Chapter 1 ~ Preparing to conceive your baby

Feeling ready and your relationship • Financial and work considerations

Preparing your body for pregnancy

A nutritious diet • Vitamins and minerals • Lifestyle changes - what to avoid  • Physical activity before pregnancy
 • Healthy weight range • Managing stress  • Preconceptual health check

Conceiving your baby

The female and male reproductive systems • A woman’s menstrual cycle •  Charting your fertility • Detecting the fertile days
 • Timing sex for conception •  When conception is not straightforward • Choosing the sex of your baby

Difficulty conceiving

Causes of infertility • Investigating infertility • Treatment options  • Emotional considerations

Chapter 2 ~ A new pregnancy: Conception to 12 weeks

Your unborn baby’s growth and development

Confirming your pregnancy

Urine pregnancy tests • Blood pregnancy tests • Calculating your baby’s due date

Early pregnancy

‘Morning’ sickness • Your diet during pregnancy • Weight gain  • Exercise

Emotions in early pregnancy

Emotions for the woman • Emotions for the partner • Your relationship

Taking care

Lifestyle changes • Prescribed medications • Over-the-counter treatments  • Natural therapies • Environmental and occupational hazards

In the beginning

Announcing your pregnancy • Choosing a caregiver and birthplace  • Transfer for the woman or baby • What to expect at your first pregnancy visit  • Tests you may be offered • Genetic testing

Early pregnancy variations

Bleeding during early pregnancy • Miscarriage •  Ectopic pregnancy • Excessive vomiting • Retroverted uterus

Chapter 3 ~ The middle of pregnancy: 13 to 28 weeks

Your unborn baby’s growth and development

Middle pregnancy

Physical changes • Aches and pains • Growing belly •  Maternity clothes • Baby’s movements

Adapting to change

Emotions in the middle months • Body image, sexuality and libido

As the pregnancy progresses

What to expect at your pregnancy visits • Tests you may be offered • Ultrasounds

Middle pregnancy variations

High blood pressure • Asthma • Diabetes •  Epilepsy • Heart disease • Thyroid conditions • Blood disorders  • Urine infection
 • Twin variations • Baby dying during pregnancy


What about travel during pregnancy? • Can I lie on my back?  • What will I do with my belly piercing?

Chapter 4 ~ The final months: 29 weeks till birth

Your unborn baby’s growth and development

Physical changes in preparation for birth • The uterus •  The cervix • Membranes and amniotic fluid • The placenta
 • The umbilical cord • The pelvis  • The pelvic floor muscles • The perineum

The final weeks

Physical changes • Aches and pains • Your baby’s movements

Emotions and sex

Emotions for the woman • Emotions for the partner • Sex during late pregnancy

Monitoring more closely

What to expect during the remaining pregnancy visits • Tests you may be offered

Getting ready for baby

Feeding your new baby • Sleeping arrangements • Buying for baby  • Cloth or disposable nappies • Planning childcare arrangements

Late pregnancy variations

Premature baby • Breech baby • Small baby •  Too much or too little fluid around the baby •  Pre-eclampsia • Gestational diabetes
 •  Bleeding during late pregnancy • Isoimmunisation Cholestasis


When should I stop work? • Do I need raspberry leaf? • Clicking or popping noises  • Cold belly

Chapter 5 ~ Preparing for birth

Final preparations

Childbirth classes • Do I need a support person? • Preparing your other children  • Considering a water birth?
 • What to pack for the birth • Writing a birth plan


Physical signs of prelabour • Support strategies • Emotions •  What to expect from your caregiver during prelabour
 • Admission to the delivery suite or birth centre • Should I stay or should I go?

Variations for prelabour

Waters breaking, no contractions • Dehydration and ketosis

Chapter 6 ~ First stage of labour

Early 1st phase • Active 1st phase • End of 1st stage or transition  • Physical signs

Support strategies

Support strategies for the woman • Support strategies for the partner/support person

Expectations for care

What to expect from your caregiver • Continuous monitoring

Variations for 1st stage

Continual vomiting • Fever • Difficulty urinating • Posterior labour  • Slow progress Baby distressed • Anterior lip • Shoulder presentation •  Heavy bleeding • Cord prolapse

Chapter 7 ~ Second stage and birthing your baby

Resting phase • Active pushing phase • The crowning phase •  The birthing phase

Support strategies

Support strategies for the woman • Support strategies for the partner/support person  • Positioning for birth

Expectations for care

Vaginal examinations • Time limits

Variations for second stage

Tearing • Episiotomy • Fast birth • Baby distressed  • Baby’s presentation  • Forceps and ventouse • Shoulder dystocia
 • Giving birth to twins •  Baby born before arrival at birthplace • Stillborn baby

Chapter 8 ~ Third and fourth stages of labour

The third stage

Natural vs active management • Clamping and cutting the cord •  Checking the placenta • Emotions • Issues and controversies

The fourth stage

Physical recovery • Emotions • Support strategies • Expectations for care

Variations for third and fourth stages

Difficulty urinating • Feeling faint • Haematomas •  Primary postpartum haemorrhage • Retained placenta
 • Third and fourth degree tears • Anal fissures • Uterine inversion

Chapter 9 ~ The pain of labour

The physiology of pain

The pain of labour and birth

The woman’s perception of her labour pain

Fears and concerns and expectations • Physiological approach and pain threshold •  Expectations Feeling in control • Social, cultural and spiritual beliefs  • Other factors • Exploring beliefs and perceptions • Helpful tools

Medical forms of pain relief

Gas • Narcotics • Epidural and spinal anaesthesia

Natural therapies and other methods of pain relief

Acupuncture • Acupressure, shiatsu and reflexology • Aromatherapy Bach and Australian bush flower essences
 • Breathing and birthing noises •  Herbs • Homeopathy • Hypnosis • Massage  • Movement • Music
 • Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)  • Visual focus • Visualisation • Water Water Injections

Chapter 10 ~ Inducing or augmenting the labour


Going ‘overdue’ • Readiness for labour

Induction methods

Pharmacological methods • Mechanical methods  • Risks and problems with medical inductions • Natural methods
 • Coping strategies • Emotional considerations


Medical methods • Natural therapies • Support strategies

Chapter 11 ~ Caesarean birth

What a caesarean operation involves

Before the operation • Anaesthetic used • The operation • The recovery room

Early care and physical recovery

First 24 to 48 hours • Next one to two weeks • Two to eight weeks • Two months and beyond

Risks and problems associated with caesareans

Possible variations for the woman • Possible variations for the baby

Emotional reactions

Emotions for the woman • Emotions for the partner/support person

Vaginal birth after caesarean

Health factors relating to VBAC • Arguments for and against VBAC •  Achieving the optimal outcomes • Emotions when planning a VBAC

Chapter 12 ~ Your baby soon after birth

The role of the birthing environment

Routine procedures and possible interventions

The Apgar score • Routine interventions at birth • Identification and observations
 • Weighing, measuring and bathing • Vitamin K  • Hepatitis B vaccination • Well babies needing further observations

Early parenting

Bonding with your baby • The first feed • Early parenting skills • Introducing the baby to their siblings

Your newborn baby’s physical appearance and behaviours

A newborn’s normal appearance • Early physical variations • Normal newborn behaviour • A newborn’s physical reflexes

What to expect from your caregiver

Newborn examinations • Routine screening blood test

Variations for the baby

Unwell baby • Jaundice


Should my son be circumcised? • At what age can a newborn fly?

Chapter 13 ~ The woman’s recovery after birth

Physical recovery

Nutrition and good health • Exercise

Feeding your baby

Breastfeeding • Formula feeding • Sterilising feeding/expressing equipment

Emotional changes and support strategies

Support during the early weeks

Expectations for care

Your postnatal check • Unexpected outcomes/unmet expectations

Variations for the woman

Breastfeeding variations • Infections • Thrush or gardnerella •  Heavy bleeding • Thrombosis • Postnatal depression
 • Post-traumatic stress disorder • Postnatal psychosis

Chapter 14 ~ Transition to parenting

The birth of a parent

Realistic parenting expectations • Relationship survival tips  • When caring for your baby • ‘Advice’, take it or leave it? • Sibling rivalry

Sex, sexuality and contraception

Resuming your sexual relationship • Sexuality and intimacy • Contraception

Settling in with your new baby

Sleeping and feeding patterns • Getting your baby to sleep •  Settling your crying baby • Caring for twins, triplets or more

Lifestyle and breastfeeding

Expressing and storing breast milk • Breastfeeding while out and about  • Breastfeeding with work or study
 • Weaning your baby from the breast

Returning to work or study

Partner returns • Mother returns • Stay-at-home dads


Breast milk supply


Visualisation techniques • Acupressure points • Natural therapies  • Birth plan • Labour support guide

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