Top ten pregnancy health worries answered

We help you overcome your pregnancy anxieties


‘Will I miscarry?’

Q: At five weeks pregnant, I had mild cramps and light bleeding. My doctor said there was a 50% chance the pregnancy would continue. I’m now seven weeks and the cramps and bleeding haven’t returned. Can you advise me?


‘Will I miscarry?’

Midwife Nikki Khan says:

‘Bleeding in early pregnancy is common and doesn’t always mean miscarriage. It may occur when the fertilised egg implants in the womb (implantation bleeding). Some women notice bleeding when they would have had their period. It may be due to cervical erosion, and light spotting can also occur after sex. If there’s also abdominal pain, see medical advice immediately. You could always ask your GP to refer you for an early scan.’


‘I’ve got a strange discharge’

Q I’m 16 weeks pregnant and have a pale green, almost fluorescent discharge. There’s no smell, but I’m worried. Is it normal?’


‘I’ve got a strange discharge’

Obsetrician Leonie says: ‘This sounds like the normal discharge of pregnancy – odourless and very pale. Thrush is also more common in pregnancy due to a change in the levels of acidity in the vagina – discharge is often curd-like and accompanied by itchiness. A cream from a pharmacist or your GP will help. If you get a discharge that is very watery, bloodstained or smells nasty, see your GP.’


‘Can I have a C-section’

Q I’m carrying a big baby – can I request a Caesarean?


‘Can I have a C-section?’

Obstetrician Leonie says: Current guidelines recommend your obstetrician considers your request, but they don’t have to agree to it. Talk through your reasons and request a second opinion if you wish.


‘I can’t feel my baby move’

Q I’m 27 weeks pregnant and over the last day or so I haven’t felt my baby move as much as normal. Should I get checked out?


‘I can’t feel my baby move’

Midwife Nikki Khan says: Yes. At 27 weeks you should feel your baby move at least 10 times in 24 hours. She has sleeping and waking up phases, so it may be that her sleep phase has altered and she’s now moving at a different time. Changing position or drinking cold water can help. If you’re concerned, contact the hospital so they can check all is OK and monitor her heartbeat.


‘I got drunk’

Q I’ve just found out I’m pregnant, but I went out drinking several times before I knew I was expecting. Will this have harmed my unborn baby?


‘I got drunk’

Dr Rob Hicks says: Try not to panic. Many women have been in the same situation as you and have gone on to have perfectly healthy babies. Ideally, it’s best to avoid alcohol altogether when you’re pregnant. But health watchdog NICE says if you do choose to drink, wait until after 12 weeks, then limit it to no more than one or two units once or twice a week. What’s important now is that you stay as healthy as possible for the rest of your pregnancy.


‘I’m not keen on the local hospitals’

Q I have a choice of two local hospitals to give birth in, but I’ve heard bad things about both. How do I decide?


‘I’m not keen on the local hospitals’

Midwife Nikki Khan says: Firstly, remember you hear more bad stories than good ones about hospitals. Explain your concerns to your midwife. Consider which hospital is easiest to get to, and ask if you can see the birthing room. If you still want to look elsewhere, your GP may be able to suggest an alternative hospital, but don’t leave it too late to request this. You could also consider a birth centre or home birth.


‘I ate liver pate’

Q I conceived while on holiday in France and am worried because I ate liver pate. Could I have harmed my baby?


‘I ate liver pate’

Nutritionist Caroline says: All pates, even veggie ones, should be avoided during pregnancy as they could carry a bug called listeria, which could harm your unborn baby. Liver and liver products should also be avoided as they contain high levels of vitamin A, which can be harmful, too. But try not to worry. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll have harmed your baby.


‘I’m worried about aches and pains’

Q I’m 22 weeks pregnant and have an ache in my right side, and need to wee more than usual.’


‘I’m worried about aches and pains’

Dr Rob Hicks says: Aches and pains are common when your body changes to accommodate your growing baby. It’s safe to take paracetamol, and use a heat pack over the sore area. The symptoms you described could signal a kidney infection, which will usually need antibiotic treatment. See your GP for advice straight away.


‘How early can I have an epidural?’

Q Can I have an epidural as soon as I get to hospital? I don’t want to wait until I’m in a lot of pain.


‘How early can I have an epidural?’

Midwife Nikki Khan says: Let your midwives know you’d like an epidural and also write it on your birth plan. You won’t be allowed one until you’re in established labour: having regular contractions that are causing the cervix (the neck of the womb) to dilate. In fact, many obstetric units say you should be at least 3cm dilated, so check your hospital’s policy. Epidurals have to be given by an anaesthetist, so it depends on one being available.

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