My whole pregnancy
In your daily life
Doctors and midwives will be following the progress of your pregnancy:
- they will point out any risks you might be exposed to and help you take adequate steps to avoid them.
- they will monitor your health throughout these 36 weeks. They will make sure that minor pregnancy conditions will not spoil your experience.
Take charge of your home environment:
- stop smoking if you haven’t already. Ask people not to smoke around you: passive smoking is bad for foetuses.
- air out your home for at least 15 minutes every day to clear dampness and germs. Clear out smells and other residues from pollutants and cleaning products. Make sure air vents work and that they remove moisture and mould efficiently.
- avoid using any kind of aerosol (air fresheners, insecticides, etc.) that sprays harmful chemical products.
- if you are doing any home improvements or decorating to prepare for your baby’s arrival, choose paint, carpeting, and furniture that is guaranteed without VOCs (volatile organic compounds), which are highly allergenic.
- choose anti-mite bed linen.
- even though Wi-Fi and mobile telephone signals have not been proved to be harmful, do not keep your phone in your pocket. Do not use your mobile phone in your bedroom and limit mobile call durations.
Take charge of your social environment:
- avoid hospitals and any direct contact with people who have a potentially contagious illness.
- make a habit of washing your hands often and thoroughly (for at least 20 seconds). Encourage your friends and family to do so as well.
Take charge of your health:
- always ask your midwife before taking any medications. This includes any over-the-counter products you might usually take, such as syrups, capsules, suppositories, herbal blends, or essential oils. Even the most natural, familiar ones, which may seem harmless, might present specific risks for you and your foetus during pregnancy.
- read medication leaflets carefully, as many are contraindicated.
- no vaccinations, unless prescribed by your doctor.
- if you need an X-ray, tell the technician that you are pregnant: X-rays are contraindicated in early pregnancy. They should be limited to what is strictly necessary. Informed radiology staff will provide a lead apron to protect your abdomen and your baby. Be sure to discuss this with your doctor.
In addition to nausea and fatigue, pregnant women may experience all sorts of minor discomfort. Some conditions will pass, while others can be more lasting and make life difficult. Talk to your midwife, who will give you advice on easing them.
FAQ on everyday complaints
Pregnancy hormones stimulate the glands that stimulate perspiration. All folds of skin (armpits, chest) are prone to this.
The right approach: Use soap with a neutral pH. Wear cotton clothing. Choose a deodorant without paraben, or try talcum powder. Your doctor will advise you.
This type of complaint is common and can have 2 causes:
- hormonal: progesterone, a hormone that is produced in higher amounts during pregnancy, can disrupt digestion.
- mechanical: towards the end of pregnancy, the uterus presses on the stomach, triggering reflux.
What can I do about it?
- Do not lie down right after eating, avoid large meals at night, and elevate your head a bit when sleeping.
- Avoid acid foods (pickles, vinegar, citrus fruit, etc.), stimulants (tea and coffee), fizzy water and soft drinks, and high-fat foods.
- When in doubt, ask your doctor.
In the 1st trimester, this is one of the first symptoms of pregnancy arising from hormone changes. In the 3rd trimester, this is caused by an increasing pressure on the bladder and uterus and by the baby’s movements.
Not drinking in order to urinate less is not the right solution: regular hydration is essential. By letting thirst set in, you are harming your cells and your baby’s cells. Drink at least 1.5 litres of water throughout the day.
This is primarily a mechanical issue: as your growing uterus presses on your digestive system, it hinders evacuation. Progesterone, a hormone that is produced in high amounts, can disrupt digestion. Pregnancy also tends to coincide with being more sedentary, and this reduced physical activity can cause constipation.
The right approach:
Drink lots of water, preferably enriched in magnesium. Eat more fibre-rich foods (vegetables, fruit, whole grains, etc.). Be more active: walking for half an hour every day will help solve the problem if you are not too tired. Talk to your doctor, who will give you advice.
This kind of pain might make you worried that you are having a miscarriage.
At the start of pregnancy, these cramps are caused by changes in your uterus.
Later on in pregnancy, pelvic joints gradually loosen in preparation for birth.
Try to relax and rest. Talk to your doctor if the pain persists.
At the start of pregnancy, this light bleeding is a normal sign of pregnancy. While you may be concerned, most of the time it is not dangerous. Spotting marks the time when you would have had a period. It can also be caused by the fertilised egg implanting in the lining of the uterus. If in doubt, ask the doctor or midwife who is following you.
Cramps tend to come at night starting in the second trimester of pregnancy. They can be due to circulatory disorders and to deficiencies in B vitamins or calcium.
There are several types of muscle pain: lumbar pain, pelvic and lower abdomen pain, pain in the ribs or buttocks. They are caused by postural changes in the spine. They are a secondary effect of hormonal changes or of vitamin deficiencies. Rest alleviates this type of pain. If it persists, your doctor will advise you.
This is a circulation problem, a problem many pregnant are prone to.
The right approach: Rest and keep your legs elevated when you are lying down to increase your venous flow. Your doctor may also prescribe compression stockings for support. Avoid hot baths, and heat in general. Do not stand for long periods without moving. Here again, walking and swimming are solutions to keep your blood flowing. Ask your doctor for advice.
This pain is due to the increasing weight of your baby and to your centre of gravity shifting, caused by your tummy growing rounder and heavier.
The right approach:
Watch your posture: avoid arching your lower back, try to hold yourself upright by tilting your pelvis, to create less strain on the lower back. Never be tempted by self-medicating.
If your pain is too much to bear, please see your doctor.