Frequently asked questions


Q. I have been advised to have an amniocentesis. But I don’t want to have one. What should I do?

A. Only you can decide this. There is a small risk of miscarriage with amniocentesis and you may want to compare that with the risk of having a baby with an abnormality. Discuss the risks with your midwife. You may not want to terminate pregnancy under any circumstances and, if so, there is no real reason to have an amniocentesis – though some parents want to know if their child will have a disability so they can prepare themselves for it. It is your right to decide whether to accept the offer of a test.


Q. My baby cries a lot and my mum says its colic. What is colic and what can I do about it?

A. Some people think that persistent crying can be caused by colic – taking in too much air when feeding causing tummy pain due to bubbles of trapped wind. Colic may also relate to poor attachment when breastfeeding or feeding too quickly from a bottle. Ask your midwife, health visitor or a breastfeeding counsellor for advice. You can get medicine from your doctor or pharmacist. Allow three or four days for remedies to work. Gentle massage on your baby’s tummy can help.

Due dates

Q. When is my baby due?

A. The start of your pregnancy is date from the first day of your last actual period, although you probably conceived about a fortnight after this. That means that by the time you miss a period you are technically 4 weeks pregnant, based on the average menstrual cycle of 28 days. Pregnancy normally lasts between 38 and 42 weeks. You’ll be given a ‘due date’ but this is just a guideline. Most babies come in the fortnight before or after the due date. If you can’t remember the date of your last period, other signs and symptoms can help your midwife or GP to tell how long you’ve been pregnant. You’ll be offered an ultrasound scan.


Q. My partner has just had a miscarriage. She was 8 weeks pregnant and we were both really looking forward to the baby. I’m trying to give her all the support I can but I find it hard to talk about it. It seems all the help that’s available is aimed at her and I can’t help feeling left out.

A. It can be hard to talk to your partner about how you’re feeling because you may think you’ll just upset her more. But you’re doing the right thing by trying to support her and realising that you need help yourself. Ask your midwife or GP for details of support groups in your area and think about whether there’s someone else you may find it easier to talk to about how you’re feeling.

Nappy rash

Q. What is nappy rash and how can I prevent my baby getting it?

A. Nappy rash is quite common in babies. The symptoms are redness or soreness on and around your baby’s bottom and genitals. You can help prevent this by changing dirty nappies as soon as possible and by cleaning and drying your baby’s bottom carefully. You can also try leaving your baby to kick without a nappy for a short period (although this is more hazardous with baby boys as their pee can go everywhere) If a rash seems particularly bad or infected, do speak to your health visitor or GP.


Q. How much sleep is normal for my baby?

A. Some babies sleep more than others – there’s no normal amount of sleep. All babies have days when they want to sleep more and days when they are more wakeful than usual. New babies sleep a lot. They may sleep for as much as 18 hours a day for the first month or so. However, they will rarely sleep for more than a few hours at a time. A baby who seems unusually sleepy may be unwell. Trust your instincts and get medical advice if you are worried.


Q. What should I do if I come in contact with someone with a rash, or if I have a rash?

A. You must let your midwife, GP or obstetrician know immediately if you have a rash illness or have any contact with another person with a rash at any time during your pregnancy.

Please avoid any antenatal clinic, maternity setting or other pregnant women until you have been assessed.

Any illness where you have a fever and a rash may be due to you having an infectious disease which could harm your unborn baby. You may be offered tests to find out if you have been infected. The health professional that assesses you will need to know:

• how many weeks pregnant you are

• when the contact with someone with a rash illness was

• the date that you first developed or had contact with someone with a rash

• a description of the rash (is it a raised, bumpy rash or is it blisters filled with fluid?)

• what infections you have had in the past eg chicken pox, measles

• what vaccinations you have previously had.

Last Updated: 01 June 2016
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