Pregnancy 101 Part One by Midwife Zoe


Picture courtesy of Born Photography

When you discover you are pregnant, your mind will be full of questions. Do you know which vitamin and mineral supplements are essential during pregnancy and which are a total waste of money? Do you know how much weight gain is normal? Do you know much about the ultrasounds and if they are all needed? Do you know what alternative therapies actually work? There may be many of you that may have answered ‘NO’ to some of those questions, so I’ll try and simplify it all for you.

Do I need a vitamin and mineral supplement?

Even though many women think they need a multivitamin supplement during pregnancy, a balanced diet should supply you with everything you need. Most women who have planned their pregnancy have perhaps been taking ‘folic acid’ for the 3 months prior to falling pregnant to help reduce neural tube defects. The folic acid is often found in the pregnancy multivitamin. Since you are already in a good habit of taking your vitamin every day, I would suggest continuing on the pregnancy multivitamin through your whole pregnancy. Some supplements, especially iron, can have an unpleasant side effect i.e Constipation. Constipation is a natural effect of pregnancy, but supplements that contain iron can add to that. This is one of the disadvantages of taking a supplement. Make sure you keep up your water and fibre intake to help counteract that.

Are all the ultrasounds needed?

Many women have three ultrasounds during their pregnancy. The first scan is a ‘dating scan’. This is to help pinpoint the due date. The earlier the scan the more accurate the due date. This is needed if the woman does not know the date of her last period. The next ultrasound is at around 12 weeks. This looks for chromosomal disorders like Down syndrome. And the final scan is 18-20 weeks. This ultrasound looks for any physical abnormalities. Although all these ultrasounds are routine for every pregnant woman, they are NOT compulsory. Ultrasounds can sometimes bring up complicated decisions surrounding ‘termination’. If the ultrasound found something is wrong with your baby would you “terminate” the pregnancy? If the answer is ‘no’ to that question then do you need the ultrasound??  It is a very personal choice. In the end it’s your baby and your body, so the choice to have the routine ultrasounds is yours.

How big will my bottom get??

The average weight gain in pregnancy is 12-16 kg’s. The usual pattern of weight gain is 1-2 kg’s per month during the final six months. However not everyone follows this pattern and that’s OK! You will add a few extra kilograms to your bottom and hip area during your pregnancy and presumably your breasts will grow also. However, unlike having a big bottom and thighs pre-pregnancy, the fat that is put on your bottom and thighs during pregnancy is there for a very different reason. It is an extra energy source during breastfeeding. The fat is stored and used from different body sites during breastfeeding. Don’t be too disheartened about the weight gain, as nature invented breastfeeding as a far better way to lose weight than the Atkins Diet.

Do Alternative Therapies really work?

There are many different alternative therapies available in pregnancy and pre-labour. Many studies have researched the benefits of acupuncture and have sound support for effective treatment. It is often used to turn a breech baby or to help a woman progress into labour when post-dates. You will find more Alternative Therapies/Methods of Natural Forms of Induction of Labour in our Fact Sheet located on the Resource Page of our Website.

(This article contains general information only and is not intended to replace advice from a qualified health professional. All information is written from the experience and knowledge of the person writing the post).