Lesson 3 Pregnancy

  • Understand what is a pregnancy and recognise whenever you are pregnant
  • Understand how your body changes during pregnancy and what you might feel
  • Understand how you should take care of your health and your baby’s health during your pregnancy
  • Understand what a doctor/ gynecologist/ midwife can do for you during your pregnancy
  • Understand what are emergencies during your pregnancy

Pregnancy or gestation is the time in which a fetus develops inside a woman’s uterus. This usually lasts 40 weeks or 9 months.

During a pregnancy the woman’s body experiences many changes.

Not having your menstrual period and gaining weight might indicate that you are pregnant. At first, a pregnancy test (urine test) that you can buy yourself can confirm this. Second, a doctor can confirm your pregnancy with a blood test.

  • Nausea (mainly during the first 3 months)/ morning sickness
  • Feeling tired
  • Constipation
  • Painful and swollen breasts
  • Inflamed gums
  • The need to urinate frequently
  • Mood swings and strong emotions

Later in the pregnancy you might have stretch marks on your belly, painful or swollen legs or feet and back pain.

All the above is normal and can vary from pregnancy to pregnancy.

These are the most common discomforts during a pregnancy.

If these discomforts are persistent, do not hesitate to contact your doctor/ gynecologist or midwife. 

How to take care during your pregnancy?

  • Try to eat healthy foods: Fruits, vegetables, grains and dairy products
  • For a better digestion: Try to eat many small portions a day 
  • Do not eat: Raw eggs, raw or smoked fish, raw or poorly cooked meat
  • Wash your hands: After being in contact with raw meat, working in the garden or cleaning the cat box
  • Always wash raw fruits and vegetables 
  • Eat cheese and milk that is pasteurised (mind the label when buying this in the supermarket) 
  • Drink a lot of water (1,5l per day)
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Limit coffee, tea or cola
  • Always ask the advice of a doctor before taking any medication
  • Avoid smoking
  • Do not take drugs
  • Vitamins: start taking folic acid whenever you plan on getting pregnant until the first 3 months of pregnancy. You can buy this in the pharmacy. 

Mind to stay active (walking, cycling, swimming), but try to rest whenever feeling tired. 

You can have sex during your pregnancy unless if the doctor says differently.

Avoid being exposed to the sun. But if you do, do not forget to always wear sunscreen. 

  • You need to consult a doctor to confirm your pregnancy with a blood test. 
  • You need to see a doctor/ gynecologist/ midwife for regular check-ups during the pregnancy to monitor your and your baby’s health 
  • He/ she  will perform at least 3 ultrasounds during a 40-week pregnancy. This is to check the due date, whether you are expecting one or more babies, the weight, length, position, heartbeat and sex of the baby, the amount of amniotic fluid and the position of the placenta.
  • He/ she will also check your blood pressure, uterus, weight and ask questions about your medical health.
  • He/ she can give you information about tests you can have to check your baby on disorders or diseases. 
  • You can also consult a midwife for a follow-up during your pregnancy. A midwife can help you with your questions about your pregnancy, about childbirth, breastfeeding and postpartum.
  • If you fall down or lose consciousness
  • If you have severe abdominal pain
  • If you have a persistent fever
  • If you have vaginal blood loss
  • If you lose a lot of weight
  • If you lose amniotic fluid
  • If you have a lot of white loss that has a bad smell
  • If you do not feel your baby moving the way he normally does or didn’t feel your baby moving in the last 24hours
  • If you have a headache combined with nausea, swollen legs/feet/hands, blurry vision and stomach pain