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How accurate actually is your due date?

Hate to break it to you, but less than 5% of babies are born on their due date. Yup, that’s right. Even more bizarrely, in France due dates are calculated as 40 weeks and 6 days since the date of your last period. That’s a whole week later than the way the UK calculates it. I’ll just give you a…

What you can do about pregnancy reflux

Lots of women experience reflux - also known as indigestion or heartburn - during pregnancy because of the changing levels of hormones in your body and also because of the growing pressure on organs that aren’t used to being put under pressure. Some of the key symptoms are burping, a burning…

How to write a birth plan

The basics of planning birth are deciding where you would like to give birth, whether you’d like to have any pain relief (and if so what types are you comfortable with) and also how you would like to give birth. Don’t worry, you don’t have to work this all out on your own. Think of a birth plan…

Swollen ankles: why and what to do about it

Ankle and hand swelling is (unfortunately) a super normal feature of pregnancy. It’s usually down to the big changes in hormones, specifically oestrogen, which make you retain water more than normal. Some easy changes can help to manage swelling: 1. Drinking more water (counter intuitive, we…

What is the dark line down your belly all about?

The dark vertical line that can develop around the second trimester of pregnancy is known as the ‘linea nigra’, which literally refers to the black line. About 75% of pregnant women develop a linea nigra, stretching anywhere from the pelvic bone to the belly button and from the belly button to up…

What is pelvic girdle pain?

Pelvic girdle pain (PGP) is the term for pain in the pelvic area during and after pregnancy. The pain is caused by changes in posture, changes in strength, and a clever old hormone called relaxin, which loosens ligaments and tissue during pregnancy. This is partly so that your pelvis can widen…

The third trimester: what to expect

The third trimester begins at week 28. The third trimester means a lot of wonderful things including baby showers, guaranteed seats on trains and buses, choosing baby names, relishing that thick pregnancy hair, getting your baby room ready and free dental work (who knew!?). But over the next…

What's normal when it comes to stretch marks?

Did you know eight out of 10 women develop stretch marks during pregnancy? Now that's a reassuring stat if ever we’ve heard one. Stretch marks (or striae gravidarum as it’s known in the medical world) are caused by, you guessed it, the rapid stretching that takes place during pregnancy. This…

How important is it to have a birth partner?

⁠A birth partner can be a sexual partner, parent, friend or neighbour - the key is that you bring someone you trust. Having a team around you that makes you feel safe and supported throughout birth isn't just nice to have. Although they can't get the baby out for you (🙄), they can absolutely make…

What's the deal with colostrum harvesting?

Colostrum is the first form of breast milk that your body will produce when you're having a baby. It is very concentrated, rich in vitamins, antibodies and nutrients. From around week 16 of pregnancy, you’ll produce colostrum. You can then try to hand express colostrum from 37 weeks. The gap…

What is group B strep and what are the risks?

Group B strep (GBS) is a type of bacteria called streptococcal bacteria that’s usually found in the rectum or vagina. It’s very common in both men and women (about 20-40% of women carry it), although most people won’t realise they have it as it’s normally completely harmless. GBS is also common…

5 tips on meal stocking before baby arrives

Let’s face it. Once you have a baby, there’s not going to be much time to create culinary masterpieces in the kitchen. From soups to snacks, here are our top tips on how to stock your freezer before your baby arrives. 1. Be realistic Even the most ambitious of batch cookers probably couldn’t…

What is the vitamin K injection and when will your baby be offered it?

One of the notable parts of the first day after birth is that you’ll be offered a vitamin K injection for your baby, so it’s a good idea to know what’s what. Vitamin K is very important as it helps blood clot. Babies have a lot less vitamin K in their blood than adults, and this means that they…

What are the stages of labour?

Labour is split into two overall stages, helpfully called the first stage and the second stage. The first stage takes you from 0cm dilated to 10 cm, and is made up of the latent phase, the active phase and transition. The second stage takes you from 10cm to baby being born, and is split into the…

3 tips on packing a hospital bag

Packing your labour bag can be really overwhelming, so here are our top three tips: 1. Have separate bags for the separate periods of your delivery: one for labour, one for you after delivery, and one for baby after delivery is perfect. This means you won’t just end up with one huge Mary Poppins…

What to pack in your hospital bag

Packing a hospital bag can be overwhelming. That’s why we suggest breaking it down into three separate bags - your labour bag, your postpartum recovery bag, and your baby bag. In your labour bag, you might need: - Antenatal notes - Birth plan  - Sick bags (mainly for the journey there!) -…

What is continuous CTG monitoring?

CTG stands for cardiotocography. Continuous CTG monitoring uses ultrasound waves to measure your baby's heart rate and the strength of contractions in your uterus during labour.  Normally, a baby's heart rate stays between 110 and 160 beats per minute. For comparison, an adult’s heart rate is…

You're full term... now what?

From 37 weeks, your baby is ready to be born at any time. Most women go into spontaneous labour at some point between now at 41-42 weeks. But in the UK, one in five women are induced. You might be induced because you’re between 41 and 42 weeks pregnant or if you or baby are having some kind of…

What will your baby be checked for after birth?

In the UK, your doctor, midwife, nurse or health visitor will offer a physical examination of your baby within 72 hours of them being born. For most people, this examination takes place in hospital before you’re sent home. But as most of us will not be at our sharpest in the hours after birth (or,…

What is a membrane sweep?

A sweep involves a midwife or doctor inserting their finger into your vagina and ‘sweeping’ it in a circle around your cervix. This idea is that this sweeping motion will separate the membranes of the amniotic sac from your cervix, releasing labour-triggering hormones. Many women are offered…