Qantas Parental Leave Pack_2012
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Parental Leave PackQantas Family Support
CONTENTS WORK preparing for parental BIRTH obstetrician, midwives Page 2 leave, how much leave to take Page 21 or GP? Public or private? Hospital, Birthing centre or home birth? HEALTH diet, exercise, energy BABY an overview of baby Page 8 and safety, as well as common Page 24 safe standards, nursery checklist and nappy bag essentials CHANGES a week by Page 17 week breakdown of your USEFUL KNOWLEDGE Page 28 contact information for
and Paid Parental Leave and Baby Bonus info
ailments and complaints
pregnancy; mental health & financial changes
support & childcare assistance
Congratulations - you and/or your partner are expecting a baby!Congratulations! Youre pregnant or about to adopt a child. We value your commitment and would like to offer you some general information in preparation for the big day! It can be daunting to think that you are going to go on parental leave, but please be assured that we want nothing more than to support you and your family during this exciting time. Plan for the unexpected and let go what you cant control. Its a joyous rollercoaster, so learn from mums whove taken the ride before you. This pack covers the below topics:
workPrepare your colleagues for your maternity leave How much parental leave to take Knowing about Paid Parental Leave and the Baby Bonus Leave and work Things to consider before leaving work Work wardrobe options 2 3 3 6 7 7
HEALTHPregnancy and diet Pregnancy, exercise and energy levels Pregnancy and safety Common pregnancy ailments or complaints Things you need to know now youre pregnant 8 10 11 12 15
CHANGESPregnancy week by week Good mental health in pregnancy and parenthood Affording a family 17 18 20
BIrTHBirthing Options 21
BABYBaby safe standards Nursery checklist and nappy bag essentials 24 25
oTHEr USEFUL kNowLEDGEContacts for support and childcare assistance 28
PrEPArE YoUr CoLLEAGUES For YoUr mATErNITY LEAvEParental leave encompass maternity, paternity and adoption leaveWhen you find that you are expecting, there can scarcely be a happier feeling in the whole world. This feeling of euphoria knows no bounds and you want to share this happiness with everybody. However, you may start to worry about what the implications are for your career and what your colleagues might feel. It may be common to go through a process of doubt and wondering whether your work colleagues will be supportive, but be rest assured we have processes in place to make this a smooth transition to your parental leave and a healthy return when you are ready. When you know that you are going to be taking an extended period of time away from work it is important to consider all the possibilities. Besides making everyone aware of what is going to happen, you want to be sure that you have dotted all your is and crossed all your ts as well. You have much to consider and it can seem daunting, but we are here to support you every step of the way. You need to work out your timeline and understand how that may impact your existing job and how it may affect or impact your colleagues. There may be a couple of questions regarding your work tasks and who will take over your responsibilities. It may be an idea to review your job description again and really analyse each of your tasks to ensure they are outlined in your job description so that the handover is a smooth transition. When you have long tenure in a job, it can evolve from your prescribed job description so we want to be sure all your responsibilities will be taken care of during your leave. Speak with your Manager or Human Resources to ensure your tasks are taken care of when you are on leave. You will have to plan when you will start your parental leave and when you might want to return to work. Obviously, your baby may have other ideas and you should play out the flexibility of the situation as best as possible. When you find out who will be covering for you and if that person is able to start before you commence parental leave, you will need to spend more time with them for a job handover. Remember no one can do your job as effectively as you when they are just starting out. Please take the time to mentor them to ensure a smooth transition for them and for you when you
.work.return from parental leave. We are committed to making this hassle free and efficient for you, to allow you to have the confidence that things will be taken care of at work so you can take care of yourself and your new baby. Please make a time now with your Manager or Human Resources to plan for your parental leave.
How mUCH PArENTAL LEAvE To TAkEIts hard to know when youll go on parental leave and when youll want to return. These steps will help you figure out how much parental leave to request. Take your time sorting through the choices parental leave is a special bonding time. Parental leave is also an important opportunity to recover physically from birth and to adjust to life with a newborn.
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
Read through your employee handbook and review the parental policies and procedures to see if there is any Paid Parental Leave entitlements. Speak with other working mums to see what length of parental leave worked for them. Ask what they wouldve done differently and how they stayed connected to work during their leave. Crunch your budget to see how much leave you can afford to take. Discuss leave plans with your spouse or family to see if another adult could take leave after your leave ends to extend your babys time being cared for by a family member. Explore childcare options for your return to work and get on waiting lists. Decide whether you want to write a parental leave letter that proposes returning to work on a part-time basis or working from home during the end of your parental leave. These options may appeal if you cant afford to take as long a leave as youd like but you want to extend your time at home with your baby. Negotiating flexible hours may seem intimidating, but you never know unless you ask.
Tips:1. The longer parental leave you take, the less sleep-deprived you will be when you return to work. Depending on your job, it may even be dangerous to return to work too soon. Many new mums require 6 weeks to fully recover from the physical effects of giving birth. It may take another 2 or 3 months before you get even 4-hour stretches of sleep at night, depending on your baby. Some babies will sleep for 5 or 6 hours at a time when theyre 4 months old - some dont do so until 8 months or later. Its easier to cut short parental leave than to extend it. You may want to overestimate how much leave you want, in case you end up needing more than you think. Remember that giving birth can be unpredictable. This is a good time to show your commitment to your job. Some employers think pregnant mums have one foot out the door. You need to keep your performance as high-quality as possible. You may be torn about whether youll want to return to work. You never know what may happen with your finances or career goals post-partum, so keep your options open. Know your rights. Make sure you are aware of Qantas policies relating to parental leave and flexible working hours.
kNowING ABoUT PAID PArENTAL LEAvE AND THE BABY BoNUSIt is a good idea to speak to your manager or HR department as soon as you can about your intention to take leave. Your conversations will probably need to cover: what leave is available to you. when to plan to start your leave and when you plan to return to work. how you plan to manage your return to work. what your post-leave role might be.
.work.It is important to communicate your needs and expectations with your employer. On 1 January 2011, the Federal Governments Paid Parental Leave scheme became law in all Australian workplaces. Its one of the biggest changes to workplace law in a long time. Here are 8 things you need to know about Paid Parental Leave: 1. All eligible employees who are parents of children born or adopted on or after 1 January 2011 are entitled to receive 18 weeks of Paid Parental Leave at the Federal Minimum Wage rate (which since 1 July 2011, is $589.30 per week before tax*). To be eligible for the scheme, an employee must: have worked at least 10 of the 13 months prior to the birth or adoption of the child, with no more than an 8 week gap between 2 consecutive work days; have worked for at least 330 hours of paid work in that 10 month period (which is just over one day of paid work a week); not have worked between the date of birth or adoption of the child and their nominated start date for Paid Parental Leave; have an income of $150,000 gross or less in the financial year prior to the birth or adoption of the child or the date of their claim, whichever is earlier (indexed in line with the Baby Bonus); and be an Australian resident.
The scheme is funded by the Federal Government, but Qantas will pay for eligible employees via their usual payroll cycle. Qantas will receive the Paid Parental Leave funds from the government to pass on to you. Paid Parental Leave is separate and additional to any other obligation Qantas may have in relation to parental leave. The Paid Parental Leave scheme will have no effect on any pre-existing right you have to Paid Parental Leave, or Paid Annual Leave or Long Service Leave. These entitlements must be paid in full, regardless of whether you are entitled to, and receiving, Paid Parental Leave. Further, Paid Parental Leave cannot be offset against any leave benefits that you are legally required to receive. Paid Parental Leave doesnt count for the purposes of superannuation guarantee contributions, payroll tax or workers compensation premiums. Paid Parental Leave can be transferred to the other parent if they are eligible. Paid Parental Leave must be taken in a continuous period, any time within the first year after birth. Paid Parental Leave is also available to adoptive parents.
5. 6. 7. 8.
Remember, even though the money for Paid Parental Leave wont be coming out of Qantas pocket, they are still legally responsible for ensuring you receive your entitlements. To ensure a smooth transition from work to receiving Parental Leave Pay, it is important for parents to clearly discuss their plans with Qantas.
Understanding your leave entitlementsIf youve been with Qantas for at least 12 months then youre entitled to up to 12 months of unpaid leave (under the Fair Work Act 2009) following the birth or adoption of your baby. This leave must be taken in a continuous period. Employees may take other kinds of paid leave at the same time, such as Paid Annual Leave or Long Service Leave, as well as employer-provided Paid Parental Leave. A request for unpaid parental leave must be made in writing to your employer at least 10 weeks before the intended start date of the leave - make sure you specify the intended start and end dates.
right to request flexible working arrangementsUnder the National Employment Standards in the Fair Work Act 2009 eligible employees have the right to request flexible work arrangements, such as part-time or flexible hours, until their child is in school. Eligible employees who have a child with *correct as of April 2012
.work.a disability have this right until their child is 18. Employers can only refuse your request on reasonable business grounds.
keep in touch with your workIf you return to work before the end of your Paid Parental Leave period, your Parental Leave Pay will stop. Under the Paid Parental Leave scheme you have the option, if you and your employer agree, to Keep in Touch with your workplace without losing your Parental Leave Pay. Activities could include, but would not be limited to, attending a planning meeting or training course. You can participate in workplace activities for up to 10 Keeping in Touch days from the time you become the primary carer of your child until the end of your Paid Parental Leave period, although this cant occur within the first two weeks of the birth of your child. You must be paid your usual wages or salary in addition to your Parental Leave Pay for the time you attend work. Keeping in Touch days do not extend your Paid Parental Leave period.
For more informationYou can lodge your claim for the Paid Parental Leave scheme up to three months before the expected date of birth or adoption of your child. For more information about the Paid Parental Leave scheme including eligibility and how to claim, visit www.familyassist.gov.au or call 13 6150. For more information about workplace entitlements, the National Employment Standards in the Fair Work Act 2009, discrimination or workplace best practice go to www.fairwork.gov.au or call the information line on 13 13 94.
Paid Parental Leave vs Baby Bonus : which will you choose?Paid Parental Leave and the Baby Bonus cannot be paid for the same child. Families who are not eligible for Paid Parental Leave, or who choose not to take it, can still access the Baby Bonus and Family Tax Benefit (Part A and B) under the usual rules. If you meet the eligibility criteria for both payments, you can choose which payment is the best financial decision for your family. Most eligible families will be better off receiving Parental Leave Pay rather than the Baby Bonus. There is no work test for the Baby Bonus. This means that your eligibility is not affected by whether or not you worked prior to the birth or adoption. Go to Qantas Family Support > Benefits to view more information and links to the Family Assistance Offices Paid Parental Leave Comparison Estimator.
what other factors than work affect your eligibility?To be eligible for the Baby Bonus, you must be an Australian resident and need to: be the primary carer or the partner of the primary carer of a newborn or recently adopted child, and have a family adjusted taxable income of $75,000 or less for the six month period following the birth of your baby, or the date that the child enters your care, and have care of the child for at least 35 per cent of the time.
Paid Parental Leave is dependent on your individual income whereas Baby Bonus is dependent on your family income.
when can you claim? You can lodge a claim for the Paid Parental Leave scheme or the Baby Bonus up to three months before the expected date of birth or adoption of your child. Claiming before your child arrives will help prevent any delay in providing you with your Parental Leave Pay. Parental Leave Pay must be fully paid within 52 weeks of the birth or adoption. To receive the full 18 weeks of Parental Leave Pay, you will need to lodge your claim no later than 34 weeks after the birth or adoption of your child. To receive the Baby Bonus you need to claim no later than 52 weeks after the childs birth or when the child is entrusted into your care as part of the adoption process. You can lodge a claim for Parental Leave Pay or the Baby Bonus by using online services at www.familyassist.gov.au or by contacting the Family Assistance Office on 13 6150.
Note: Parental Leave Pay is taxable. The rate of tax depends on individual circumstances. In the case of multiple births (e.g. twins, triplets), you may receive Parental Leave Pay for one child and the Baby Bonus for the other child or children in the multiple birth, or you may receive Baby Bonus for each eligible child. The Baby Bonus is paid in 13 fortnightly installments totaling $5,294 per eligible child. From July 1 2011, the first payment was increased to $879.77 to help with the upfront costs of having a new child. The remaining 12 fortnightly payment are about $379.77*. The Baby Bonus is not taxable. The Baby Bonus payment starts from the date you finalise your claim for the
.work.payment and you can work while receiving the Baby Bonus.
LEAvE AND workwhat happens to other entitlements while on parental leave?Your annual leave and personal leave entitlements do not accumulate while you are on unpaid parental leave. Any leave that you have built up prior to taking parental leave remains credited to you and is available for you to use when you return to work.
Can employees use annual leave or personal leave while on parental leave?You can choose to use some or all of your annual leave in addition to your parental leave. However, you cannot access personal leave whilst on a period of unpaid parental leave.
Can a pregnant employee be required to take parental leave within six weeks before the birth?A pregnant employee wanting to work during the six weeks before birth may be asked by the employer to provide a medical certificate containing the following: a statement of whether the employee is fit for work, and if the employee is fit for work, a statement of whether it is inadvisable for the employee to continue in their present position because of: - illness, or risks, arising out of the employees pregnancy, or - hazards connected with the position. The employer may require the employee to take a period of unpaid parental leave as soon as practicable if one of the following applies: The employee doesnt provide the certificate within seven days after the request. The employee provides a certificate within seven days stating that they are not fit for work. The employee provides a certificate stating they are fit for work, but that it is inadvisable to continue in the present position due to illness, risk to the pregnancy, or job-related hazards and the employee is not entitled to transfer to a safe job or to no safe job leave.
This form of directed leave runs until the end of the pregnancy or until the planned leave was due to start and is deducted from the employees unpaid parental leave entitlement. It is exempt from the rules about when the leave must start and that it be taken in a continuous period, as well as notice requirements.
what if its not safe for a pregnant employee to do her usual job?If its not safe for a pregnant employee whos entitled to parental leave and has already complied with the notice and evidence requirements to continue in her usual job, she can be transferred to an appropriate safe job. If transferred, shes entitled to the same rate of pay and ordinary hours as her present job, or different hours by agreement. The employee must provide her employer with reasonable evidence that she can work, but cant perform her usual job. The employer may require the evidence to be a medical certificate. If the employer cant transfer the employee to a safe job, the employee may take (or be required by her employer to take) paid no safe job leave for the time stated in the medical certificate or until the pregnancy ends (either by giving birth or otherwise). The employee must be paid their base rate of pay for the ordinary hours they would have worked during this period. The amount of this paid leave will not reduce the length of the unpaid parental leave the employees entitled to.
Changing or extending parental leaveYou can choose to extend your parental leave within the first 12 months, and can apply to extend the leave beyond 12 months.
*correct as of April 2012
Changing leave within the initial 12 months
After the period of parental leave has started, a request to extend a period of parental leave must be provided to your manager or HR department, in writing, at least 4 weeks before the end date for the parental leave. If you have not requested a full 12 months parental leave then you can extend your leave, without approval from your manager, one time only. When requesting this extension you are required to: inform your manager or HR department 4 weeks before the end date for the parental leave with a written notification and include in the notification the new end date for the leave and not exceed a total period of 12 months.
Any further requests to extend the leave (up to a total period of 12 months from the time the leave began) must be agreed between your manager or HR department and yourself. Requests to reduce a period of leave must also be agreed between your manager or HR department and yourself.
Extending leave beyond the initial 12 monthsUnder the National Employment Standards, you can request to extend the initial 12 month period of parental leave by up to an additional 12 months. These requests must be made to your manager or HR department in writing, at least 4 weeks before the end of the available parental leave period. As an employer we are required to give you a written response as soon as practical and no later than 21 days after the request is made. As an employer we do have the right to refuse to extend the leave on reasonable business grounds and details of the reason must be clearly stated in the response. Reasonable business grounds may include: The effect on the workplace and the business of approving the request, including the financial impact and the impact on efficiency, productivity and customer service. The inability to organise work among existing staff. The inability to recruit a replacement employee.
THINGS To CoNSIDEr BEForE LEAvING work Check your salary, superannuation, benefits, stocks/shares and leave entitlements before you go on parental leave. Decide if you want to be contacted while you are away and how often. Let your manager or HR department know what type of information you would be interested in - e.g. changes to your team, policies, procedures or family events. Make sure you provide a personal email address to your line manager or HR manager so you can be contacted. Remember to stay in touch and bring your new baby in to meet your team.
work wArDroBE oPTIoNSThere are two key points to consider before you hit the shops: 1. 2. Where you work, your job type and job environment How much you want to spend.
Maternity clothes could be in use for as little as 3-4 months or as long as 10 months. However, always consider buying the next couple of sizes up on waistband clothes and expanding your elasticized wardrobe repertoire to save on the cost of special maternity clothes. The belly belt is a clever adaptation product to use with your normal clothes that can certainly help decrease your necessity to spend as well. Babydoll styles, wrap dresses and jersey/stretchable materials can give you some longevity in the clothing, especially due to the ability to wear these after baby, as your size returns to normal. Of course, it may be necessary to purchase a few key workwear maternity items (such as suits that will mix and match) if this is the expectation- you can always use them again if you want more children. Other ideas could be to purchase a few cute singlets or tees to wear with an open shirt or unbuttoned jacket. Always ask your Human Resources department if they have a set expectation for women during pregnancy, especially if you wear a work uniform. Unfortunately, your belly is not the only part of your body growing, you may find you need different support by way of a maternity bra, and also get some sandals or slip-ons that will suit work and be adaptable to feet swelling.
PrEGNANCY AND DIETFine tune your diet - even if you already eat well
.health.Now that youre a parent-to-be, its important to try and increase your intake of certain vitamins and minerals (such as folic acid and iron) and kilojoules (slightly) during your pregnancy. If your diet is poor to begin with, it is even more important to make the transition to eating delicious, nutritious, well-balanced meals.
Your body becomes more efficient when youre expecting a baby and makes even better use of the energy you obtain from the food you eat. The average woman needs an extra 300 kilojoules in her diet per day for the first trimester, 600kJ during the second trimester and 900kJ in the last trimester. One slice of bread is the equivalent of 300 kJ. Your own appetite is the best indication of how much food you need to eat and you may find it fluctuating during the course of your pregnancy. For example in the first few weeks your appetite may fall away dramatically and you may not feel like eating proper meals, especially if you suffer from nausea or sickness. During the middle part of your pregnancy your appetite may be the same as before you were pregnant or slightly increased. Towards the end of your pregnancy your appetite will probably increase, but if you suffer from heartburn or a full feeling after eating you may find it helpful to have small frequent meals. The best rule to remember is to eat when you are hungry. Dont worry about your changing appetite as long as you are following the advice given about the type of food you need to eat and you are gaining weight at the appropriate rate. Also, dont try to lose weight while youre pregnant.
most doctors and midwives advise some foods are no-nosDuring pregnancy you should try to avoid: Raw seafood, such as oysters or uncooked sushi. Also, some types of fish have an unsafe level of naturally occurring mercury. As a rule of thumb, the smaller the fish, the safer it is, the larger the fish the higher the levels of mercury. Cheeses that are unpasteurised. Pate, raw or undercooked meat, poultry, and eggs (cook all meat until there are no pink bits left and eggs till they are hard). All are possible sources of bacteria that could harm your unborn child. Liver and liver products (pate, liver sausage) should be avoided, too, because they may contain large amounts of the retinol form of vitamin A, too much of which could be bad for your developing baby. For some women, it is also important to avoid peanuts and foods that contain them. If you, your partner, or any of your other children (if you have any) have a history of allergies such as hayfever, asthma, or eczema, avoiding peanuts during pregnancy and breastfeeding may reduce your babys chances of developing a potentially serious peanut allergy. Many women choose to avoid alcoholic drinks during pregnancy, too. Drinking too much alcohol can cause physical defects, learning disabilities, and emotional problems in children, so many experts recommend that you give up alcohol while you are pregnant. Australian alcohol standards are currently being reviewed to advise that women who are pregnant, hoping to become pregnant, or breastfeeding avoid alcohol altogether. If you smoke, it is best for you and your baby to give up, the sooner the better. But, of course, this is often easier said than done. For free one-to-one counseling in Australia call the Quitline on 13 7848, or in New Zealand call The Quit Group on 0800 778 778. You might want to cut down on caffeine or go decaf. Research has linked consuming more than 300mg of caffeine a day with an increased risk of miscarriage and low birth weight. (200mg of caffeine a day, equals two mugs of instant coffee, one cappuccino, three cups of tea or six cans of cola). Nutritionists recommend six to eight glasses of water a day.
Flavour imprinting - prevent fussy eaters
What is Flavour Imprinting during pregnancy and breastfeeding? And what effect does it have on your babys first foods? Want to reduce your chances of having a fussy eater? Make sure that your own diet is healthy and varied! It brings a whole new meaning to you are what you eat. Did you know that... Babies from as young as 12 weeks in utero have mature taste buds? Babies practice swallowing amniotic fluids from as young as 12 weeks gestation? The flavour of breast milk changes every day depending on what you are eating? No two Mums have the same flavour of breast milk? Alcohol peaks in breast milk 30 mins to 1 hour after consumption? Scientists believe that breastfed babies may have a head start over their formula fed cousins when it comes to starting solids?
Scientists have proved that food flavours (e.g. garlic, curries and spices to name a few) that Mum eats while pregnant are found in the amniotic fluid just a few hours later. So if you want your child to eat your favourite Thai Chicken Salad or Veal Parmigiana when theyre older, make sure you enjoy these dishes while youre pregnant.
Look at taking suitable antenatal vitamin-mineral supplementIn an ideal world - free of morning sickness or food aversions - a well-balanced diet would be all an expectant mum ever needed. But in the real world, a vitamin-mineral supplement may be good insurance that a pregnant woman will be able to meet her nutritional needs. You may like to ask your midwife or doctor to recommend a vitamin supplement. Folic acid (also known as vitamin B9, vitamin B, or folacin and folate) is particularly important to take before you conceive and for the first three months of pregnancy. A lack of B vitamin has been linked with neural tube birth defects such as spina bifida. Food Standards Australia New Zealand recommends that women should take 0.4 milligrams of folic acid in a supplement from before they start trying for a baby until the end of the 12th week. Later on in your pregnancy some women may need to take iron or calcium supplements. Your iron levels will be checked in the first trimester and then periodically during your pregnancy - your doctor or midwife will advise you about your individual needs. Vitamin D helps to maintain your muscle and bone strength and build it for baby. It also helps your body absorb calcium from food. Vitamin D may also give you protection against developing diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancer. Iodine levels in Australia and New Zealand are lower than in other countries. Iodine is essential for your growing babys brain development and thyroid function. The best natural sources of iodine are dairy milk, seafood and some table salts that have iodine added. It is also in meat and eggs, though in smaller amounts. Iodine supplements are not advised for everyone, especially people with thyroid conditions, so check with your doctor or midwife before taking any supplements. Remember that more is not always better: Vitamin A supplements can be toxic to unborn babies in large quantities. Megadoses of most vitamins and minerals could be harmful to your developing baby so we suggest you always check with your midwife or doctor.
The ideal weight gain during pregnancyObviously, weight gain in pregnancy varies from woman to woman, but the Royal Womens Hospital in Melbourne says a healthy weight gain is between 10 and 13kg. Here is a breakdown of where this weight might go in the average pregnancy: 400g 700g 800g 1.2kg 1.2kg 3.3kg 4kg your breasts the placenta amniotic fluid increased blood volume extra fluid the baby fat stores to support you during pregnancy and, after birth, breastfeeding
.health.Every woman is different, our body shapes are very different and pregnancy affects us in different ways. The most commonsense approach is to stay healthy; fill up on healthy foods, dont deny yourself occasional treats, exercise within your own limits and celebrate your bodys ability to produce life.
PrEGNANCY, ExErCISE AND ENErGY LEvELSExercise in pregnancy promotes the health and wellbeing of pregnant women and their unborn babies. Women who currently participate in a regular exercise program can continue to do so providing modifications are followed. Women who start an exercise program when they become pregnant need to obtain their doctors permission first. Walking is one of the best forms of exercise. The first trimester can be a very tiring time for a mum due to the energy expended with changes occurring in her body and the development of a baby. If a mum doesnt want to exercise she needs to listen to her body and rest when she can. Avoid exercising in hot, humid environments especially during the first trimester - this is a time of greatest risk to the developing baby. It is best to avoid saunas and steam baths throughout your pregnancy as these increase your core body temperature and can affect your unborn baby. THROW AWAY YOUR HIGH HEELED SHOES AND GET INTO FLATS! Apart from cutting off the blood flow to your feet, your centre of gravity begins to change and you can overbalance as well as aggravate lower back pain. You need to avoid exercises lying on your back after the first trimester (after 13 weeks) as this can limit the blood flow to your baby. Due to the release of relaxin (a hormone that relaxes the ligaments of the pelvic girdle and abdominals) and progesterone, it is important to avoid activities involving a rapid change in direction. Also, dont overstretch but stretch gently and slowly. Conventional rectus abdominal work is not recommended as up to 30% of women can get a separation of the abdominal muscles. Maintain deep abdominal bracing exercises that your trainer or physio can show you. The second trimester is often termed the honeymoon period. You are feeling great! Often women are over the initial nausea and other adjustment challenges exhibited within the first few weeks of a pregnancy. If not, please consult your doctor or midwife. A change to your program may apply at this time depending upon what is happening in your pregnancy. The third trimester is a time when a pregnant woman may feel more fatigued with the weight of her growing baby. Gentle walks and stretching is still exercising and give yourself permission to rest. Recommended examples of exercises include a mixture of weight bearing and non-weight bearing exercises including walking, low impact aerobics, light weights, Pilates, yoga, cycling, swimming and aqua-fitness. Avoid heavy lifting, brace your deep abdominals when you do lift and never hold your breath. High impact work is not recommended as well as horseriding, jumping, skiing etc.
Important pointsIn pregnancy, your blood sugar levels can change rapidly and some women can feel light-headed and faint. A good idea is to eat low glycaemic carbohydrates about an hour or 2 before you exercise, e.g. an apple or a banana. If you feel faint or dizzy, slow down or stop exercising and reach for a carbohydrate snack. Stop exercising if you experience: Vaginal spotting or bleeding Joint pain Headache, blurred vision or visual changes Dizziness Faintness Call your doctor or hospital even if you are a little concerned. Also: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Wear a good supportive cotton bra while exercising to prevent overstretching and injury to the breast tissue and ligaments. Maintain a nutritious food intake and keep well hydrated (at least 2 litres of water a day). Your resting heart rate increases with pregnancy anyway, so err on the side of caution with exercise - go easier rather than harder - and never become breathless...stop exercising before you feel exhausted. Warm up and cool down slowly and stretch gently. Maintain your pelvic floor work that your physio, doctor or midwife has shown you. Abdominal pain Breathlessness Low backache Sudden escape of fluid from the vagina Changes in babys movements
You have the rest of your life to get fit, so enjoy your baby!
PrEGNANCY AND SAFETYCarrying technique and benefits to babyTips to avoid injury when physically carrying your children: Watch carefully the way you lift. Bend your knees, not your back and hips. Use your legs. Keep the child as close as possible. Avoid rotating your back while lifting. Take a break when you can. Try alternating the side you are carrying on, or carry in the middle. Commence some abdominal and back muscle strengthening exercise. Something like Pilates is great!
How you carry your child also promotes physical development. First of all your child needs to gain head control and the muscles in their neck need to be gradually used and strengthened. You can help this by carrying them so they can lift their head to the side if carried on an angle facing away from your body. You can also carry them like they are sitting in a little seat made by your arms. An extremely important way to enable your baby to strengthen their neck muscles is to give them lots of tummy time so they can hold their head up and turn it side to side. If they fuss and are unsettled with this, dont give up. As babies get older, they start to gain use of their stomach muscles and can tilt their body to the side to balance, thats when you can begin carrying on your hip, but remember not to favour one side. Both sides of your babys body need the practice and you need to even out the load on your back! As your baby grows and becomes a toddler there are still many times that they will need picking up, but avoid direct lifting. Try and sit down and get them to climb up onto your lap for that cuddle. When putting toddlers in the bath, avoid the direct lift and assist them to step over the bath, so you minimise how much weight you have to takework together and encourage them to develop their own body movements and control, while still keeping them safe with complete hands-on assistance and supervision. Use the stroller when youre out - the time getting it out of the boot is worth it rather than having to hitch them on your hip when they are too tired to walk any further!
Remember that as your toddler gets heavier you have to look after yourself and prevent injury and exhaustion in yourself. Taking the time to plan how you do things now will pay off in stopping that back, neck or shoulder ache.
Seatbelt safetyWhat is the correct way to fasten your seatbelt when youre pregnant? Global chairperson of the International Organisation for Standardisation, Lotta Jakobsson, says the most common potential injury risks for unborn babies in car crashes are separated placenta, leading to foetal distress and early delivery, breathing and nervous system disorders. The seatbelt is the primary safety system, protecting you in any crash situation. The highest risk for the unborn baby is if you are injured, so you must make sure that you are protected optimally. If unrestrained, the crash will cause high forces and potentially cause injuries when impacting the steering wheel or the car interior. To fasten the seatbelt when pregnant; First adjust the seat so you can reach the pedals comfortably with as much distance between your belly and the steering wheel as possible. Pull the lap belt over your thighs, buckle it in and pull tight. Make sure the lap belt does not run across the belly, but lies as flat as possible under the curve. Position the torso belt across your chest, between the breasts to the side of the belly and pull tight. Never tuck the shoulder belt under your arm or behind your back - that can hurt both you and the baby.
CommoN PrEGNANCY AILmENTS or ComPLAINTS
Sometimes a pregnancy doesnt go as smoothly as planned and complications arise. When this happens, your healthcare provider will be there to provide you with additional care, information and support Pregnancy is a wonderful time, but it can also bring a range of complaints ranging from making you uncomfortable to being quite painful. Understand that these complaints are all very normal. If you have any concerns, please speak to your doctor or midwife. Weve detailed some pregnancy complications below - some of these are very rare, other conditions included are not problems at all but are something that you might want a little more information about.
AilmentsAnaemia During pregnancy, the volume of blood in a womans body increases and you will have more red blood cells than when not pregnant. The red blood cells need iron as part of the process used to carry oxygen around the body. If you have insufficient iron in the body, anaemia results. Symptoms include: Fatigue. Pale complexion, pale under fingernails, dark rings under the eyes. Dizzy spells. Feeling anxious.
Your iron levels will be tested as part of routine blood tests during your pregnancy. Being anaemic can lead to a greater blood loss than usual during birth and a reduced ability to fight infection, which is particularly important if you need to have a c-section. Gestational diabetes Diabetes is a condition where the body cant control blood sugar effectively because of incorrect insulin production. Gestational diabetes is a specific form of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy and usually disappears once the baby is born. It is most common in women with a family history of type 2 diabetes, older or overweight women and some ethnic groups. If you have gestational diabetes for one pregnancy, you are more likely to have it in subsequent pregnancies. Gestational diabetes is usually detected by a glucose test at approximately 26 weeks. During the test you will be asked to drink a glucose drink; your blood is taken an hour after that and the sugar levels analysed. To reduce your risk of gestational diabetes, keep fit and healthy during your pregnancy by regular pregnancy exercise and a healthy diet. Hashimoto hypothyroid postpartum A condition of the thyroid that can occur after pregnancy. In HHP, the white blood cells (which are part of the immune system and usually fight infections and foreign bodies) start to attack the thyroid. Once the baby has been born, the mother can become hyperthyroid (have an overactive thyroid) and lose weight quickly. The thyroid then becomes hypothyroid (underactive), resulting in symptoms such as tiredness, sleepy in the mornings, hair loss, brittle nails, depression, anxiety and difficulty losing weight, amongst others. These are symptoms that many non-HHP new mums suffer from and so the diagnosis can be missed. However, a simple blood test can confirm the condition HELLP HELLP syndrome is the medical name given to a serious (and rare) complication of pre-eclampsia involving a combination of liver and blood disorders. HELLP syndrome may be associated with other signs of pre eclampsia such as high blood pressure, protein in the urine and swelling of the hands, feet or face. However, this is not always the case and this may make its diagnosis more difficult. Women with HELLP syndrome often complain of a pain in the upper abdomen below the ribs, which is indicative of a tender liver. There may also be heartburn, vomiting and headache. HELLP syndrome can arise at any stage during the second half of pregnancy. Diagnosis is by blood tests which examine liver enzymes, red blood cells and platelets. The condition is cured when the baby is born. However, this may mean that the baby has to be born earlier than intended. Multiple birth Pregnancy can be a strain on your body and carrying more than one baby can increase the likelihood of common pregnancy complaints and some pregnancy complications occurring. Ensure that you get plenty of rest and call upon friends, family and at-home postnatal care providers to help you cope with the additional workload when the babies are born. Placenta previa In pregnancy, the placenta implants itself into the uterus wall and it is through the uterus that your baby gets all its nourishment for growth. The placenta usually implants in the upper part of the uterus, but can sometimes implant in the
.health.lower part of the uterus and grow over (or partly over) the cervix (the opening from the uterus to the vagina). This is known as placenta previa. Placenta previa is usually diagnosed during ultrasounds. A low-lying placenta may move up during the pregnancy as the uterus grows larger and ultrasounds during the course of the pregnancy will confirm if this is happening. If the placenta remains low-lying and covering or partially covering the cervix then some painless bleeding can also occur during pregnancy - particularly in the third trimester. You will be advised to avoid intercourse and internal examinations during appointments as these can trigger bleeding. You may also be advised to get plenty of bed rest. As the cervix dilates during labour, the placenta can begin to separate from the uterine wall and heavy blood loss can occur. The placenta can also block the cervix, preventing the baby from making its way down the birth canal. If placenta previa arises, a caesarean-section is usually recommended. Pre-eclampsia Pre-eclampsia is a serious pregnancy condition that can affect both the mother and foetus and can develop at any time in the second half of the pregnancy, although it is more usual for it to occur in the last few weeks. Symptoms include the following, which are usually detected during routine tests carried out at your ante-natal visits: Rising blood pressure. Protein in the urine. Swelling of the hands, feet and face.
The unborn baby may grow more slowly than normal or suffer potentially dangerous oxygen deficiency. Women with preeclampsia may still feel perfectly well. However, pre-eclampsia can develop very quickly and if you experience any of these symptoms you should notify your healthcare provider immediately. Other symptoms may include upper abdominal pain and vomiting, severe headache and visual disturbances. These symptoms can indicate the disease has reached an advanced stage (also see HELLP above). Pelvic instability / Symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD) Pelvic instability is a condition which causes pain and mobility problems during pregnancy. In normal pregnancy a hormone called Relaxin softens the ligaments around the joints of the pelvis. This natural process allows the pelvis to open slightly during childbirth for delivery and usually does not cause lasting discomfort. However, in some cases the process is overactive causing the pelvic joints to move too much, causing pain (sometimes severe) and discomfort. Rhesus negative blood type Having a Rhesus negative (Rh -ve) blood type is not a need for panic. However, it is important that your healthcare provider checks your blood group as Rhesus negative women may require an additional simple injection during pregnancy or birth to prevent issues in subsequent pregnancies. If you are a woman with Rh +ve blood, you will always have a child with Rh +ve blood. However, if you are a woman with Rh -ve blood, you could have a child with either Rh +ve or Rh -ve blood depending on the blood type of your partner. If you have a different blood type to the foetus and there is an exchange of blood (usually at birth, or if you have a bleed during the pregnancy or a miscarriage), the Rh +ve blood of the foetus can mix with the mothers Rh -ve blood. As a consequence, the mother may develop antibodies to Rh +ve blood and the antibodies in her bloodstream can start to rise, which can have a negative impact on the developing baby. However, a simple anti-D injection given at the birth (or immediately after any pregnancy bleed) stops these antibodies from forming in this pregnancy and in the next pregnancy.
ComplaintsFaintness Feeling faint is a sign of a lack of blood flow to the head. When you are pregnant, your body has to work harder than usual to pump increased blood around the body. If you stand for too long, stand up too quickly or over-exert yourself, your blood may not keep up with you resulting in a loss of blood flow to the head and feeling faint. Breathlessness In early pregnancy breathlessness occurs as the hormone progesterone causes you to breathe deeper and more often. This increases your lung capacity so you can carry more oxygen to your baby and get rid of waste products such as the carbon dioxide that you both produce. In the last trimester, breathlessness can be experienced during mild exercise or even while sitting still. Slow down, try to relax and look forward to your babys birth, after which your breathing will return to normal. Constipation At any time during pregnancy (and even afterwards) it is quite normal for a womans bowel movements to change. This can be due to hormonal changes causing the bowel to slow down and resorb more water than it usually does, or because the
.health.uterus compresses the large intestine. Do not use laxatives without your doctors approval. Try not to strain when you have a bowel movement as straining can lead to hemorrhoids. Heartburn Heartburn is a form of indigestion caused when food is chewed and swallowed, then muscular valves at the entrance to the stomach may not close properly so food and acid can return to the oesophagus and cause a burning sensation behind the breastbone. During pregnancy the hormone progesterone can cause this muscular valve to relax, while in late pregnancy indigestion is highly common because the baby can push into the stomach and force the contents back into the oesophagus. Keep meals small and frequent and avoiding lying down soon after a big meal. Raising your head on an extra pillow to avoid reflux when you go to bed can help and try not to increase pressure by bending, straining, coughing or lifting. High blood pressure Your blood pressure will be tested at each antenatal check-up throughout your pregnancy. Its cause isnt known, but you are more likely to suffer from high blood pressure if this is your first baby, you are having a multiple pregnancy or you are aged over 35. Women who have high blood pressure before conceiving may be prescribed medication to help keep it under control during pregnancy. High blood pressure will have a more profound effect in late pregnancy. If it becomes a problem, close observation of both mother and baby are recommended. You may need to be induced or have to have a Caesarean if your baby is affected. Blood pressure due to pregnancy usually returns to normal after the birth. Morning sickness This has to be top of the list for most people when thinking of illnesses associated with pregnancy. No-one is exactly sure what causes morning sickness, but it may be related to low blood sugar levels or the increase in oestrogen and progesterone levels associated with pregnancy. Morning sickness in some form is very common during the early stages of pregnancy and can occur at any time of the day or night. Its symptoms can range from mild nausea through to continual vomiting. For some unlucky women, severe morning sickness results in the mother having to spend some time in hospital where she can be monitored and rested because she finds it impossible to hold any foods down. Because morning sickness commonly occurs when a woman hasnt eaten, one way to ease the symptoms is to eat little and often. Foods high in carbohydrates such as wholemeal bread, potatoes, rice and cereals are thought to relieve nausea. Avoid strong smells, keep lollies or plain biscuits handy, drink plenty of water and swap caffeinated drinks for ginger tea. Rib pain After 30 weeks it is not uncommon to feel pain below the ribs because your baby will be taking up all of the available space. The pain can range from mild to very painful and is most likely to occur in the area below the right breast. The ribs move up and out because you need to breathe faster and deeper in order to do the added work for the baby. To relieve discomfort wear loose clothing, sit more upright, support yourself with cushions and gently press the baby down with your hand to temporarily reduce the tension. After 36 weeks your baby should start to drop down, helping to ease the pain. Thrush Three out of four women will experience thrush at least once in their life. It is particularly common in pregnancy as hormone levels alter and create high levels of sugars called glycogen in the body fluids along with reduced acidity. This can feed the growth of candida. Because a number of vaginal conditions similar to thrush can occur, you will need to see your doctor so any other conditions can be ruled out. Popular over-the-counter once only oral preparations to treat thrush should be avoided in pregnancy as they have been implicated in altering hormone production leading to miscarriage. Water retention A common problem during pregnancy, water retention causes fluid to accumulate in the hands, feet, ankles and lower legs leading to puffiness. Hot weather, high blood pressure and standing for long periods of time usually worsens the condition, as can pregnancy hormones that lead to retention of sodium in the kidneys, causing the body to retain fluid. Surprisingly, it is very important to maintain adequate water consumption as water restriction may well cause the body to believe it needs to conserve water and so worsen fluid retention. Avoid processed foods (which tend to be high in salt), consume three litres of water a day, minimise caffeine consumption and do gentle exercise such as swimming. Reflexology and lymphatic drainage massage can also help relieve the discomfort, as can putting your feet up as much as possible.
.health.Acne Some women notice an improvement in their acne during pregnancy, but this doesnt happen for everyone. Some women find that acne becomes a problem for them during pregnancy even if they havent been bothered by it in the past. Avoid products that contain salicylic acid - their safety during pregnancy is suspect. Drinking lots of water may help flush bacteria and oil from your pores and avoid any pregnancy prescription products until you talk to your doctor. Backache As your baby grows, your ligaments loosen to prepare your body for the birth. This, combined with the strain from altered posture, can also exacerbate your discomfort. Cramps Experiencing muscle cramps in your feet, thighs or legs are extremely common during pregnancy. The exact reason for this is not known, although it is suspected that the expansion of the uterus may put pressure on the nerves and blood vessels in the leg, causing leg cramps and some occasional pain. Standing up to let your leg stretch may offer some relief. Frequent urination During the first trimester of your pregnancy, the need to go to the toilet regularly is caused by hormonal changes. In later pregnancy it will be because of the increasing size and weight of your baby pressuring the bladder. Headaches and migraines Tension headaches are caused by many things including stress, fatigue, heat and noise. Cluster headaches come in groups, last about an hour each time and can continue for weeks or months. Some women suffer more during pregnancy because of their changing hormone levels. Sciatic-nerve pain Many women experience an occasional excruciating pain in their buttocks and down the back or side of their legs as pregnancy progresses: sciatic-nerve pain. It is believed the pain is caused by pressure on the nerve from the growing and expanding uterus. The best treatment for the pain is to lie on your opposite side. This helps relieve pressure on the nerve. Tiredness Your first trimester will, no doubt, leave you feeling tired. Rest assured this is normal and it will get better as your pregnancy progresses. Aim for at least eight hours sleep each night and, if possible, take a rest during the day. The healthier you are in both mind and body, the more you will enjoy your pregnancy. Developing coping strategies to help manage your tiredness can help. They may seem basic but reminding yourself that its important can help.
THINGS YoU NEED To kNow Now YoUrE PrEGNANTThe test is positive and you feel youre stepping into uncharted territory. Fear not - we can offer a few priceless tips for the months ahead... 1. 2. 3. 4. You may start snoring! Pregnancy hormones can cause the membranes in your nose to soften and swell leaving you much more likely to snore at night. You should stop wearing underwire bras - they could restrict the growth of the milk glands in your breasts. Reflexology is great for fluid retention. You are now officially hot stuff. Those pregnancy hormones are speeding up your metabolic rate, making you feel flushed and sweaty in temperatures you coped with easily before. Dress in looser, lighter clothes and drink plenty of water. Pregnant tummies tend to be itchy tummies. Its probably a result of your skin being stretched taut as your belly grows. Some women get itchy feet and hands, too. If you itch badly all over then tell your midwife - it could be a very rare but serious liver disorder. You need to put your name down for antenatal classes as soon as your pregnancy is confirmed. Classes get booked up unbelievably quickly. Never miss a single antenatal checkup. Youll need to buy or hire a car seat. By law, any baby travelling in a car must be properly restrained in a car seat, including taxis.
6. 7. 8.
.health.9. Morning sickness is twice as bad on an empty stomach, so eat and keep a snack at your bedside. 10. Have a good, low-maintenance haircut just before your babys due. It may be a while before you have the time (and energy!) to get to the hairdressers again. 11. Plan your holidays carefully. Most airlines wont let you travel after 36 weeks and from about 28 weeks you wont be allowed to check in without a doctors certificate. 12. If theres a film you want to see, go and see it now! Opportunity later will be rare. 13. Expect to go up a shoe size. At about 28 to 30 weeks your body fluids increase and as a result your feet can swell up only a little, but thats enough to make your shoes tight. 14. If close friends ask you what they can get the baby, suggest clothes in the 3-6 months or even 6-12 months age range. Everyone will shower you with newborn clothing but babies grow very fast. 15. Dont drink tea with your meals. During pregnancy, your body needs to absorb plenty of iron from your food, but the caffeine in tea can hamper that process. 16. Youll smell different. All the chemical changes going on in your body may mean you start to give off a new, warm, alluring odour. This could suddenly give your favourite perfume a subtly different scent. 17. Dont buy new glasses or contact lenses. Extra fluid in your eyes (another present from those pregnancy hormones) can make it seem as though your sight is worse or your lenses dont fit. Get yourself checked by an optometrist to be on the safe side, though. 18. Its time to start thinking about childcare. Yes, we know you havent had the baby yet, but its never too early to check out your options. Go to the Parents section on Qantas Family Support to find out your childcare options in your local area. 19. The sounds your baby hears best when in the womb are in the frequency of a human voice. Tell your baby stories and sing songs. Research shows babies respond and relax to stories and songs theyve heard several times in the womb. 20. Stretchmarks. Youre either genetically disposed to get them or you arent and theres not much you can do about that. However, dont stop massaging your belly with all sorts of gorgeous-smelling lotions and potions - all that rhythmic stroking will make you feel good and your baby will enjoy it too. 21. Develop a defence shield to deflect other peoples well intended advice. Listen with a polite smile, let the words bounce off your shield into the outer atmosphere - and then do what you think is best. 22. Give baby plenty of sunshine! By 34 weeks, your baby is bathed in a red glow whenever sunlight hits your tummy. 23. You may find youre getting a little forgetful. Unfortunately, pregnancy amnesia is incredibly common and can include anything from being slightly absent-minded to full-on major memory loss. Some scientists have actually suggested that a womans brain can shrink by as much as five per cent during pregnancy! No one really knows why but the good news is, it does return to normal after the birth. 24. Its much easier to establish breastfeeding if your diet is the same before and after the birth, because your baby will recognise the taste of your breastmilk from when they guzzled similar-tasting amniotic fluid in the womb. 25. Be prepared for weird mood swings. And we mean weird. Expect lightning flashes of anger, moments of uncontrollable weepiness and times of inexplicable fear. Youre not going mad - youre pregnant.
PrEGNANCY wEEk BY wEEk
The unborn baby spends around 38 weeks in the womb, but the average length of pregnancy (gestation) is counted as 40 weeks. This is because pregnancy is counted from the first day of the womans last period, not the date of conception, which generally occurs two weeks later. The gender and inherited characteristics are decided in that instant. Pregnancy is divided into three trimesters: 0-12 weeks, 12-24 weeks and 24-40 weeks. Week 1 This first week is actually your menstrual period. Because your expected delivery date (EDD) is calculated from the first day of your last period, this week counts as part of your 40-week pregnancy even though your baby hasnt been conceived yet. Week 2 Fertilisation of your egg by the sperm will take place near the end of this week. Week 3 Thirty hours after conception, the cell splits into two. Three days later, the cell (zygote) has divided into 16 cells. After two more days, the zygote has migrated from the fallopian tube to the uterus (womb). Seven days after conception, the zygote burrows itself into the plump uterine lining (endometrium). The zygote is now known as a blastocyst. Week 4 The developing baby is tinier than a grain of rice. The rapidly dividing cells are in the process of forming the various body systems, including the digestive system. Week 5 The evolving neural tube will eventually become the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). Week 6 The baby is now known as an embryo. It is around 3mm in length. By this stage, it is secreting special hormones that prevent the mother from having a menstrual period. Week 7 The heart is beating. The embryo has developed its placenta and amniotic sac. The placenta is burrowing into the uterine wall to access oxygen and nutrients from the mothers bloodstream. Week 8 The embryo is now around 1.3cm in length. The rapidly growing spinal cord looks like a tail. The head is disproportionately large. Week 9 The eyes, mouth and tongue are forming. The tiny muscles allow the embryo to start moving about. Blood cells are being made by the embryos liver. Week 10 The embryo is now known as a foetus and is about 2.5cm in length. All of the bodily organs are formed. The hands and feet, which previously looked like nubs or paddles, are now evolving fingers and toes. The brain is active and has brain waves. Week 11 Teeth are budding inside the gums. The tiny heart is developing further. Week 12 The fingers and toes are recognisable, but still stuck together with webs of skin. The combined test (maternal blood test + ultrasound of baby) can be done around this time. This test is an indicator of possible Down syndrome or other major disabilities in the baby. Week 13 The foetus can swim about quite vigorously. It is now more than 7cm in length. Week 14 The eyelids are fused over the fully developed eyes. The baby can now mutely cry, since it has vocal cords. It may even start
sucking its thumb. The fingers and toes are growing nails. Week 16
The foetus is around 14cm in length. Eyelashes and eyebrows have appeared, and the tongue has tastebuds. Routine maternal serum screening is offered at this time to help determine the risk of having a baby with a birth defect. An ultrasound is also commonly performed (usually week 18) to check for abnormalities, position of placenta and multiple pregnancies. Interestingly, hiccups in the foetus can often be observed. Week 20 The foetus is around 21cm in length. The ears are fully functioning and can hear muffled sounds from the outside world. The fingertips have prints. The genitals can now be distinguished with an ultrasound scan. Week 24 The foetus is around 33cm in length. The fused eyelids now separate into upper and lower lids, enabling the baby to open and shut its eyes. The skin is covered in fine hair (lanugo) and protected by a layer of waxy secretion (vernix). The baby breathes amniotic fluid in and out of its lungs. Week 28 Your baby now weighs about 2lb 2oz (two pounds, two ounces) or 1,000g and measures about 10 inches (25cm) from crown to rump. The crown to toe length is around 37cm. The growing body has caught up with the large head and the baby now seems more in proportion. Week 32 The baby spends most of its time asleep. Its movements are strong and coordinated. It has probably assumed the head down position by now, in preparation for birth. Week 36 The baby is around 46cm in length. It has probably nestled its head into its mothers pelvis, ready for birth. If it is born now, its chances for survival are excellent. Development of the lungs is rapid over the next few weeks. Week 40 The baby is around 51cm in length and ready to be born. It is thought that the baby secretes hormones that trigger the onset of labour. Source: Better Health Victorian Government
GooD mENTAL HEALTH IN PrEGNANCY AND PArENTHooDNow is the time to let go of some of the rules you have for yourself, the ones you would hate if someone else tried to impose them on you. Now is the time to nurture yourself as lovingly, gently and kindly as you do your children. Other useful things to try to help maintain good mental health during pregnancy and parenthood are: Establish or re-establish a close friendship outside of your home so you have someone to talk intimately with. Join a group that provides you with a social network of some kind (e.g. mothers group, womens group or playgroup). Take care of yourself, including nutrition, exercise, physical health, get regular haircuts or pedicures or whatever helps you feel well maintained. Learn and practice breathing and relaxation techniques. Try different therapies, hypnotherapy, massage, homeopathics. If one doesnt suit, try a couple more until you find what works for you. Avoid hangovers and low blood sugar levels. Do something nice for yourself everyday (suggestions: take a bath, buy yourself some fresh fruit juice or say something nice to yourself). Practice knowing when and how to ask for help. Practice loving kindness towards yourself as well as others .
5 tips for achieving happy couple status post-babyWhat do your kids see and feel at home? Do they see happy parents? Or grumpy parents? Do they see two people in love or two people at war? Do they see their parents as two caring and compassionate people who respect each other? Or do
they feel tension and hear blaming, nagging, fighting, criticism, and silence?
Almost without exception, couples experience relationship issues when their much anticipated and eagerly awaited first child arrives. With so much focus on the new baby - where and when it will sleep, feeding, clothing, bathing, settling, transporting; couples often get distracted from focusing on each other. And if couples somehow escape the almost universal post-baby issues first time around, they are sure to get hit with the arrival of their second or subsequent children. The lives of men and women diverge after the birth of a baby and both are left feeling less understood and less appreciated. Women often get resentful about their lack of freedom and are confused that the arrival of their adorable baby has left them feeling more like the nanny, cleaner and tea lady than a highly competent, attractive, capable woman who is also a mother. For men, financial pressure usually increases and most men feel caught between doing what is expected at home, doing what is expected at work and occasionally doing something recreational. Whatever decision he makes, he is usually letting someone down and mostly they let him know about that. Men get blamed for not doing housework, getting home late or not being proactive with the baby. Below are FIVE things couples can do to ensure they not only stay together, but that they are a happy post-baby couple: 1. Talk to each other Check in with each other regularly. Ask How was your day? and listen for the answer. Make sure you regularly go out without the baby and see if you can avoid talking about babies or work. It might be harder than you think! Create reciprocal arrangements around time out from work and family Couples need to ensure that both partners have time out from work and family. This is helped by couples coming to the understanding that, when he goes to work, she goes to work at home with the kids. Therefore, before and after work and weekend childcare and housework need to be shared. Value what each partner does Acknowledge the contribution both partners are making. Women often suffer both a crisis in self-esteem and domestic claustrophobia with the birth of a baby. Many women choose to go back to work to feel better about themselves and to earn some money. Couples need to agree on where work comes in their list of priorities to ensure it doesnt become an escape route for either partner when things get tough at home. Empathise with your partners world Women love it when their male partners offer to do things. Offering, rather than waiting to be asked, makes a huge difference. By offering to help out with cooking or cleaning or kids, he is sending a strong message that he regards that domain as something they share out of work hours. Mum, let Dad do it! More mums should just let dad do it! Women today feel very sure of themselves and believe that the way they are running their home, or bringing up the children, is the best way possible. While this is very empowering, it frequently excludes dad and his way of doing things. If you would like more cooperation, then you need to change your thinking.
AFForDING A FAmILYQ: What can be more expensive than a house yet weighs only about 3.5 kilos? A: A baby.
Starting a family is a financial minefield and involves so many changes. There are the obvious physical changes to your body and relationship changes. Then there are the mental changes as your mind struggles to cope with all sorts of babyrelated information and of course the lifestyle changes. On top of all of that are the financial changes, because suddenly you have to buy any number of baby-specific items and are potentially looking at some unpaid leave from work and perhaps reduced hours and income down the track. Significant financial concerns can make or break those early parenthood years so we have listed here a few of the main points you need to consider.
while you are pregnant: Do a budget. You will soon be faced with both a drop in income and an increase in expenses and will need a written budget to guide you through. Dont forget to add in your parental and baby-related expenses. Start saving. Saving during your pregnancy will help with parental leave and other baby-related costs down the track. Set yourself a goal of saving 20% of your net income and identify areas in your written budget where you can cut back costs to make it. Use credit wisely. Having a credit card debt during parental leave is not fun, so look at strategies for not using your credit card. Check the available government assistance. There are some great government benefits available for new parents, go to Qantas Family Support > benefits > you will find detailed information and direct links to learn more. Check your work-related benefits. Depending on your employment status there are a number of work-related benefits that you may be entitled to, such as Paid Parental Leave or holiday or Long Service Leave that you may be able to use. Review your insurance and do a will. You will soon be responsible for a new small person, so ensure that they will be taken care of if something happens to you by having a certain amount of income protection and life insurance cover as well as a will. In financial planning terms, having children is a trigger for checking and updating your level of life insurance. Its not about tempting fate. Do a post-baby budget. Some of your costs (and income) will change once you become a parent and you need to allow for these in a post-baby budget. Calculate how long you can afford to take off work. What is the difference between your partners monthly income and your post-baby budget monthly expenses? Add up the money you will have available at the start of your parental leave (your savings, employer and government benefits) and divide this amount by the difference. This will give you the number of months you can afford to take off work.
when you become a parent: Stick to your budget. There are so many tempting things to buy for and do with your baby, but stick to your budget you dont want to run out of money before you are ready to return to work. Free or nominal cost stuff can be fun. Playgroups and mothers groups can be a source of (inexpensive) fun. Council libraries often run baby-oriented sessions. Walk in the park with a friend, swim in the local council pool, visit a museum or picnic with friends in a playground. For more activity ideas go to Qantas Family Support.
Youve just found out youre pregnant! Now what? Obstetrician, midwives or GP? Public or private? Hospital, Birthing centre or home birth? Its very important for you and your baby to be looked after from the start of your pregnancy until after the birth of your baby. Care should include providing support and information, monitoring you and your babys health and wellbeing and identifying special medical or personal needs that may require extra help from trained professionals. Care is given: During pregnancy (antenatal care) regular appointments are important to monitor your pregnancy and your babys growth. During labour and birth (intrapartum care) carers will help make you comfortable and help you understand what is happening, assist you in making choices about pain relief and discuss any medical interventions and special care needs with you. After the birth (postnatal care) in most hospitals you will be transferred from the birth suite to the postnatal ward an hour or two after the birth. Midwives will provide most of your postnatal care and a doctor will check on your progress.
Expect A Star carers also offer support for breastfeeding and looking after your new baby. They will discuss with you what you can expect as a new mother and what is normal. Your midwife will also visit you at home after you leave hospital so there is a lot of support ready for you. We have covered the choices about who can care for you below:
obstetricians, midwives or GP?Obstetricians are doctors with specialist training in childbirth. Your obstetrician will look after all your medical needs during your pregnancy and can cater for all types of pregnancy from low to high risk. If you wish to be treated privately and you already have an obstetrician in mind, you will need to contact them to find out which hospitals they have admitting rights to. If you dont have a preferred obstetrician, ask your GP for a referral or ask your chosen parental hospital for details of obstetricians who can practice there. Midwives are health professionals who provide specialist care, education and support during pregnancy, birth, postnatal and the early parenting period. Midwifery care includes the detection of complications in mother and baby, the referral to other specialists and the initiation of necessary emergency care. In most states you cannot currently employ a midwife as your main care provider on a private basis unless you wish to consider a home birth. You can employ an independent midwife to go with you to the hospital, but the midwife has no practising rights in the hospital and you will also be attended by hospital appointed midwives and obstetricians as necessary. Because of current public liability insurance issues, home birthing options are limited. GP - Shared-care (may be some costs). Under the shared-care scheme you split your check-ups between your GP and the parental clinic at the hospital. After an initial assessment at the hospital, the scheme allows you to visit your GP for regular check-ups, whilst you visit the hospital for scans, ante-natal classes and any tests above and beyond those that can be carried out by the GP. Regular checks after approximately the 36th week (depending on your parental facility) will usually take place at the hospital. If you are interested in shared care, check that your GP is willing and able to provide this service. Any fees due to your GP will depend upon your GPs individual fee scale and billing policy.
will you see the same oB/midwife at each appointment?If you choose a private obstetrician, youre likely to have all your antenatal appointments in their private rooms. During labour you will be seen by the midwives at the hospital until delivery is imminent, when your obstetrician will be called to attend. If your obstetrician is not available, its likely another member of their practice group will attend in his/her place. If you attend a midwives clinic in a public hospital and have an uncomplicated pregnancy, you are likely to have each antenatal appointment with any one of the team of midwives or obstetricians available on your clinic day. Your birth will be attended by whichever team of midwives and obstetricians is on duty at the time. A number of hospitals are also now offering Caseload Midwifery or Midwifery Group Practice. This is where the pregnant woman is cared for by the same midwife and supported by a small team of other midwives during their pregnancy, birth and early weeks at home. Ask if it is an option at your hospital.
Private or Public?Private hospital facilities (cost involved). If you wish to have your baby as a private patient, you get to choose where you give birth and who your main care provider will be. You can choose your obstetrician first - and then find out which hospitals he/she has admitting rights too - or you can select your parental hospital and find out which private obstetricians work there. You will have no need to go to the hospital at which you will give birth until the time arrives to have your baby. However, many obstetricians and hospitals will arrange for a familiarisation visit beforehand.
.birth.If you wish to use private medical insurance, ensure that you check your policy carefully for the services covered before undertaking any costly consultations. Some policies have exemption clauses that cover for pregnancy in the first year (or more) of membership. Check also what private cover you would have for your child once born. Family cover often includes the child automatically, but this may not be the case if you have individual cover. Private hospitals should be able to provide you with details of care providers who are able to practice at their hospital. If you would prefer to select your care provider first, ensure that they have admitting rights to any hospital that you wish to attend. If you wish to be treated as a private patient but do not have private medical insurance, you will be required to pay all costs yourself. Check payment terms and conditions with your care provider and chosen parental hospital before undertaking any consultations. Public facilities (generally no cost for eligible patients). For care as a public patient under Medicare you will need a referral by your local GP. Call your local maternity hospital for details of their booking-in procedure. The birth should take place at the hospital and there are usually no out-of-pocket expenses providing you have valid Medicare cover. After booking in and an initial assessment, you may then have the following options for continuing care, providing your pregnancy is low risk and no complications develop: Parental clinic at a hospital. Midwife-managed birthing centre at a hospital. Community-based midwifery program. Shared care with your local GP (some costs involved). Community-based ante-natal clinic with a hospital birth.
For all the above, specialist tests like ultrasounds will usually be carried out at a hospital. If you are considered to be at risk of a more complicated pregnancy, you are likely to be requested to visit the hospital for all your check-ups.
Hospital, Birthing centre or home birth?Hospital parental clinic If you elect to have your antenatal care through the hospital parental clinic, you are likely to have all your antenatal appointments at the hospital, with your care being provided by a team of midwives and obstetricians. Who you see on your appointment day will depend upon who is on duty on the day. On the downside, there can be long waiting times for appointments, but on the positive side, the hospital will arrange for all your tests, scans and other care, which, in most cases, will take place in the hospital itself and at no cost to you. Hospitals often offer additional services such as pregnancy exercise classes, postnatal education and specialist physiotherapy services. The birth should take place at your chosen hospital where you will be seen on the day by the midwifery team and obstetricians on duty at the time. Postnatal care will often be in shared wards. Midwife-managed birthing centre Midwife-managed birthing centres and free standing childbirth units provide for more natural at-home style ante-natal care, labour and birth. Places are limited and are only available to pregnancies considered low risk. Early enrollment is advised. Midwives take primary professional responsibility for care. Since teams and patient numbers are smaller, you have a much higher chance of seeing the same midwife more often during your antenatal appointments and the birth. During labour and birth, medical services - should they be needed - including obstetric, neonatal and anaesthetic care are available, sometimes from a separate site. Most centres are within hospitals so more intensive medical care is available should an emergency arise. Community midwifery programs Community midwifery programs usually operate through a local health service or parental hospital - providing publicly funded
.birth.antenatal care at local community facilities or even homebirth care. The programs operate in only very localised areas within Australia. Home birth (costs involved in most cases) A home birth option is only available to low-risk pregnancies and is only available on a private basis in most states. Because of current public liability insurance issues, home birthing options are limited. Other childbirth services There are a number of additional private and community services to assist you with antenatal care and childbirth preparation, offering assistance from parenting antenatal classes to hypnobirthing, birthing partners (doulas) and more.
Care for women with extra needsDuring your pregnancy you may need additional care. Your needs may be medical, cultural, social or emotional. If so, you may receive your pregnancy care at a special clinic, located at a hospital or community health centre. For example, you may: Need culturally appropriate care. Need the services of an interpreter. Need support visits at home. Have nowhere to live. Not be able to afford food. Have issues concerning drugs or alcohol.
You can also book specialised nannies and babysitters through Expect A Star who are qualified to support you and your new born baby. Logon to Qantas Family Support or logon from home with the following URL to register for their services: www.expectastar.com.au/corporatefamily/qantasgroup
Things to remember The earlier you consider the options for your care in pregnancy and birth, the better. You must be at low risk of complications to use a birth centre. The time you spend in hospital after the birth depends on your needs, but may be quite short. There may be extra costs for antenatal investigations and childbirth education classes. If you need an interpreter, ask the organisation you are dealing with to arrange this.
BABY SAFE STANDArDS
Baby safe nursery items and furniture are an absolute must. Safe use is also important and weve included some useful pointers for positioning and everyday use. To keep your nursery furniture safe, maintain and inspect regularly and repair or replace immediately when signs of damage appear. But what are the key points that you need to think about?
Cots Complies with Australian Standard AS/NZS 2172. All locking features are secure. The mattress fits with no gap wider than a finger width all way round. There are no protrusions that clothing could get caught on. There is nothing placed inside the cot that could cause danger such as large toys, cot bumpers or pillows. The cot is not placed near any potential hazards such as power points, curtain cords and mobiles hung too low, windows or heaters. When baby starts to climb, replace the cot with a bed. Prams should comply with Australian Standard AS/NZS 2088. Have wheel locks which are sturdy and strong. Have a 5-point harness with shoulder straps, waist & crotch straps. A pram which is easy to collapse for taking in/out of car, but which locks firmly when in use. Personal preferences may dictate your final choice of pram. Considerations such as adjustable back rest, new babies need to be able to lie flat, older children prefer to sit up and look around. Amount of storage space underneath the pram. Safety considerations for prams & strollers: Consider buying a sun & insect protection net. Dont hang anything heavy on the handle which could cause it to tip over. Never leave your child unattended. Always use the safety harness. Young babies should be placed in a lying, rather than sitting, position until they have sufficient head control. Upright strollers, without adjustable back rests, are not suitable for babies under 6 months of age.
Prams & strollers
Change tables Any locking mechanisms are in good order. There are no gaps that could trap little fingers or limbs. Pram has roll-off protection, such as raised sides or a waist restraint. The table is positioned away from any potential hazards such as pins, lotions & bottles, power points, curtain cords and mobiles hung too low, windows or heaters.
You should supervise at all times - never leave a child alone on a change table and avoid distractions, such as the telephone - consider taking the phone off the hook or putting the answerphone on.
Bouncers Bouncers should have a 5-point harness that you use every time. Never change adjustable parts (such as back rest) whilst a child is in the seat. Use on level ground only - never on raised surfaces. Position well away from any potential hazards such as electrical power points & cords, heaters, stairs or curtain cords.
Toy boxesToy box lids can cause very serious injuries if they fall on a childs fingers, limbs or head. Consider buying a toy box without a lid. If the box has a lid, make sure that it is lightweight & completely removable. The lid hinge should lock in place when fully open and close only slowly. The box should have air holes - in case child gets trapped inside. Keep toy boxes locked - but with a lock that a child could open from inside if they became trapped. Fit rubber stoppers on the underside of the lid so that it cant slam shut.
Baby walkersA lot of serious injuries have been caused by baby walkers and their use is not usually recommended. If you do decide to use a baby walker, look for one with good safety features. Automatic safety wheels which lock when a change in floor height is detected (e.g. at the top of stairs). A walker which is too wide to fit through doorways or stair openings. Wheel locking mechanisms which cant be reached by a child inside the walker. Only ever use under close supervision. Use away from stairs. Use on flat ground, never on raised surfaces. Put barriers around stoves, fires and heaters. Consider other toys or stationary activity centres to keep your child amused.
High chairs5-point harness with straps (both shoulders, waist and crotch). W