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Pregnancy

Advice on health and lifestyle

In early pregnancy, people start to think through how their own health and lifestyle is affecting their unborn baby. Parents valued early contact with their GP or midwife to get advice, and many also found useful information in books, magazines and the Internet. (See also 'Finding information and support' and 'First contacts with services').

People were already well informed on some issues, for example that taking folic acid reduces the risk of spina bifida, and that smoking and alcohol are bad for the baby (for advice on vitamins and supplements in pregnancy see National Childbirth Trust and NHS Choices). Some were pleased that becoming pregnant helped them give up smoking. If the pregnancy was unplanned, some mothers worried they might have harmed the baby by drinking or smoking, not realising they were pregnant. People knew that smoking was harmful, but were less sure whether there was a 'safe' level of drinking during pregnancy. It can be difficult to know what to believe about a whole range of issues, including diet and exercise, given conflicting media reports. One mother worried that people could feel guilty if their lifestyle was not perfect, and disliked the way one doctor talked to her about her weight.

 

It was easier to give up smoking when she became pregnant, and she has not started smoking again.

It was easier to give up smoking when she became pregnant, and she has not started smoking again.

Age at interview: 27
Sex: Female
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I mean, I'm quite a calm person and, and I was quite calm for the whole, the whole thing and I didn't really think about it too much. I kind of just got on with my life and, obviously, I gave up smoking and drinking and tea and coffee and, you know, didn't eat all the things that you shouldn't eat and that was general, really all, all I did.

How much did you smoke before you became pregnant?

I used to smoke, I wasn't a heavy smoker, about 10, 15 a day. I've given up completely now, so.

So did you give up when you found out you were pregnant?

The day I found out I was pregnant I gave it up.

Tell me about that, was that hard?

No, it wasn't because I've wanted to give up for ages and to actually have a reason to give up smoking was a good thing, definitely. And yeah, yeah, it was good because, obviously, I don't smoke now either so it's brilliant. And, and also giving up drinking, that was the hardest bit [laughing]. I mean you can have a glass of wine here and there but that's, that's it, so, that wasn't too bad, really.

 

She worried whether smoking and drinking before she realised she was pregnant had harmed the baby...

She worried whether smoking and drinking before she realised she was pregnant had harmed the baby...

Age at interview: 24
Sex: Female
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Before I became pregnant I used to smoke and drink a lot and when I found out I was pregnant it all stopped straight away. And it was, because I drank a lot as a student I used to think, well it was, almost, it was a good thing because it meant that I had to take control of my life, which I hadn't done for years, and I did. And I just, and I found it amazing that I suddenly felt this new responsibility and I was capable of giving up smoking and of cutting my drinking down to a bare minimum. And in the early stages the thing that worried me the most, it was probably what, what damage I'd done by smoking and drinking through the first bit of the pregnancy, before I knew I was pregnant; what that would have done to the development of the child. And so I wanted to find out lots of information about how it might have affected him. 

 

She had heard conflicting advice about drinking alcohol in pregnancy. It can be difficult to know...

She had heard conflicting advice about drinking alcohol in pregnancy. It can be difficult to know...

Age at interview: 30
Sex: Female
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And, you know, there's been a whole thing this week about safe or non safe levels of alcohol during pregnancy, and it seems that everybody's got an opinion about what's good and what's bad for pregnant women. And it is really hard to kind of read and understand exactly what the risks and benefits are. Because I have one friend who said, you know, that a glass of red wine every now and again actually thins the blood and reduces the chance of miscarriage. And you get a report out this week saying basically it's - you know - you're killing your baby, roughly, by having, you know, even smelling alcohol. And as it happens, I mean, I haven't felt like alcohol at all. You know, the smell of it just puts me right off, but it is really, really difficult to feel secure about what you're doing. And something else I notice, I actually kind of popped out, as it were, really early on, by week thirteen I had a visible bump and I was really breathless. And the books were saying that shouldn't be happening for at least another three or four weeks yet, and I, I got quite anxious about that, because it's my first pregnancy, and you know, everything's a mystery. I was reading in one of the books, and suddenly it said, but about 50% of women experience breathlessness from about week twelve of pregnancy, and suddenly it was like, oh right, okay, I'm actually in the 50% not, you know, this strange freak - these strange freaky people who don't suffer like that, at all. So it's - you know - I - you know, I - my work is about providing clinical information to people, and making - helping people make informed decisions, but sometimes there is so much information around, and even credible information, you just don't really know where to get the kind of precise advice from, to be honest.

So how do you decide what to believe and what not to believe?

It [sigh] it's tricky. I think trusting your instincts is quite a good one. I just do not feel like drinking alcohol. The most I've had is a really, really weak Pimms. I mean, it was literally that much Pimms and, you know, a full glass of lemonade. And that's all I've had, so, I suppose it's about, in some ways, it's about trusting your body about what it says you fancy. But also just cutting yourself some slack, that you know, you don't get any prizes for being, kind of, the super mother of the year, you know. I think it's about getting through the pregnancy, making sure you don't get too tired, drinking plenty - I've never drunk so much water in my life, I'm always thirsty, always hungry, but trying to make sure that I'm eating apples and oranges, and not M&Ms, Twix bars and what have you. But then again, you know, having chips once a week because, sometimes that's the only thing you really, really fancy. And I, you know, think a lot of pregnant women really beat themselves up about these kind of lifestyle issues. You know, lots of the books say you should be doing exercises and yoga, and all sorts of things. I mean I'm lucky if I'm awake by the time I get home [laughs]. So quite where you're meant to get the energy to do all of these other things from I'm not sure really. So I think it is about just being, being gentle to yourself, really, and you know, I had two lovely walks over the weekend, which were great and I felt so much better for them, but that was probably the first time since I've been pregnant that I've fancied, you know, taking the dog for more than a walk round the block. So I think waiting until you're ready for these things.

 

She did not like the way one doctor talked to her about her weight in pregnancy.

She did not like the way one doctor talked to her about her weight in pregnancy.

Age at interview: 30
Sex: Female
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What else? Is there anything else that's sort of happened so far that's been an issue for you?

I suppose there - there was one. When I was first seen at the hospital that's going to deliver my antenatal care, and I had my kind of roughly twelve week scan there, and I saw a midwife, and I also saw some medical staff, and initially it was a very sweet student doctor. And it was quite funny actually, because we went and sat down in a room, and we could hear him talking to the nurse outside, saying, "Right, What do I do? What do I do next?" It's like, "You take her history". "But she's already seen the midwife, she's already had her history taken", and they were saying, "You're a doctor, you do it again", [laughs] so by the time he came in we were trying really hard not to laugh. But he was - no, he was charming and - my one question was that I'd, at that point, because I wasn't quite twelve weeks, I was still taking my metformin [a drug to induce ovulation], and I wanted to check what this hospital's policy was about me continuing, or discontinuing the drug, and he wasn't sure about that, so he said he'd go and talk to his - I presume it was his registrar, or equivalent, and after about five, ten minutes the registrar came back, and, you know, quickly reviewed my notes and was very I suppose dismissive actually, of the advice I'd been given about taking metformin, and said, "In this hospital we, we do things on a needs basis, and you've been fine so far, so you've no need to take it. We do things in an evidence based manner here", kind of thing, which didn't help because you go on the advice you're given. So, and then [sigh] he, and this is going to sound awful but he was frankly clinically obese. He was a massive man, and he started referring to me as a larger mother, and going on about my weight, and it was just really hard to take from somebody who was frankly four times my size, and it was just really difficult. And I'd also lost a huge amount of weight over the last couple of years. I'm not, you know, thin by any stretch of the imagination, but I felt kind of quite comfortable about where I was, and that was quite hard. You know, partly you just felt, "Where do you get off telling me, you know, lecturing me?" You know, saying, "We'll have to see you at thirty weeks because, you know, you're on the larger side", and all the rest of it.

What was his point?

Because allegedly - well, presumably - he said it's very difficult to visualise the baby, so we'll need to check at thirty weeks that we can still see it clearly. Which seems quite strange really, because, you know, women far larger than me have had very successful pregnancies, so that was, that was the only kind of sour note, really, that it just, it was quite difficult. Because I suppose I'd had a lot of support from my fertility consultant, who understood how ha- one of the things about PCOS [polycystic ovary syndrome] is it's really difficult to lose weight, because it alters your metabolism and, you know, it is really a struggle. But, you know, I had lost a lot of weight, so that felt quite hard.

Most people knew they should avoid medicines in pregnancy that might harm the baby. One woman was upset that her GP prescribed an antihistamine for a rash, having earlier told her to avoid them.

 

She was upset that her GP advised her to avoid antihistamines in pregnancy but then prescribed...

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She was upset that her GP advised her to avoid antihistamines in pregnancy but then prescribed...

Age at interview: 33
Sex: Male
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Mother' Well, when I discovered that I had this horrible viral rash I went to see this particular doctor again, and she'd seemed very vague about the diagnosis and didn't tell me what the name of the rash was, which I found out later was pityriasis rosea from her sen-, the senior doctor there. And she didn't really seem to explain things very well, and if I did ask questions she sort of seemed to dismiss them, which I found quite frustrating. And so I just felt that I couldn't really talk to this particular doctor very, and sort of open up to her very much. 

And one of the things that I'd asked about previously was antihistamines. Well, the funny thing is she'd prescribed antihistamines for this rash. And so I just thought, 'Well, she'd said previously that antihistamines were not a good idea, which is fine by me, and I can then make an informed choice about what I want to take and what I don't want to take during my pregnancy.' And so that sort of made me think, 'Well, mm. I don't really trust what she's saying now, because of what happened in, in my previous appointment.' So, my father-in-law is a GP and when I got home I had these tablets that she'd given me and I rang him up and said, 'Please could you find out, well, are these, what these tablets are?' And he looked in his index that he still has, gets every year, and apparently these, these particular tablets were contraindicated in pregnancy. And that just really upset me and I just thought, 'How could she just prescribe these knowing that I've already talked to her about antihistamines, she knows that I'm pregnant.' I think I was about 14 weeks pregnant at the time. And, you know, 'How can she just prescribe these and not even give me any information about them to say, 'Well, you know, they are contraindicated, it's a low dose, you know, take them if you want to, really need to take them but otherwise...?'

And did she say whether there was anything else that you could do with the rash? Was this the only possible treatment or... ?

Mother' Well, she did give me hydrocortisone creams or - which is 1 per cent, and she - because it was very, very itchy and not very comfortable - and she said, 'Oh, put this on if you need to' but I...

Father' Did we use calamine at all?

Mother' I think...

Father' I remember daubing it all over you.

Mother' I did, I put calamine on because it was so itchy. But in the end I decided not to put anything on at all, apart from a bit of calamine, because I just thought, 'Well, I just don't want to, you know, take anything while I'm pregnant.' I think the only thing I did take while I was pregnant was paracetamol, but every so often, if I really needed to, otherwise I didn't take anything at all. But I think it's just the fact that I felt that she'd taken choices away from me again, and that's what made me quite annoyed about it. 
 

For people with conditions such as diabetes and epilepsy, taking drugs in pregnancy can be essential (see 'Pregnancy with another condition or disability').

Knowing what foods to avoid mattered to people; some had received conflicting advice from professionals. (Useful advice on diet in pregnancy, including alcohol, caffeine and vitamins and other supplements, is available from NHS Choices and National Childbirth Trust).

 

She was given conflicting advice about whether it was safe to eat bio-yoghurt; her midwife gave...

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She was given conflicting advice about whether it was safe to eat bio-yoghurt; her midwife gave...

Age at interview: 33
Sex: Female
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I think the whole thing about what you're allowed to eat and what you're not allowed to eat - I have the sort of bio-yoghurt thing with fresh fruit for breakfast. and I had asked about this, again with the first GP who had said, 'Oh no, no, no. You can't have anything that has any live cultures in it.' But I'd actually read in the 'Ready Steady Baby' thing that you could eat bio-yoghurts. But then you think, 'Well, you know, maybe I shouldn't, because you're not supposed to eat brie or any veined cheese.' So I thought, you know, 'Well, listeria and things like that.' And when I actually went to see the midwife I asked again, you know, 'What sort of yoghurt?' Because she was saying that yoghurt was good for you to eat. And I said, 'Well, I've been told not to eat anything with live cultures in it' and she said, 'Well, actually if you had developed thrush or anything like that, then we would be advising you to eat it.' So I thought, 'Oh right, okay.' And she actually gave me a little booklet that was very helpful.

Family and friends can also offer conflicting opinions. One woman from a Pakistani background asked her midwife for advice about diet. Traditional advice from her family was to avoid foods such as eggs, which are considered in many South Asian communities to generate heat in the body. (Such 'hot' foods are not necessarily warm or spicy in themselves, but it is their effect on the body that matters. 'Cool' foods may be recommended to neutralise the 'hot' state of pregnancy). Another Pakistani woman explained how she felt hot in pregnancy.

 

She asked the midwife for advice on diet, to help her assess traditional advice from her family....

She asked the midwife for advice on diet, to help her assess traditional advice from her family....

Age at interview: 37
Sex: Female
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And did you get any kind of advice or any support from family? I mean, you've mentioned your friends, but any family members who were particularly supportive?

Yeah, my sisters, and my Mum, yeah. Because my sisters are, they've all got like three kids each and they're forever ringing me with advice, because obviously, “Don't eat this, don't do this, don't go for.” And Mum would say, “Don't go for long walks now, and don't do this, don't pick this, don't carry this.” 

What kind of things were they saying? Don't eat what?

Eggs.

Right.

You know like warm, we call them warm things, and so it's like

Hot foods.

Eggs and hot foods

Yeah, yeah.

And things like that, not to eat that. But having said that, I know some of it is just like old wives' tales, “You can't eat this, you can't eat that”, so I did get some information from the midwife as well, on what to do.

And what was the difference between what the midwife was saying and what your family was saying?

Well, she was saying more like mayonnaise and not anything with raw egg in it.

Right.

So if I say, “Well, can I have whatever mayonnaise?” She goes, “Well, you can, because that's powdered egg, but you can't have that one.” So it's more, I suppose to explain more in detail the information about what you can and can't eat. And then again I just got it from magazines as well.

Mmm, I suppose the midwife was talking about kind of salmonella and things like that?

Yeah, yeah.

Whereas the hot foods, can you say a bit more about what the thinking is behind that?

No [Laughs] I can't really. You know, it's something like that you've just sort of grown, [laughs] grown up with. Yeah, so I just, I really don't even know that much at all. It's just they said, “Don't eat warm food.” And I go, “Okay.” So that's your eggs.

Eggs?

Eggs, and honestly I can't even remember because it just went over the top of my head and I was just going, “Okay.”

So it's warm, warm foods?

Foods.

Yeah, the idea is that they have a warm effect on your body. Or they heat up your body, so it's a different kind of way of...

Yeah.

...thinking about it, but [laughs].

That's all I know, and I was just going, “Okay.”

[Laughs] And did you ignore that advice then?

Well no, because I don't really eat eggs anyway, so [laughs] I wasn't really, I wasn't really bothered, actually. So, because I think when I found out I was about, I was one and a half, coming on to two months, so I'd eaten whatever I wanted to eat anyway by that time, so I just didn't sort of realise. But I was careful about what I wasn't supposed to eat, but

 

She felt hot and anxious in pregnancy. Family members advised her to drink juice and eat cold...

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She felt hot and anxious in pregnancy. Family members advised her to drink juice and eat cold...

Age at interview: 28
Sex: Female
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(Translated from Punjabi) 

It was the change that was a bit of a problem more than anything else, I had a great deal of anxiety - I could not vomit so I felt very hot.

Did you feel like vomiting?

No. I did not feel like eating much, but I felt very anxious that something hot was moving inside.

Right-

I felt as if smoke was coming out of my ears - I was full of anxiety every day, and thought how difficult it was, and was worried about what would happen in the coming days. 

So, did you talk to any one about what was happening to you?

Yes, I discussed things with Aunty and Sister and told them how it was, they told me to drink juice or eat cold things or fruit.

Did they tell you not to eat hot things?

I did not feel like eating anything hot myself - I used to drink four or five cups of tea but then I stopped it. I used to feel hot just by looking at tea.

Good, hot inside anyway-

Yes it was hot.

Some people say that you should not eat hot things in this condition anyway-

You do not feel like eating anything for two or three months in any case.

Did anyone advise you to stay away from hot food?

No, they told me to eat what I felt like, but not to force myself, because if you are sick then that is not a lot of good.

Right, so you do not feel sick but just anxious?

Yes too much anxiety, it was really bad for three months but now I feel a bit better.

[Some foods are considered in many South Asian communities to generate heat in the body. Such 'hot' foods are not necessarily warm or spicy in themselves, but it is their effect on the body that matters. 'Cool' foods may be recommended to neutralise the 'hot' state of pregnancy.]
 

A fitness instructor, also from a Pakistani background, was keen that women from her own community should be better informed about the value of exercise in pregnancy. Another woman thought keeping fit had helped her recover from her caesarean section. Gentle exercise such as walking, yoga and swimming were commonly recommended; one woman thought her GP's advice was too cautious. NICE guidelines (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence- Antenatal screening CG62) recommend women can continue or start moderate exercise in pregnancy, but advise against contact sports, high-impact sports, vigorous racquet sports and scuba diving.

 

As a fitness instructor, she is keen to encourage pregnant women to continue exercising,...

As a fitness instructor, she is keen to encourage pregnant women to continue exercising,...

Age at interview: 37
Sex: Female
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Well, it's what we're trained as fitness instructors for, as well, to give advice out, you know, and generally you've - I mean I don't, I don't get much with sort of like, say, the Caucasian women, English women. I don't have the problem with them. It's the Asian women, because part of my work is also to deliver classes and, and exercise classes to Asian women, and you generally, what I've found is that some of the Asian women who fell pregnant just stopped exercising. And I said, “Look, you know, unless your doctor's advised you not to exercise for any problems that might harm you and the baby, you're actually okay to keep going. It'll actually help, you know, in terms of getting back into shape afterwards. And even the, the delivery itself, will help, you know, in terms of having your muscles supple and strong.” And so I sort of kept it in mind that I would carry on exercising.

 

She felt keeping fit in pregnancy helped her recover from her caesarean section.

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She felt keeping fit in pregnancy helped her recover from her caesarean section.

Age at interview: 29
Sex: Female
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Recovering from the caesarean was actually kind of easier than I thought it would be. I think so long as you follow medical advice and really take things very easy. As they said to me, the most important thing is that you look after your baby and yourself, anything else, including housework or driving can, that can all wait until you are fit and healthy again. And especially if you're breast-feeding, you know, you've got to be very careful that you're, you're maintaining your diet and you're looking after yourself. And not to lift anything very heavy, not to do ironing, not to do hoovering. But for me, I recovered very well from it, I certainly had no problems after having the section. One of the things that was important to me during my pregnancy was that I kept very fit and active as far as possible. Even right up until a few days before I had my daughter, I was out walking the dog for example, you know, because it was, it was an activity that I could maintain without it having much impact on either myself or the baby.

Earlier in the pregnancy, what other sorts of fitness things were you doing?

I went swimming quite a lot [laughing] until it got to the stage that I could only swim on my back because my bump kept turning me round. And I had done aerobics up until the impact of the exercise was probably just too much, probably when I was about 4 months, I think, I had to give up my aerobics. But I carried on swimming until I was probably about 8 months pregnant, but certainly walking I carried right up to, yeah, until a few days before or so.

Do you think that being fit was helpful?

I think it, certainly being fit contributed to the quick recovery time after my section. I was able, you don't want to push yourself too quickly, I think, after you've had major abdominal surgery, which having a section is. You really do have to take things pretty easy for the first couple of weeks, certainly, afterwards. But I was able to go out walking probably, you know, 3 weeks after having had my section, I was able to push [baby's name] in her pram and things like that.
 
 

She felt one GP's advice about exercise in pregnancy was too cautious but another was supportive...

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She felt one GP's advice about exercise in pregnancy was too cautious but another was supportive...

Age at interview: 33
Sex: Female
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I do things like circuit classes and quite a lot of high impact stuff. And part of me was actually thinking, 'Well, I'm not going to stop doing these things.' I mean, I had actually looked into it myself and then spoken to people at the gym that I go to and said that I was in the very early stages of pregnancy and I didn't want to do anything that was harmful, but at the same time wasn't just going to sit and do nothing for 9 months. Because it's been proven that exercise is actually a good thing to do, particularly, you know, not if you've never done exercise but if you are a regular exerciser. And the first GP I just mentioned that I was still doing circuits and things - 'Well, I don't really know if you should be doing any high impact stuff at all. And I don't know that running is such a good thing because it will jiggle the baby about.' And I was thinking, well, at this stage the baby is probably still just a bundle of cells... and it would be so well protected that my thinking was that if something did happen, then it kind of wasn't meant to be. I mean not doing anything ridiculous, but just doing normal exercise, then if I did have a bleed or something, then it wasn't viable anyway.

And then I'd actually spoken to, as I said, the people at the gym and when I saw my own GP the next week, I'd said that she had said this and she said, 'But all the research that's been done shows that exercise is good for you, that - as I had thought - that at that stage because there's so much sort of lining of the uterus and it's so small that you're not doing anything that's silly. You know, you're not going abseiling or going skiing or horse-riding or anything like that, you're doing sensible exercise.' She said, 'As you get further through you'll probably feel it's uncomfortable for you if you do high impact exercise and you can cause yourself damage to pelvic muscles and things if you carry on doing too much of that.' But she said, 'No, I don't see any reason.' And she said, 'You know, you can't wrap yourself up in a sort of a plastic bubble for the next 9 months. You have to live your life and if something happens then maybe it wasn't meant to be or, you know, there was something wrong.' So she made me feel better, because I'd just this feeling that, you know, 'Okay, I shouldn't be doing anything, running up the stairs or something.' You know, it was very, very bizarre.

What about discussions with midwives, has that been different to your relationship with the GPs?

No, the midwife, again, was, on the exercise thing was particularly positive and said that the more, not the more exercise I could do, but the longer I could do exercise the better. And as long as I was sensible, and not to get too overheated and too out of breath because that would have an effect.

Some women had to stop exercising because of aches and pains, including one who developed symphysis pubis disorder (pelvic joint pain) (see also 'Pain and discomfort'). Some simply felt too tired or sick to do much exercise, and stressed the importance of trying to rest and relax - not always easy if they had a toddler already. Women who have complications in pregnancy or previous problems such as miscarriage may be advised to rest a lot, and perhaps take time off work.

 

 

She was disappointed she had to stop exercising because of symphysis pubis disorder.

She was disappointed she had to stop exercising because of symphysis pubis disorder.

Age at interview: 35
Sex: Female
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Have you enjoyed being pregnant?

I think probably my lowest point was when the pelvic thing kicked in and I, I had had visions of myself going swimming. I'd only learned to swim this year and I felt very proud of myself. And I've been going swimming in the local pool - there's an outdoor pool and I could go most mornings before work, and I did that for the first three or four months of pregnancy. And I felt extremely healthy and very fit, and I enjoy things like going, going walking and so on. And suddenly at about four months to realise that those sorts of things had to come to an abrupt halt did make me feel quite resentful, I think. Because I had these expectations of how I was going to manage my pregnancy, and they didn't really come off. 

 

After severe nosebleeds at 18 weeks, she had to stay off work and avoid strenuous activity for...

After severe nosebleeds at 18 weeks, she had to stay off work and avoid strenuous activity for...

Age at interview: 39
Sex: Female
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At first my pregnancy was very straightforward. I was very healthy, and apart from the usual things that everybody has - morning sickness and everything - I was, I was very well. I went to my work and continued to work, and then at eighteen weeks I had a massive nosebleed, and I was in hospital for ten days, with both sides of my nose packed, which was a most unpleasant experience. And then after that I was told to, to rest, effectively, and I was signed off work, which I found very frustrating, because having worked all my days I find that incredibly frustrating. And you want to be doing things for the baby as well and doing things, getting prepared, and, and that's very frustrating when you've got to limit yourself. But obviously I didn't want to be back in hospital with that again, so - do what you're told.

What has nosebleed got to do with pregnancy?

The nosebleeds they thought were a result of just simply the hormonal changes, and that I had a really particularly bad reaction. They could find no other reason - there was no blood pressure change or anything, and just they think that hormonal changes and the volume of blood in your body means that if there's pressure points, then these build up, and you, you get nosebleeds. And I just unfortunately had a really bad one that just wouldn't, wouldn't stop. And I, I lost quite a lot of blood, so had to get to hospital, so.

Okay, so you spent ten days in hospital dealing with the nosebleed. It sounds an awfully long time?

It was. It was [laughs]. It just, the nosebleeds kept happening, over and over again. Every time they packed it and every time you moved, then the nosebleeds would start again, so you were effectively just completely immobilised in your bed when that happened, so they could have a chance to heal, and the blood vessels had a chance to heal before I got home. So'

Okay, so you were signed off work?

Yes I was.

And then you had to rest a lot?

I was signed off work for the rest of my pregnancy after that eighteen weeks, that was me signed off work. And then I had to - I had to take quite a lot of rest, no heavy lifting and things like that. I could still do things around the house, and, but no heavy lifting, and obviously no decorating with nurseries and things like that. No doing these sorts of things, but, because later on they did come back, but not as bad, and they weren't as severe after that.

 

She gave up work in one pregnancy to reduce the risk of another miscarriage. With her second...

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She gave up work in one pregnancy to reduce the risk of another miscarriage. With her second...

Age at interview: 24
Sex: Female
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What made you decide to work in that pregnancy, whereas you'd given up your job completely with the other one?

With my first one because I'd had a miscarriage and because it had, the miscarriage was still fresh in my mind, it, I didn't want to risk anything, you know. But I'm not the kind of person that kind of can sit at home and do nothing. And so, with my first, because the miscarriage was still fresh in my mind I decided, 'No, you know, I'm going to relax, rest and do everything I can.' With my second I took time off only when I experienced problems, because I'd, it was planned and because, you know, I thought I was prepared to, you know, even - you know, because I'd experienced such severe sickness I was prepared to go through everything again to have another child, and I thought I was mentally prepared. I felt that my body had recovered after my first child, and I left it two and a half years, and I was ready to have another child. But I thought I'll carry on with work and see how it goes. And I, and I did, but once I experienced problems I took about a month off, and that month was, carried me through to the end of my third month of pregnancy and into my fourth, so I thought once that's out of the way, it shouldn't be too bad. But what I did was I changed my hours at work, so I was working late evenings instead, instead of early mornings. And you know, I kind of took measures to kind of slow things down a bit, and make it a bit easier on myself, yeah.
 

Last reviewed May 2017.
Last updated August 2014.

 
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