Mother and Infant Scheme
On your first pregnancy the GP provides an initial examination, if possible before 12 weeks, and a further 5 examinations during the pregnancy, which are alternated with visits to the maternity unit/hospital. The
schedule of visits may be changed by your GP and/or hospital obstetrician, depending on your individual
situation. For subsequent pregnancies you will have an initial examination and a further 6 examinations. If
you have a significant illness, e.g. diabetes or hypertension, you may have up to 5 additional visits to the GP.
IF THERE IS ANY ADDITIONAL VISITS, THESE MUST BE PAID FOR
You will expect to be called for an antenatal visit and scan with the antenatal clinic between 12 to 16 weeks of pregnancy. If you are diagnosed with a twin pregnancy you will need a repeat scan at 16 weeks.
Care for other illnesses which you may have at this time, but which are not related to your pregnancy, is
not covered by the Scheme.
After the birth, the GP will examine the baby at 2 weeks and both mother and baby at 6 weeks.
The immunity developed by a mother after vaccination during pregnancy is passed on to her baby in the womb. This immunity helps protect the baby during the first few months of life.
Vaccines recommended in pregnancy:
- Flu Vaccine: The flu vaccine is inactive and can be given safely at any time during pregnancy. A pregnant woman who gets the flu is at risk for serious respiratory illness and complications. Getting flu in pregnancy can also so lead to premature birth and smaller babies. Flu vaccination during pregnancy provides immunity against influenza infection to babies in the first 6 months of life.
- Whooping Cough Vaccine: Women should get whooping cough vaccine during each pregnancy. The mothers immunity to whooping cough wane during pregnancy and is unlikely to protect the baby. Vaccination is recommended between 16 and 36 weeks of pregnancy. This is considered the best time in pregnancy to provide protection for the baby during the first few months of life.
- Covid Vaccine: Pregnant women are more likely to get very unwell and need treatment in intensive care than women who are not pregnant. The HSE recommend you get all recommended COVID-19 vaccines to help prevent serious complications of Covid 19.
Start taking a daily folic acid supplement straight away. Folic acid is an essential nutrient that protects
your baby against brain and spinal cord problems such as spina bifida. You need a 400 microgram (mcg)
supplement of folic acid (vitamin B9). You can buy these over the counter from pharmacies or Supermarkets. As well as folic acid, you’ll need to take a supplement containing 10mcg of vitamin D every day. You can also take a pregnancy multivitamin if you like, but eating a balanced diet should help you get all the vitamins and minerals you need.
Check before taking medicines
You need to be careful about taking medicines, even over-the-counter ones. They may be harmful to your unborn baby. Talk to your GP or midwife about any prescription medicines you’re taking and ask your pharmacist for advice when buying over-the-counter remedies.
Regular exercise can help you to cope with the physical and mental demands of being pregnant and, as long as you feel comfortable, there is no reason why you can’t continue your usual exercise habits while
pregnant. You’ll also find it easier to manage your weight gain if you stay active. You should aim to do moderate intensity physical activity. This means that you get warm, mildly out of breath, and mildly sweaty. A good tool that you can use to measure the intensity of your physical activity is the talk test. You should aim still to be able to talk and hold a conversation whilst you are doing physical activity. If you can do this you are probably exercising at the right level or intensity.
Exercise in pregnancy it has been shown to:
- Help you keep a healthy weight during and after your pregnancy.
- Help you to sleep better and feel less tired.
- Reduce your chances of developing varicose veins.
- Reduce the likelihood of swelling of your feet, ankles or hands.
- Reduce the chance and severity of anxiety or depression.
- Help prevent back pain.
- Reduce the risk of developing diabetes during your pregnancy (gestational diabetes). In women who do develop diabetes during their pregnancy, regular physical activity may help to improve the control of their diabetes.
- Reduce the risk of problems with high blood pressure during your pregnancy.
- Perhaps, shorten labour and make problems or complications less likely during the delivery of your baby. It can make the baby more resilient during the birth process.
Smoking is not recommended during pregnancy as it puts you at a higher risk of miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy and premature labour. The smoke you inhale can also affect how your unborn baby grows, resulting in a low birth weight.
There is no way to know for sure how much alcohol is safe during pregnancy. That’s why most experts advise you to cut out alcohol completely while you’re expecting. If you do decide to drink alcohol while you are pregnant, try to wait until after the first trimester. During the first 12 weeks, alcohol is associated with a higher risk of miscarriage. Even after this, don’t drink more than one or two units of alcohol, once or twice a week.
You can still enjoy a cup of coffee during your pregnancy. But you should limit yourself to 200mg of caffeine a day, which is two cups if instant coffee or one cup of brewed coffee. If you regularly have more than 200mg of caffeine a day during your pregnancy, it could increase your risk of miscarriage. This 200mg limit includes all sources of caffeine, so as well as coffee you’ll need to count teas (including green tea), cola, energy drinks and chocolate.
Nutrition and safe foods
A healthy, balanced diet will make sure that you get all the nutrients you and your developing baby need. Check out our pregnancy diet and get yourself into good eating habits now. It might surprise you to know that you don’t need extra calories in your first or second trimester. But you will need to avoid certain foods in pregnancy, because they might contain bacteria, parasites or toxins that could harm your baby. This includes some cheeses and unpasteurised dairy products, raw or undercooked meat, liver and pate and raw shellfish.
Most mums-to-be suffer from sickness during their first trimester. To ease your nausea eat little and often.
Snacking on plain biscuits, crackers or breadsticks may help. Your sickness should ease between 16 weeks and 20 weeks. If you are vomiting many times a day and are unable to keep anything down, contact your doctor or midwife as soon as possible. You may have severe morning sickness, known as hyperemesis gravidarum.
Pelvic floor exercises
Pelvic floor exercises can help to protect you from leaking wee while you’re pregnant and after your baby’s born. If you haven’t been shown how to do pelvic floor exercises during your antenatal appointments, ask your midwife about them at your next visit.
If you have cramps with bleeding or persistent abdominal pain call the practice and attend for review as you may need assessment at the early pregnancy clinic.
- University Hospital Galway Maternity Services: www.uhgmaternity.com
- Main Street Clinic: 091 842144