Our specialist sonographer will perform a detailed early anatomy and reassurance ultrasound scan to assess baby’s growth and development. You can find out the sex of baby during this ultrasound scan if you wish to. More information about this type of pregnancy ultrasound scan can be found here:
At The Birth Company in Harley Street, London we offer morning, afternoon and evening availability for your Private Midwife Consultation during the week. A surcharge will be applied for evening appointments. We have a wide range of availability therefore same day appointments can be easily arranged. Our Private Midwife is here to reassure even at short notice.
If you eat a healthy and balanced diet, you should be getting most of the vitamins and minerals that you need to maintain a good health balance; however, whilst trying to conceive and when pregnant (particularly the first trimester) you will also need to take a daily folic acid supplement. During the first trimester, folic acid is required to protect your baby’s developing spine and can be found in green vegetables, brown rice and fortified bread and breakfast cereals. The standard daily dose required by pregnant women is 400mcg but you may be asked to increase this to a higher dose of 5mg on prescription from your doctor or midwife if you have a BMI above 30, sickle cell disease, diabetes, if you are taking epilepsy medication or if you have had a previous baby with a neural tube condition (or a neural tube condition affecting yourself, your partner or immediate family).
During pregnancy, you should also take a 10mcg supplement of Vitamin D which is important for strong bones, teeth and muscles. Our bodies make vitamin D from sunshine, so this supplement is particularly important if you spend a lot of time indoors and between the months of October – March is the UK when there is less sunshine.
There are many pregnancy multivitamin supplements on the market which combine all of the daily requirements in one tablet; however, you must avoid any multivitamins or fish oil supplements that contain Vitamin A as this is harmful to pregnancy.
What foods should I avoid in pregnancy?
As well as mentioning the foods that should be avoided during pregnancy, it is equally important to make sure you are eating a healthy, balanced diet! You should aim to eat a variety of different food types every day, including plenty of fibre-rich carbohydrates such as brown rice and pasta, protein such as lean meat, chicken, lentils, and well-cooked eggs. Aim for two portions of fish every week and five portions of fruit and vegetables every day (this can include fresh, frozen, dried, canned or juiced). Also ensure that you are getting enough calcium from milk, dairy products (or calcium rich dairy alternatives). Calcium is also found in almonds, tofu, oatmeal, canned fish, oranges, dates, dried figs, kale and soy.
The foods to avoid are:
• Liver or liver products
• Shark, swordfish or marlin
• Soft, mould ripened cheeses such as Brie, Camembert and some types of goat’s cheese)
• Soft, blue cheeses such as Roquefort, Gorgonzola and Danish Blue.
• All types of pate, including vegetable pate.
• All unpasteurized (raw) milk or dairy products.
• Raw or undercooked meat.
• Cold, cured meats such as salami or pepperoni that haven’t been cooked.
• Raw or undercooked shellfish (cold, precooked prawns are fine)
• Unwashed fruit or vegetables.
The grey areas! There is often some confusion about the following so let’s bust those myths!
• Eggs – Food that contain raw eggs that carry the British Lion mark are safe to eat. If the egg does not carry this symbol you should avoid. This includes duck eggs, quail and goose. Always wash your hands after handling raw eggs
• Sushi – You can eat raw fish in sushi if it has been frozen first. It is also ok to eat sushi containing raw fish that has been smoked, cured, salted or pickled.
• Tinned tuna – Tuna has high levels of mercury that may be harmful to your baby so it is recommended that you do not exceed more than 4 medium sized tuna can in a week (140g when drained).
• Oily fish – Although oily fish is packed full of nutrition, it can also contain pollutants so during pregnancy it is not recommended that you eat it more than twice a week. Oily fish includes fresh tuna, salmon, mackerel and sardines.
• White fish – There is no limit on the amount of white fish you can consume during pregnancy. White fish includes cod, haddock and plaice.
• Cheese – You can eat hard cheeses such as cheddar and parmesan and plenty of other cheeses such as feta, ricotta, cream cheese, mozzarella, halloumi, paneer, cottage cheese and processed cheese spreads.
• Peanuts – You can safely eat peanuts during pregnancy unless you have an allergy to them or a health care professional tells you not to.
• Caffeine – It is a good idea to reduce caffeine during pregnancy and you should not consume for than 200mg of caffeine per day.
Alcohol – Alcohol is known to cause long term harm to baby’s so the safest approach during pregnancy is to avoid alcohol completely.
What exercise can I do during pregnancy?
Keeping active and exercising during your pregnancy is great for you and your baby and you can continue any exercise regimes that you were doing pre pregnancy as long as it feels comfortable. Obviously some exercise may not be suitable such as contact sports or sports where there is a risk of falling such as horse riding, skiing and gymnastics and some sports may need to be modified such as running or weight training to accommodate your growing belly. You should also avoid lying on your back for long periods as your bump will press on a big blood vessel that carries blood back to your heart which can make you feel dizzy and faint.
During any exercise during pregnancy it is important to keep well hydrated and you should be able to hold a conversation whilst you exercise, and don’t forget to arm up and cool down properly as your ligaments are much softer so you may be more prone to injury.
How much weight should I gain during pregnancy?
Weight gain during pregnancy varies between person to person but most women will gain between 10-12kg; most of which is gained after week 20. Much of the weight is due to your growing baby but your body will also be storing fat ready to make breast milk after your baby is born.
Pregnancy is not the time to worry about your weight and as long as you eat a healthy and well-balanced diet and take regular exercise it should not be a concern.
What should I do if my baby’s movements have changed?
Most women first start to notice their baby’s movements between 16-24 weeks into the pregnancy. If you’ve had a baby before it may be earlier. When it’s your first baby or if your placenta lies on the anterior wall of your womb it may be around 20-24 weeks. If you have not felt any movements by 24 weeks you should inform your midwife or maternity unit so they can check baby’s heartbeat and arrange a scan.
By 32 weeks your baby’s movements will usually have settled into a pattern that is unique to them and you will be familiar with it. There is no need to count the movements and no set number of movements that needs to be achieved per day but you can expect baby to have active periods during the day/night with intervals of sleep that can last around 20-40 minutes and sometimes up to 90 when they don’t move.
If at any time from 24 weeks you notice a change or reduction to your baby’s movements, you should contact your midwife or maternity unit straight away. Do not check your baby’s heartbeat yourself using hand help Dopplers or phone apps; if your baby is not moving as usual, detecting the heartbeat can give false reassurance as there can be important, subtle changes to baby’s heart rate or rhythm which only a midwife or doctor can detect.
You can read more information about baby’s movements here
Should I have a flu / whooping cough / Covid-19 vaccine during pregnancy?
The flu jab is the safest way to help protect pregnant women and their babies against flu, regardless of the stage of pregnancy or how fit and healthy you are.Your immune system is naturally lowered during pregnancy which means it can be harder to fight infections so having the flu jab can protect you from serious complications associated with influenza such as pneumonia. You should also have the whooping cough vaccine between 16-32 weeks in your pregnancy to give your baby protection for the first weeks of their life.
Currently the Covid-19 vaccine is not recommended for pregnant women. Although there is no evidence to suggest that it is harmful, Public Health England and the Joint Committee on Vaccination & Immunisation (JCVI) have both said that pregnant women should not routinely receive the vaccine until more information on safety is available.
However, there are exceptions to this guidance where pregnant women who are extremely clinically vulnerable or front line health or social care workers who are at greater risk of developing Covid-19 should have a discussion with their doctor or midwife to talk through the benefits or potential risks.
You can read more information here
If you have already received your first does of the vaccine prior to pregnancy, it is advised to wait until you have had your baby to receive the second dose.
Can I dye my hair during pregnancy?
Most research, although limited, show that it’s safe to colour your hair when you are pregnant. The chemicals in most permanent and semi-permanent hair dyes are not highly toxic.
However, it is advisable to take the following measures if you choose to dye your hair whilst you are pregnant:
• Wear gloves
• Leave the dye on for the minimum time
• Have the room you are in well ventilated
For cancellations, a full refund of your appointment fee will be given with 24 hours notice. If less than 24 hours notice of cancellation is given, a £50 cancellation fee will be applied. Our full terms and conditions can be found here: Terms and Conditions
The Birth Company is now able to offer the Covid-19 (SARS-CoV-2) IgG Antibody blood test, at a cost of £100. If you would like to have this blood test performed whilst attending for your antenatal appointment, please let us know ahead of your appointment in order to allow for a longer appointment time and to take payment over the telephone using our secure payment portal.
For more information about the test, please follow this link to The Doctors Laboratory website.
Some early pregnancy ultrasound scans are performed using a transvaginal probe technique. This technique is used to view the pelvic anatomy optimally, as the ultrasound probe can transmit safe ultrasound waves more directly to the pelvic area. In later stages of pregnancy, it may be advised to perform a transvaginal ultrasound scan to have a closer look at a baby’s anatomy, or to assess the maternal cervix.
There is no clinical risk associated with performing a transvaginal ultrasound scan. Transvaginal ultrasound scans can safely be performed during episodes of vaginal bleeding.
It is important that you understand the procedure that is associated with this examination.
The ultrasound transducer will be placed in the vagina (the probe is prepared using high grade medical disinfectant)
The transducer will be introduced with a latex / non latex type covering and sterile ultrasound gel.
It will be necessary to move the transducer from side to side, up and down and may be swivelled to obtain ultrasound images of your pelvic anatomy.
If you prefer, you may insert the transducer yourself, otherwise the person conducting the examination will do this.
A third person may be present during the examination acting as a chaperone, if required by the sonographer or yourself.
You may request the examination to be stopped at any time during the procedure.