Getting the right amount of sleep or finding a way to fall to sleep can be a real struggle for any person, let alone if you’re an expecting mother. Methods that you may have used to help you get a better quality of sleep may no longer work now that you’re pregnant, so what are you to do now? Read on to find out the things you need to do and the things you need to avoid when it comes to sleeping whilst pregnant!

When you fall pregnant, your body experiences a number of changes, which tend to affect the way in which you sleep. These changes lead to several reasons to why you may start to feel discomfort, including:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Back pain
  • Heartburn

The good news about sleeping while pregnant is that there is no need to change the way you sleep until you reach your second trimester. So, with these things in mind, we take a look at the most common sleeping positions throughout the course of a pregnancy.

Sleeping on your back

Between 15 and 20 weeks gestation, the uterus grows big enough to start interfering with the flow of blood when sleeping on your back. The uterus can begin to compress the inferior vena cava (IVC), as well as tightening the aorta, which blocks the main blood supply to your body and placenta. Therefore, sleeping on your back during this stage of your pregnancy can decrease the amount of blood returned to the heart, resulting in shortness of breath or an increased heart rate when waking up.

Sleeping on your stomach

During the early stages of pregnancy, sleeping on your stomach is fine, but there will come a time where you will have to turn over, usually when the bump begins to show around 16/18 weeks. Once your bump starts to show, sleeping on your stomach can become uncomfortable and also have safety implications, similar to sleeping flat on your back. Sleeping on your stomach can cause your bump to move inside the stomach and again press against the IVC and aorta.

Sleeping on your side

The best and most commonly used sleeping position among pregnant women is referred to as ‘SOS’, which stands for sleep on side. More specifically sleeping on your left side, as this will help increase the number of nutrients and blood that reach both the placenta and baby. Sleeping on your right side can also compress the IVC, however, using pillows to prop up the uterus to prevent it sliding to the right can be helpful. It is not uncommon to fall asleep on your left side and wake up in a completely different position, on your back for example. If this does happen, there’s no need to worry as you probably weren’t in that position for very long. If you lay on your back during your third trimester, your blood flow will become compressed which will cause you to feel uncomfortable quite quickly, making you wake up. If you continue to wake up in a position other than your left side, ask your partner to check on you and move you back to your left side.

For further information on how to sleep when pregnant, or if you are experiencing troubles sleeping, get in touch with a doctor as soon as possible. If you require a baby scan during any point of your pregnancy, be sure to browse from our range below!

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Are you trying to decide how and when to announce your pregnancy? Many women want to tell the whole world right away, but sharing your news on social media can make your nearest and dearest feel part of the masses and somewhat unimportant. Planning a unique, intimate pregnancy announcement is without a doubt the best way to share your special news!

When is the best time to announce a pregnancy?

No one can tell you when to announce your pregnancy, that decision is entirely up to you. Tell people when you feel comfortable and ready to. But, understanding how long other women wait to make their announcement, and why, might help you decide when the perfect time to make your announcement is.

When to tell your partner that you’re pregnant?

A lot of women are torn between telling their partner the minute they find out and waiting to reveal it in a more special way. We think that this is a decision best made according to your partner. After all, you know them better than we do.

Will they be upset if you don’t tell them right away? Or will they be happy that you took some time to plan something a little more special? However long you wait, your partner is sure to be overjoyed!

When to tell your family and friends?

Many women feel it’s better to wait until at least 12 weeks into their pregnancy before telling their family and friends because this is the point at which the likelihood of miscarriage dramatically reduces.

Alternatively, some mums will wait at least 16 weeks so that they can also reveal the gender of the baby (although you might start struggling to conceal your bump at this point!) If this sounds like the perfect time for you to reveal your pregnancy, why not book one of our simplyGender scans? Available from 16 to 26 weeks.

 

Pregnancy Announcement Ideas:

If you’re feeling creative then there are endless ways to announce your pregnancy. Here are some of our top picks:

  • Use your scan photos – A lovely way to reveal your pregnancy is to have some scan pictures pre-prepared for family and friends to look at, these first glimpses of the baby (or babies) are incredibly precious. Tuck your scan photos inside a card and enjoy the moment of delight and surprise when they open the card to reveal your surprise! 

If you want to reveal your pregnancy this way, but you can’t wait until your first NHS scan, why not book an earlyAssure scan? Available from as early as 8 weeks, you’ll take home 2 glossy black and white photographs to share with your loved ones.

  • Matching T-Shirts – why not host a pregnancy announcement party, and turn up in matching Mummy and Daddy t-shirts. The look on your family and friends’ faces will be priceless!
  • Get your pets involved – there are a lot of ways you can involve your furry friends in your pregnancy announcement. You can hold a photoshoot, dress them up, or have them jump up on you when you ask them where the baby is… (with a little bit of training.)
  • Write a personal message – handwritten messages are special enough nowadays, but writing one to tell someone special that your pregnant is sure to bring a tear to their eye.
  • Do a photoshoot with your other children – like the picture above, if you already have children you can stage a photoshoot letting your family and friends know that they’re being promoted to big brother/sister.

Whenever and however you decide to announce your pregnancy, we’re sure it’ll be a truly magical moment. Later in your pregnancy, you can get all your family and friends together again to meet your baby in 4D with one of First Encounter’s amazing 4D Ultrasound scans. We love the Deluxe4D scan, take a look and book yours now.

Need a Christmas present for a mum-to-be? Give the gift of a First Encounters baby scan!

3D Baby Scan Gift Voucher

Many mothers will tell you that the greatest gift they ever received was their little bundle of joy, so why not treat the expectant mother in your life to one of our 3D/4D baby scans? We offer a variety of different scan packages at our clinics in Bristol and Cardiff, so you're sure to find a choice that suits you and your budget.

Contact Us Now to Order a Baby Scan Voucher >

Our scans offer a truly unique experience for mothers-to-be and their guests, offering an intimate view of the baby and forming a bond that will last a lifetime. This state-of-the-art service is offered in a calm and cosy atmosphere, which helps our visitors to relax and enjoy this special experience.

Before you order your gift certificate, please take a look at our list of scan packages to view our prices and the services included in each package. When you are ready to purchase your gift card, give us a call on 02920 732671.

To find out more about First Encounters and our ultrasound services, visit our About Us page.

You’re not alone if you’ve experienced a little bit of bleeding your first trimester of pregnancy, 20% of pregnant women experience bleeding during the first 12 weeks according to Web MD, and a lot of the time there is no need for alarm.

However, bleeding can be a sign that something isn’t right, so it’s important that you know what could be causing you to bleed, and at what point you should call the doctor or hospital.

While we try to provide the most reliable information we can, if you do bleed during your pregnancy, we recommend that you get the opinion of a trained professional who can assess your individual circumstances.

Reasons you might experience some bleeding in your first trimester:

Implantation bleeding

As your embryo implants, you can experience some spotting. This happens around 6-12 days after you conceive, the bleeding should be incredibly light and last only a few hours or days at most.

Miscarriage

According to the information provided by the NHS, vaginal bleeding accompanied by cramping and pain in your lower abdomen can be a sign that you are miscarrying. Miscarriages occur in roughly 1 in 8 pregnancies. In most cases, the cause of a miscarriage is unknown and couldn’t have been prevented.

Ectopic Pregnancy

Ectopic pregnancy is when the embryo develops in the fallopian tube rather than in the womb. This type of pregnancy occurs in roughly 2% of pregnancies according to WebMD. We have a separate blog all about ectopic pregnancies that you can take a look at here:

Read our Ectopic Pregnancy Blog >

Reasons you might experience some bleeding in your second or third trimester:

Bleeding later on in your pregnancy can often be a sign of a more serious problem. We recommend going to the doctors or the hospital right away if you experience bleeding during your second or third trimester.

Placenta Previa

Placenta Previa is a condition where the placenta has moved or developed very low down in the uterus and can even completely cover the cervix. This condition occurs in roughly 2% of pregnancies & is often accompanied by heavy bleeding, stomach cramps and backache.

Placental Abruption

Bleeding or spotting in the late stages of your pregnancy might indicate that a placental abruption has occurred, this means that the placenta has completely detached from the wall of your uterus. This puts mum and baby a high risk as you are both losing blood very quickly. If you suspect this might be happening it is important that you seek immediate medical attention.

Premature Labour

If you are under 37 weeks pregnant and your bleeding is accompanied by regular contractions or a regular tightening sensation you might be going into premature labour. Other signs of premature labour include a “show” or mucus plug coming out of the vagina, or a gush or trickle of fluid (your waters breaking). If you experience any of these symptoms you should call your midwife or local maternity unit straight away.

During any of our scans, our trained sonographers are able to provide medical advice and reassurance if you have experienced any bleeding during your pregnancy prior to attending. This information is easily passed onto the NHS if necessary.

Our earlyAssure scan is ideal if you are seeking reassurance and advice before your first NHS scan, and is available from 8-13 weeks.

Book an easrlyAssure scan >

Going to a baby group for the first time can be incredibly daunting, but if you can find a baby group that you and your little both enjoy there are lots of benefits! Here at First Encounters, we have put together a helpful list of baby groups that you can attend near to our Cardiff clinic.

 

Baby groups allow you to socialise with other parents whilst your baby has the opportunity to learn and play alongside children of a similar age. This can help them to establish basic social skills, improve their confidence and enable them to make friends for the future. Many classes are also based around children learning a skill which can be equally, if not more beneficial for your baby’s development.

Baby Groups in the Cardiff Area:

We have put together a list of the most popular baby groups, local to Cardiff, that cover a range of different activities. There’s bound to be something that takes your fancy! Please click on the name of the baby group to find out more information.

Turtle Tots is a class that teaches your baby to swim whilst promoting water safety. There are lots of classes to choose from, catering for newborns, toddlers and young children.

Parc Play host a range of different events throughout the year. For example, Teddy bears picnics, seasonally themed events such as Halloween, and Macmillan Coffee Mornings.

Sunny Bears host two classes a week – Baby Bears for children up to 12 months old, and Messy Bears for children 6 months – 5 years old.

Classes give your little one an Introduction to music from birth to 4 years old. Children and their parents sing songs and play games, from nursery rhymes to folk songs and original baby songs.

The Creation Station offers a variety of classes for children who are 0-5 years old! These messy arts and crafts lessons will ignite a creative spark in your little ones!

We hope that this inspires you to try a baby group. If you are currently pregnant – why not book one of our scans? Please don’t hesitate to contact us if there’s anything else we can help you with.