A positive pregnancy test can trigger a wide range of emotions. Even if this is a much wanted and planned pregnancy the reality can be daunting. Read on for some ideas about what to do next and how to get the care and support which is right for you….

If you are happy to be pregnant it is a wonderful and exciting time when you see a positive pregnancy test, but it can be hard to know what to do and who you should talk to.

If this is unplanned and unexpected a whole extra range of issues will need to be thought through. If you are unsure how you feel, it can be very valuable to explore your thoughts and feelings with a counsellor. There are a number of specialist services available in Sussex, including Acorn pregnancy counselling (based in Worthing) and The Haven (covering mid Sussex).

Sometimes, even though you really want to have a baby, there can be issues which you know could (or will) make it hard for you. Whether these issues are physical, emotional, psychological or social my suggestion would be to find a midwife you can trust and who has the time and expertise to support you and to advocate for you. I am only a phone call away if you want to chat, and the first consultation is always free. I have very wide experience and am very much grounded in the real world. I know that life can be hard, and it can be complicated. I do not judge you, and I don’t tell you what to do. I can often give you information about how to get appropriate services or you may choose you have midwifery care with me.

In my opinion, the best pregnancy care actually starts before you are pregnant! There may be issues in your personal or family history that are worth discussing prior to pregnancy.

Anyone planning pregnancy is advised to take folic acid supplements for 2-3 months before becoming pregnant to reduce the chance of neural tube defects. The usual dose is 400mcg per day, and you can buy this strength in a supermarket or pharmacy. If you have diabetes, sickle cell disease, are taking drugs for epilepsy, have had a baby affected by a neural tube defect or have a raised BMI, it is recommended that you have a much higher dose, This needs to be prescribed for you by your GP. If you were not taking it previously start taking it as soon as you know you are pregnant. You are advised to take this until you are at least 12 weeks pregnant.

If you are taking medicines of any sort, you should urgently discuss with your GP, a pharmacist or other expert to be sure that it is safe and appropriate to continue them. This includes herbal medicines. Do not stop prescribed medicines suddenly without getting expert advice. Particularly if you are taking medicines for conditions such as diabetes, mental health issues, epilepsy or asthma, your medicines can be vital you keeping you well in pregnancy. Sometimes the dose or the specific drug needs to be altered.

Smoking (tobacco or cannabis), alcohol and any recreational drugs can be harmful to a developing baby, so if you are able to stop immediately please do. If you or you partner need help with this there are specialist services available who will prioritise you in pregnancy.

You do not need to “eat for two”! Try to eat a good range of foods, including lots of fruit and vegetables. There are some foods which are best avoided in pregnancy and there is lots of information here.

To arrange pregnancy care, you can directly book with a private midwife or NHS midwifery services. The sooner you contact us, the better we can provide for you. If you live in Sussex (or nearby) and would like private midwife care in your own home, please phone or contact me using the contact form. You can combine NHs and private care for pregnancy, birth and postnatal care – get in touch and we can talk through what would be best for you.

To register with NHS maternity services you can go on-line where you will find information about their services and can complete a self referral form.

In the Western part of Sussex (including Lancing/Shoreham and Southwick) most people will use Western Sussex Hospitals in Worthing or Chichester

In Brighton and Hove, Peacehaven, Rottingdean, Seaford most people will use the Royal Sussex County hospital

In Lewes, Haywards Heath, Burgess Hill, Ringmer most will use the Princess Royal hospital in Haywards Heath

If you are near Crawley or Horsham you may choose East Surrey hospital (known as SASH)

The east of the county (Polegate, Eastbourne, Bexhill and Hastings) is covered by the consultant unit at the Hastings Conquest hospital and the Eastbourne midwife led unit

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