I drank a lot of alcohol and smoked on a night out before I found out I was pregnant. Will the baby be OK?
It’s very likely that your baby will be fine. Repeatedly exposing the developing baby to alcohol and the poisons in cigarette smoke is much more likely to cause harm than one event. It is safest for baby to avoid alcohol and cigarettes for the rest of your pregnancy however.
I’ve had a miscarriage before and I’m terrified that I will miscarry again
We’re so sorry to hear that you had a miscarriage before. This is likely to make the countdown to 12 weeks a very anxious time for you, as this is when the risk of miscarriage drops.
However, keep in mind that having had one miscarriage does not make it more likely that you will miscarry again. For the majority of women, a miscarriage is a one-off event and most who have had a miscarriage go on to have a healthy baby afterwards.
Only 1 in 100 women suffer from recurrent (repeated) miscarriage.
Try these tips to ease your anxiety:
- Talk about your feelings to your partner, family and friends.
- Don’t beat yourself up if you are not feeling cheerful and happy to be pregnant. Accept that you will be anxious, especially until you pass the point where you lost your first baby. If you need to cry, then do it.
- Try not to read too much into early pregnancy symptoms. Cramps and light spotting are not uncommon in healthy pregnancies as the baby settles in the womb. However, if you do have bleeding, talk to a midwife or doctor and get checked out.
- Try relaxation and stress management apps. There are many lovely relaxation apps that help manage anxiety and stress. Try the ones on the NHS app library here.
- Continue to exercise if you were active before you became pregnant. Exercise has been shown to help with mental wellbeing and sleep. It will not increase your risk of miscarriage. Your baby is embedded deeply in your body. It cannot ‘fall out’ and will not be jolted around by you being active. You may not feel like exercising but even doing 10-15 minutes a day will help your mood and wellbeing.
- If you were not active before, take up light activity now. Walking, swimming, yoga are all good activities for pregnancy and will help your mental wellbeing and sleep. Start with 15 minutes a day and build up to 30 minutes 4 days a week.
- Focus on each day at a time. If you feel yourself worrying about the future, stop and think only about today. Each day that passes brings you closer to 12 weeks.
- If you feel you can’t cope, talk to your GP, they may be able to refer you on for talking therapy or other treatment.
- If your low mood continues after 12 weeks talk to your midwife. You may be suffering from anxiety or depression, which is not uncommon amongst pregnant women. There is treatment available and it’s important to talk to your midwife early on about it as it puts you at extra risk of postnatal depression.
I haven’t been taking folic acid and I’m at week 8. Will it affect my baby?
Folic acid helps prevent neural tube defects, such as spina bifida, but it is most likely that your baby will be fine even if you missed taking it.
Neural tube defects are rare but almost completely preventable by taking folic acid, and this is why health professionals, books and websites all say it is important to take it.
The chances of your baby getting it are very low however. Start taking folic acid now though and until week 12.
I have morning sickness and I can’t keep healthy food down
Morning sickness is common in the first trimester of pregnancy, and it can be upsetting when you are advised to eat healthy food and had planned to eat healthily but are finding that it won’t stay down or that salad and vegetables have suddenly become off-putting to you.
Try not to become anxious about the baby. Although healthy food is important during pregnancy, your morning sickness is likely to come to an end when you move past the first trimester, leaving you another 22 weeks or so to eat healthily. Remember that the growing baby will take what they need from your body too, not just what is in the food you eat.
If you are struggling, focus on eating what will stay down. You need the energy.
My pregnancy wasn't planned and I'm scared my partner won't be pleased.
First, you need to get your own thoughts in order, especially if you're worried about what your partner will say. It may help you to confide in a close friend or talk to a nurse at your family planning clinic or doctor's surgery.
It may be best to tell your partner early on, rather than putting it off. Otherwise he will also have to deal with the fact that you have been keeping such a huge secret as well as the fact that you are pregnant.
His first reaction might not show his true feelings. Like you, he will be in shock when he first hears and will need time to get used to the idea of a baby. Try to give him some time to think about the news. If you think he might react angrily, tell him in a public place, such as a café or restaurant.
There are some other things you might like to think about when you’re telling your partner:
- Think about the best time of day for breaking the news.
- Choose a moment when they’re in a good mood if possible.
- If you’re worried about their reaction ask someone you trust to be with you when you break the news.
- If you think you might not get emotional (or practical) support from your partner during the pregnancy, let your midwife know. You can talk to her about how you feel. You should also let your friends and family support you.
I'm exhausted. Why am I feeling so tired?
In the first few months of pregnancy, your baby is growing very fast and using up a lot of energy. Your body is changing and developing to support your growing womb and baby. Many pregnant women say they feel very tired in these months, with tiredness beyond anything they have ever felt before.
This tiredness will usually pass as you move into the middle months. But, for now, these ideas may help:
- Do some exercise or activity – it can actually give you more energy!
- Rest when you can.
- Try to take some time out for yourself each day, even if it’s just ten minutes.
- Read a magazine, have a relaxing bath or simply close your eyes for a few minutes.
- Go to sleep earlier if this is possible.
What does it mean if my blood is rhesus negative?
As well as finding out if your blood group is A, B, AB or O, your midwife will want to find out whether you are rhesus or D group (RhD) factor positive or negative.
Around 85 percent of people have red blood cells with the RhD factor. They are called ‘rhesus positive’. The other 15 percent have red blood cells that don’t have the RhD factor in them. These people are called ‘rhesus negative’.
Knowing which group you are in is important – if you have rhesus negative blood, but your partner has rhesus positive blood, your baby has a chance of having rhesus positive blood too. If this happens, your body might see your baby’s blood as different to yours and develop antibodies. These antibodies can pass across the placenta and attack your baby’s blood cells.
This won’t normally affect your first pregnancy, but it can be very serious in later pregnancies. Because of this, if you have rhesus negative blood your midwife will offer you an injection called anti-D during your pregnancy to protect your baby. If tests after the birth show that your baby is rhesus positive, you’ll be offered another injection then.
My BMI is 31 and I am classed as obese. Do I need to lose weight even though I'm pregnant?
Trying to lose weight is best left until after your baby is born. However, your extra weight does put you at increased risk of pregnancy complications such as pregnancy diabetes and pre-eclampsia, as well as creating possible health problems for your baby. Your healthcare team will be aware of this and they are likely to give you extra care and support during your pregnancy.
You can reduce your risk of these problems by managing your weight – follow a healthy eating plan and be more active.
Concentrate on making sensible food choices so you’re eating a balanced diet and cutting out foods that are high in sugar and fat. This way, you can keep your pregnancy weight gain to a healthy level and ensure your baby gets all the nutrients she needs.
There are no UK guidelines about how much weight a woman should put on in pregnancy. Healthy changes to your diet mean you might not gain any weight in pregnancy, however – you might even lose a small amount. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists says that this is not harmful.
By the end of this week your baby will have grown to the size of an orange pip.
It’s week five and your baby’s tiny face is already starting to form - the beginnings of a tiny nose and eyes are already taking shape.
Congratulations on your exciting news! Tommy’s midwives are here to guide you through every stage of your pregnancy and help you get to know your growing baby.
It’s unlikely you will have an internal examination (inside your vagina) until you go into labour unless there is a possible problem
Your first antenatal appointment with a midwife is called a 'booking' visit and will take longer than later visits.
It's very common to feel sick during the first few months of pregnancy, and sometimes for a bit longer.
Mund M, Louwen F et al (2013). Smoking and Pregnancy — A Review on the First Major Environmental Risk Factor of the Unborn. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 10(12), 6485–6499. http://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph10126485
NHS Choices. Miscarriage. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/miscarriage/ (Page last reviewed: 01/06/2018 Next review due: 01/06/2021)
Paisley TS, Joy EA, Price RJ Jr. (2003) ‘Exercise during pregnancy: a practical approach’, Current Sports Medicine Reports 2 (6): 325–30: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14583162
RCOG (2006) Recreational Exercise and Pregnancy: Information for you, London, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists: https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/patients/patient-information-leaflets/pregnancy/recreational-exercise-and-pregnancy.pdf
Royal College of Psychiatrists, Mental health in pregnancy, London RCP, 2012. Also available at: http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/healthadvice/problemsdisorders/mentalhealthinpregnancy.aspx(accessed 1 April 2014)
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, Antenatal and postnatal mental health: clinical and service management guidance, clinical guideline 45, London NICE, 2007. Also available at: http://publications.nice.org.uk/antenatal-and-postnatal-mental-health-cg45 (accessed 7 April 2014)
Bestwick JP et al. (2014). “Prevention of neural tube defects: a cross sectional uptake of folic acid supplementation in nearly half a million women.” Plos One 2014; DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0089354
Macdonald S, Magill-Cuerden J (2012), Mayes’ Midwifery, 14th edition, London, Ballière Tindall
Matthews A, Haas DM et al (2014) Interventions for nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 3: CD007575. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD007575.pub3.
Crowther CA, Keirse MJ (2013), ‘Anti-D administration in pregnancy for preventing rhesus alloimmunisation’, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2: CD000020. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD000020.pub2.
NHS Choices. Rhesus disease http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/rhesus-disease/pages/introduction.aspx (Page last reviewed: 11/06/2018 Next review due: 11/06/2021)
Kapadia MZ, Park CK et al (2015) Can we safely recommend gestational weight gain below the 2009 guidelines in obese women? A systematic review and meta-analysis’, Obesity Reviews, 16 (3): 189–206. doi: 10.1111/obr.12238: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25598037
NICE (2010) Weight Management Before, During and After Pregnancy NICE Public Health Guideline 27, National Institute for Health and Care Excellence http://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ph27
Institute of Medicine (1990) Committee on Nutritional Status During Pregnancy and Lactation (1990) Nutrition During Pregnancy. Part 1: Weight Gain. Part 2: Nutritional Supplements, Washington DC, National Academies Press. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK235228/
Institute of Medicine (2009)Weight Gain During Pregnancy: Reexamining the Guidelines, Washington DC, National Academies Press. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK32813/
RCOG (2011) Information for you: Why your weight matters during pregnancy and after birth' London, Royal College of Obstetricians and GynaecologistsHide details
ℹLast reviewed on June 28th, 2018. Next review date June 21st, 2021.
By Nicole (not verified) on 31 Jan 2019 - 15:25
I wasn’t thinking and I am 5 weeks pregnant I was staining some wood with wood stain and was around it for About 10 minutes in a badly ventilated area I also got it all over my hands I am worried about something happening to my baby now
By Midwife @Tommys on 31 Jan 2019 - 15:38
It's highly unlikely that painting or being around paint fumes while you're pregnant will harm your unborn baby, as the risk from most modern household paints is very low.
If you are concerned, please contact your GP/Doctor for advice.
By Angel (not verified) on 30 Dec 2018 - 07:53
Is it safe for me to be pregnant while I have untreated gental herpse ?
By Midwife @Tommys on 9 Jan 2019 - 15:23
You should be offered antiviral treatment,to treat outbreaks in pregnancy of herpes to reduce the chance of an outbreak during birth
from diagnosis until the birth if you first get herpes after 28 weeks of pregnancy
Many women with genital herpes have a vaginal delivery. You may be offered a caesarean, depending on your circumstances. So please go to see your midwife or doctor as soon as you can for treatment.
All the best, Tommy's Midwife
By Georgia (not verified) on 15 Nov 2018 - 14:42
Hi, I toke a pregnancy test 3 weeks ago and it calculated 2/3 weeks. This morning I woke up and when to the toilet but when I wiped there was brown now as the day has went on my lower back is killing me and now it’s more red blood than brown. Can you help me please? Thanks
By Midwife @Tommys on 15 Nov 2018 - 15:25
Hi Georgia, Thank you for your comment.
With any bleeding or abdominal pain in pregnancy this needs to be assessed. We would recommend that you contact your GP or go to your local A and E department to be seen. This can happen in early pregnancy and things can settle down but as you are actively bleeding with pain then it is important that you seek medical help at this time. Take Care, Tommy's Midwives x
By L (not verified) on 7 Jan 2018 - 14:19
I'm 5 + 3 weeks pregnant and have a bad cold. Last night my temperature spiked to 38.5°c and slightly lower again this morning. I took paracetamol both times and that brought the fever down, but I've read some horror stories about the impact of fevers on foetal development in the first trimester, and I'm really anxious. Any advice/ reassurance would be amazing! Lauren
By Midwife @Tommys on 10 Jan 2018 - 10:24
Having an untreated fever, i.e NOT taking Paracetamol to reduce the fever is far more dangerous to you both than having had the fever at all in the beginning. If your fever last for more than 48 hours, with taking paracetamol (max 8 tablets in 24 hour period), then you should seek medical advice via A&E minors. If you need any further advice, please feel free to email or call us directly to the pregnacyline.
Sophie- Tommy's Midwife