Frequently Asked Questions at Maternity Clinics

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1. Should I be concerned about the contractions of the uterus? What do they feel like?

During pregnancy, many women experience practice contractions, also known as Braxton Hicks contractions. They are painless but the uterus feels hard. Contractions often occur during physical activity and ease at rest. In this case, there is usually no need to worry. If your contractions are painful or include aching or symptoms of an infection, you should contact your maternity clinic to have the situation assessed. Painful, regular and increasingly intense contractions are a sign that you are in labour.

2. When can an expectant mother feel the baby’s movements and what do they feel like?

Mothers usually start to feel their baby’s movements between 16 and 20 weeks of pregnancy. You may not feel movements every day at this point. Some mothers feel movements earlier. If the placenta is located on the front wall of the uterus, it may at first cushion the baby’s movements and you may feel clear movements later than average. Mothers often describe their baby’s movements as “bubbling” or little “punches” against their stomach.

3. Issues towards the end of pregnancy

Towards the end of pregnancy, your body starts to get ready for labour in many ways. You may experience various feelings and changes in your body. Click on the link below and read more about possible changes in your body towards the end of pregnancy. If your skin looks healthy but it is itchy, it may be a sign of intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP).

4. What is safe during pregnancy?

a) Nutrition

A good balanced diet during pregnancy is good for your health, promotes the growth and development of your baby and prevents nutritional problems. You should, however, avoid certain foods and drinks while you are pregnant.

b) Exercise

There is no need to stop exercising while pregnant. You should keep exercising throughout your pregnancy according to the general physical activity guidelines. However, certain types of physical activity should be avoided. Contact your maternity clinic or a doctor to discuss this.

Read more:  UKK Instituutti: Physical exercise during pregnancy and after delivery

c) Sex

It is safe to have sex during a normal pregnancy, unless your doctor has advised otherwise. Your growing uterus may, however, prevent certain sex positions. Your sex life may also change during pregnancy.

5. What medicines can I take during pregnancy?

You should avoid taking unnecessary medicines, but there are situations where an expectant mother’s illness needs to be treated with medication. The basic rule is that the mother’s well-being is a precondition for the baby’s well-being, and the mother should not stop taking important medicines during pregnancy. You should always discuss your medication with a nurse or a doctor.

Read more: HUS: Medicine safety information for mothers

6. Where can I get help to quit smoking during pregnancy?

It is always a smart decision to stop smoking, especially during pregnancy as it is beneficial for both you and your baby. Even if you are very determined, it may feel difficult to quit smoking. You should bring this up at your maternity clinic where you can make a plan together with the nurse to help you quit smoking.

Read more: HUS: Smoking during pregnancy and breastfeeding

7. Pregnancy and illness

Viral infections during pregnancy do not usually affect the baby. However, there are some infections that may have a harmful effect on your pregnancy or your baby. It is important that you avoid situations that involve a risk of infection, for example through food or poor hand hygiene. In case of a persistent infection, you should contact a doctor.

Read more: HUS: Pregnancy and illness

8. Travel during pregnancy

You can, as a general rule, travel as usual during pregnancy. You should, however, take account of possible infectious diseases and the availability of health care services in the destination. Pregnancy increases the risk of developing a blood clot when sitting for long periods of time. It is advisable to check if you need to get vaccinated well before your trip. There are separate instructions for expectant mothers regarding vaccinations. You should always have your maternity clinic card with you when travelling. Airlines have various policies concerning pregnancy and air travel (e.g. medical certificates).