When it comes to pregnancy, many questions are asked about what you can and can’t have, especially when it comes to food and drink. Women and men alike suddenly find themselves reading labels anxiously, as well as googling ingredients and recipes that do good to pregnant women rather than harm. While some of the rules that come with pregnancy are black and white, many aren’t and are solely dependent on who you ask. One of the most popular questions asked, however, is concerned with coffee intake. Can pregnant women drink coffee? How much caffeine can you have while pregnant? Is too much caffeine bad? So, let’s find out!

How much caffeine is in coffee?

With increased levels of fatigue experienced by many pregnant women, coffee may always seem like the easy go-to in order to keep energy levels up, whether it’s to complete day-to-day tasks or manage other children and toddlers. But is it okay to do so? Well, the simple answer is yes, but in small daily amounts. Caffeine crosses the placenta and has been associated with low birth weights, therefore experts recommend that pregnant women take in no more than 200mg daily, approximately 2 cups of coffee. However, it is very important to note that not all coffee is caffeinated in equal measures. Caffeine content varies on the method of production and type. Drip coffee contains the highest levels (approximately 140-240mg per 240ml/8 oz) followed by brewed and then instant. So, as a general guideline, mothers-to-be can have two smalls cups of brewed coffee a day, but it is important to note other sources of caffeine such as fizzy/energy drinks and chocolate.

Reducing caffeine intake

If you are conscious about the levels of caffeine that you consume and want to lower these, or if you think you’ve hit your daily amount and are in search for an alternative to help satisfy your cravings, try these:

  • Drink water/fruit juice
  • Try herbal tea
  • Go decaf!

These may not be the coffee that you know and love, but they will definitely go a long way when cravings start to kick in while giving you peace of mind that you are doing no harm to you or your baby!

For further information on what’s safe to eat or drink while pregnant, be sure to contact your doctor or midwife – for further advice on pregnancy cravings and how to curb them, click below!

Pregnancy Cravings Advice >

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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Food cravings are something that almost every pregnant woman will experience. From takeaways to sweets to dairy products, there will always be something that they need to satisfy a sudden urge. Many questions surround pregnancy food cravings, however, such as why do they occur, how can you control them and when do they actually start? All of which will be revealed right here, so if you’re experiencing pregnancy food craving or know someone who is and want to get the low-down, carry on reading!

 

What causes pregnancy cravings?

One of the most commonly asked questions regarding pregnancy food craving is how do they actually occur? Well, truth is, there isn’t a definitive answer to what causes them, but a number of reasons have been thought up as potential explanations.  Most experts agree that food cravings evolutionary, that it’s your body sending signals to your brain and taste buds of what it needs. This could be a result of rapidly changing hormones because your body is working extra hard to produce a lot more blood or simply because certain foods make you feel comfortable as your body is changing.

When do pregnancy cravings begin?

For the majority of women, pregnancy cravings begin in the first trimester, peak during the second trimester and start to decline through their third trimester. Doctors say however that few cravings tend to carry on after childbirth, so if you’re worried about cravings being a permanent thing, they most likely will not.

Food aversions – What are they?

Food aversions are just as apparent with pregnant women as food cravings. These are the opposite, however, and can produce some equally unusual feelings. Both food cravings and aversions tend to start around the same time. Experts in psychology state that food cravings may not have anything to with the feeling of morning sickness, but staying away from certain foods does. The most common food that is avoided by women during pregnancy is meat, claims that the sight, smell and texture can be too much to handle. The reason behind this, researchers say, is because meat sometimes carries bacteria that is capable of making mother and baby sick, as a way of protection, the body makes meat seem unappetising.

The most common cravings

Many cravings are harmless and have a personal touch involved, whether it’s food that was eaten as a child or something you tried once and loved. Some, however, are straight up bizarre but are commonly accepted among most pregnant women. The most commonly reported food cravings are:

  • Takeaways such as Chinese or pizza
  • Cream cheese with ketchup
  • Sweets
  • Pickles & ice cream
  • Chocolate

All of these cravings are okay to have occasionally as long as they’re eaten in moderation. Try to avoid consuming unhealthier foods often as too much can cause excessive weight gains and problems such as dental issues.

Tips for avoiding food cravings

  • Plenty of rest – Research shows that people who lack sufficient sleep tend to crave unhealthy foods more than healthy foods
  • Don’t food shop when hungry
  • Eat at regular intervals to prevent feelings of hunger
  • Eat healthy, low glycaemic index (GI) foods that will keep you feeling fuller for longer such as wholegrain bread, fresh fruit and baked beans.

When to seek help

Some cravings can be dangerous and must be avoided at all costs. If and when these occur, the best thing to do is to visit a doctor to receive professional advice. Pica is a potentially poisonous condition, that urges pregnant women to compulsively eat foods with no nutritional value such as soap, dirt or dry paint. Cravings such as these, along with alcohol and drugs can cause danger and harm to both yourself and your baby.

If you have any questions regarding pregnancy cravings or want to find out more information in relation to your pregnancy, please contact a professional as soon as possible. Please visit our scan packages page below to learn about all the baby ultrascans that we provide and to book yours today! 

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It is very common amongst expectant mothers to have a third-trimester growth scan, between 28 and 32 weeks gestation, to check that their baby is growing the way it should be. Here we look at some of the frequently asked questions surrounding this scan such as why it is needed, what happens during and what can the results tell you.

Why do you need to have a growth scan at 32 weeks?

As mentioned, this scan is conducted to ensure that your baby is developing and growing as expected. Hospitals may offer this scan as a routine or may recommend it if they suspect too much amniotic fluid. As a result of this scan, you will be able to see:

  • The position of your baby in the womb
  • If your baby is smaller or larger than expected

What happens during your 32-week growth scan?

Your growth scan will be conducted in the exact same way as all your other ultrasound scans, using gel on your stomach and a transducer device which allows you to see an image of your baby. Here, your sonographer will be able to:

  • Evaluate the volume of amniotic fluid surrounding your baby
  • Measure your baby’s head, abdomen and thigh bone
  • Measure the blood flow around your baby’s body

What does the 32-week growth scan tell you?

The 32-week growth scan looks at your baby’s wellbeing by measuring its biophysical profile. During the scan, the sonographer will be looking to see if your baby:

  • Opens and closes its hands
  • Stretches and flexes
  • Moves its arms and legs frequently
  • Makes breathing movements

From this scan, the sonographer will be able to see if your baby is small for gestational age (smaller than expected), possibly due to a lack of the necessary nutrition through the placenta or restricted levels of oxygen. Or if your baby is larger than expected, which is usually not a medical concern. If for some reason your baby is significantly larger than expected, you may need to get tested for gestational diabetes, a measure for the levels of glucose in your blood. High levels could result in birthing complications and enhance the likelihood of induced labour or a caesarean. In regards to the position of your baby, this scan will show whether your baby is head down (normal position), feet first (breech position) or laying sideways (transverse position). Your doctor may advise you to have an ECV (External Cephalic Version) if your baby is in breech position. This is a completely safe procedure whereby a surgeon pushes down and around on your abdomen in order to turn your baby into a normal head-down position for birth.

Our scan packages

Here at First Encounters, we offer a fantastic growth scan package that is available to you from 14-40 weeks gestation. Our growthAssure™ scan focuses on many of the things listed above such as growth and weight calculations, placenta position, fluid volume measurements and identification of baby position. All of which is documented in a growthAssure™ Report that you can take home and keep. To view further information on this scan or any of our scan packages, hit the links below!

If you have specific questions regarding any of our ultrasound scan packages, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us today – contact or send an enquiry.

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