I've often noticed how many posts we get from girls who just found out they're PG and want to know where to start!
I know I was one of them!
I just thought I'd try to answer some of the initial questions we all had when we found out we were PG so I put together a list of basic things to know re. food, choice of care, what to do/not to do in pregnancy etc.
There's lots to know so please add anything that I've left out!
This is just an initial draft..
What can I not eat? What is okay to eat?
- No drinking or smoking! (if you've gone for a session before you realised you were PG it's okay, don't worry!)
- Try to limit your intakes of caffeine (tea and coffee) to 2 cups a day.
- Try to cut peanuts. The baby might inherit an allergy from either of you or suffer from asthma or exzema.
- No unpasteurized cheeses. Unpasteurized cheeses *can* contain a bacteria called Listeria which attaches itself to the placenta and can be harmful for your baby.
- Raw or undercooked eggs and meats (including sushi, poultry, shellfish etc) and generally the same foods that pose a risk of salmonella or food poisoning if undercooked.
Cheeses which are SAFE to eat in pregnancy
Austrian smoked, Babybel, Caerphilly, Cheddar, Cheshire, Derby, Double Gloucester, Edam, Emmental, English goat's cheddar, feta, Gouda, Gruyere, Halloumi, Havarti, Jarlsberg, Lancashire, Manchego, Orkney, paneer, Parmesan, Pecorino (hard), Provolone, Red Leicester.
Soft and processed cheeses:
Boursin, cottage cheese, cream cheese, feta, goat's cheese without a white rind, mascarpone, mozzarella, Philadelphia, processed cheese (such as cheese spread), Quark, ricotta.
Yoghurts (all varieties), probiotic drinks, fromage frais, soured cream and crème fraîche - any variety, including natural, flavoured and biologically active - are all safe to eat.
Cheeses to AVOID in pregnancy
Mould-ripened soft cheeses:
Brie, Blue Brie, Cambozola, Camembert, Chaumes, chèvre (goats cheese with a white rind), Pont L'Eveque, Taleggio, Vacherin-Fribourgeois
Bergader, Bleu d'Auvergne, Blue Wensleydale, Shropshire Blue, Danish Blue, Dolcelatte, Gorgonzola, Roncal, Roquefort, Stilton, tomme, Wensleydale (blue).
Soft, unpasteurised cheese, including goat and sheep's cheeses:
Chabichou, Pyramide, Torta del Cesar.
WHAT HAPPENS AT YOUR FIRST GP VISIT
Every GP is different but usually the GP will:
- Do a pregnancy test to confirm the BFP (don't worry if the GP gets a BFN, their tests are usually not as sensitive as the ones we buy over the counter like First Response etc)
- Take a sample of your urine and test for infections
- Check your weight and blood pressure
- Give you a form to fill in for the Combined Care Scheme
- You'll have to pick which hospital you want to go to i.e. Holles Street, Rotunda, Coombe, etc and the GP will give you reference letter for them for you to bring with you to your first hospital appointment. (This will take place when you'll be 15-16 weeks pregnant. Hospital don't tend to see you before unless there are problems). Once you decide whether you want to go public, semi-private or private, you need to call the hospital and book your first appointment.
What is Combined Care
The Combined Care Scheme is a type of care that allows you to alternate your visits between your general practitioner and a maternity unit / hospital obstetrician. Generally the visits become more and more frequent as your pregnancy progresses.
The Combined Care Scheme form that you will fill in at your GP is so that you can qualify for Combined Care depending on how much PRSI contributes you have paid (I think the minimum is 1 year of contributes paid). If you qualify you won't pay your visits to your GP (well.. you'll pay this first visit only!). The GP will then post that form for you.
All expectant mothers who are ordinarily resident in the State are entitled to free maternity care, covering her antenatal visits, labour and delivery and postnatal care.
When you ring the hospital to make your first appointment, you will be asked if you intend to visit as a public, semi-private or private patient.
If you are a public patient, you will attend the hospital's antenatal clinic (or hospital clinics based in the community). You may see the same doctor on each visit, or you may not. Alternatively, if your pregnancy is uncomplicated, you may elect to visit the midwives' clinic if the hospital has one. This is staffed by experienced midwives and again, can ensure you continuity of care.
When you come into the hospital for labour and delivery, you will be delivered by staff midwives and may not see a doctor unless you experience complications. You may not have met the midwives or doctors who attend your labour and delivery. After the birth of your baby, you will be moved to the public ward for your stay, generally of about three days. A small number of hospitals now offer early discharge schemes, allowing you to go home early from hospital with follow-up care.
If you are attending as a semi-private patient, you may see a consultant privately, or attend the semi-private clinic. This clinic is run by the consultant and his/her team. In some hospitals a team member may deliver your baby, or the doctor on duty at the time. After delivery, you will stay on a semi-private ward, with approximately 3-5 other mothers.
If you are attending privately, you will be appointed your own consultant whom you will see at each visit. Your consultant may not necessarily be available to deliver your baby. Private care also entitles you to a private room, although, again, this is dependent on availability.
The truth behind Public/SP/Private Care
This is some advice I gathered from reading other posts here in WOL from first hand experiences.
- When you go public you're seen by the same consultants, equipe, midwives as if you were private or semi-private. The only difference is that whey you're public your first visit is with a consultant and the rest of the visits are with his/her equipe of doctors. However the midwives are always the ones that do all the work and if there are complications the consultant will see you regardless of you being public, sp or private. Also, the other main difference is the room: you will be in a public ward where there can be 6 beds.
- Neither private or semi-p guarantee you a room. Have read of people who were private and ended up in a public ward as there were no private rooms free. They still had to pay their full fees.
- Waiting times can be the same in private/semi-p as they are in public.
- If you want 'extra' care you can still go to a private clinic and pay for extra scans etc (i.e. early scans). You'll still be doing this even if you were private, hospital don't see you before 16 weeks. Early scan clinic will see you from 8 to 14 weeks (that's because after that it's the hospital's job).
If there is an emergency and you need to be seen before the 16 weeks, they will see you, regardless of what scheme you're in.
Finally, public care isn't 'free' as such - you already paid for the care you're going to receive in your prsi deductions in your salary.
PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE (VHI, BUPA, etc)
Generally they will cover you up to 3 days stay in hospital (sp and private) for natural birth and up to 5 days stay (also sp and private) for a cesarian. If there are complication and you will need to stay longer they will cover for your extended stay as long as the hospital will deem necessary.
They will cover the fee for the epidural and c-section.
However all consultant fees and scans are on you (but you can claim back a total of €400 on them).
Consultant fees can amount to up to €5k privately.
Generally, if you go Semi-Private, you'll end up paying €600/700 yourself that isn't covered by the private health insurance.
Lots of women get nausea and actually get sick however many women are very lucky and don't get MS at all!
Some blood discharge can be normal also however it's best if you contact your GP. Also stretching pains are normal also, it's your uterus stretching!
Soar and terder breasts is very normal also! Many of us have gone up one cup size!
Symptoms to watch out for
If you have severe cramps AND bleeding, you need to contact your GP or hospital immediately.
WHAT IS OKAY DURING PREGNANCY
- Gentle exercise is advised during pregnancy (walking, yoga, etc)
- Intercourses are also okay.
Try to avoid..
- Coming into contact with cat litter or cat feces. A parassite contained in cat litter causes Toxoplasmosis and it's dangerous for you and your baby.
- You can run but try to keep your heart rate below 150.
Many women decide to go for a private scan before their first hospital appointment, mainly for peace of mind, to know that everything is okay.
Your baby's heart starts beating at 7 weeks.
If you go for a scan before then (it might be internal) don't be upset if you only see a sac, the heart will start beating soon!
Many women go for a first scan at 8 weeks when the heart is already beating so you can see the little flickering on the screen!
Generally, 12 weeks are a milestone and the majority of first scans are at 12 weeks (the baby is fully developed and from this point onwards it's all growth!)
Girls, I hope I covered the basics!
If I left anything out (I'm sure I have) please add more info to the list!
To all the newbies here, congratulations and welcome!