Health During Pregnancy

Some of the most common questions you might have about your health during pregnancy are discussed below. If you have any other questions about your health please ring the adviceline.

It is very useful to make sure you take your pregnancy notes with you any time you see your community midwife, GP or if you come to the hospital for any ultrasound scans or appointments. This is our record of the care you have recieved and will help us to ensure you recieve the best and most appropriate care we can offer.

Pregnant mum

I have pain in my stomach, what should I do?

There are lots of reasons for a stomach ache or abdominal pain during pregnancy. Please note if you have pain directly to the left or the right of your abdomen during the early weeks of your pregnancy and have not had a scan yet, you must seek help from your GP or A&E as this could be a sign of an ectopic pregnancy.

After your scan, some women feel period type pains or tugging and pulling around their pelvis and the bottom of their stomach. This can be caused by your womb stretching and growing with your pregnancy. Try a warm hot water bottle or bath to ease the discomfort. You can also try paracetamol tablets.

Pain in your stomach or pelvis when you try to pass urine, passing urine more often or struggling to pass urine may be a sign that you have a urine infection. Ring your GP to be seen that day.

Any pain that you are worried about or that does not go away with paracetamol and rest should be discussed over the advice line (01642 854815 for James Cook or 01609 763082 for Friarage).

I have pain in my pelvis, what should I do?

As your pregnancy progresses your body releases hormones to help soften your pelvis ready for labour. Sometimes the weight of your growing baby on top of this can cause discomfort in your lower back or pelvis, most often when walking, going upstairs or turning over in bed. Taking steps to be aware of your posture and keeping your knees together may provide some relief, but the best advice will be given by attending the Back and Pelvis Class run by a qualified physiotherapist. To book on this please ring 01642 850850 and ask for extension 53741. There is an answer phone message with more details on this number.

Pelvic girdle pain or symphysis pubis dysfunction might be diagnosed if these symptoms become worse.  Ring your community midwife or the maternity adviceline to be referred to the physiotherapist for an assessment and advice/support on how to cope with your condition.

I’m vomiting, what should I do?

Lots of women experience nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.  During the early weeks this is also known as “morning sickness” and does not put your baby at any increased risk. Morning sickness usually clears up between 12 and 14 weeks of pregnancy.

If you are sick you might find eating little and often more helpful then trying to tolerate three larger meals each day. Try bland food like toast, crackers, rice and pasta. Avoid anything sweet, hot, spicy or which you feel triggers your sickness. Ensure you sip water to remain hydrated.

If you are unable to keep any food or water down there is the chance you could become dehydrated. Ring the advice line (01642 854815 for James Cook or 01609 763082 the Friarage) to speak to a midwife.  Some women suffer with a condition known as hyperemesis gravidarum which requires admission to hospital for intravenous fluids through a drip to re-hydrate you and medication to stop the vomiting (known as antiemetics).

I have diarrhoea, what should I do?

When you are pregnant you can still catch all the bugs going around. Unfortunately you often feel a lot worse. Diarrhoea often passes within a day or two and can be associated with tummy ache or cramps. You may find paracetamol or a warm hot water bottle soothing. Ensure you keep sipping water as you may become dehydrated. Also eat bland, non-fatty foods. Avoid dairy products.

Avoid going out and about until 48 hours after the last episode of diarrhoea to try to stop others from catching the bug from you. Ensure you wash your hands with soap and water after going to the toilet and before preparing food or eating.

If you feel faint, dizzy or are unable to tolerate any food or fluids you should ring your GP to discuss this further. You may also ring the advice line (01642 854815 for James Cook or 01609 763082 the Friarage) to speak to a midwife. On most occasions diarrhoea will stop on its own but occasionally women require admission for intravenous fluids if they become very dehydrated.

What is a normal vaginal loss (or discharge) during pregnancy?

Almost all women will have vaginal discharge during pregnancy. Towards the end of pregnancy this may also increase. You do not need to wash your vagina with soap, it is designed to keep itself clean and healthy. Washing yourself down below can make your vagina dry and itchy. Try wearing a thin panty-liner style pad if your discharge is annoying you rather than washing frequently. You can actually cause infections if you upset the balance of baceria that live in the vagina and work to keep it clean and healthy if you wash too often. If you wish to use soap wash around the outside of your vagina with an unperfumed soap only.

Your vaginal loss should not be itchy, have a strange smell to it or have an unusual colour. Some women also experience thrush during pregnancy, which may make them feel itchy and causes a lumpy creamy discharge.  Tell your GP or ring the maternity advice line if you have any concerns about your discharge during pregnancy or if you think you have thrush. Taking a low vaginal swab can often identify the source of an infection and help us recommend appropriate treament for you.

I’m bleeding, what should I do?

Bleeding in pregnancy is not normal, but is quite common.  With any vaginal bleeding during your pregnancy you must always seek help. If the bleeding is only when you wipe yourself with toilet tissue or a very small streak or spot in your underwear then you should place a sanitary pad on and ring one of the telephone numbers below for advice.

If you are below 12 weeks pregnant you should ring the Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit for advice and support on 01642 854819.

If you are more than 12 weeks pregnant ring the maternity assessment unit on 01642 854815.

If the bleeding is very heavy and is running down your legs this is an emergency and you must ring 999 for urgent help.

There are lots of reasons women might bleed, including: from their cervix following sexual intercourse, due to a vaginal infection, if they are having a miscarriage or if their placenta is attached to the lower part of the womb near or covering the cervix.  Any bleeding should always be reported to your midwife via the adviceline. You may require an examination at hospital and may be kept in hospital for observation.

Towards the end of your pregnancy you might notice a bloody sticky “show” in your underwear or when you wipe with tissue after going to the toilet. This small amount of sticky jelly like pink mucus is present in your cervix during your pregnancy. Before labour starts of if you are in early labour it may come away. This is normal. However if you have any fresh red bleeding or if you are not towards the end of your pregnancy (after 37 weeks) you should ring the advice line (01642 854815 for James Cook and 01609 763082 for the Friarage).

How will I know when my waters have gone?

Some women feel a sudden “pop” and feel lots of warm fluid leaking from their vagina, but some women may just feel a little bit damp and notice their underwear is wet. Put a sanitary pad on and ring the adviceline for further advice if you suspect your waters may have broken.

Why do I need to come to hospital because my waters have broken?

If you ring the advice line and the midwife thinks it is possible your waters have broken then she will ask you come in to have a check over. We want to make sure both you and baby are well. If you are beyond 37 weeks pregnant and all is well you can go home to await labour, however we will offer to book an induction after 24 hours to reduce the risk of an infection developing. If you are pre-term (before 37 weeks) and your waters have gone we will request you remain in hospital for observation and to see a senior doctor to discuss a plan of care for your pregnancy.

My waters have gone, how do I know everything is ok?

The water should be clear or straw coloured, without any strong smell. Sometimes the waters might look pink, but this should always be discussed with a midwife or doctor. If the waters change colour or become smelly you must ring the advice line immediately. This includes if you have already been to hospital and are now at home.

You should check your temperature around every four hours to make sure you are not developing an infection. Signs of an infection include feeling hot or cold, shivery or shaky or if you have any smelly loss. If you don’t feel right please ring the advice line to check out your symptoms with one of our midwives.

Feeling your baby move is a sign that they are well

Please read the following information:

NHS leaflet by Tommy’s on feeling your baby move (209kb)
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