- How do I know I'm pregnant?
The signs and symptoms of pregnancy vary significantly among women. One of the earliest signs of pregnancy is a missed period; some women may notice little or no changes at the beginning. Some symptoms may become more apparent afterwards. These may include fatigue, frequent urination, nausea, tender or swollen breasts, and food aversions or cravings. However, a confirmatory pregnancy test is recommended.
- I think I’m pregnant, what should I do?
If you think you’re pregnant, you should talk to a health care provider (doctor, nurse or midwife) as soon as possible. There are lots of things you should know about pregnancy.
These include choices about who will care for you during your pregnancy, how to recognize problems during pregnancy.
It is important for you to know that getting early and regular care is important for your health and the health of your baby. Therefore, the earlier you see a health care provider to start antenatal care the better. Attending early and regular antenatal care in a good health facility is important for your health and for the health of your baby.
- What should I expect during pregnancy?
Generally, pregnancy is a normal healthy process for the majority of women. However, some common health problems may occur during pregnancy. Antenatal care can help spot and treat these and other problems before they turn into serious complications. These include:
- High blood pressure
- Excessive vomiting
- Poor blood circulation
- Varicose veins
- Kidney problems
- Abdominal pain
- Aches and pains
- Where do I go when am pregnant?
You should go to a Health facility/Primary Health Centre (PHC) nearest to your house and register for antenatal care.
- Why should I go for antenatal care?
Getting antenatal care is good for you and your baby. Women who attend regular antenatal care usually:
- Have healthier babies
- Don’t tend to have premature babies
- Get treatment for health problems early so they are less likely to cause serious complications for them or their babies
- When can I go for antenatal care?
It is good to see a doctor, nurse or midwife as soon as you think you’re pregnant. It’s best to start your antenatal care in the first few months of pregnancy; the earlier the better.
- What information should I take along when going for my first antenatal visit?
Your first visit is to enable you book in the antenatal clinic. It provides your midwife with valuable background information about you, and the midwife will book you in for maternity care provided by your health centre or hospital. If you decide later in pregnancy that you want to give birth at a different hospital, you can discuss with your health provider.
- How many times should I attend antenatal care?
Your doctor will give you a schedule of all the visits you should have while pregnant. Most experts suggest you see your doctor:
- About once each month from 4th week through 28th week
- Twice a month from the 28th week through the 36thweek
- Weekly from 36th week to birth
If you are older than 35 years or your pregnancy is high risk, you'll probably see your doctor more often.
- What happens during antenatal visits?
During the first antenatal visit, you can expect your doctor to:
- Ask about your health history including diseases, operations, or previous pregnancies
- Ask about your family's health history
- Do a complete physical exam, including a pelvic exam.
- Take your blood and urine for lab tests
- Check your blood pressure, height, and weight
- Calculate your due date
- Answer your questions
At the first visit, you should ask questions and discuss any issues related to your pregnancy. Find out all you can about how to stay healthy.
Later antenatal visits will probably be shorter. Your doctor will check on your health and make sure the baby is growing as expected. Most antenatal visits will include:
- Checking your blood pressure
- Measuring your weight gain
- Measuring your abdomen to check your baby's growth.
- Checking the baby's heart rate
While you're pregnant, you also will have some routine tests. Some tests are suggested for all women, such as blood test to check for anaemia, your blood group &genotype, HIV, and other factors. Other tests might be offered based on your age, personal or family health history, your ethnic background, or the results of routine tests you have had.
- What should I eat during pregnancy?
The following types of food are very important during pregnancy
- Grains - Bread, wheat, oatmeal, cereal, etc.
- Fruits - Fruits should be eaten mostly fresh. Juice that is 100% fruit juice is also helpful.
- Vegetables -
- Protein foods - meat, poultry, seafood, beans and peas, eggs, processed soy products, nuts, and seeds.
- Dairy - Milk and products made from milk,
- What is the nature of food a woman should eat during the first week of delivery?
She should have a balanced diet, more of protein, vegetables and fruits. Protein sources include liver, fish, meat, crayfish and snails. Women should avoid meals that give them allergy/constipation.
- Why should I change my diet during pregnancy?
A balanced diet should supply all of the vitamins and minerals and essentials nutrients needed for healthy growth and development of the organs and tissues of the fetus, and prevent major birth defects of the baby’s brain and spine.
- How do I stay fit during pregnancy?
It is important to stay fit during pregnancy by doing the following:
- Eating a balanced diet
It’s important to discuss exercise with your doctor or any other member of your health care team before starting any new exercise program. In most cases exercise is safe during pregnancy. You will usually find it is even recommended. Typically, if you were physically active before becoming pregnant, it is likely safe to remain active during pregnancy. More than likely, your healthcare provider will tell you to remain active, as long as it is comfortable and there are no other health conditions suggesting otherwise.
- What are the benefits of exercise during pregnancy?
Here are just a few:
- Helps reduce backaches, constipation, bloating, and swelling
- May help prevent, or treat, gestational diabetes
- May increase your energy levels
- May boost your mood
- Promotes muscle tone, strength, and endurance
- Helps you sleep better
- Regular activity also helps keep you fit during pregnancy and may improve your labour, delivery, and post- delivery healing.
- What changes occur in the body during pregnancy that can affect my exercise routine?
Your body goes through many changes during pregnancy, from hormonal, emotional and physical.
- What precautions should I take when exercising during pregnancy?
There are a few precautions that pregnant women should keep in mind during exercise:
- Stay hydrated (drink plenty of water)
- Wear supportive clothing, such as a supportive bra and a belly support may reduce discomfort
- Avoid standing still as being motionless for extended periods can cause blood to pool in your legs and feet.
- Avoid lying on your back, as the womb presses on the large vein that returns blood to your heart. This may tend to reduce the nutrition that goes to your baby.
- Are there any specific situations that might arise during pregnancy during which you should not workout at all?
Yes, you should absolutely NOT exercise during pregnancy if you experience or have been diagnosed with any of the following:
- Significant heart disease
- Restrictive lung disease
- Incompetent cervix
- Multiple gestation at risk for premature labour
- Persistent second or third trimester bleeding
- Premature labour during the current pregnancy
- Ruptured membranes
If you experience or have been diagnosed with the following conditions, you should get clearance from your doctor before attempting to exercise:
- Severe anaemia
- irregular hearth beats
- Chronic bronchitis
- Poorly controlled type 1 diabetes
- Extreme obesity
- Extreme underweight (BMI<12)
- History of extremely sedentary lifestyle
- Intrauterine growth restriction in current pregnancy
- Poorly controlled hypertension
- Orthopaedic limitations
- Heavy smoker
- Swelling, pain, and redness in the calf of one leg
- Preterm labour, persistent contractions (> 6-8/h)
- Decreased foetal movement
- Amniotic fluid leakage
- I drink alcohol and am pregnant should I quit?
Drinking alcohol while pregnant may harm a developing fetus (baby). Alcohol can pass from the mother’s blood into the baby’s blood and can damage or affect the growth of the baby’s cells. It can also cause fetal alcohol syndrome. So, alcohol should be avoided in pregnancy as much as possible.
- What drug should I take?
Antenatal vitamins are safe and important to take when you're pregnant. However, you must consult your healthcare provider before taking any drug and supplements. Generally, you should not take any over the counter (OTC) medication while pregnant unless approved by a healthcare provider.
- What tests should I do during pregnancy?
Rh factor testing
Blood tests for infections such as HIV, Syphilis, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, etc.
Test to determine your blood level – called packed cell volume (PCV) or haematocrit level
- Why should a pregnant woman go for ultrasound?
Ultrasound helps determine the viability and wellbeing of the baby. It can also be used to determine the sex of the baby.
- I am too busy with work to attend antenatal clinic, so what should I do?
Your wellbeing and that of the unborn baby is very important, you need to schedule your work activities to attend antenatal clinic, a minimum of four (4) visits is required. If you don’t think you can keep your appointment, call the clinic and let them know. Ask to speak to a nurse and explain why you can’t keep the scheduled appointment. They can try to help you re-schedule your appointment.
- I used a traditional birth attendant (TBA) for my deliveries, why should I use the health facilities?
Health care professionals can take care of you in many different ways than traditional birth attendants can. Health professionals take care of many pregnant women and have information for you about healthy pregnancy, so that you can take care of yourself and the baby. For example, they can get you an ultrasound, check your blood sugar and blood pressure, check the baby’s size, heart beat and growth and much more.
They can also help you find out if something is wrong and get you the right care you need at that time including emergency complications
- What are the danger signs during pregnancy?
If any of the following signs occur, the woman should be taken immediately to the hospital or health centre.
- vaginal bleeding
- severe headaches with blurred vision
- fever and too weak to get out of bed
- severe abdominal pain
- Fast or difficult breathing.
- Abdominal pain
- Feels ill
- Swelling of fingers, face and legs
- What should I do when I encounter any danger signs?
Don’t panic, get help and go to the nearest health facility.
- How do I plan for delivery?
During your antenatal visits, talk with your doctor or midwife about your labour and delivery options. You may want to write them down as a birth plan: Where to deliver your baby; who to deliver your baby; Resources needed etc.
But try to be flexible. No labour and delivery can be predicted or planned. So give yourself permission to change your mind at any time. And be prepared for your childbirth to be different from what you planned. If an emergency arises, your doctor has a responsibility to ensure your safety and your baby's safety. You may still share in decisions, but your choices may be limited.
- What are the complications in pregnancy that might lead to Caesarean Section (CS) and not vaginal delivery?
Caesarean section (CS) is often advisable when a woman’s pelvis is too small and / or the baby is too big for vagina delivery, or the baby is lying horizontally (across) in the womb
- What are the danger signs associated with anterior placental?
Anterior lying placenta and posterior lying placenta are normal. However, if placenta is lying before the baby, the condition is called placenta previa. This can only be detected on ultrasound scan and could lead to bleeding in the later part of pregnancy. The doctor will tell you what to do if this occurs.
- What do I expect during labour?
Signs of labour vary for pregnant women; the following are signs of labour:
- Uterine contractions
- Passage of jelly-like discharge mixed with blood, also called “show”.
- Breaking of the fore water with passage of clear water through the vagina.
- Jelly-like discharge
- What is family planning?
Family planning, by definition, is deciding the number and spacing of your children; through the use of contraception: such as abstinence, natural planning, or hormonal birth control.
- Who is eligible for family planning?
Every person who is sexually active is eligible to receive family planning services.
- How do I get family planning?
Go to a recognised health facility/PHC and get counselling on family planning and make your choice of family planning
- Who do I see for family planning?
See a Doctor or a nurse/midwife for family planning.
- Where do I get family planning?
Go to a recognizsed health facility nearest to you.
- What are the available family planning options before and after delivery?
Abstinence, condoms, intrauterine contraceptive deuce (IUCD), hormonal pills and implant, calendar method.
- How do I care for the newborn?
Register for postnatal care in a health facility/PHC, attend your postnatal care meetings and follow every instruction.
- Why should I attend post natal clinic?
Attending postnatal clinic is very important within 24 h (for home delivery) and for the first week after birth. Doctors examine the general health and wellbeing of the child. Early danger signs of the baby’s health are spotted early on and treated.
- Should the doctor examine me during post natal clinic?
Yes, the doctor should examine you during post natal visit to ensure you are recovering well and in good health after childbirth.
- What are the danger signs I should look out for in newborn?
The following are danger signs to look for in the newborn:
- Not feeding since birth or stopped feeding;
- Respiratory rate of 60 or more (fast breathing);
- Severe chest in-drawing (difficulty in breathing);
- Temperature of ≥ 37.5 degree centigrade (fever);
- Temperature ≤ 35.5 degree centigrade (hypothermia);
- Only moves when stimulated or not even when stimulated (weakness or lethargy);
- Yellow soles (sign of jaundice);
- Umbilicus redness or draining pus, skin boils, or eyes draining pus (sign of local infection)
- What should I do when I see such signs?
Don’t panic, get help and take your baby to the nearest healthcare facility/Primary Health Centre
- Where should I go for care of newborn?
It is always safe and best to go to a health facility or primary health centre
- Is it bad to give newborn water?
It’s wrong to give newborn water. Newborn gets water from breast milk (breast milk is 90% water); water from other sources are considered not safe and pure, and could cause diarrhoea.
- What if I decide not to exclusively breastfeed the baby, what is the best option?
Except if a mother has health complications, exclusively breastfeed is the best option. However, in exceptional cases, infant formula can be given and should be prepared according to instruction
- What is exclusive breastfeeding?
Exclusive breastfeeding means that a mother feeds her newborn with only breast milk. No other liquids or solid are given, not even water. But, oral rehydration solution, drops/syrups of vitamins, minerals or medicines can be given to the newborn.
- What are the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding has many health benefits for both the mother and the baby. Breast milk contains all the nutrients a baby needs in the first six months of life.
- How long should a mother breastfeed her baby?
Babies should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life to achieve the best growth, development and health outcomes. Thereafter, to meet their changing nutritional requirements, babies should receive nutritionally adequate and safe complementary foods (infant formula), while continuing to breastfeed for up to two years or beyond.
- What is colostrum?
It is the first secretion from the breast after giving birth. It is a special milk which is yellow or orange in colour, thick and sticky. It is low in fat, and high in carbohydrate protein, and antibiotics to keep your baby healthy. .
- What are the benefits of colostrum?
It is very rich in antibiotics that help to keep baby healthy. it also aid excretion, helping babies pass stools early and excrete excess bilirubin. It helps to prevent jaundice.
- Should colostrum be discarded?
No, it should be the baby’s first meal.
- Should a sick mother breastfeed her baby?
Yes, as long as the sick mother is physically able except, the doctor advices otherwise.
- My religion forbids me to deliver in the hospital, what should I do?
Health providers are trained and experts in maternal and child care, they understand best your situation and expected outcome of your pregnancy and can offer help to deliver your baby and manage any complications related to pregnancy and deliveries.
- I am an HIV patient, how do I care for my pregnancy?
See a healthcare provider early for further examination and care to prevent mother to child transmission of the HIV.
- Can I bring my partner to appointments? Can I bring another family member or a friend?
Yes! You are welcome to bring anyone you are comfortable sharing pregnancy information with or who is assisting with your pregnancy.
- I struggle with depression or anxiety, how can antenatal care help?
You do not have to be alone with this. Depression, anxiety or any mental illness can be really rough. Many people struggle with psychological symptoms during pregnancy.
Your antenatal care provider can help you get treatment, counselling and support for any mental health issue. Please talk to your health care provider about this.
- What is birth preparedness and complication readiness?
It is a comprehensive package aimed at promoting timely access to skilled maternal and neonatal services. It promotes active preparation and decision making for delivery by pregnant women and their families
- What should my husband know during my pregnancy?
First tell him when you have symptoms of pregnancy; tell him about your antenatal clinic days and get him involved and informed about the pregnancy.
- What are the core things the husband should do during pregnancy and postnatal period?
Husbands should support their wives financially for antennal care clinic, provide moral support, go with them to antennal clinic, and ensure women take their antenatal drugs routinely. The husband should also save money towards delivery.
- Is it a good idea to have intercourse with one’s wife when she is pregnant?
Yes it is good to have intercourse with a pregnant wife throughout the duration of pregnancy except advised otherwise by a doctor.
- How often should a pregnant woman have sex during pregnancy?
As often as she can; there is no limit to the number of times a pregnant woman should have sex.
- Why do some women have a tight stomach and others have loose stomach
Women with tight abdominal muscle often times have their abdomen back in shape earlier than women with loosed abdominal muscle.
- How long after delivery should a nursing mother wait before resuming sex?
When she has stop bleeding, surgical tearshealed and she is psychologically ready. Usually these take two weeks for women who had normal vagina delivery.
- Is it good to have sex during pregnancy?
It is good but doctor’s advice should be sought.
- When should husband stop sucking pregnant woman’s breasts?
Husbands can suckle on pregnant women’s breast but it is good to exercise caution as suckling on a pregnant woman’s breast could trigger release of oxytocin that triggers labour which could lead to preterm delivery
- Can a woman wear mother care pants after delivery?
Yes, it is good as it covers her entire female region
- What are the kinds of things a man is expected to buy for the wife before delivery?
Husband should consult midwives for the items to buy; some of the items include: sanitary pads, tissue papers, baby oil, wrappers, etc.
- What is the normal percentage of blood for a pregnant woman?
PCV of 32% and above.
- Is it advisable to circumcise the female child?
Circumcision of the girl child steals orgasm – which is every woman’s right. The act of female circumcision has no medical benefits and is punishable by law.