A blog by Dr Lin Day

20 Vital Facts for Mums-to-be

From the moment of conception through to the birth, the following may help you maximise your chances of having a brilliant pregnancy.

For example, did you know that?

  1. Food aversions in early pregnancy may prevent you from eating foods that contain harmful bacterial toxins, which can cross the placenta and affect the health of your developing baby.
  2. You are less likely to get morning sickness if you eat corn-based foods, which have low levels of potentially harmful toxins.
  3. Craving for chocolate may signal the need to consume more calcium or fat in your diet, whereas craving for sweet foods may suggest the need for glucose.
  4. Tea, coffee, chocolate, and energy drinks contain caffeine. High levels (above 200 mg) can lead to low birth weight, and may even cause miscarriage.
  5. Alcohol consumption can damage your baby’s brain and organs at any time during pregnancy. No amount is considered to be safe.
  6. Skincare products (including sunscreen) may contain harmful ingredients, which can enter your baby’s body through the amniotic fluid, and affect brain, organ and reproductive development.
  7. Organic coconut oil, which is completely safe for you and your growing baby, can reduce the occurrence and appearance of stretch marks.
  8. Recent studies suggest that the pain-killer Paracetamol may increase the risk of reproductive disorders in male babies if taken regularly during pregnancy.
  9. When painting your nails, use water-based, non-toxic nail colour. It is much safer than polish that contains fixing agents and solvents, which can cause birth defects.
  10. Powerful hormonal shifts during pregnancy can intensify the sense of smell and heavily influence your taste preferences and food choices.
  11. If you want to paint your baby’s nursery before the birth, avoid exposure to oil-based, enamel, latex and spray paints, which may contain lead. Even small amounts can severely damage the development of your baby’s brain.
  12. Regular hand washing, not sharing eating or drinking utensils or kissing infected individuals with cytomegalovirus, the virus that causes cold sores, can protect against stillbirth during the early stages of pregnancy.
  13. Most fat is deposited on the hips and thighs in weeks 14 to 28 to provide energy for labour and your developing baby, but almost no fat is stored in weeks 29 to 40.
  14. Extra calories are not needed for the first and second trimesters of pregnancy. It is only in the last 12 weeks that you need an extra 200 calories a day.
  15. In the later stages of pregnancy, your body retains more fluid, which can lead to swollen ankles and feet, and an increase in shoe size.
  16. The veins in your nose may swell in response to increased blood flow causing nasal congestion and nose bleeds, particularly in cold, dry weather.
  17. Fluid retention and downward pressure of the uterus compresses your bladder, leading to the need to use the loo more often.
  18. Omega-3 from oily fish is important to your baby’s brain development. If your diet is deficient in Omega-3, the essential fatty acid will be derived from your brain, which may account for memory loss and vagueness in your third trimester and after the birth (‘Baby brain syndrome’).
  19. Numerous studies show that contractions usually begin somewhere between midnight and 4 am in the morning. Estriol (oestrogen produced by the placenta) and oxytocin hormones peak at night causing the uterus to contract and the cervix to dilate.
  20. When labour starts, continuous walking or moving around may dilate the cervix and decrease the total amount of time spent in childbirth.

Whether you are expecting your first or your first baby, you will have lots of questions. Whatever the question, Baby Foundations (www.babysensory.com) can help you learn as much as possible about your pregnancy so that you are better prepared for the challenges ahead.