Having a baby is a wonderful and precious experience, but if you or your developing baby have a health problem, it can be very frightening. For specialist advice and reassurance at any stage during your pregnancy, our expert obstetric doctors are just a phone call away.
- understand pregnancy blood tests
- interpret scan results
- talk through any worrying symptoms
Dr Morton's Test Kit© for ovulation
Health problems during pregnancy
Your body goes through huge changes during pregnancy: your hormone levels fluctuate, your digestive system slows down and your blood volume increases by a huge 50%. All these changes can lead to symptoms that healthy young women would not normally experience, such as:
- tiredness - it is amazing how tired you feel in early pregnancy!
- getting up to pass urine - this can happen even in week one.
- difficulty passing urine - you may feel the need to pass urine more frequently, but find it hard to actually do it.
- constipation - this is because food moves through your gut more slowly.
- ankle swelling - due to your increased blood volume.
- dizziness and palpitations - due to changes in your heart and blood vessels.
- bleeding and pain when opening your bowels - this may be due to haemorrhoids (piles).
- pain in the back and pelvis - from the weight of the baby pushing down.
- pain and numbness in the hands - this could be due to carpal tunnel syndrome, caused by wrist swelling.
- itchy skin - often this is just due to increased oestrogen levels, but can be caused by more serious conditions.
Unfortunately, the list of possible symptoms is endless, and nine months is a long time to suffer. There may be predictable problems if you have pre-existing health issues, such as thyroid disease or previous surgery. Other problems are specifically associated with pregnancy, examples of which include pre-eclampsia (dangerously high blood pressure) or placenta praevia (the placenta lying low in the uterus and blocking the way out).
If you're worried or struggling to cope, our obstetric doctors are experts in their field, so do call for advice.
Calculate your due dateIf you know what the first day of your last period was, you can estimate your expected date of delivery, or 'EDD', using Dr Morton’s
Please enter the first day of your last menstrual cycle into the calculator:
This calculator gives you a good idea of your due date, but ultimately, for all pregnancies, the baby will come when the baby comes. It is as normal to go two weeks 'overdue' as it is to have the baby two weeks 'early'. Ultrasound scans allow us to make a more accurate due date estimation, as all babies grow at exactly the same rate during the first few weeks in the womb. Measuring a foetus (unborn baby) at exactly 6.2 mm allows a doctor to say that the foetus is six weeks and two days' gestation (age in the womb). Ultrasound technology also allows us to check the size of a baby from as early as three weeks after conception, and thus very accurately 'date' a pregnancy.
Who should be looking after me during my pregnancy?
By law you should be cared for by a midwife throughout your pregnancy and delivery, and until the baby is ten days old. At this point, as long as you and your baby are well, your care is transferred to the health visitor. If there is a more serious problem, or something they are not sure of, your midwife or health visitor will contact an obstetrics and gynaecology doctor, just like the ones on our team.
Miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy
In ectopic pregnancy, the foetus is in the wrong place (i.e. not in the womb). These pregnancies can never be successful, and if not removed, can be life-threatening to the mother. Thankfully they are fairly uncommon, with around one in a hundred pregnancies in the UK being ectopic.
Miscarriage is sadly a common event. One in five pregnancies will miscarry, and often the exact reason is unknown. Miscarriage symptoms and ectopic pregnancy symptoms can be very similar, so if you have bleeding or pain in early pregnancy, it is important that you seek medical advice.
Most pregnancies are healthy
For many women, being pregnant is the first time they have needed any medical care in their lives. For others, familiarity with clinics or hospital wards may well have come from issues around getting pregnant. Some women will have struggled womanfully to conceive, and some may even have miscarried in the past. These factors, together with a woman's innate personality and her personal situation, for example how supportive her partner is, will influence where the balance between anxiety and excitement lies.
While it is natural and understandable for expectant mothers to worry about their pregnancy, the important thing to remember is that most pregnancies nowadays are healthy.
- early pregnancy symptoms
- early miscarriage, why does it happen?
- is my pregnancy ectopic?
- haemorrhoids (piles) in pregnancy
- premature birth
- group B strep in pregnancy
- pregnancy calculator - 40 weeks and counting
- deep vein thrombosis in pregnancy
- obesity – an enormous problem when having a baby
- childbirth, episiotomy and sex
- losing a baby
- saving lives in pregnancy – think sepsis – prevent flu
- diarrhoea in pregnancy