(Advice and Information to Help You Achieve a normal Birth)
Choosing to start a family or make another addition to your family is a life changing decision. Sometimes babies are planned and other times pregnancy comes unexpectedly. Whatever your situation, it is a good idea to make sure you are fit and healthy for the duration of your pregnancy and to prepare your body for labour.
This is one of the most important things you can do to help you have a healthy pregnancy and reduce the risk of complications such as low birth weight and placental problems which significantly reduce your chance of a normal birth. Your midwife and GP will be able to support you to cut down or quit.
It is important to be as healthy as possible during your pregnancy. One of the best ways to achieve this is to ensure you are eating a healthy and balanced diet, low in saturated fat and refined sugars.
You should aim to maintain your body mass index (BMI) between 18.5 and 24.9 which is considered the healthiest range, your Midwife, GP or practice nurse can offer advice and support. There are certain foods we recommend you avoid during pregnancy, please refer to your pregnancy book or click here for full details.
The more active and fit you are during pregnancy, the easier it will be for you to adapt to your changing shape and weight gain. It will also help you to cope with labour and get back into shape after the birth. Keep up your normal daily physical activity or exercise (sport, running, yoga, dancing or even walking to the shops and back) for as long as you feel comfortable. All pregnant women should try and undertake 30 minutes of moderate activity a day. Performing pelvic floor exercises is an important way to help both during labour and afterwards – but please remember to empty your bladder before you do these exercises!
You do these by:
- close up your anus as if you’re trying to prevent a bowel movement
- at the same time, draw in your vagina as if you’re gripping a tampon, and your urethra as if to stop the flow of urine
- at first, do this exercise quickly, tightening and releasing the muscles immediately
- then do it slowly, holding the contractions for as long as you can before you relax: try to count to 10
- try to do three sets of eight squeezes every day: to help you remember, you could do them once at each meal
Regular antenatal care is important throughout your pregnancy to ensure that you and your baby are well and the pregnancy is progressing normally. Your midwife will tell you how often you should be seen based on your pregnancy and medical history.