Pregnancy, Birth And Dads' Help: Dr Hilary Jones Answers Questions From Expectant And New Mums

16/03/2012 16:09 | Updated 22 May 2015

TV's Dr Hilary Jones has just released a new app for iPhones and iPads designed to give pregnant and new mums all the information they need at the swipe of a screen.

It has 30 videos and helpful info.

Here, Parentdish puts to him some of the most commonly asked questions...


Q. I've just found out I'm pregnant but I have been eating and drinking as normal. Will my baby be okay?

A. "Many pregnancies are unplanned so often women have been out drinking or partying as usual. Once you're pregnant, it's best to limit your drinking to as little as possible for the first trimester especially. Start to take supplements such as folic acid, iron and vitamin D as soon as you can."

Q. I haven't felt my baby move, but my friends have said I should feel a

flutter. When does my baby start moving?

A. "This can vary between 16-20 weeks. Often in a first pregnancy, you will feel the sensation a lot later or you may have felt it already and dismissed it as wind. You will feel more vigorous kicks late in the second trimester but these will lessen at around 36 weeks when your baby has less room to move."

Q. How much weight should I be gaining in my pregnancy? Will it affect the size of my baby?

A. "On average a woman of normal weight gains around 22-28lbs. This includes the baby, the amniotic fluid, the womb and all the extra fluid in circulation as well as the placenta and umbilical cord.

It is a myth you should eat for two in pregnancy. An extra 200 calories a day after about 30 weeks is all you really need. Weight gain, unless you have a specific medical condition such as diabetes, does not really predict the weight of your baby."

Q. I've got really bad morning sickness that lasts all day. Is this a sign my baby is unhealthy?

A. "Morning sickness is a bit of a misnomer as it can last all day. Some women have a lower tolerance to the increased oestrogen levels, which causes the sickness. While it is unpleasant, it's a sign that everything is as it should be. Always call your doctor if it's severe."


Q. Will a low-lying placenta affect my birth?

A. "A low-lying placenta, or placenta previa, often moves upwards as the womb grows. Your obstetrician will scan to check it is moving away from the cervical opening. If it is still blocking the opening, a decision will be made as to whether a C-section is the best option for a safe birth. With placenta praevia there is an extra risk of bleeding in pregnancy so always consult your doctor if you experience any."

Q. I'm worried about pre-eclampsia. What is it exactly and can I do anything to avoid it?

A. "Pre-eclampsia is a condition which affects five to 10 per cent of women. It results in the mother's blood pressure rising significantly, protein in her urine – which is the reason for regular checks - and fluid retention around ankles, feet and fingers.

Often these symptoms appear late in pregnancy after 32 weeks and are more common in first pregnancies and older mothers.

While the mild form is common, it is potentially life threatening if not spotted and controlled. For some cases, early delivery is necessary. It's important to keep looking for signs of pre-eclampsia up to a week after the birth. No one is quite sure why it happens, but regular ante-natal checks should ensure it is picked up early."


Q. Will my birth plan get ignored?

A. "Not at all. Women's choices when it comes to giving birth are very important and midwives will do everything they can to respect your wishes. It's well worth writing down what you want to happen in a calm considered way before things start happening. However, be prepared that nature has a way of taking over and you may not be able to get the exact birth you've planned."

Q. I want a home birth, but my partner isn't convinced it is safe because it's our first baby. Should we be in hospital?

A. "I would strongly advise you go to hospital, especially as this is your first birth. There is no history of how you will react to the pain or if there will be any complications. In hospital you are seconds away from emergency care if you need it. Whilst a home birth is a lovely concept, it's not ideal if things go wrong.

Q. Can I insist on a Caesarean section if I'm really scared of a natural labour?

A. "Many expectant mothers are scared of birth because it is unknown. You should discuss your fears and anxieties with your midwife as often in most cases they can be allayed. There are many downsides to a Caesarean such as a longer hospital stay and recovery period.

Often it's a good idea to wait and see how things go. It might not be as bad as you think! However, no one will be made to suffer or to be terrified, so if the birth is really worrying you, doctors may agree to a C-section."


Q. Is it safe for us to have sex now my partner is pregnant?

A. "It is absolutely okay to have sex with your pregnant partner as the baby is well protected in the sac of amniotic fluid within the womb and a tightly closed cervix. If your partner does experience any discomfort think about changing position, especially as she get's bigger."

Q. What can I do to help her during in labour?

A. You might feel a bit useless, but there's plenty you can do such as offer her sips of water, hold her hand and be reassuring. Don't underestimate how much she'll need your emotional support even if you can't physically help her through the worst.

Q. How can I connect more with my baby?

A. Make sure you take the opportunity for lots of cuddles. Take off your shirt for the skin-to-skin contact newborns love. If your partner is breastfeeding, see if she can express so you can give the baby a bottle. Help with baths and nappies and enjoy lots of eye contact and one-on-one time with your newborn.

Dr Hilary Jones pregnancy app for iPhone and iPad can be found at or direct from the App store.

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