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Your pregnancy FAQs answered by The Insta Midwife

Thursday 09 June 2022

Pregnancy can be a joyful time, but it often brings with it lots of worries and questions about what to expect. And that’s the case whether it is your first or fifth baby. We caught up with Cara, The Insta Midwife, to answer your frequently asked questions.

How do I get a midwife appointment when I have just found out I am pregnant? 

In many areas, you can complete a self referral by typing in ‘self referral to maternity care at [insert your hospital name]’ and fill out the relevant form. This is the quickest and easiest way to access maternity care. 

You can also call your GP and ask them to refer you. 

When will I feel my baby move for the first time? 

This is entirely different for lots of people. Some will feel flutters from around 16 weeks, and some might feel them slightly later at around 20 to 24 weeks. Both are normal. 

There are many factors which can mean you might feel baby earlier or later. For example, position of baby in the womb will effect when you feel movements. If you have a higher BMI you might feel them later, rather than earlier. If it is your second or more pregnancy, you may recognise the movements earlier. Where your placenta attaches to the wall of the uterus (womb) will also have some impact on how early you feel movements. If your placenta is at the front of your uterus, you might feel movements a bit later. 

If you are concerned about when you should feel your movements, ask your midwife. 

Is it normal to leak colostrum in pregnancy? 

Yes! And it is also normal not to leak as well. Talk to your midwife or care provider about harvesting colostrum from 37 weeks. This is a beneficial thing to do if you are planning on breastfeeding. Or even if you aren’t! 

What is this shooting pain that feels like lightning bolts into my vagina? 

This is something that some people experience, particularly in the second half of pregnancy. Sometimes baby’s head will literally knock on the inside of the cervix and send a lightning bolt down through the vagina, also commonly known as ‘lightning crotch’!

Is labour imminent if I have a ‘show’? 

A show refers to the mucus plug which literally plugs the opening of the cervix to prevent bacteria from getting through to the inside of your uterus. When the cervix starts to soften and open, usually towards the end of pregnancy, you can start to lose the mucus plug. And although it can feel like things might be starting to move along when you see this, it can happen at anytime and it doesn’t necessarily mean labour will start soon. Sorry! It does mean that changes are happening, but it can still take weeks before labour starts on its own.

I haven’t felt baby move for a day or so. I’m due any day, is this normal? 

NO! Some old wives tales say that baby slows down before labour, but this is completely false and you should always get checked if your baby has slowed or stopped their movements, or even changed their normal pattern. Contact your triage or helpline number for your maternity unit as soon as you feel any changes. 

About the author

Cara McCarthy

Cara is a qualified Midwife providing antenatal and postnatal online support and evidence based advice as @the_insta_midwife.

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