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Frequently asked Questions (FAQs)


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Firstly, you need to decide which option of care is right for you (see the options of care section under maternity care). You should then telephone the appropriate department as soon as possible to arrange your first antenatal visit. The staff will record your name, date of birth, address and phone number and allocate you a hospital number. You will be offered an appointment date and time for your ‘booking visit’ when you are 12-14 weeks pregnant. If you have any problems in the meantime such as abdominal pain or vaginal bleeding you should contact your GP or telephone the assessment and emergency unit of the hospital.

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Please bring your PPS number and your medical card, GNIB card or details of your private health insurance as applicable with you, along with a GP letter if you have one. If you are on any medication please bring it with you. Please register with the reception staff who will take your details and show you to a waiting area. You should not arrive more than 15 minutes before your appointment time.


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The general advice is to avoid contact with most chemicals in early pregnancy but there is no current data linking hair dye with pregnancy complications.

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This appointment is referred to as your ‘booking visit’. On this visit the midwife will review your history in detail along with your partner. Depending on the care option you have chosen, you may also see a doctor. You will have a physical examination, blood tests and an ultrasound scan to confirm your expected date of delivery and that all is well with your pregnancy. There is no need to fast, but you will need a full bladder for the scan. The blood tests will determine your blood group, your haemoglobin (blood iron) level and what infections you have either had or been vaccinated against. Please allow 2 – 3 hours for this visit. Please see the ‘first antenatal visit’ section under antenatal care for more detailed information.


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It is quite common to have more vaginal discharge in pregnancy because of the increased oestrogen hormone and greater blood flow to the vaginal area. Healthy vaginal discharge should be clear and white and should not smell unpleasant. If the vaginal discharge is coloured or smells strange or you feel itchy or sore you may have a vaginal infection such as thrush which requires treatment. In this case please attend your GP for review.

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A woman who is expecting her first baby will usually start to feel the baby move between the 18th and 20th week of pregnancy. These movements will initially feel like flutters and later in pregnancy they will become more pronounced and become definite ‘kicks’. On subsequent pregnancies a woman will usually start to feel her baby moving around 16 to 18 weeks. It is very important to be aware of your baby’s movements and you should feel at least 10 movements in 12 hours. You should monitor your baby’s movements from 28 weeks onwards and you can record these on a ‘kick chart’ available from the hospital. If you have concerns that your baby is not moving as much as normal you should go immediately to the assessment and emergency unit in the hospital.

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Dental problems are more common in pregnancy. Tell your dentist that you are pregnant and they will assess whether it is appropriate to treat you during pregnancy or not. It is generally advised to avoid amalgam fillings in pregnancy due to the mercury content but your dentist could offer you an alternative. Local anaesthetic to perform dental treatment is used with caution in pregnancy particularly during the first twelve weeks. However, it is very important to visit your dentist at least once during pregnancy.

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The ‘show’ is a plug of mucous which seals the neck of the womb (cervix) in pregnancy. It comes away when the cervix is starting to soften and open up. The show can be heavily bloodstained, pinky streaked or dark brown stained mucous. There is no need to come to the hospital with a ‘show’ alone but it can indicate that labour is starting. A show is never vaginal bleeding. If you are bleeding come directly to the assessment and emergency unit in the hospital.

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Please check in at the main reception desk in the hospital and give the staff your details. They will let the midwife in the assessment and emergency unit know that you are here for review. You will then be examined by a midwife and have a tracing done on baby’s heart beat. If you are in established labour we will bring you to the delivery suite. If you are in the early stages of labour we may admit you to the prenatal ward where we can monitor you and your baby until you are in active labour.

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Over-the-counter cough or cold remedies may contain alcohol or other ingredients that should be avoided during pregnancy. You should drink plenty of water and other fluids. If you have a fever (high temperature) that isn’t settling a low dose of paracetamol (500 mg to 1 gram) can be taken to reduce the temperature. Please talk to your pharmacist or GP before taking any medication.

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