The pregnancy test instructions say two blue strips means positive, you read on but there is nothing to say what you do now!

Being pregnant or becoming a parent is a whole new world filled with lots of questions, dos and don’ts and conflicting advice. I hope this article with help with some of your questions.

Lead Maternity Carers

I do advise to book your LMC (Midwife, Dr) early, often between 4-12 weeks pregnant. In some areas Independent Midwives are booked up earlier than in other areas due to availability and popularity. The 0800 MUM 2 BE (0800 686 223) Maternity Consumer phone line is run by the Ministry of Health. The 0800 line has a person answering the phone between 9am and 2pm Monday to Friday. Voicemail is available to leave a message after hours and all messages will be responded to accordingly.

The 0800 line supplies lists of Lead Maternity Carers (LMCs) for requested areas. The phone line does not give counseling, midwifery or medical advice. For more information on finding a Midwife see the Find a Midwife page on BabyWebNZ.

You will have the choice of a LMC who will be responsible for your maternity services. This may be a Midwife, GP or Private Obstetric Consultant. Some LMC’s will provide all of your care during pregnancy, labour and birth, and postnatally, some may provide shared-care working with other maternity service providers. The options of a place to give birth include: Home Birth, Birthing Units, Maternity Hospital, and Private Maternity Hospitals. It is important to have a LMC who understands and supports your wishes for your birth.

Folic Acid Supplementation

It is recommended to increase your Folic Acid intake before getting pregnant, and in early pregnancy as deficiency can cause possible congenital neural tube defects eg spina bifida. The present recommendation is to take folic acid daily for 4 weeks before conception until 3 months post conception. Please speak to your LMC (Doctor, Midwife) re this.

Immunisations

Before getting pregnant check your rubella immunity. If not immune you may wish to consider having the vaccine and then you will have to wait approximately 3 months before trying to get pregnant. You usually have to avoid pregnancy after any immunizations until advised otherwise. After you realize you are pregnant then you will need to have antenatal (pregnancy) blood tests done – this can be done by a Midwife, Doctor or some health clinics. At the booking bloods are taken to check rubella immunity, find out your blood group and if you have any antibodies, your hepatitis status, full blood count (FBC) and a VDRL test for syphilis. You can request a test to be taken if you think you could be at risk of having HIV.

Nuchal Translucency Scans

Having scans is a personal decision; one of the scans offered in early pregnancy is a Nuchal Translucency (NT) scan.

Quote from Radiology frequently asked questions: “Between 11 and 14 weeks of gestation you can have a test called a Nuchal Translucency scan. This test – only performed in this narrow time period, measures a skin thickness on the back of the baby’s neck. Measurements taken during this scan may determine risk for foetal and chromosomal abnormalities. Eighty per cent of Downs abnormalities (Trisomy 21) are identified using this method. If after the NT it is determined you have an increased risk of Downs, your Doctor or Obstetrician may suggest you have further tests such as Amniocentesis or Chorion Villus Sampling (CVS).”

Pregnancy can be tiring and uncomfortable at times but the reward at the end is wonderful. I sit here at 30 weeks pregnant and a little baby kicks me and I think one day I will hold this little person in my arms.

About the Author

Article by Helen Pulford (Midwife and Childbirth Educator) owner of:
www.babywebnz.org
Directory for pregnancy, childbirth and parenting web sites.

www.birthresources.org
Childbirth education resources.

This article has a copyright and cannot be reprinted without permission.
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Birth Resources provides information but it is not a substitute for professional midwifery or medical care. You should always seek the advice of your midwife, doctor or health professional for any concerns you may have regarding your health.

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