realisation that there is a small life growing inside you. Consult your doctor or midwife when you discover that you are pregnant so that you can arrange your first pregnancy scan and consultation. This is also known as a dating scan, and usually happens at 12 weeks. At the anomaly scan (20 weeks) you will see your baby in much more detail. If the baby is in a good position we will give you a 3D or 4D image of their face. They’ll appear very real – like the living person they are. Many mothers feel that this is one of the most important bonding experiences they share with their baby before birth.
Karen Bramall, Baby Sleep Consultant
Many new parents, and their babies, are surviving on only a few hours sleep a night, with some reporting that their baby sleeps more during the day than at night. It is important to allow your newborn to do as much eating and sleeping as they want to during the first few weeks. However, it can be hard to know when the night ends and the day begins for a newborn, so help your baby separate night and day by making a clear distinction at 12-hour intervals. At night, stay in the bedroom, make sure it is dimly lit and keep your voice low. During the day, expose your baby to lots of daylight and fresh air when they are awake. Your newborn’s body clock will start working properly at around six weeks, so this routine will help the process along.
Overstimulation is very common in newborns. The longest your baby should be awake between naps in that first month is 45 to 60 minutes, including feeding times. A great sleep-awake pattern to follow is: sleep, feed, play, repeat. This will help to stop your baby developing a feed-to-sleep association and encourage nice full feeds, as they won’t be falling asleep while feeding.