during your pregnancy

During Pregnancy

Taking Care of Yourself

Diet

  • A balanced healthy diet of three meals, plus a snack is ideal. 
  • Certain foods may contain a bacteria called Listeria Moncytogenes. Although rare, listeria infections may cause miscarriage, premature labour or illness to your baby.  Infection from listeria may occur after eating certain foods.  

For more information, please visit: Listeria - the facts - health.vic

Toxoplasmosis is a parasite that can cause birth defects. Whilst infections are rare, it is advisable to avoid raw meat and eggs. Cat droppings can also harbour toxoplasmosis, so avoid changing kitty litter and thoroughly wash your hands after handling raw meat.

Foods to avoid during pregnancy:  

  • Soft cheeses (E.g. brie, camembert) pates, cold meats, raw seafood, and shellfish
  • Raw, uncooked meats and eggs e.g., Mayonnaise  
  • Avoid consuming rice that has been left at room temperature for extended periods of time
  • Cold “deli” meats (such as ham and salami) can be eaten, if they are heated thoroughly. e.g., on pizzas. 
  • For more information read our blog “Pregnancy myths”

Lifestyle and exercise

Regular exercise and maintaining a healthy lifestyle have many benefits during pregnancy, labour, as well as the post-natal period. Some of which include, managing weight gain and maintenance of fitness levels. Regular exercise may also reduce pregnancy induced complications, such as pregnancy-induced hypertension, gestational diabetes, and pre-eclampsia.

  • Walking and swimming are ideal.  
  • Avoid strenuous activity that involve impact trauma to the abdomen or chance of falling e.g., Horse riding.
  • Adequate rest and sleep are essential in pregnancy
  • It is best to speak with your Doctor, Midwife or Physiotherapist, prior to commencing a new exercise program, to ensure there are no health issues that may prevent you from participating in regular exercise.
  • Drink plenty of water during and after exercise.  
  • Smoking is harmful to you and your unborn baby. Avoid being around others when they are smoking to limit the effects of passive smoking
  • Consumption of alcohol is not recommenced whilst pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Minimising caffeinated drinks such as coffee, tea, or excessive chocolate consumption (contains caffeine) 

Common pregnancy ailments:

Nausea and vomiting

Commonly known as “morning sickness”, can occur in 50-90% of pregnant women. The severity may vary; however, symptoms should start to decrease once you are in your second trimester.  

What can I do to help? 

  • Eating small and regular meals may be beneficial.  
  • Avoid spicy foods with strong odours  
  • Try the BRAT diet- (Bananas, Rice, Applesauce and Toast) 
  • Drink plenty of fluids. Icy poles and jelly may be easier to tolerate  
  • Drinking ginger teas or adding ginger may help prevent nausea 
  • Vitamins or over the counter supplements, such as Vitamin B6 may provide relief 

If you are unable to tolerate any solids or fluids for longer than 24 hours, please seek medical attention or present to your nearest emergency department.

Aches and pain

As your baby grows and your uterus expands, sudden sharp pain from the stretching of the uterine ligaments may be common. 

What can I do to help?

  • Lying down
  • Resting
  • Stretching exercises

Severe abdominal pain, either cramping or constant, is not normal. Please seek medical attention if symptoms persist.

Heartburn and Indigestion

Can be attributed to hormones and the growing uterus. Pregnancy hormones slow down the muscles of the digestive tract, causing sluggish digestion. Hormones also relax the valve between the stomach and oesophagus, increasing heartburn and reflux.

Tips to prevent and ease symptoms:

  • Avoid greasy and fried foods
  • Eat slowly
  • Eat six to eight small meals instead of three large meals
  • Don’t go to bed immediately after eating.

Constipation:

An increase in hormones can slow down digestion and relax the muscles in the bowels, making constipation common in pregnancy.

Preventative measures:

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Eat fibre rich foods, such as, fresh or dried fruit, raw vegetables, whole grain cereals
  • Use a fibre supplement like Metamucil or benefibre
  • Mild exercise such as walking, may help ease constipation
  • Mild laxatives like Movicol or Lactulose are safe to take during pregnancy to avoid severe constipation.

Haemorrhoids

Haemorrhoids are swollen and bulging veins in the rectum. They can cause itching, pain and bleeding.

Tips to prevent or ease symptoms:

  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Eat plenty of fibre rich foods like whole grain, raw and cooked leafy green vegetables, and fruit.

Trouble Sleeping

Many women report they are particularly tired in the first trimester. This is quite normal and is your body’s way of telling you that you need more rest. As your baby grows, sleeping may become more difficult. Increased movements, trips to the bathroom or leg cramps may interrupt your sleep.

  • Try to get in at least eight hours of sleep every night and a short nap during the day
  • If you are feeling stressed; try to find ways to relax, for example, watching your favourite movie, going for a walk, or reading a book.
  • Sleep on your left side. This will relieve pressure on blood vessels that supply oxygen and nutrients to the baby.

Leg cramps

At various times during the pregnancy, you may have cramps in your legs or feet. This often occurs at night. This is due to a change in the way your body processes calcium.

What can I do to help?

  • Eat lots of low-fat, calcium-rich foods
  • Regular mild exercise, such as walking
  • Gently stretch the muscle to relieve leg and foot cramps.

Swelling

Most women will develop mild swelling in their face, hands, or ankles at some point during their pregnancy, due to the increase in fluid pumping around the body. Should you notice a rapid or significant increase in swelling/puffiness, please contact the rooms.

To keep swelling to a minimum:

  • Avoid caffeine and salty foods
  • Rest when you can on your left side, with your feet elevated
  • Enquire about support stockings

When to seek emergency medical care

If you experience any of these symptoms: please contact your specialist directly, or the hospital you are booked into for delivery.

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Severe abdominal pain – constant pain.
  • Clear fluid leaking from the vagina (waters broken?)
  • Decreased or no fetal movement
  • Severe headache or blurred vision
  • Abdominal trauma such as, a fall or car accident

Should you experience any shortness of breath or chest pain, please call 000.