Pregnancy and Parenting

Pregnancy & Parenting

Whether you are trying for a baby or have just discovered that you are pregnant, you're bound to have many questions. What will pregnancy feel like? How will you know if the baby is growing normally? What should and shouldn't you eat during pregnancy? How will you cope with labour and childbirth? Pregnancy is an exciting time but there is also a lot to take in. Our guide is a good place to start.

Does morning sickness mean I'm having a girl?

During your pregnancy the old wives' tales come thick and fast. Don't be surprised if complete strangers accost you in the street with their predictions: 'oh you are carrying high so it must be a boy'. You may also be told that morning sickness is a sign that you are having a girl. There is only partial truth in this. There is a greater likelihood of having a girl if you suffer from the extremely severe form of morning sickness called hyperemesis gravidarum (Kate Middleton was hospitalised with this in December 2012). Experts speculate that this is to do with hormones unique to the female foetus causing a spike in nausea. However, hyperemesis gravidarum only affects 1% of women with pregnancy sickness. For normal morning sickness the difference isn't huge. So don't go painting the nursery walls pink on the basis of throwing-up a few times!

Does everyone get food cravings during pregnancy?

Craving sweet food, wanting pickles or desiring something just plain weird, while pregnant is not uncommon but it's also not a given. In her book 'What to Eat Before, During and After Pregnancy', Dr Judith Brown says about 50% of women in the USA report at least one food craving during pregnancy. Quite what food cravings mean is unclear but some nutritionists believe it's your body's way of telling you what it needs. For example, a craving for red meat might mean you lack protein. However, this doesn't explain why more women crave chocolate than say spinach! People who desire really strange foods such as ice, chalk or soap have a condition known as 'pica' and this usually points to a mineral deficiency such as iron. More research needs to be carried out to understand what specific cravings really mean.