Even if you have been pregnant before, you will have lots of questions about how you can look after yourself and your bump over the 9 months you are pregnant. Here we have some answers to common questions and answers from expectant mums, and dads over Scotland. Remember, if you can't see what you are looking for - you can always ask your midwife who will be able to help you.
Common pregnancy questions
How will I feel when I'm pregnant?
Everyone is different, but hormones can cause lots of changes in your body and the way you feel. Some of us may have tender breasts, get tired easily or feel sick (at any time of the day, and not just in the morning). Even if you were planning on becoming pregnant, realising that you are can still come as a bit of a shock - so don’t worry if you feel up and down.
What if I have any bleeding during my pregnancy?
Why do I need a midwife?
Your midwife will make sure that you get the best possible care, tailored around you.
It’s known that high quality care throughout pregnancy, birth and following the birth can have a really positive effect on the health of women and babies, and on the healthy development of children throughout their life. That’s why your midwife, and other health professionals work hard to make sure that wherever you live in Scotland and whatever your circumstances, we all have a positive experience of maternity and neonatal care.
Your midwife will be there for you every step of the way - supporting you throughout your pregnancy as well as after the birth. Chat with them about your needs and choices and then you can work together to plan what’s best for you and your baby.
When should I arrange to see a midwife?
You should make an appointment with a midwife as soon as possible after finding out that you’re pregnant, even if you're a mum already. Getting in early means your midwife can help plan the best care for you and your baby.
For more information visit Ready Steady Baby!
Can I exercise when pregnant?
How much exercise should I do?
We know that you’ll have loads of other things to fill your day, but try to squeeze a little exercise here and there. Try and aim for about 150 minutes a week. This might sound like a lot - but if you break it up into two 15-minute bursts, 5 times a week, you’re there! You could do it in a couple of little walks each day, over the course of the week. If you’re already very sporty, you may have to cut down a bit while you’re pregnant. As a general rule - if you feel better for it, then keep doing it. But stop exercising if you feel it’s becoming uncomfortable for you. Your midwife can give you some advice on getting the balance just right. Click here for more information and helpful tips.
Click here for more information and helpful tips.
How do I get a midwife?
Finding a midwife to help you through your pregnancy is easy. There's no need to see your GP first - you can book direct with a midwife. In most Health Board areas, you can make your first midwife appointment by asking your GP receptionist.
Watch a short film to see what happens at your first appointment by joining expectant mum Chloe on her first visit to her midwife Lauren.
Visit Ready Steady Baby! for more help, hints and tips on getting ready for parenthood.
Is it true I can get free dental care when I'm pregnant?
How do I register for my Baby Box?
It’s really easy to sign up for your Baby Box. When you’re about 20-24 weeks pregnant, your midwife will fill in a Baby Box registration card with you at your regular antenatal appointment. Your midwife will send this card away to register you for your Baby Box, so you won’t need to do anything else. Find out more about your Baby Box.
What should I eat when pregnant?
We know that morning sickness makes eating and drinking challenging – but trust us, a good diet can help you feel so much better, from the inside out.
- It’s important to stay hydrated, so try to boost the amount of water you drink each day.
- Try and eat at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day. They’re a good source of vitamins, minerals and fibre, and you can eat them fresh, frozen, from a tin, dried or juiced - whichever way you like them. There’s a handy guide about portions here.
- Every day, try to include 3-4 portions of carbohydrates. Things like bread, cereal, noodles, pasta, rice and potatoes. Even better, go for wholegrain or whole wheat varieties.
- Making sure you’re getting enough dairy and Vitamin D means your wee baby’s bones will harden as they develop. Dairy contains calcium and is found in foods like yoghurt, milk and hard cheese. You’ll find some great ideas and options for getting your daily dairy here.
- You can’t actually get enough Vitamin D from food alone, and a lot of it comes from sunshine. Since we don’t have much sun in Scotland, it’s best to take supplements all year round while you’re pregnant. You don’t need to buy expensive multi-vitamins. All pregnant women in Scotland can get Healthy Start vitamins free, which contain Vitamin D, and are available from your midwife.
If you want to find out more about what you can and can't eat during pregnancy, take a look at Healthy Eating During Pregnancy. Or, why not visit the Ready Steady Baby! website. Your midwife will also be able to talk you through the best ways to fit healthy food into your diet.
What foods should I avoid during pregnancy?
You’ve probably heard rumours about things you can’t eat during pregnancy. We’re happy to say that most foods are totally fine, and there are just a few things you should avoid.
What other pre-natal vitamins or supplements do I need?
You need to be at your healthiest when you’re pregnant or trying to conceive, so vitamins and minerals are even more important. Vitamins A, C, and D are the ones you need the most, and Iron is also at the top of the list because it needs time to build up throughout pregnancy.
The free Heathy Start vitamins that are available are a great starting point but it’s also good to combine these with healthy meals that provide a source for these vitamins. We know it’s hard to have these in every meal, but here are a few foods you can find them in:
- red meat
- wholegrain bread
- dark green vegetables
You could try adding some to every meal to make sure your iron levels stay high.
To find out more about how vitamins and minerals can help you look after yourself during your pregnancy, ask your midwife or visit Ready Steady Baby!
Why should I be taking folic acid tablets?
Folic acid is totally natural and is a really good supplement when you’re expecting. It’s important for helping your baby’s spine to develop, even in the very early stages of pregnancy. It’s best to take folic acid while you’re trying to get pregnant, and continue taking it throughout your pregnancy.
How much caffeine can I have during pregnancy?
It’s best to cut right back, as caffeine can affect the birth weight of your baby. Generally, a cup of tea or coffee a day is fine. We know it’s hard but cut out fizzy drinks because the caffeine and sugar levels can be really high. You’ll find more information here.
Can I drink alcohol while I'm pregnant?
You shouldn’t drink any alcohol at all during pregnancy, as it could be harmful to your baby. By making the positive choice not to drink any alcohol while you’re pregnant or trying for a baby, you can feel confident that you’re helping to keep your baby safe and healthy.
What about smoking and pregnancy?
It’s not advisable to smoke while you’re pregnant. Do not let anyone else smoke around you, or in rooms where you and your baby will be. Smoking can cause pregnancy and labour complications, such as your baby being born too early or weighing less than normal. A baby with a low birth weight is more likely to pick up infections, have breathing difficulties and other health problems throughout their childhood. Giving up smoking is the best thing you, your partner and family can do for you and your baby. As soon as you stop, you reduce the risk of miscarriage or stillbirth, and risks to your baby such as cot death.
What can I do if my back or hips are sore?
As your baby grows inside you it puts a little bit more strain on your body, and that can lead to a sore back and hips in the final months of pregnancy. Doctors advise, that moving around as much as possible helps and, if you can, a bit of swimming and stretches (like yoga) can also help relieve aches and pains. But if you get really sore, speak with your midwife, as there might be extra support available to you.
When will I start to feel the baby kicking?
Most mums feel the first fidgets of their wee one - known as ‘quickening’ - between weeks 14 and 26 of their pregnancy, but it does vary. After those first little flurries, you’ll get to know your own baby’s pattern of movements. Remember, you can talk to your midwife about what to expect. And you’ll probably start to feel your bond with your baby growing as you get use to their movements.