Fetal movements

By 20 weeks gestation most women are aware of the baby moving. There will be times throughout the day where you will not feel the baby move, this is usually because the baby is asleep.

Scan

You should feel at least 10 movements within a 12 hour period. If you are concerned that your baby has not moved or that the movements are decreased please do not hesitate to either call the rooms (02) 9966 5500 or your hospital delivery suite;

  • North Shore Private Hospital on (02) 8425 3288
  • The Mater Hospital (02) 9900 7681

Uterine tightenings (Braxton Hicks contractions)

These are painless irregular uterine (not labour contractions), contractions which usually start at about 20 weeks increasing in regularity after the 35th week of pregnancy. The tightenings are very normal and can be quite uncomfortable at times.

Exercise

It is beneficial to remain active throughout your pregnancy to minimise weight gain and to generally feel better for labour and birth. Intensive training or high impact activities should be avoided during pregnancy.

Heartburn

Reflux and heartburn are common later in pregnancy as the baby grows. Smaller more frequent meals and the avoidance of fatty, rich or spicy foods will all help to minimise the effect of heartburn.

Many women will require antacids such as Mylanta or Rennie tablets to help ease the discomfort and occasionally prescription medications may be necessary.

Constipation

Constipation can occur at any time during pregnancy. This is often the result of an increased level of progesterone acting on the intestine, or other causes such as iron supplements. Mild laxatives may be necessary such as Movicol, Normacol, and Duphalac can be safely used during pregnancy

Increasing your fluid and fibre intake will also help.

Back pain

Back pain may develop as the uterus enlarges this puts a greater strain on the lower back. Ligaments become softened and lax due to increased hormone production. Sciatica and pelvic instability may also develop.

Treatment can include:

  • sleeping on your side with a pillow between the legs with the legs slightly flexed
  • hot packs
  • forward tilting exercises of the pelvis
  • always maintain good lumbar support when sitting
  • physiotherapy and pilates.
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