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Unplanned pregnancy – what to do next?

So, you’ve taken your pregnancy test and the result is positive – it is completely normal to feel somewhat overwhelmed or surprised. Whether it was a result you were expecting or not, it is natural to feel apprehensive. Making a decision about an unplanned pregnancy is personal; information and support helps, but only you can know what is best for you and your situation…

Mixed feelings

It is completely ok to have mixed feelings if you find yourself pregnant unexpectedly. Talking to people you trust, whether that be family, friends or your partner, about your options is important and can be reassuring. You may prefer to speak to someone less close to you; if you can speak to your local GP or someone at a local sexual health clinic then this will all be kept confidential. Regardless of how you move forward with your pregnancy, you may find it helpful to build a support system.

Explore your options

When you become aware of an unexpected pregnancy it is also completely natural to feel dazed by your options, especially if you do not have a support system in place. It is normal to ask yourself questions like, What should I do if I’m pregnant and I don’t want to keep the baby? Or, Am I ready to become a parent? It can be difficult to answer these, but you are the only person who can decide on which of your pregnancy options is best for you.

What can help me decide?

Most people need to think carefully about a number of things before making a decision about an unplanned pregnancy, whether that be; work, education, money, life goals, health or safety. Consider how you feel when you think about abortion, adoption or keeping the baby and think about what you want for your own future. It may be helpful to ask yourself questions like, How would my decision affect me?, Will I have the support I need? Or Am I ready to go through pregnancy and childbirth? There are lots of different factors to consider.

If you are uncertain, alone or afraid, then please consider contacting these organisations who can help you. Everything discussed is always private and confidential.

Supporting depression in pregnant women

Pregnancy is considered a time of joy and excitement, but some women can also feel stressed and anxious… Research has suggested that 7% of women who are pregnant experience depression during their pregnancy1. Most people tend to go through periods of feeling down or upset, but when you are depressed you can feel persistently sad for long periods of time, rather than just a couple of days. Here we explain the signs of antenatal depression and how to find the help you need.

What is antenatal depression?

Antenatal depression is depression that is experienced throughout pregnancy (and can sometimes be referred to as perinatal depression). Many people are aware of postnatal depression (which happens after pregnancy), but it is lesser known that you can experience depression during pregnancy as well. Common signs of antenatal depression are feeling sad for a long time period, feelings of worthlessness, tearful for no apparent reason and generally feeling as if you are unable to cope. With the normal pregnancy hormone imbalances, it can be hard to differentiate between the two. 

What causes antenatal depression?

Antenatal depression can happen at any given point during a pregnancy. It is mainly caused by a hormonal imbalance, although as all women experience hormonal changes when they are pregnant it is unlikely to be the only cause. Other things that can play a part can be unplanned pregnancy, difficult childhood experiences, poor self-esteem, isolation, lack of support, previous miscarriages and previous difficult birthing experiences.

What can I do to help myself?

It is natural that you might feel isolated or confused when going through antenatal depression, but it is key to not keep it to yourself. It is important that you try to speak to your midwife or GP if you start experiencing these feelings to discuss treatment options; many women can feel embarrassed or worried about depression and typically don’t want to open up as they are concerned about what people may think. There are also some self-help methods that you can use: talking to friends and family can help, boosting your wellbeing through relaxing activities like pregnancy yoga, meditation or mindfulness can also help. It can also help to eat healthily, getting outside for some fresh air each day and doing moderate exercise whenever you can.  

You’re not alone

If you need help then don’t feel afraid about seeking professional guidance; counselling and talking therapies can help enormously, as professionals can suss out what is contributing to your depression. It is important to talk through these options with your GP or with mental health organisations like MIND.

See our website for more helpful support articles on pregnancy.
References

[1] Healthline: https://www.healthline.com/health-news/more-women-are-depressed-during-pregnancy#1 [accessed 14 February 2020]

Early Bird Swift wins Pharmacy Product of the Year Award for the second year running

Early Bird Swift, the home pregnancy and fertility test brand, is delighted to announce that it has been awarded the Diagnostic/Health Check award for the second year running, in the Pharmacy Product of the Year Awards 2020. The Early Bird Swift pregnancy test was voted as the winner of the award by independent pharmacists across the UK.

Early Bird Swift is a trademark of Axis Medicare Ltd, UK manufacturer and distributor of high-quality healthcare & lifestyle goods. The new generation Early Bird Swift pregnancy test, which was re-launched in 2015, is well regarded for being over 99% accurate with a sensitivity of 25mlU, and for being able to deliver a clear result in under 5 minutes. The Early Bird Swift pregnancy test also prides itself on its dedication to educate users towards their moment of clarity, through an educational leaflet and a QR code on the box, which directs the user to helpful information and support groups.

The awards are run by the Independent Community Pharmacist publication, and the Pharmacy Product of the Year Awards recognise and reward product development and innovation in the pharmacy sector.

Darren Collett-Mills, Managing Director of Axis Medicare says, “We are delighted to have won the Diagnostic/Health Check award for the second year running in the Pharmacy Product of the Year Awards. Thank you to the independent pharmacists who voted for us, we are honoured to have received this praise alongside other esteemed brands in the industry.”

 

Pharmacy Product of the Year 2020

Pharmacy Product of the Year 2020

Pregnancy signs and symptoms uncovered

If you think you are pregnant and find yourself obsessing over pregnancy signs and symptoms, do not worry, as this is completely normal and many women do it. While ultrasounds and pregnancy tests are the only way to conclude if you’re actually pregnant, there are many signs and symptoms to look out for too. Some people believe missed periods are the only sign, but there are many others to consider, like feeling sick, feeling fatigued or developing a heightened sense of smell. Early Bird Swift, the award-winning pregnancy test brand, explores early pregnancy signs and symptoms to be aware of…

When do pregnancy symptoms start?

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to early pregnancy symptoms, although it is likely that most women will start to feel the symptoms of pregnancy four weeks after conceiving1. What can be even more confusing, is that early symptoms can actually mimic symptoms you would experience before and during menstruation. Common symptoms of both menstruation and pregnancy are a sudden increased appetite, breast tenderness and stomach cramping – so it is hard to differentiate between the two! It is important to remember that these differences are subtle and vary from woman to woman.

Most common signs and symptoms of pregnancy

A woman’s body goes through so many changes during pregnancy. The first indication of pregnancy tends to be missing a period or having a lighter period than normal. The second sign tends to be morning sickness – anything from nausea to actually throwing up. Nausea and/or vomiting are said to affect 70 – 85% of pregnant women, as sickness is triggered by hormonal changes during pregnancy2.

Fatigue also ranks highly among symptoms of pregnancy, as levels of the hormone progesterone tend to soar in the early stages of pregnancy and can actually send you to sleep (if a high amount is emitted). Another very common sign is breast tenderness, which is also triggered by increased levels of progesterone and oestrogen.

Other signs of pregnancy that you may notice

Change in mood is another sign that could suggest pregnancy. As previously mentioned, fluctuation in hormone levels can affect both your body and mind. As well as adjusting to shifting hormone levels, mood changes can also be a side effect of the physical changes to your body during pregnancy such as morning sickness and tiredness.

Another lesser-known symptom is smell sensitivity. It could be toiletries, food or drink that may become more (or less) appealing to you, and although some studies have seen a link between sense of smell and pregnancy hormones, there is not a clear answer to why this happens. Feeling bloated is another symptom you may not really notice, as hormonal changes slow your digestive system down.

It is fair to say that some of the symptoms listed above could point to different explanations other than pregnancy, but when experienced together they do tend to point to becoming a mum-to-be. If you are experiencing multiple symptoms, then it may be time to take a pregnancy test or book a visit to the doctor.

References

[1] Metro: https://metro.co.uk/2017/08/16/when-do-pregnancy-symptoms-start-and-what-are-they-6853716/

[2] Live Science: https://www.livescience.com/44550-early-signs-pregnancy.html

 

Staying healthy during pregnancy

Pregnancy and becoming a parent is an exciting new chapter in your life, but this life change can also feel all-consuming. Staying healthy in your day-to-day life can be tricky enough, so staying healthy when pregnant can be an even harder task, as fluctuating hormones can make you feel lethargic and prone to snacking! Here we give you a practical guide on how to stay healthy throughout pregnancy…

Eating a balanced diet

Eating a healthy and nutritious diet is especially important if you’re pregnant, as your growing baby relies on you to provide nutrients, to help them develop into a happy and healthy baby. This topic tends to be the most talked about for mothers-to-be and is normally full of advice of things to eat and not to eat. Generally speaking, a healthy pregnancy diet includes a variety of foods from the four main groups: foods that are rich in protein, dairy, fruit and veg and starchy foods – potatoes, bread and pasta!

Keep hydrated

When you’re pregnant, you need to drink even more water than the average person to enhance digestion, produce extra blood and help with the general strain that pregnancy can create. It is recommended that you drink 8-12 glasses of water a day. If you struggle to drink that much, try changing things up by adding fruits such as lemons and limes to your water, or increase your fruit and vegetable intake (as they have water too!).  

Get plenty of sleep

It is completely normal to feel tired when pregnant, as your body is working overtime to protect and nurture your developing baby! As well as physical changes, emotional factors can also play a role. The excitement and anticipation of having a baby can be stressful and can keep you watching the clock, as you start to realise how much you need to do before the baby arrives. To wind down before you go to sleep, try curling up with a good book, have a relaxing cup of camomile tea or a long hot bath – or all three!

Stay active!

Staying active during your pregnancy can boost your health and help you to adapt to the changes your body is going through. Spending too much time sitting down can be harmful to your health, lead to too much weight gain and increased pregnancy aches and pains. If you didn’t exercise a great deal before becoming pregnant, there are lots of little ways to improve your fitness. Pregnancy yoga, swimming or walking can all be enjoyable as well as fitness-boosting! If you’re lacking time to fit this in, focus on trying to walk more in your daily tasks i.e. have a brisk walk on your lunch break, climb the stairs instead of getting the lift and taking the dog for an extra walk.

See our other helpful articles on pregnancy here.