Pregnancy
15 weeks and 5 days pregnant

Here the baby is seen within the amniotic sac. For the first time, her head is smaller than her body, marking another developmental milestone. Having a large, heavy head is not a problem in the near weightless environment of the uterus.

Your midwife may speak to you about writing a birth plan so she can get an idea of the type of labour and birth you want.

The purpose of a birth plan is to communicate your wishes for labour and birth to those who are caring for you. Writing a plan will help you to address different aspects of the labour, such as methods of pain relief and who you’d like to attend the birth. It also gives you a chance to ask questions about procedures such as induction and other types of medical intervention. Filling in a plan is also a useful way for your birth partner to be made aware of your wishes so that he or she can communicate these to the midwife or doctor while you’re in labour.

Do bear in mind that circumstances may dictate that not all of your preferences are met, but there’s more chance of you getting the labour and birth you want if you’ve thought it through and written down your views. Being as informed as possible about labour and your choices will help you to prepare in advance.

I have dry eyes and am finding it hard to wear my contact lenses. What can I do?

During pregnancy, hormonal changes may cause your eyes to feel dry, and you may experience burning, itching, and a feeling that there is a foreign object under your eyelid. This is common in pregnancy. Dry eyes can also occur after the menopause, when there are similar hormonal fluctuations.

The condition appears to be caused by a change in the composition and quantity of tears, leaving the eye dry and inadequately lubricated. The discomfort can be remedied with “artificial tears”, available from an optician or pharmacist, and it usually disappears once the baby is born. In the meantime, limit the time you wear your lenses and wear your glasses more often, especially if you are looking at a computer screen for long periods of time.

Fragranced candles, womb music, and beanbags... or serious pain relief from the first contraction? Writing a birth plan is an opportunity for you to think about how you’d like your labour and delivery to go. Discuss your birth plan with your midwife and birth partner as early as this week, so you’re all clear about your objectives.

  • Write everything down: your birth partner(s), pain-relief preferences, whether you’d like an active labour, and the environment you’d prefer to give birth in. You might know you want to give birth in hospital or at home, or in a birth centre, which offers a home-style setting with the back-up of medical technology.

  • Be specific: for example, you might like to use a birthing pool to labour in or want to give birth in an upright position. You might want minimal medical intervention.

  • Be flexible: labour doesn’t always go according to plan and your baby’s safe delivery is the most important thing.

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