A free, online resource full of helpful and factual information about pregnancy, breastfeeding, birth and going home with a newborn.
A wide range of pregnancy, labour, birth and newborn baby information.
Good nutrition during pregnancy
Pregnancy is a great time to develop or maintain healthy eating habits. Healthy eating will keep you feeling good and give your baby the essential nutrients they need. Overall, aim for a balanced diet, with a wide variety of nutritious foods. The Australian Dietary Guidelines booklet ‘Healthy eating during your pregnancy’ provides a guide for expectant mothers.
Gaining a healthy amount of weight is an important part of keeping you and your baby healthy during pregnancy and after birth. How much weight you should gain while pregnant will depend on your pre-pregnancy weight and your pregnancy (if you are carrying twins you can expect to gain more weight).
Most of us have heard of ‘body mass index’ or BMI – a tool used to determine if you are underweight, have a healthy weight or are overweight. Your BMI is a number, and gives an idea of how much weight you’re carrying across your frame by dividing your weight by your height. A healthy BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9. You can calculate your BMI using the Health Direct calculator.
Your BMI prior to becoming pregnant will determine your expected weight gain during pregnancy. If you were in the healthy weight range before becoming pregnant, then ideally you should gain between 11.5 and 16 kilograms during your pregnancy. If you’re overweight or underweight, the goal posts will shift a little. Women with a low BMI (under 18.5) should gain between 12.5 and 18 kilograms throughout their pregnancy. Women with a higher BMI (above 25) should gain between 7 and 11.5 kilograms.
Exercise is also important while you’re pregnant. You should aim for 30 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week. Keep in mind that you can split these 30 minutes over the day – three, 10 minute walks can replace a 30 minute stroll on a busy day.
The safest choice for your baby is to not drink any alcohol. This is advice from the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia.
Stop smoking during pregnancy. Toxic chemicals are absorbed into your bloodstream and passed to your baby through the umbilical cord. If you aren’t able to stop smoking, cut down as much as you can.
Smoking while pregnant increases your risk of:
- ectopic pregnancy
- premature labour
- complications during birth
Smoking while pregnant can increase your baby’s risk of problems after birth:
- Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
- low birth weight
- infections and other health problems
- asthma and other breathing difficulties
- behavioural problems
Quitline 13 78 48
Emotional health and well-being
Pregnancy, birth and early parenthood are times of great change. Most women experience various emotional reactions. It helps if you can talk about your concerns openly with your partner or close friend. There are also many organisations that offer support.
For signs of depression, there are many organisations that offer support:
Perinatal mental health
Post and Antenatal Depression Association PANDA 1300 726 306
Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636
Mental health support
- Black Dog Institute
- Lifeline 13 11 14 (24 hours a day)
- Sane Australia 1800 18 7263
- MensLine Australia 1300 789 978 (24 hours a day)
- Pregnancy, Birth and Baby
- Mackay Women’s Centre
- Pregnancy Help Australia 1300 139 313
- Birthline Pregnancy Support 1300 655 156
Feeding your baby
The Mackay Base Hospital is a Baby Friendly Health Initiative (BFHI) accredited hospital. This means that breastfeeding is encouraged, supported and promoted. Breastfed babies are not given infant formula, dummies or teats unless medically indicated or it is the parents’ informed choice.
Support and information is also available for alternative feeding methods, and every effort will be made to help you with the method that is most suitable for you and your baby.
Breastfeeding information and services:
- Breastfeeding and your baby
- Skin to skin contact and your baby’s first feed
- Hand expressing
- Infant feeding cues
- Raising Children Network
- Australian Breastfeeding Association
- Breastfeeding Helpline 1800 mum 2 mum (1800 686 286).
The Breastfeeding Helpline is available seven days a week and is staffed by trained, volunteer counsellors who answer calls on a roster system in their own homes.
13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84).
This is a 24 hours a day, seven day a week helpline which is staffed by nurses. Please ask to speak to a qualified child health nurse or a lactation consultant who will be able to provide advice on any breastfeeding issues.
We recognise that while breastfeeding is normal and may progress naturally, some mothers may require additional support from a midwife or lactation consultant. When you have consistent support and advice in the early days of breastfeeding it can become easier with time.
Hepatitis B vaccination
The National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia recommends that all Australian babies are vaccinated against Hepatitis B. The first vaccination is offered before you leave hospital with your baby. A further three doses are given from two months of age onward, using combination vaccines when other vaccines are due. The four doses are recommended to provide long-term protection against the disease.
Your midwife will ask you if you consent for your baby to have this vaccination and ask you to sign a consent form.
More information: Hepatitis B vaccination matters
Vitamin K is necessary to help blood clot and is essential to prevent serious bleeding. There is a rare disease called Haemorrhagic disease of the newborn which can be prevented by giving babies a dose of Vitamin K at birth. The most common way to give this is by one injection soon after birth. It may also be given orally but three doses are required to give protection as Vitamin K is not well absorbed orally.
World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations are that all babies receive Vitamin K as this is a very simple way to prevent this rare disorder.
More information: NHMRC Vitamin K for newborn babies – information for parents