As a pregnant woman living in Oldham, you may be wondering how you can give your baby the best possible start in life. Fortunately, in Oldham there is lots of help and many services to support you in your journey towards a healthy pregnancy and beyond.
Before your baby is born
One of the most important things you can do for your baby is to receive regular maternity care from your midwife and maternity services. This includes scheduled check-ups and testing to monitor both your health and the health of your growing baby.
Making sure you keep up with all the appointments is crucial, as these are scheduled to help catch any potential problems early on and ensure you receive any necessary treatments or help. These checks help to monitor whether your baby is growing at a normal rate, that their heart is beating as it should and that any evidence of Down’s Syndrome, Edwards Syndrome or Patau’s Syndrome are picked up early.
Your baby’s first months
First you need to contact the midwife for a ‘booking in’ appointment. This should be before you’re 10 weeks’ pregnant or at the earliest point if you are already past the 10 weeks mark. You can schedule your booking in appointment by dialling 0161 627 8168.
Your booking in appointment usually takes around an hour. This is a chance to discuss anything that may affect the your pregnancy or unborn baby. This can include things such as your physical or mental health, your social history, or what support you have around you. At the end of the booking in appointment you will be given your pregnancy notes. These are a record of yours’ and baby’s health, any appointments and any test results. You should bring these notes with you to every appointment.
During this first appointment, your midwife will speak to you about folic acid supplements, nutrition and diet. If you are more than 10 weeks pregnant and on a low income, you may qualify for free vitamins with a Healthy Start Card – nhs.co.uk website.
Even if you’re not on a low income, discounted pregnancy vitamins are available for just 80p for expectant and nursing mothers and can be picked up at Family Hubs and children’s centres.
Further appointments will be scheduled from then, and the frequency will depend on your circumstances but as a minimum, you should have:
- An ultrasound scan between 11 and 14 weeks
- A development scan between 18 and 21 weeks
- A progress appointment at 25 weeks if it’s your first baby. This will be with your midwife
- A growth check with your midwife at 28 weeks
- A progress appointment at 31 weeks if it’s your first baby. This will be with your midwife
- A growth check with your midwife at 36 weeks
- A growth check with your midwife at 38 weeks. Here your midwife will discuss what will happen if your pregnancy goes over 38 weeks.
- A progress appointment at 40 weeks if it’s your first baby. This will be with your midwife
- Checks at 41 and 42 weeks by your midwife to monitor the progress of your baby, offer you a membrane “sweep” and speak about inducing you.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet during pregnancy can help ensure that your baby gets the nutrients they need to grow and develop. This includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. You may also want to take a prenatal vitamin, which can provide additional nutrients such as folic acid and iron.
Oldham has many options for healthy eating, including fresh produce for our local markets, health food stores, and restaurants offering nutritious options. Oldham Foodbank also provides emergency food and support to pregnant women who may be facing financial challenges. If you are worried about the cost of food, you should contact our helpline on 0161 770 7007
Staying active during pregnancy can help you maintain a healthy weight, reduce the risk of gestational diabetes, and improve your overall wellbeing. However, it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider about how much and what type of exercise is safe for you and your baby.
Oldham offers many opportunities for physical activity during pregnancy, such as prenatal yoga classes, aqua aerobics, and walking groups. The Oldham Active team also provides free or low-cost exercise sessions for pregnant women and new mothers.
Pregnancy can be an emotional time, and it’s important to take care of your mental health as well as your physical health. This includes addressing any existing mental health issues, such as anxiety or depression, and seeking support if needed.
You should speak to your midwife about any mental health issues you’re experiencing and they can refer you for extra support if needed.
Oldham offers several resources for mental health support during pregnancy, including specialised care for women experiencing mental health problems during pregnancy and up to a year after birth.
- Speak to someone about your mental health or wellbeing – nhs.uk website
Being informed about what birth choices are available to you can help you prepare for the experience and feel more confident and in control. You should discuss this with your midwife and they can give you extra reading material about your choices.
Breastfeeding is the best source of nutrition for your baby. As well as providing all the nutrients they need, it can provide many benefits for both you and your baby, including improved immunity, reduced risk of certain illnesses and diseases, and bonding time between you and your baby.
There is a lot of support available to breastfeeding mums in Oldham including NHS support through midwife-led services and health visiting teams. In addition, Home-Start HOST (Home-Start Oldham, Stockport and Tameside) provide support in the borough including peer support groups like Baby Bistros.
- Breastfeeding support available in Oldham – Home-Start HOST website
Taking care of yourself after childbirth is just as important as taking care of yourself during pregnancy. This includes getting enough rest and sleep, eating a healthy diet, and staying active if possible. You may also want to seek support if you’re experiencing any physical emotional challenges, such as postnatal depression or baby blues. Make sure you’re clued up on spotting the signs of postnatal depression.
Developing communication and language
Building communication skills in babies is crucial for their overall development and success in life. Through early communication, babies learn to express themselves, understand others, and establish relationships.
Learning a language or multiple languages not only aids in turning their brain into a thriving organ (cognitive development), but also helps to reduce frustration, improve their confidence and enhance their social skills.,
Good communication skills are essential for academic success and future employment opportunities and it is never too early to start.
Safe sleeping reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep-related fatalities.
Oldham offers many resources and services to support pregnant women in giving their babies the best start in life. From antenatal care to postnatal support, there are many options available to help you have a healthy pregnancy and a positive childbirth experience.
- Pregnancy, baby and parenting – Start for Life website
Lots of information and support can be found on the NHS website:
- Your baby and you – nhs.uk website