Diet and food

There are lots of confusing rules around diet in pregnancy.Head over to our ‘links’ pages to get detailed information on the most important things to know.

Exercise in pregnancy

There are lots of benefits to exercising in pregnancy, to both mother and baby. If you are a regular exerciser feel free to continue. There is no magic heart rate to stay under. It’s all about how you are feeling. Sure, the way you do some exercises may have to change to accomodate your growing belly but on the whole, keep going!
Vicki loves to exercise so chat to her at your appointment for personalised information. Good general information can be found in the ‘links’ tab.

Screening tests in pregnancy

Screening tests are tests performed during your pregnancy to determine the risk that your baby will have a certain condition.It is important to remember that these tests are not able to tell definitively that the baby does or does NOT have a particular condition. They are designed to give you more information to enable to you to decide whether you want to proceed with definitive testing which is often invasive and carries a risk of losing the pregnancy.Screening tests are safe and pose no risk of fetal loss

A screening test can be done for Trisomy 21 (Down syndrome) or other major chromosomal abnormalities in the first trimester. Down syndrome is the most common chromosomal abnormality and the risk of having an affected baby increases with maternal age from 1 in 890 at 30 years old to 1 in 355 at 35 and 1 in 90 at age 40.There are now two ways screening can be done for Down syndrome – combined first trimester screening (‘Maternal serum Screening’) or Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (‘NIPT’ or ‘NIPS’ – also known as ‘Harmony’ or ‘Percept’ testing).Click here for further information.

There is also a screening test for three other genetic conditions (Cystic fibrosis, Spinal muscular atrophy and Fragile X Syndrome).This is a simple blood test looking at your genes rather than findings from the baby itself.It is often called Reproductive Genetic Carrier Screening.The beauty of this test is it can be done prior to pregnancy or in early pregnancy. Further information can be found here.The blood test to test for all 3 conditions costs $385 – payable to the laboratory. There is no Medicare rebate or Health Fund rebate for this test. It is possible to test for only 1 or 2 of the 3 conditions if you wish.

Illnesses and vaccines in pregnancy

There are two vaccines we recommend in pregnancy – Whooping cough and Influenza.

Whooping cough is a highly contagious severe respiratory illness characterised by bouts of coughing which make it difficult to breathe.In order to protect both mother and baby the current Australian Government guidelines recommend mothers-to-be are vaccinated during their pregnancy, between 28-32 weeks.This will in turn provide protection from whooping cough for the baby for its first 8 weeks of life.This vaccine can be obtained for free from your local GP.

Influenza (flu) is a seasonal disease with new strains causing illness each year.The vaccines are available in mid-March in Australia and usually consist of protection against 3 or 4 of the most commonly seen strains of virus in the preceding Northern European winters.Influenza vaccine is also safe in pregnancy and recommended.It too can be obtained for free from your GP and it too offers the baby protection after birth, for up to 6 months.

Chicken pox is a viral infection that is highly contagious.It is spread via respiratory droplets (cough, sneeze etc.) and results in a characteristic blister like rash.Many Australian women (90%) have had either infection as a child or vaccination.Occasionally, at times of stress or fatigue, the virus can reactivate and cause ‘shingles’.This is less severe and can only be caught via direct contact with the lesions on a person’s skin. Infection confers lifelong immunity which can be detected through a blood test, usually done at the beginning of pregnancy. If you are immune you can not re-catch chicken pox.If you are NOT immune and you come into contact with chickenpox, you need to contact Vicki and she will arrange for you to have an injection (ZIG) within 78 hours of contact.

Hand, foot and mouth disease is an illness caused by a virus called Coxsackie virus.It is very common in children under 8 and, being highly contagious, frequently seen in children who attend day care.It is characterised by sores (rash) on the child’s hands, feet and sometimes in the mouth.Most adults have had hand, foot and mouth disease as children.If they do contract it as an adult it is often very mild.It is not known to cause any problems in pregnancy.

Parvovirus (Slapped cheek disease) is another common viral illness of childhood. 70% of adults in Australia have had parvovirus as a child which gives them lifelong immunity, easily detected by a blood test. When children have parvovirus they commonly are unwell with a high fever and then develop bright red cheeks (hence the name ‘slapped cheek’ disease). Adults though are usually only mildly affected. In pregnancy parvovirus can cause anaemia in the developing fetus which can lead to heart failure. If you come in to contact with parvovirus during your pregnancy, call the rooms and talk to Vicki or Tristen who can check your immunity and given you ongoing advice.

Toxoplasmosis is a parasitic infection associated with birds and small animals. It is most commonly associated with cats in Australia.Toxoplasmosis can cross the placenta and cause problems in the developing fetus.Thankfully many women have pet cats and the incidence of Toxoplasmosis is extremely rare.Caution however should still be taken when dealing with cats.Simple measures such as keeping your cat indoors whenever possible, preventing your cat from hunting or eating birds or other wildlife and only feeding your cat tinned foods and not raw meat may help.Someone else in the household should handle the kitty litter tray during your pregnancy.

Medications and herbal preparations


• Paracetamol (Panadol) and Panadeine are not known to be harmful in pregnancy.

• Aspirin, Nurofen, Voltaren and Ibuprufen should not be taken unless prescribed by your obstetrician.

• Many antibiotics have no known harmful effects in pregnancy – these include antibiotics such as
Amoxyl, Flucloxacillin, Keflex, and Augmentin.

• Claratyne is used for hayfever and is not known to have harmful effects in pregnancy but can decrease milk supply in breastfeeding women.

Herbal Preparations

• Most herbal preparations have not been tested to determine their safety in pregnant and breastfeeding women. Feel free to call Vicki or discuss with your naturopath what you are thinking of taking.The Royal Women’s Hospital have an information line you can call prior to taking any medication for up-to-date and accurate information – 8345 3190.

Can I…..?

• Dye my hair? Absolutely yes!

• Continue with waxing? Yes, definitely but be aware your skin may be a little more sensitive.

• Have IPL? At this stage there is no safety data on the use of laser or IPL in pregnancy so it is best avoided.

• Get a spray tan? Absolutely, yes!

• Get my nails done? It is generally considered safe to have your nails done, including acrylics and shellac in pregnancy.

• See the dentist? Yes, regular check ups are fine.X-rays are best avoided in pregnancy.

• Have my regular Botox treatment? Although Botox does not cross the placenta there is limited safety data on its use ipregnancy so it is best avoided.Likewise, while breastfeeding.

• Have sex? Absolutely, yes!