Frequently Asked Questions
As your child continues to grow, so do your list of questions…. Becoming a new parent is no easy feat! We’ve tried to answer some of your most common questions from pre-pregnancy to toddlerhood.
Folic acid is one of the many forms of ‘vitamin B’ – B9 actually, although you would rarely hear it called that. While folate is found naturally in foods, folic acid is the version of folate that we see added to foods or as supplements. Folic acid is an extremely important vitamin for growth and development, most recognised for its role in reducing neural tube defects in growing babies.
In short it is highly unlikely. As part of your menstrual cycle, your “period” is the shedding of the uterus lining which would otherwise need to stay in place if you were pregnant. Ovulation is needed to fall pregnant and for most women this occurs approx 2 weeks after the start of your last period. Speak to your healthcare professional for advice.
A regular home pregnancy test should be taken from around 11 days after your missed period. If you’re not keen to wait, there are early response pregnancy tests available for around 6 days before your missed period. The directions on pack will advise the best time of day to do the test, however urine is more concentrated upon waking, so taking the test in the morning may increase its accuracy. Keep in mind that home pregnancy tests are useful as a first indication, but you should visit your healthcare professional for confirmation of the result.
Most women like to try and see their doctor for a prenatal (pre-birth) check up as soon as they find out they are pregnant which is around 6-8 weeks. From there, visits will likely occur every 4-6 weeks and become more regular as you get closer to your due date, or as often as your health care professional deems necessary. As every woman is unique and different in their pregnancy journey, your health care professional will help guide how often these should be.
Pregnancy on average is about 40 weeks. As pregnancy is counted from the first day of a woman’s last period, this means the baby is inside the womb for about 37-38 weeks to fully develop. A baby born prior to 37 weeks is considered ‘preterm’ and in most cases women will be induced if the baby hasn’t arrived on their own terms by 42 weeks.
The rate of weight gain and growth around the stomach varies widely among women, and can even change from one pregnancy to the next for the same woman so unfortunately there is no straight answer for this question. Your height, body shape, and the size of your baby will all influence this. Your health care professional will take various measurements throughout your pregnancy to track your progress and make sure you’re progressing safely.
Setting up a calming feed-sleep-play routine, and recognising and acting on your little one’s tired cues early will help your them settle and sleep. Tired cues may include the obvious such as yawning and drifting eyes, to the less obvious such as general fussiness. When you recognise your child’s tired signs, make sure they have a clean nappy and settle them in a calm and comfortable environment.
You are most fertile when you ovulate. Ovulation is when your body releases an egg from your ovaries, in preparation to be fertilised by sperm. This happens about 2 weeks after the start of your last period, or around day 15 of a 28-day menstrual cycle. Menstrual cycles can vary, so keeping track of yours will help you identify this perfect ‘window’ of opportunity.
Your fertility simply refers to your ability to become pregnant. The opposite being ‘infertility’ which is the inability to become pregnant.
A healthy balanced diet, full of fresh foods from all of the five important food groups will support a healthy body and give you the best chance of producing healthy sperm. Unfortunately diet alone is not responsible for a man’s fertility, many other factors come into play. If you are having difficulty conceiving, consult the expertise of a healthcare professional who can take a full medical history and identify potential reasons for this.
For most women, yes, it is safe to drink soda water during pregnancy. Like all processed foods and drinks, moderation is key. Soda water is a carbonated water, commonly made by pumping dissolved carbon dioxide as a gas into water, but it can also occur in nature from special natural springs. While plain tap water is most appropriate, a plain un-sweetened soda water can be a much healthier choice than other sweetened carbonated drinks.
It is known that caffeine does pass through into your breast milk. As caffeine is a stimulant and may affect your baby, it’s important to limit your intake while breastfeeding. Drinking small amounts, less than 200mg/day should be ok. 200mg is equivalent to approximately 1 espresso; 2 instant coffees; or 4 cups of tea. If you’re re-introducing coffee after your pregnancy you may want to start back slowly and monitor for any signs of unsettledness in your baby.
Breastfeeding requires approximately 500 calories (2000 kilojoules) extra each day compared with if you were not breastfeeding. This extra allowance is to ensure that you meet the extra energy needs to sustain your breast milk supply. As your body requires this extra energy to produce breast milk, if you are not consuming these calories through your diet, your fat stores from pregnancy will help cover these needs.
Breastfeeding is nature’s intended way of feeding your baby. The benefits are quite extensive and long lasting. To name but a few, it provides the ideal nutrition for healthy growth and development, it contains other unique ingredients such as probiotics and prebiotics to support your baby’s immune and digestive health, it creates loving bonds with your baby, assists with returning to your pre-pregnancy weight, it has financial savings…really this list goes on.
Baby-led weaning is a method of introducing solid foods that skips the more traditional progressive puree method. The theory is that jumping straight to finger foods allows your baby to pick up, touch and play, smell, and taste the usual family foods. There are some watchouts with introducing finger foods too early, care should be taken to introduce foods that are an appropriate texture and consistency for your baby’s developmental stage. Speak to your healthcare professional for advice.
By definition, baby-led weaning can start when your baby starts on solid foods, which is recommended at around 6 months of age, and definitely not before 4 months. There are some safety concerns you need to consider carefully if using this method of introducing solids, including choking hazards. There is also the concern that finger foods won’t provide the extra nutrition needed at this age, so ensure a healthy balanced diet is still maintained.
Australian guidelines recommend babies can start solid foods at around 6 months of age, and not before 4 months. Aside from age, your baby should show signs of readiness also – reaching for food, putting everything in their mouth, increased appetite after a breastfeed, to name a few.
For most women ovulation occurs around mid-cycle, which is approximately day 15 of a 28-day menstrual cycle. You start counting from the first day of your period. It’s best to track your cycle in order to calculate your mid-cycle date, as not everyone will have an exact 28-day menstrual cycle.
Signs of ovulation include mucus changes, when ovulating you may notice changes in the consistency, for example it may be thicker. You may experience premenstrual symptoms such as abdominal pain, breast tenderness, bloating, mood changes, or tenderness. Higher body temperature is a sign ovulation has already taken place. Also, knowing your regular menstrual cycle length so you can count the days will help narrow down your ovulation date.
Ovulation is when the body releases the egg from an ovary into the fallopian tubes in preparation for sperm to fertilise it and new life begins. For most women, this generally occurs 2 weeks after the start of your last period. High levels of luteinising hormone trigger ovulation within about 2 days. If the egg is not fertilised within 12-24 hours of being released, it will be reabsorbed by the body and no longer will be available to be fertilised.
The first trimester starts from the day of conception (when an egg is fertilised by sperm) to about 12 weeks. This is based on an average gestation of 40 weeks. Apart from morning sickness a lot of what is happening during this trimester is not felt or seen by the naked eye.
The second trimester is from 12 – 24 weeks. This is based on an average gestation of 40 weeks. The second trimester is often referred to as the ‘honeymoon’ phase as you start to get some energy back and morning sickness eases. A lot of mums start to see their little bump growing and may even feel first kicks.
The third trimester is from 24 - 40 weeks. This is based on an average gestation of 40 weeks but in reality this final trimester will continue until your baby is born. This is the business end of pregnancy; your baby will be growing quite big now and all the last pieces are coming together in preparation for your baby’s arrival.
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