Babycentre Pregnancy from Preconception to Birth

by Hilary Mandleberg

Author Hilary Mandleberg Isbn 9781405341257 File size 34MB Year 2010 Pages 320 Language English File format PDF Category Family and Friendship From preconception to birth expert advice from the world s leading website for parents Babycentre Produced with Babycentre the world s leading parenting website this up to the minute guide to preconception pregnancy birth and the first few weeks with your baby combines expert advice from health professionals with shared experience suggestions

Publisher :

Author : Hilary Mandleberg

ISBN : 9781405341257

Year : 2010

Language: English

File Size : 34MB

Category : Family and Friendship

from preconception to birth

from preconception to birth

London • New York • Munich • Melbourne • Delhi
For BabyCentre
Project editor Victoria Farrimond
Contributing editor Martine Gallie
Editor Sasha Miller
For DK
Project editor Hilary Mandleberg
Project designers Hannah Moore and Kevin Smith
Senior editor Emma Maule
Senior art editor Isabel de Cordova
Designer Saskia Janssen
Photographer Ruth Jenkinson
Photography art direction Isabel de Cordova
Production editor Maria Elia
Senior production editor Jennifer Murray
Production controller Seyhan Esen
Creative technical support Sonia Charbonnier
Managing editor Penny Warren
Managing art editors Glenda Fisher and Marianne Markham
Category publisher Peggy Vance
Every effort has been made to ensure that the information contained in this book is
complete and accurate. However, neither the publisher nor the author are engaged
in rendering professional advice or services to the individual reader. The ideas,
procedures, and suggestions contained in the book are not intended as a substitute
for consultation with your healthcare provider. All matters regarding the health of
you and your child require medical supervision. All participants in fitness activities
must assume the responsibility for their own actions and safety. If you have any
health problems or medical conditions, consult with your doctor before
undertaking any of the exercise suggestions set out in this book. Neither the
publisher nor the author accept any legal responsibility for any personal injury or
other damage or loss arising from the use or misuse of the information and advice
in this book.
First published in Great Britain in 2010 by Dorling Kindersley Limited
80 Strand, London, WC2R 0RL
Penguin Group (UK)
Cover design © BabyCenter LLC and Dorling Kindersley Limited 2010
Text © BabyCenter LLC 2010
Copyright © Dorling Kindersley Limited 2010
BabyCenter is the registered trademark of BabyCenter LLP
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All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced,
stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means,
electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without
the prior written permissions of the copyright owners.
A CIP catalogue of this book is available from the British Library
ISBN 978-1-4053-4125-7
Colour reproduction Colourscan, Singapore
Printed and bound in Singapore by Tien Wah Press

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Getting ready
for pregnancy

Before you start
Health and lifestyle checks for you
Partners take note
You’re in this together
Pre-existing medical conditions
Age and fertility
The beginnings of life
Your menstrual cycle
Ovulation calendars
Boy or girl?
Am I pregnant?
Pregnancy following IVF
Is it twins (or more)?
Ectopic pregnancy


Environmental hazards


The body beautiful


Pregnancy weight gain


Hormones in pregnancy


Staying positive


First-time parents


Coping with a sibling


Sex in pregnancy


Style, fashion and comfort


Maternity wear


Breasts and bras


Beauty treatments


Staying safe in the sun


Holidays and travel


Bonding with your unborn baby


Preparing the nursery


Essential baby buys

Your pregnancy
A week-by-week guide

Staying safe
and healthy

The first trimester


Healthy eating for you and baby
What’s safe to eat?
Fitness during pregnancy
Relaxation during pregnancy
Safety at home
Safety at work
Rights and benefits at work


All change


03 Weeks


04 Weeks


05 Weeks


Diet in the first trimester


06 Weeks


07 Weeks


08 Weeks


09 Weeks


Sleep in early pregnancy


10 Weeks
11 Weeks
Scans at 10 to 14 weeks
12 Weeks
13 Weeks

The second trimester

The time of your life
14 Weeks
15 Weeks
Diet in the second trimester
16 Weeks
17 Weeks
18 Weeks
Screening at the halfway stage
19 Weeks
20 Weeks
Sleep in the second trimester
21 Weeks
22 Weeks
23 Weeks
24 Weeks
25 Weeks
26 Weeks
27 Weeks

The third trimester

The home stretch
28 Weeks
Diet in late pregnancy
29 Weeks
30 Weeks
31 Weeks
32 Weeks
33 Weeks
34 Weeks
35 Weeks
Sleep in late pregnancy
36 Weeks
37 Weeks
38 Weeks
39 Weeks
40 Weeks

Common concerns
in pregnancy

It’s natural to worry
Baby-safety worries
Worries about birth defects
Worries about labour day and after


Different mums, different worries


Recurring pregnancy problems


Genetic disorders


Medical problems in pregnancy

Birth and beyond
Becoming a parent
Labour and birth


Medical pain relief
Premature labour
Assisted birth
Twin/multiple birth
Breech babies
Caesarean section
Emergency deliveries, fast labour

Life with your new baby

A life’s begun
After the birth: your baby and you
Going home with your newborn
The first two weeks
Useful contacts and organisations



You’re going to be a parent


Preparation and choices


Overdue babies


Home birth


Your baby’s position


Signs of labour



False labour



First stage of labour


First stage of labour: transition


Positions for labour


Second stage of labour


Third stage of labour


Natural pain relief


Having a baby will probably be the most wonderful,
exciting, joyous and life-changing thing you will ever do.
It can also be worrying, at times overwhelming and often
downright exhausting.
When you become a parent, your life changes for ever. It’s an incredible experience but
adapting to those changes can be a real challenge. As a mum myself, I understand that
having access to the best information and support makes those changes so much easier to
cope with. The moment you become pregnant, your mind is filled with questions: How is my
baby developing? Why am I feeling like this? Is this safe? Is that normal? There are also lots
of decisions to be made: about your care during pregnancy, where and how you want to give
birth, what you need to buy for your newborn and even what you should call your baby when
she or he finally arrives.
Having a source of information you can really trust will give you the answers to all these
questions and more. It will also give you the confidence you need to make choices that are
right for you and your baby. And that’s exactly what BabyCentre is all about. BabyCentre is
the UK’s number one website for new and expectant parents. Since we launched in the UK
in 2000, our trusted advice and friendly community have supported millions of mums and
dads on their journey to parenthood.
This book, with its in-depth information and beautiful photographs, is an exciting new
venture for us. We’re delighted to be working with Dorling Kindersley to create such a
fantastic publication. It brings together BabyCentre’s expert content plus the voices of
real mums and dads from our online community in a gorgeous book that takes you from
the miracle of conception to those first precious weeks with your newborn baby. You may
want to put your feet up (go on, it’s good for you!) and read it cover to cover, or dip into it
as your pregnancy progresses. Whether this is your first pregnancy or you are adding
to your family, BabyCentre Pregnancy will be your perfect companion.
Have a wonderful pregnancy.

Sasha Miller, Editor


BabyCentre Pregnancy is designed to accompany you all the
way along your incredible journey into parenthood, from the moment
when you make the decision to start a family through to those first
precious weeks with your newborn.

Your pregnancy guide
This book is packed with all the information you’ll need throughout your pregnancy,
including a week-by-week pregnancy diary, helpful hints and checklists, and tips
and advice from mums and dads who’ve all been there, done it and have the
milk-stained t-shirt to prove it.
We at BabyCentre want to be your most trusted parenting resource – that’s why
we offer practical advice from expert sources, such as doctors, midwives and fellow
parents. We’ve divided the book into the four following sections:

Getting ready for pregnancy
Deciding to have a baby is one of the most momentous decisions you’re ever likely
to make. It requires a lifetime commitment of love and care, not to mention financial
support, both in the early years and for many years afterwards.
In this chapter, we’ll give you all the information you need to build the right
foundations for a happy and healthy pregnancy and baby, whether it’s your first baby
or a new addition to your family. We’ll also give you the low-down on preparing
your body for pregnancy, from eating the right foods and cutting out vices such as
smoking and drinking, to managing any pre-existing medical conditions.
Dads take note too – your health and lifestyle can affect your fertility. We’ll help
you protect your potency and prepare yourself for parenthood.
So, what happens next? There are all sorts of fascinating biological events that
take place behind the scenes, from ovulation to conception. We cover them all
and help to give you a better understanding of your own fertility.

Staying safe and healthy
Once you’re pregnant, you’ll have many questions about how best to look
after yourself and your baby. What should – and shouldn’t – you be eating?
How can you stay fit and active without getting hurt? What medicines are
safe and which should you avoid? Are there any hazards at work or at home
you should be concerned about? Being pregnant can seem like a minefield
at times. In this chapter, we’ll let you know what is safe and what isn’t, and
give you advice on how you can protect yourself and your baby.


Being pregnant isn’t just about your physical wellbeing. You’ll find yourself on an
emotional rollercoaster over the next nine months; elated one day, anxious about
how your life will change the next. We’ll help you cope with these feelings and
offer some practical tips, from making the decision to return to work and avoiding
isolation after your baby is born, to how your relationship is about to change.
Although you might not feel it in those first nauseous months, being pregnant
makes you bloomingly beautiful. We’ll outline all the changes that your body will go
through, what beauty treatments will enhance your pregnancy glow, and we’ll give
tips on how you can update your wardrobe to accommodate your growing bump.
Nine months may seem like a long time, but before you know it you’ll be holding
your tiny newborn. We’ll explain how you and your partner can bond with your
baby before he arrives. We’ll also help you prepare your home for his arrival.

Your pregnancy diary
At the heart of the book is a week-by-week pregnancy diary. Here you can find the
information you need, right when you need it. You’ll find out about how your baby is
developing and the remarkable changes your body is going through. You’ll find out
about common health concerns, your antenatal care options, exercise for each stage
of pregnancy, and information on coping with pregnancy while you’re at work.
This section is divided into the three trimesters of pregnancy, each of which is
made up of around 12 weeks. Here you’ll find stage-based tips on healthy eating and
how to get a good night’s sleep. You’ll also discover what scans and antenatal tests
are available and, as you enter the third trimester, you’ll find plenty of advice on
preparing for the birth. This chapter also includes a comprehensive health section,
covering all the common medical pregnancy concerns.

Birth and beyond
Every birth is different but our labour and birth information will help you plan and
prepare for the big day. We will guide you through the different stages of childbirth
and look at all the options available to you – whether you are planning to have your
baby at home, in hospital or at a birthing centre. We’ll take you through the process
of labour and birth stage by stage, from the first signs of labour, to the moment you
hold your newborn.
In this section you’ll find out about natural and medical pain relief and positions
for labour and birth. You’ll also find out all about assisted births, breech births and
caesarean sections, and what happens when you’re overdue. And in the unlikely
event that your labour happens very quickly, we’ll let you know how to deal with
an emergency home birth.
The first few weeks with your baby can be wonderful, challenging and tiring all
at the same time. Here you’ll find lots of practical advice on caring for your newborn,
including “how tos” on feeding, bathing and holding him and changing his nappy.
We’ll also help you adapt to your new life as a parent, with information on coping
with fatigue and understanding your emotions in these tiring early weeks.

“This book is
packed with all
the information
needed to guide
you through

Getting ready for

14 Getting ready for pregnancy

Before you start
A child demands a lifetime commitment to provide love, nurturing,
nourishment, shelter, education and attention. So before you decide to
have a baby, it’s important that you and your partner consider your
decision carefully. This is a decision that will change your lives forever.

Thinking your decision

Becoming parents will have a major
impact on many aspects of your life. You and
your partner should discuss it carefully.

“I think it’s easier being a mum
today than it was for our mothers.
My partner is much more hands on
with the children than my dad was
– and he does his fair share of the
housework too.”
Leah, mum to Amy and Ben

“Mums today are under so much
pressure. There are loads of scare
stories in the news about what to
feed your baby, and how much
time you should spend with your
family before their development
suffers… I’m sure my grandmother didn’t experience that.”
Donna, 33, first-time mum

Having a baby won’t have just a small
impact on your life; it’s going to shift the
entire centre of your universe. Think
about how you’ll feel, how you usually
cope with change, and how you can
prepare yourselves properly.

Some key questions
to consider include:
● Are you both truly committed to
becoming parents?
● Have you thought through how you’ll
handle balancing work and family?
● Are you prepared for the possibility
that you may have twins or more?
● Are you ready to give up sleeping in
on Sundays or to line up a babysitter
every single time you want to go out?
● If you have religious differences, have
the two of you discussed how these will
affect your child?
● Have you thought about how
becoming parents may change you and
your close relationships with others?

Start early
Giving your baby the best possible start
means getting your own life sorted well
before you get pregnant. Plan a few
months ahead if you can, so that

changes to your diet and lifestyle (see
pp.16–17) have time to take effect. If
you have an existing medical condition,
such as epilepsy, asthma or diabetes
(see pp.22–3) you may need to make
some changes to your treatment before
you conceive. Most doctors are happy to
give you a general pre-pregnancy health
check-up to make sure you’re in the
best possible health for pregnancy.

Stopping contraception
For some people, stopping contraception
is as easy as shoving the condoms or
diaphragm to the back of a drawer. If
you’ve been on the pill, the usual advice
is to start trying once you’ve had one
normal period. If you’ve been having
contraceptive injections, it may take a
while for the effect to wear off (about
12 weeks, according to manufacturers).
To have an intrauterine device (IUD
or coil) or intrauterine system (IUS)
removed, you’ll need to make an
appointment with your family planning
clinic or your doctor. Your normal fertility
will return as soon as you have the IUD
removed, but it may take a month or so
if you use an IUS because of the effects
of hormones in the system.

I’m going to be a dad

Think about your lifestyle. Do you have
good childcare arrangements in place?
Are your other children sleeping
through the night? Maybe you’ve gone
back to work and you love it. Money
isn’t everything, but if you’re thinking
of another baby, you may well need a
little extra in your monthly budget
before conceiving again.
At the end of the day, you can mull
over the pluses and minuses of having
another child forever. This is one of
those decisions that’s best led by the
heart, so go ahead and follow yours. If
you want another baby, and your partner
is happy with that, then there may be no
time like the present.

When’s a good time to add
to my family?
There’s no absolute “right” time. If
you’re worried about your fertility, took
a long time to conceive before, or you’re
over 35, you might want to get moving.
On the other hand, if you’re in your
twenties and have toddler twins, there
may be sense in delaying a third baby!
Every age gap between children has its
pros and cons, and personality factors
mean that what works well in one family
isn’t as successful in another.

Birth and beyond

When it comes to deciding when is the
right time to have another baby, there
are no right or wrong answers. Most
doctors recommend waiting at least
six months after the birth of one child
before trying again, and research
suggests that leaving a gap of 18 to
23 months before conceiving again is
the optimum timing for a healthy baby.
Having said that, there are other
factors you’ll need to take into account.
Sometimes one partner is ready and the
other isn’t. This is a tough one but the
first step is to start talking about your
differences. You may not solve anything
but at least you’ll have a better
understanding of the issues involved.

Your pregnancy diary

Another baby?

Staying safe and healthy

There’s no way of knowing how
your child will react to a new baby.

“It’s a week since we discovered we’re
pregnant. A week since finding out I’m
going to be a father. A dad. Daddy, Pop,
Pa. I’m so excited. I’m walking around
with the biggest grin on my face. I – OK
we – made a baby! I’m scared too, for
many reasons.
But mostly I’m daunted. It will be
my responsibility to teach our child life
skills, to guide him and show him right
from wrong. What’s my opinion on
computer games versus outdoor
activities? Should I let him play with
guns and toy soldiers?
‘Is any of this really worth worrying
about right now?’ my partner asks, as
I price up the cost of buying and owning
a pony. Yes. It is. The problem is that
I can’t help but look at the bigger
picture, even if it has yet to be drawn.
‘You’re going to make a great dad!’
she reassures me. But what do I know
about being a dad? The only point of
reference I have is taking care of Paddy
my dog. And of course my own father.
I reckon he did a good job. And now it’s
my time to live up to and pass on that
example. It’s my turn to be Dad.”

Getting ready for pregnancy

Dad’s Diary

16 Getting ready for pregnancy

Health and lifestyle checks for you
You’ve decided it’s time to start your family. But are you ready?
Perhaps you’re concerned that you’re a little overweight. Or maybe your
diet needs a bit of an overhaul. One thing’s for sure: by making a few
lifestyle changes now, you’ll be getting your baby off to the best start.
Systemised mum
If you like to do things by the
book, you may want a check-up
before trying to conceive.
“I drive my partner and family mad
with the way I always want to prepare
properly for everything. They say I’m
a control freak. Well, maybe I am, but
I decided it was worth it when it came
to checking out what I could do to
improve my chances of having a
healthy pregnancy before I conceived.
First of all I made sure I’d had a
recent cervical smear and I had a urine
analysis done, too. I’ve had urinary
tract infections in the past and I
certainly didn’t want to have one now.
I also got checked out for anaemia,
with a blood test, and while he was at
it, my doctor took my blood pressure,
too. My vaccinations were up to
date, so no problems there, but my
doctor did suggest I get tested for
any sexually transmitted diseases, as
well as for viral infections like the
potentiallly dangerous toxoplasmosis.
I don’t take any medications
regularly, but if I did, one thing I’d
definitely think about would be to
check with my doctor they were safe
to take during pregnancy. And last but
not least, I’ve started taking folic acid.“

Getting your health on track
Now more than ever, proper nutrition is
essential. Forget all those fad diets, and
learn to eat real food. That means a
balanced diet of at least three meals a
day, including at least five portions of
fruit and vegetables.
Three of the most important
nutrients you will need for a healthy
pregnancy are calcium, iron and folic
acid, so be sure to drink plenty of milk
and eat citrus fruits and juices, dark
green leafy vegetables, nuts, whole
grains, and fortified breads and cereals.
You may also want to cut back
on your caffeine. Research linking
a woman’s caffeine consumption
with a lower chance of conception
is contradictory but, in general, low
levels of caffeine consumption are
recommended. By contrast, dads-to-be
should feel free to drink an extra cup:
caffeine may help to increase male
fertility by stimulating sperm motility.

Antenatal supplements
While it’s no substitute for a healthy,
balanced diet, taking an antenatal
supplement ensures that you’re getting
enough of several important vitamins
and minerals. At the top of that list is
folic acid, which is a B vitamin that
helps prevent neural tube defects in

developing babies. Ask your doctor
or midwife to recommend a vitamin
supplement for you.

Think about your weight
Being underweight or overweight can
affect your fertility and pose significant
risks to your pregnancy. Now’s the time
to try to hit a healthy weight if you want
to increase your chances both of
conception and a healthy pregnancy.
If you’re overweight or obese, take it
steady. Crash dieting can deplete your
body’s nutritional stores. Nor is it a good
idea to diet while pregnant because you
may limit your baby’s access to
important nutrients. The best route to
success is to combine a balanced diet
with an exercise programme before you
get pregnant. Aim for a safe weight loss
of up to 1 kilogram (2 pounds) a week.
If you’re underweight, get some meat
on you! Your risk of miscarriage is higher
if you conceive while underweight. And
while skinny women can and do have
healthy babies, studies show that
underweight mothers are more likely to
have low-birthweight babies. Gorging
yourself on chocolate won’t give you the
important vitamins and minerals you
need, so try to get your extra calories
from a healthy, balanced diet.

Health and lifestyle checks for you 17

Start an exercise programme
early to get in shape for the
challenges of pregnancy, labour
and motherhood.

Stop drinking, smoking,
and taking drugs

environmental dangers

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to
work out that smoking, taking drugs
and drinking too much alcohol during
pregnancy can harm your baby. Study
after study has shown that all three
of these are connected to miscarriage,
low-birthweight babies, and premature
birth. Smoking in pregnancy can
increase your baby’s risk of SIDS
(sudden infant death syndrome), and
excessive drinking during pregnancy
can seriously affect your baby’s
development. If you’re still partying hard,
now’s the time to clean up your lifestyle.

There are jobs that can be hazardous to
you and your unborn baby. If you stand
all day, fly a lot, or are exposed to
chemicals or radiation regularly, you
may need to make changes before you
conceive. Talk to your doctor about it
and see if you can come up with ways
to avoid or eliminate hazards in your
workplace. The government’s Health
and Safety Executive (HSE) also has
some useful information on how you
can make your work environment safer.

Get your finances in order

Lifestyle readiness

Birth and beyond

Follow the points in this handy
checklist to ensure you get your
pregnancy off to a good start:
● Improve your diet.
● Achieve a healthy weight.
● Create (and follow!) an exercise plan.
● If you drink, smoke, or take drugs,
then stop as soon as you can.
● Start taking folic acid.
● Get your finances in order.
● Start taking a special pregnancy
● Stop using contraception.
● Eliminate environmental dangers.
● Be sure parenthood is really for you.

Your pregnancy diary

You may never feel that you really have
enough money to have a baby, but that
doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to save
up a little before you get pregnant. After
all, having a baby is expensive, and that
expense goes on for 18 years or more!
Some other financial issues you may like
to consider include taking out life
insurance and making a will.

Staying safe and healthy

A balanced exercise programme is
a great place to start when you’re
preparing for pregnancy. Exercise will
give you stamina, strength and
flexibility. You’ll need all three to lift and
carry a baby, run after a small child, and
cope with the day-to-day challenges
of motherhood. Plus, getting in shape
at least three months before you
conceive may make it easier to maintain
an active lifestyle during pregnancy, not
to mention helping you to get through
labour. Great exercises to help you
get into shape for pregnancy include
running and jogging, walking,
swimming, bicycling and aerobics.

Getting ready for pregnancy

Getting your lifestyle on track

18 Getting ready for pregnancy

Partners take note
Looking after your health as a prospective father is very
important as a there is a host of lifestyle factors that can affect your
potency. The good news is, once you become aware of these often
hidden threats to fertility, they are fairly easy to avoid.

Father’s health and lifestyle
Dads-to-be should aim to maintain a
healthy body mass index (BMI) of 20
to 25 while trying to conceive, as having
a low or high BMI is associated with a
reduction in sperm. It also helps if your
diet includes zinc (found in minced beef
and baked beans), folates (eat green,
leafy vegetables) and vitamin C (citrus
fruit is a good source), as all of these
help your body to make healthy sperm.
Keep drinking coffee if you like it
– studies show that caffeine may
improve sperm motility – but cut back
on alcohol. An occasional drink (within
the government guidelines of three or
four units a day) is considered safe, but

experts agree that drinking too much
will harm the quality of your sperm.

Lifestyle and fertility
Besides food, there are other lifestyle
factors that can affect your fertility:
● Stress This can sometimes affect
men’s sperm counts, so simply relaxing
may increase your fertility.
● Medicines Whether prescription or
over the counter, certain medications,
such as the antihistamine cimetidine,
can affect semen quality. Check with
your doctor if you are concerned.
● Cancer treatment and X-rays
Chemotherapy treatment can induce

Dad’s Diary
Right from the start: counting
down to healthy fatherhood
“Claire has given my diet an overhaul since
we’ve been trying for a baby. I thought
I was healthy enough, but apparently
what you put in your body can really affect
the strength of your little swimmers. So,
takeaways and fast-food snacks are out,
and green vegetables and wholegrains are
in. She’s even making me eat the skin on
my baked potatoes – horror of horrors! The
good news is that lean red meat is on the

good list, so at least I get a decent steak once
a week. And I’ve not had to reduce my coffee
consumption, but the bad news is that I’ve
had to cut down on alcohol – apparently it
impairs the quality of your sperm. I bet my
workmates will laugh! However, a couple of
drinks a week shouldn’t hurt. Everything in
moderation, as they say. I’m sure a few
months of good, clean living will do the trick.”

A healthy dad makes healthy sperm, so it
pays prospective dads to watch their lifestyle.

a permanent loss of fertility, but the
jury is still out on whether X-rays have
any effect on sperm.
● Injury to your genitals This could
impair your ability to produce sperm or
to ejaculate. If you play contact sports,
wear protective gear.
● Smoking Men who smoke damage
the quantity and quality of their sperm
(yet another reason to give up!). Most
doctors’ surgeries have smoking
cessation clinics and there are lots of
support services to help you succeed.
● Recreational drugs Cocaine,
marijuana and anabolic steroids have all
been linked with reduced sperm quality.

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