Mind and Body Changes

Getting used to being pregnant

Pregnancy hormones can send you on an emotional rollercoaster. It may take you and your body time to adjust to pregnancy. You need to adjust in other ways too, at this stage your baby may be harmed by things you eat or drink, so you may need to make some lifestyle changes.

Telling family and friends

Many women choose to keep the news of the pregnancy quiet until they reach 12 or 13 weeks when the risk of miscarriage greatly decreases. You may want to tell one or two close friends, just so that on days when you don’t want to bottle up your emotions any more, you’ve got someone to confide in.

Pregnancy and alcohol

When you drink, so does your baby.  Alcohol in your blood is carried through the placenta to your baby.  Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can affect the development of your baby and as well as increase the risk of miscarriage and stillbirth.  The Alcohol Advisory Council (ALAC) and the Ministry of Health advise that there is no known safe level of alcohol use at any stage of pregnancy.  This includes the time around conception.  Women should stop drinking alcohol when pregnant or when planning a pregnancy.

Drinking alcohol at any time during pregnancy can cause harm to the baby including developmental delay, physical, emotional and behavioural problems and learning disabilities. This range of effects is known as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).  They are lifelong for the child and their family.  The more you drink, the greater the risk that your baby will have these kinds of problems.  Cutting out alcohol altogether avoids any possible harm.   If you are struggling to stop drinking, talk to your doctor or midwife or call the Alcohol Drug Helpline on 0800 787 797 for advice and support.  An ALAC pamphlet about alcohol and pregnancy and other information about stopping drinking are available by phoning 0508 258 258 or at www.alac.org.nz.

Your partner, other family members and friends can also help to support you to stop drinking during while you are pregnant.

Street drugs

Using illegal drugs of any kind is dangerous for your baby. They increase the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth. The risk is even higher if drugs are combined with alcohol.  Some street drugs are addictive (habit-forming), and you may need help to give them up. Don’t stop suddenly, the withdrawal symptoms can be dangerous for you and your baby. Talk to your LMC – people will be more interested in protecting you and your baby than anything else. You can be given help at specialist clinics to get you safely off the drugs as soon as possible.   ALCOHOL DRUG HELPLINE 0800 787 797

Medications and pain relief in pregnancy

It is advisable to discuss all medications you take during pregnancy with your LMC and/or GP, particularly if you have pre-existing medical conditions which involve regular medications as some may require dose adjustments or change.

Pain relief

Paracetamol is safe in pregnancy to provide pain relief and may assist to lower high temperatures.  Take no more than 4g in 24 hours.

NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory) such as Ibuprofen/Nurofen should not be taken in the 3rd trimester as research suggests this may affect the amniotic fluid levels around baby and may affect baby’s heart. There is also some evidence that use in early pregnancy may cause miscarriage or heart defects in baby but further research into this is required.

Antihistamines/Cold or Flu relief

Discuss this with your LMC or GP or pharmacist to ensure you receive the correct medication for your condition