Pregnancy and Ante-natal Care

What to do?

To have a healthy, comfortable pregnancy...

  • Eat healthily
  • Exercise
  • Rest and relax
  • Choose machine washable clothing that isn't tight around the bump. Strechy lightweight fabrics are good.
  • Avoid high heels
  • Have regular dental check ups
  • Chose supportive, adjustable, wide-strapped bras
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What to avoid?

You should avoid...

  • Alcohol: It can cause FAS, still birth, a small baby/baby with a low birth rate, a baby with a small head/facial abnormalitys
  • Drugs: These can cause a low birth weight, withdrawel symptons in the baby, an irritable baby with a high-pitched cry, mental impairment
  • Smoking: Nicotine and CO2 increse the rise of a premautre baby and can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, low birth weight, SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), physical abnormalities, learning difficulites and a damaged placenta. 
  • Some foods - see next card
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Foods To Avoid

Eggs, unless hard-boiled but avoid products mainly with raw egg. Can cause Salmonella which is a type of food posioning.

Unpasterurised milk/milk prducts like soft cheese; incorrectly reheated cook-chill food; undercooked meat; pate. This is a problem called listeriosis which causes miscarriage, still birth and serve illness.

Liver and Liver products. This is high in vitamin A which if there is too much it harms the baby/

Fruit and vegetables with soil on; undercooked meat. This is toxoplasmosis which can cause a miscarriage, still birth or a blind baby. 

Coffee and products containing caffenine. The caffenine can cause a miscarraige and a low birth weight; there is also possible links to autism and ADHA.

Peanutss and peanut products. This can cause allergies such as exzema, asthma and hayfever.

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Causes Of Infertility

Infertility is the inability to concieve and affects both females and males and one in ten couples.

Medical technolgy helps thoses effected either through the NHS or a private sector.

Causes and Problems

Blocked fallopian tube/thick cervical mucus means sperm can't reach the egg.

No ovulation/hormone imbalance means there are no eggs produced.

Insufficent sperm or poor quality sperm means eggs won't fertilise

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Assisted Conception

Gynaecologists have specialist knowledge of the functions and diseases of the femal reproductive system and treat problems like infertility.

They have a numer of ways to assist conception:

  • IVF: You have hormone treatment to stimulate ovulation. Eggs are then surgeically revmoved and penetrated by sperm in a test tube. At 8 cell division, they are placed into the uterus or fallopian tube.
  • Egg Donation: The involves eggs being collected from donars then followed by the IVF procedure.
  • Doner Insemination: Donated sperm are placced directly into the uterus or used in an IVF procedure.
  • Partners sperm can be placed directly in to uterus.
  • ICSI (Intra-cytoplamic sperm injection): An individual sperm is injected directly in to the egg/
  • Surrogacy: Another women has a child for those who can't have a child.
  • PGD (pre-implementation Genetic Disorders): Used by couples identified as carriers of a serious genetic disorder.
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Length of Pregnancy

Pregnacy is divided in to 3 trimesters: 1 to 3 months, 4 to 6 months and 7 to 9 months.

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Weeks 6 to 12

At week 6

  • Initial development of legs, brain, spine, internal organs, blood, bines, muscles, ears and eyes.
  • The embroyos heart uis beating.

At week 8...

  • The foetus is more human
  • The arms, legs, ears and eyes can be seen
  • The foetus moves in the amniotic sac.
  • Heart beat is visible on scan

At week 12, the foetus..

  • fully formed with eyes closed 
  • swims by kicking
  • can swallow, cleanth a fist, hiccup and **** its thub
  • Has well developed sex organs
  • Sensitive to heat, light and sound
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Weeks 24 to 36

At week 24, foetus is..

  • Weighs approximately 700g
  • Has hair, wrinkled skin, fingernails and fingerprints
  • Is covered in vernix and lanugo
  • Is active, with definate periods of sleeping and waking

After 24 weeks,the baby grows and gets strongrer. If it was born now it would be viable because its development, expect the lungs is complete. If it was born now, it would need special care in NICU or SCBU.

By 32 to 36 weeks, the babys head is usually lying head downwards. This is the cephalic position.

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The placenta, umbilical cord and amniotic sac are produced by the fertilised egg.

The placenta...

  • is the only disposable organ in the body.
  • Attached to the wall of the uterus and expelled after birth as the afterbith.
  • Grows 2.5cm thick, 15cm across aqnd weighs 500g.

The placenta maintains and nourishes the baby by letting O2, amino fats, vitamins and minerals pass from the mothers blood. CO2 and waste prodcuts from the baby pass through the placenta to the mother and their blood doesn't mix.

Alcohol, nicotine, viruses, drugs and antibodies pass from the mother to baby through the placenta. 

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Amniotic Sac and Umbilical Cord

The amnotic sac is filled with animotic fluid which keeps the babys temperature at 37 degrees. Also cushions and protects baby from bangs.

The umbilical cord...

  • Is approximately 50cm long and 2cm wide.
  • Contains 3 blood vessels, carring blood between mother and baby.
  • Is cut and clamped after birth.
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Tests and Checks

Routine tests during pregnancy detect any problems with mother and baby.

The abdomen is palpated to check size, position and movement of foetus.

The legs are checked for...

  • Swelling, which may indicate pre-eclampsia
  • Varicose veins.

Blood pressure is checked as high blood pressure may indicate pre-eclampsia

Urineis checked regularly for protein as it may indicate pre-eclampsia or bladder/kidney infections And for ketone as it mag indicate I'll health or dehydration, chalymia is also detected.

Other symptoms of pre-eclampsia are blurred vision, headaches, upper abdominal pain and swollen fingers and ankles. It can be managed by hospital vision, medication, close monitoring and early delivery.

Eclampsia is a serious condition which may lead to convulsions, multiple organ failure and death of mother and baby.

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Tests and Checks 2

The foetal heartbeat is checked for presence and rate using a sonic aic or pinard stethoscope.

Blood tests taken for...

  • Hepatitis B
  • Anaemia
  • HIV
  • Sickle-cell anaemia
  • Thalassaemia
  • Rubella immunity
  • Mothers blood group and rhesus group.
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Ultrasound scans can be 2D, 3D or 4D. A hand held scanner over the abdomen, which covered in gel, reflects sound waves, which projects an image of the baby and its internal organs onto a screen.


  • Confirms pregnancy
  • Gives exact foetal age and size
  • Checks number of foetuses
  • Checks abnormalities
  • Checks heartbeat
  • Checks umbilical cord
  • Checks position of placenta
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