What to Expect When You’re Expecting - Summary
Pre - conception
Eat better. Take folic acid. Limit caffeine to 2 cups a day. Get your health insurance in order. Strengthen your core
muscles/abs, perhaps with yoga.
Signs you are pregnant = tender breasts; light spotting; increased need to pee; fatigue; heightened sense of smell;
morning sickness; increase in body temperature (1 degree hotter throughout all the pregnancy).
Only 5% of babies are born on their due date.
Tell your doctor/gynae the whole truth all the time.
Gaining too little weight during pregnancy increases the chance of a premature birth.
Early on you will be tested for a potential blood problem = Rh. If the mother is Rh Negative but the baby is Rh
positive, the mother’s body may attack the baby’s blood as a ‘foreigner’.
Immunizations are generally not recommended when you are pregnant.
1st Trimester Screening (11-14 weeks)
There will be a test of NT (nuchal translucency) as the fluid around the neck can indicate chromosomal abnormalities
such as Down’s Syndrome. If there is an indication of a risk, you will be offered a further test, probably CVS
(chorionic villus sampling).
Never exercise to the point of exhaustion.
Drink a maximum of 2 cups of coffee/tea/caffeinated drinks a day. Caffeine can affect your urination/defecation
/mood/sleep/absorption of iron.
Don’t drink alcohol/smoke/use drugs.
Don’t get too hot, in the sun, or in saunas. The pregnant body already has an elevated temperature.
Exposure to lead is especially dangerous so be aware of that, regarding paint, and water pipes.
You should aim for 2,000 nutritious calories a day.
Throughout most of the pregnancy the approximate weight gain schedule is 1 lb per week, or half a kg per week.
You need protein e.g. yoghurt, cheese, eggs, tuna, fish, chicken, beef.
Calcium = cheese, yoghurt, edamame, broccoli, tofu.
Vitamin C = fruit.
Coloured stuff = mango, carrot, broccoli, spinach, tomatoes. The darker the colour the better.
Grains = whole wheat, whole grain, bread, cereal, granola.
Iron = beef, shrimp, spinach, peas, beans.
Omega 3 acids = eggs, fish, shrimp.
Fluid = at least 8 glasses a day.
Try to take breads that are whole grain. Have salad or vegetable soup as a starter. Have your meat grilled or
steamed. Choose fruit as a dessert.
Avoid sushi and raw fish. Avoid swordfish and tuna steaks as these have higher levels of mercury. All food must be
cooked through well.
Don’t eat the fat or skin of meat and poultry.
Eat organic when possible, especially apples, grapes, peaches, strawberries, potatoes and spinach.
Carefully wash all fruit and veg, for pesticides.
Spicy food is fine.
Improve hygiene in the kitchen area, especially with the sponges.
Don’t eat undercooked food like runny eggs.
Don’t eat soft cheeses, like Brie and Blue Cheese.
1st Month – weeks 0-4
Changes – nauseous, flatulence, breast tenderness, fatigue, frequent urination, smell sensitivity, constipation.
Approx 75% of new mums will feel some morning sickness. First pregnancies tend to feel it more.
Morning sickness happens because hormone changes affect the digestion system.
To reduce morning sickness, eat light meals more often. Eat ginger. Don’t rush to get out of bed – nibble a little
something even before you stand up in the morning.
Vitamin B6 can reduce morning sickness.
Morning sickness generally will have ended by week #14.
Urination can increase because hormones cause the kidneys to work more, and the uterus can be pressing on the
Breasts can increase to THREE TIMES their original cup size over the 40 weeks. You may wish to wear a bra even at
night in bed.
20% of women experience some light spotting during pregnancy – it is not cause for alarm.
You SHOULD call your doctor if you have - heavy bleeding; severe abdominal pain; no urination for a day; burning
urination; very high fever; sever swelling of hands/face; blurred vision; severe headache; bloody diarrohea.
You may notice more body hair due to hormones – shaving/plucking/waxing are all perfectly safe. Hair dye is almost
Cosmetic surgery such as botox ought to be avoided during pregnancy.
Massage during the first three months may cause dizziness. After Month #4 your massage should be done on your
side, not lying on your back.
Direct pressure between the ankle and heel may cause premature contractions.
Puffy hands and feet may occur during pregnancy.
Bleeding gums have been linked to hormone changes. Chewing gum to stimulate saliva is useful. Try to get a
dentist’s check up as soon as you learn you are pregnant.
2nd Month – weeks 5-9
Heartburn and indigestion are common side effects. Avoid lying down while, or straight after, eating.
Blue veins will be more visible on the breasts, belly and legs. Varicose veins or haemorrhoids may even appear. To
reduce this - don’t spend very long periods sitting or standing; avoid heavy lifting; keep your weight gain normal;
don’t strain during bowel movements; wear loose clothing; go for walks and exercise.
Skin may become dry, and acne might break out. Use moisturiser and drink plenty of water to reduce this.
20% of women experience a tilted uterus which will press on the urethra and make urination more difficult.
3rd Month – weeks 10-14
Constipation may occur because hormones make the digestive system move more sluggishly. To help prevent this
eat plenty of fibre – fruit, veg, whole grain bread, beans, peas, kiwi fruits. Reduce consumption of white bread and
white rice. Prune juice, yoghurt, or hot water+lemon may help.
By Week #27 the baby might have developed ears and hearing, and very loud noises can possibly cause hearing
4th Month – weeks 15-19
Nosebleeds may occur due to increased blood flow. A humidifier in your room and more Vitamin C may help ease
Hormonal change can affect the respiratory system and the diaphragm resulting in breathlessness.
Check with your doctor before you use any anti-allergy medicine.
A milky vaginal discharge is not uncommon, its purpose is to protect the birth canal from infection.
Pregnancy increases the amount of sugar circulating in the blood stream, so there may be excess sugar in your urine.
A test for diabetes ought to happen around Week #28.
A pale and very weak mother-to-be may be suffering from anaemia.
The first foetal movement will probably be felt between Week 18 and 22.
Get an experienced underwear fitter to choose the bra you should be wearing.
Hormone changes can cause more forgetfulness.
You should aim for 30 minutes of moderate walking every day. (3 x 10 min walks)
Fit exercising mums have shorter labours and healthier babies.
Pointing your toes may lead to leg cramps.
5th Month – weeks 20-24
An ultrasound should be able to determine the baby’s gender around Week #20.
Dizziness is common because more blood is heading to the uterus and less to the mother’s brain. Drink plenty of
fluids and keep a snack bar nearby to maintain your blood sugar levels.
Backache is a common problem and to reduce this you should ensure you have a comfortable chair at work, and that
you don’t spend very long periods of time sitting or standing.
Alternating hot and cold packs may help back pain.
Abdominal aches and cramps are very normal sensations.
The linea nigra may appear – the dark line running up the centre of your belly.
Ligaments in your body may loosen, which can actually lead to an increase in foot size.
Hair and nails will probably grow faster than usual.
Vision may become less sharp due to hormones.
You shouldn’t sleep on your back now. On your side is best.
Mosquitoes are more attracted to women when they are pregnant, possibly because of the increased temperature.
It is possible for the nipples to leak colostrum during stimulation, from this stage onwards.
6th Month – weeks 25-29
At Week #26 it is possible that the foetus can react to loud noises or bright lights.
You are more likely to feel foetal kicks when you are resting at night or after a meal or if you are nervous.
Babies are most active between weeks 24 and 28. After Week 28 they have less room to manoeuvre.
If you do experience kicks that hurt, change your position to dislodge him.
You will have reduced mobility so be extra careful when walking on wet surfaces/going down stairs etc.
Your wrists tend to have some swelling during pregnancy so you may feel Carpal Tunnel-like symptoms.
To reduce leg cramps, do stretching, flexing, and drink more fluids.
50% of women experience some degree of haemorrhoids. To reduce this, don’t strain during bowel movements, eat
more fibre, and Kegel exercises may help the blood flow in that area.
You or your husband may want to learn CPR and basic infant medical care.
7th Month – weeks 30-34
There may be more obvious periods of foetal movement and foetal rest, as the baby starts to sleep and wake like a
Braxton Hicks contractions are possible = when the uterus hardens for a minute and then relaxes to normal.
Major fatigue might be a feature of the third trimester. Extreme fatigue may be related to anemia.
75% of women suffer swelling – especially of the ankles, feet and hands. You can reduce this by avoiding long
periods of sitting or standing; elevating your legs when you are sitting; sleeping on your side which helps the kidneys
work efficiently; going for walks to get the blood flowing; drinking at least 8 glasses of liquid a day.
Stretch marks may develop itchy bumps. These are PUPPP (pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy). It is
not a big deal and will disappear.
There is a chance that the baby’s head will settle on the sciatic nerve in the lower spine and this will cause pain,
tingling and numbness. You can try and lessen this by avoiding standing; using warm heating pads; doing stretches;
swimming as exercise.
15% of women suffer Restless Leg Syndrome, a restless tingling sensation, which has no explanation or cure.
You should start Counting the Kicks – once in the morning and once in the evening, count 10 movements of any kind.
This is usually registered within 10 minutes. If you do not feel 10 kicks in 2 hours, let your doctor know.
You may have an impaired sense of balance, less stable joints, get tired more easily, and have difficulty seeing the
floor for your belly, and all this makes you a more risky walker. Take extra care. Having said that, your baby is in a
highly sophisticated protective shell and it would take a major accident to cause harm.
You should be doing your Kegel exercises. They will help with the general pelvic area, and reduce incontinence.
Basically you tense the area around the anus and vagina for 10 seconds, and slowly release. Do this 20 times. And do
this routine three times a day.
It’s a good idea to have a birth plan worked out with your gynae for all the logistics of the Big Day. How long you
should wait at home when contractions begin; if it’s a C-section or vaginal birth; what food or drink is to be
consumed; what pain medication will be used; what foetal monitoring will happen; if oxytocin will be used to induce
contractions; whether the doctor is to slice the perineum or not; the possibility of vacuum or forceps being used; if
there should be breastfeeding immediately after birth; cord blood banking; how the nurses should be feeding the
baby for the days in the hospital.
You will have to pee more often, and when you need to go, don’t hold it in, because that can possibly cause
contractions to start.
Labour that happens before Week #37 is called Preterm Labour.
The signs of Labour are - persistent cramps; painful contractions; constant lower back pain; a pink or brown vaginal
discharge; steady leakage from the vagina.
Labour is, as it says in the name, hard work, and the average duration can be around 15 hours.
If you are getting an epidural, it is injected into the spine. It will ease the pain and is of no danger to the baby as the
drugs barely enter the blood stream. It may slow down labour, and the doctor may need to try and kick start it again.
An IV will be inserted to supply fluids. A catheter will be inserted into the bladder. You back is wiped clean and the
needle inserted into a space in the spine. There may be a short pain at this stage. You’ll feel the effects after 10
minutes. Your blood pressure will be constantly monitored, as will the foetal heartbeat.
Demerol is a commonly used drug injected to reduce pain. It can be administered every 2 hours. It may cause nausea
and a drop in blood pressure.
8th Month – weeks 35-39
There is less amniotic fluid to cushion the baby so the movement might be more pronounced and uncomfortable.
4% of boys are born with undescended testicles, which will correct itself before 12 months is up.
The average full term baby is 20 inches in length.
Braxton Hicks contractions are like rehearsal contractions. It is the tightening of the uterus from the top to the
bottom and usually last around 30 seconds. To reduce discomfort try changing your position and drinking enough
If you have more than 4 Braxton Hicks contractions in an hour call your doctor.
It is possible for the baby to position his head between your ribs. Nudging or tilting may dislodge him, or try exhaling
and dropping your arm at the same time.
Breathlessness is very common because the inside is more congested and the lungs have less space to operate. This
is eased when the baby ‘drops’ – settles into the pelvic zone, usually 3 weeks before labour will begin.
When the baby drops, there may be growing pressure on the bladder, and this can cause incontinence to some
The ease of difficulty of labour will be decided by the size of your PELVIS in relation to the size of the baby’s HEAD.
The doctor can use ultrasound to get a good idea of whether this size ratio is going to work.
If the mother was herself a large baby at birth, this increases the chances that her baby will be large.
5% of pregnancies end up in ‘breech’ position, where the head is higher, rather than at the bottom. Rocking back
and forth on your hands and knees with your butt in the air may help to correct this. The doctor can physically try
and correct this with an ECV (external cephalic version). This can be done at week #37, and the doctor will literally
press on the belly and try to cause movement. If the breech remains there is a good chance a C-section will be
An oblique position is when the head is not pointed straight down, but diagonally, towards a hip. A transverse
position is where the baby is lying sideways. To correct these, an ECV can be attempted, and a C-section if necessary.
Taking warm baths is totally fine at this stage. There is no worry that water might get ‘all up in there’.
Cord Blood Banking is a private storage, for the possibility that the genetic properties might be useful if the baby, or
a family member, needs major medical help in future.
Breastfeeding is best for babies.
It contains many nutrients that cow’s milk does not; babies are programmed to digest it so there is generally no
constipation or diarrhoea; it reduces obesity later in life; it improves the child’s intelligence; cow’s milk or soy milk
tends to have more chance of allergies; it reduces a whole range of illnesses including meningitis, diabetes and
cancer; it helps to develop the baby’s mouth and jaw; it stimulates oxytocin in the mum which reduces the size of
the uterus; the draining of calories helps the mum lose weight; it reduces the mum’s risk of breast cancer; it helps
the mother-child bonding.
You should stop soaping up your nipples in the shower. Just rinse with water.
Breast feeding can often be difficult and it might take 6 weeks to establish a rapport.
If you do end up using formula sometimes, the first 3 weeks should still ideally be breast milk only.
9th Month – weeks 40-44
The baby’s internal systems are basically ready for real life.
After Week #37 the baby is considered Full Term.
50% of pregnancies will go past 40 weeks. A doctor will not let it go past 42 weeks.
Symptoms include leg cramps at night; an itchy abdomen; a protruding bellybutton; frequent urination.
Your water breaking at home is something of a myth – 85% of women will have contractions and enter the hospital,
before their water breaks.
If your water does break at home, labour will generally start within the next 24 hrs.
When the baby drops, the bump will become lower and protrude more. You will be able to eat more, and breathe
easier. You may pee more often and find walking more difficult.
An urge to ‘nest’ is normal. Here the mother feels a highly energetic urge to clean everything in the house and tidy
Perineal massage can help prepare that region for labour.
2nd or 3rd deliveries tend to be easier than the first because there is more room in the birth canal.
PREP FOR THE BIG DAY
Before labour begins, think about what will occupy the mum best during the long labour – watching DVDs, surfing
the laptop, calming music....
Mum and Dad should wear a watch with a second hand, so they can time contractions when they eventually start.
Take a pillow of your own. Bring a tennis ball for some back massage. Bring socks and your toothbrush. Pack a
change of clothes for both mum and dad. Mum needs a robe that can open at the front for breastfeeding. Don’t
forget Maxipads and a nursing bra. Snacks like granola bars are good. A ‘going home outfit’ for both mum and baby
is needed. A child seat should be fitted in the car.
Fill up the fridge at home – yoghurt, granola bars, dried fruit, nuts. Have plenty of paper towels stocked.
This can start even a full month before the birth date.
There might be cramp pains; the baby dropping; the mucus cork of the uterus passing in the toilet; the cervix dilating
causing blood to appear in vaginal discharge.
You know it’s False Labour when the contractions don’t increase in intensity, and walking around will lessen the
Labour and Delivery
Losing the mucus ‘plug’ is not a reliable sign that labour will be starting.
A pink or brown discharge is usually a sign that the membranes have broken and Labour is under 2 days away. If it is
bright red call your doctor as this may be a problem. If the discharge is greenish, this may be meconium, which could
cause foetal distress, so contact your doctor immediately.
You know your ‘water has broken’ if the fluid is sweet smelling, not acidic like urine, and the flow doesn’t stop, like
urine would. When you stand or sit up the flow will reduce because the baby’s head is acting something like a plug.
When your water breaks, doctors will induce labour within two days to avoid infection, if it hasn’t already started.
If your water does break, grab some towels and maxipads, keep the area clean and call your doctor.
In rare cases the umbilical cord can become prolapsed and so if you feel something out of place, in your vaginal area,
call the ambulance.
The time to start heading for the hospital is if you are having strong contractions that are long (up to 60 seconds) and
frequent (5 minutes apart). When you call to tell your doctor be very clear about the frequency and strength of the
Emergency Delivery at home. Spread clean towels. Wash all hands. When the baby’s head appears use your hand to
push on the head so it doesn’t pop out too quickly. If the cord is wrapped around the neck, unloop it quickly. Pull out
one shoulder first, and then the second. Place the baby on the mum’s chest and wrap them. Wipe the baby’s mouth
area. If the baby isn’t crying/breathing rub his back. If CPR seems necessary give two quick puffs of air into his
Back Labour = the baby is facing forward with the head at the top, so that the head is pressing on the back of the
pelvis causing a great deal of pain for the mother.
20% of labours need to be induced.
Eating and drinking something during labour will help the mother keep up her strength. Popsicles, fruit, toast and
jam, should be ok. Ask your doctor. A delivering mother may vomit whether she has had food or not.
If you have an epidural, you will definitely get an IV drip. A drop in blood pressure is normal so that will be monitored
Foetal monitoring. You will probably have a device strapped to your abdomen. One part measures the baby’s
heartbeat and the other measures the intensity of the contractions.
Another option is the internal monitoring, when an electrode is placed inside on the baby’s scalp.
If monitoring shows any foetal distress there is a good chance that they will elect to do a C-section.
Episiotomy is when the doctor cuts the perineum to give more room. This is not a common practice these days.
Forceps are rarely used these days. They may be used if a mother is exhausted and can’t push anymore, or pushing is
a danger to her own blood pressure.
Vacuum extraction can be a substitute for forceps and is used in 5% of deliveries.
Although lying on your back is the standard way to give birth it is the least efficient as it does not use gravity. You
might want to consider squatting; sitting upright; on your hands and knees.
You vagina is definitely designed to take such stretching. Massaging the perineum in the preceding weeks will help
its elasticity. Kegel exercises will have readied the whole area too.
Phase I – Early Labour.
Contractions last 30-45 seconds; they are 20 minutes apart; the cervix is dilated to 3cm. At this stage you should try
to sleep if possible, and make last minute preparations to your home. Eat a light meal like toast and jam and a
banana; drink water; take a shower; pee whenever you need to; time your contractions on a watch; watch TV and
When the contractions are 5 minutes apart, pick up the bags and drive to the hospital. You should have already pre-
registered and worked out the fastest route to the right room.
Phase II – Active Labour.
This phase can last for 4 hours. More intense contractions are 40-60 seconds long. 3-4 minutes apart. The cervix will
be dilated to 7cm. If you take an epidural this may slow down labour, that’s normal. If you feel dizzy tell your doctor
as they may give you a paper bag to prevent you from hyperventilating. Try to create a calm and restful environment
in the room. The mother should go pee at least once an hour. Use a damp cloth to keep her forehead cool.
Phase III –Transitional Labour.
Contractions are very strong. 60-90 seconds long. 2-3 minutes apart. Your cervix is dilated to 10cm. When it comes
time to push, focus your energies on your lower body, the vagina in particular, because straining your top half may
cause trauma to the eyes and face. Involuntary poop or pee is totally normal.
As the baby has been pushed through such a doorway, it is common for the head to seem oddly shaped - but this will
go away after a few days. It is possible for babies to have swollen breasts, due to hormones.
When cutting the umbilical cord, don’t be surprised when it is tougher than expected.
After the baby is out, the doctor will pull the remaining cord, and push down on the uterus externally, to get the
placenta out. It is normal to have a bloody discharge, and many women experiences chills.
The baby should recognise the voices of the mum and dad, which will be comforting.
Request for an ice pack if that will help your perineal area. Use thick maxipads to soak up all the bleeding. Drink a
ton of water.
You must try hard to empty your bladder within 8 hours after delivery to avoid infection. The nurse should be
checking that you do achieve this. Drink plenty of water to help this happen.
You may find difficulty urinating, as the bladder can be damaged during delivery. On the other hand urinary
incontinence is common too, as the muscles have been stretched and relaxed during labour.
C-sections are fairly family friendly these days – the mother is lucid during birth, the father is in the room, and there
may even be some cuddling immediately after birth. A big benefit it that the pelvic area is not traumatized.
C-sections are extremely safe these days; they are ideal when the baby is very large; they are safer when the mother
is relatively old; it avoids the drawn out pain of labour. The procedure will probably take 10 minutes, and then 30
minutes to stitch up the mother.
If you do one C-section you generally have to do subsequent babies as C-sections. Numerous C-sections do lead to
slightly higher delivery risks like uterine ruptures.
You will get anaesthetic but will be awake. The doctor will make a cut at the pubic hairline. You may feel the
sensation of being ‘unzipped’. A second incision is made, this time to the uterus. Fluid will be suctioned out so you
will hear a gargling sound. The baby is lifted out – you may feel tugging sensations. The baby’s mouth will be
suctioned which will probably lead to the first cry. Next the doctor will lift out the placenta. The incisions will then be
stitched up with staples and stitches. The baby will be taken for observation at the NICU.
Recovery after a C-section = don’t worry about breast feeding – the drugs you have received won’t pass into your
breast milk. You must avoid heavy lifting for the first month after the surgery. During your days in hospital the nurse
will monitor many of your vitals, blood pressure, temperature, pulse etc. You should stretch your legs and flex your
feet to help blood flow.
Don’t be afraid to eat = mums who eat food and have bowel movements tend to recover faster than those who stick
to just fluids. However the surgery may disrupt you digestive system, and constipation and extra gas is common, and
may cause substantial pain. In the coming weeks you may find that the incision site is very itchy. If there is ever
inflammation or pus oozing out contact your doctor. You should wait at least a month before any sexual activity.
The 1st Week postpartum
Normally a vaginal delivery mum will stay in the hospital for 2 days, and a C-section mum will stay in for 4 days.
There will be a discharge of blood/mucus/tissue, this may continue for up to 10 days. You should use maxipads, and
may wish to use them for as long as 6 weeks.
You should change your maxipad every 6 hours, and after using the toilet ensure that the whole area is clean.
As the uterus shrinks there may be afterpains.
Warning signs when you should call your doctor – significant bright red bleeding; foul smelling bleeding; numerous
blood clots being discharged; a complete absence of bleeding; a very high fever/temperature; severe dizziness or
vomiting; pain in breasts; oozing at the C-section site; pain during urination; sharp chest pains; blueness of lips or
Bowel movements are important so eat lots of fibre to make this happen. Don’t worry about opening stitches during
bowel efforts, you won’t.
You might find yourself sweating much more than you would expect – this is normal, because your body is trying to
get rid of the excessive liquid accumulated during pregnancy.
Your breasts will get even bigger as milk accumulates at day #3. Ice packs and a supportive bra will help reduce the
In the first 3 days the baby might not be very hungry at all.
There will be nipple pain as you start breast feeding. This usually peaks at the 20th feeding, after which your nipples
will toughen up.
Even if your kid was taken to stay in the NICU, most hospitals will allow parental contact and breast feeding.
If it usually a good idea to not have the baby live in your hospital room, because it is important for the mum to get
Request that you can feeding straight after birth. If you have a C-section you will probably have to wait a few hours
till you are ready to feed.
Request that the baby is always brought to you when he is hungry, and not fed from a bottle by nurses.
Ask for a lactation specialist to help during your first feedings.
Newborns need little feeding during the first 3 days. Having said that, you should hope to give approx 10 feedings a
Feedings can last from 10 mins up to 45 minutes.
Ideally your one breast should be ‘emptied’ during one feeding because the “hind milk” contains the most nutrients.
If he is still hungry, go on to breast #2. Remember to start the next feeding on the breast that wasn’t emptied the
last time. You might want to wear a bracelet on your wrist to help remember which side you last ended on.
You should feed in a quiet location.
You should have a drink nearby for yourself.
Placing the baby on a pillow will help get him at the right level.
The baby’s ear, shoulder and hip should all be in a straight line, and the head shouldn’t be turned to the side.
There are 4 main positions, Crossover, Cradle, Side-lying, and Football Hold, which is especially good if you had a C-
section and don’t want him pressing against your belly.
Steps = 1. Tickle his lips with your nipple till he opens his mouth like a yawn. 2. Pull the baby to you, don’t move
towards him and get hunched over. 3. Make sure he latches on to both the nipple and the areola which is where he
pull be pressing on the milk glands.
If your newborn baby has been sleeping for 3 hours, it’s time to wake him up for a feeding. Unwrap him, sit him up,
rub his back, and that should wake him.
If the baby is crying and upset, don’t try to feed until you have calmed him down.
You need to stay calm yourself – a stressed mum will make feeding more difficult.
It’s a good idea to keep a written record of feedings and diaper use to help your doctor check that progress is
You would aim to have 10 feedings every day, each feeding is around 30 minutes on average, with 6 peed diapers
and 3 bowel movements a day.
Around Day #3 your milk will ‘come in’ and this can cause a lot of pain and discomfort. A warm cloth on your areola
might help. Massage the breast when the baby is feeding. Use a cold ice pack after feeding. Wear a good bra. It’s
also fine to hand express some milk to reduce the pressure.
It is common for milk to leak or even spray out at times. Nursing pads in your bra will be useful, and you may even
want to sleep on a towel.
Breast feeding can burn 500 calories a day. You should eat normally and ensure you get calcium in your diet. You
should try to avoid alcohol. It is possible for your food to not suit your baby, and this might happen for milk, eggs,
citrus fruits, fish, nuts and wheat.
This often happens due to incorrect positioning of the feeding baby, so try to change that.
Avoid irritating clothing.
Change nursing pads as soon as they are damp.
You might even want to use a hair dryer on your boobs after each feeding.
Wash boobs with water only, don’t use soaps.
Wet tea bags might help ease the pain around the nipples.
Even if one nipple is sore, don’t favour one over the other – give them equal exercise. Nurse from the stronger
nipple first, because the baby will feed more aggressively when he is hungry.
If a small red lump appears it may mean that a milk duct is clogged. To improve this make sure the feeding empties
the breast as much as possible.
In an extreme case mastitis might set in – this will cause severe breast pain, and flulike symptoms.
The first 6 weeks postpartum
Your doctor should schedule at least one appointment within the first 6 weeks.
You should try to catch sleep when your baby is sleeping.
Make sure to keep yourself well fed, so have plenty of snacks at home and in the car.
Due to hormonal changes you may experience hair loss.
30% of new mums experience some degree of incontinence so it is nothing to worry about.
Fecal incontinence is more embarrassing but it also can happen.
Backache might continue because your previously loosened ligaments have not yet tightened up.
Within the first 5 days around 70% of mums will feel some baby blues as a result of the new challenging lifestyle. Try
to remember that there is no perfect baby or perfect parent. Try to get out of the house once a day. Most mums
outgrow baby blues within 2 weeks.
15% of women will suffer from depression which is more serious and deserves medical attention. This can be
worsened by a hormonal condition called postpartum thyroiditis (PPT).
It might take 6 weeks for your uterus to shrink back to its original size. If you gained over 15kg during pregnancy you
might find it extra tough to lose the excess weight.
If you are breastfeeding your period might not start again until 6 months after birth. However, there is no way to
predict exactly when you might fall pregnant again so these 6 months are not ‘contraception’.
When exercising, don’t do full sit-ups for the first 6 weeks after birth.
Kegels are always a useful exercise and can be done immediately after birth no problem.
3 days after birth you can be doing head lifts, leg slides, and pelvic tilts.
It is possible for diastasis to happen = this is when a gap has occurred between your abs during pregnancy.
One of your most important roles is to keep her spirits up and self image and self confidence is key. Even if your
sexual interest might be dropping you must continue to reassure her of her beauty and attractiveness.
Having sex poses zero risk to the baby who is sealed away in a uterine home.
It is possible for dads to mirror the woman’s journey and experience a drop in testosterone, which will lower sexual
40% of conceptions do end in miscarriage.
80% of miscarriages occur in the first trimester.
After week #20 the loss of a baby is called a stillbirth. This only happens to 0.1% of pregnancies.
Another complication is ectopic pregnancies, where the baby implants outside of the uterus, usually in a fallopian
tube. This happens to 2% of conceptions and is more common in women who have suffered pelvic problems like
Dealing with loss after miscarriage
To handle your grief it is usually helpful to see, hold and name your baby and even have a proper funeral.
Gestational diabetes occurs in around 6% of women, and begins after week #24. It can lead to an oversized baby,
and complications like jaundice. A careful diet will usually limit the problem.
8% of pregnant mothers suffer this hypertension = high blood pressure, excessive swelling, high weight gain,
headaches, blurred vision, rapid heartbeat and protein in the urine.
97% of women suffering this recover fully.
Approx 12% of babies are born premature, before week #37.
1% of deliveries will see the umbilical cord in a tangle, but only 0.05% will have serious problems because of it.