Why do pregnant women get heartburn?

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Why do pregnant women get heartburn?

Heartburn, a disorder that involves a burning feeling in the chest, is often developed during pregnancy. Up to 50 percent of women experience heartburn at some point during their pregnancy. Although it can happen at any point during pregnancy, heartburn tends to occur more frequently in the third trimester.

There are a number of reasons why heartburn is more common during pregnancy – these include:

  • The hormone progesterone is secreted in higher amounts to support the pregnancy. Progesterone causes the valve that separates the food pipe from the stomach to relax, causing heartburn.
  • The growing uterus starts to put pressure on the stomach and other internal organs in later pregnancy. That pressure from growth can also push food and stomach acid back into the food pipe causing heartburn.
  • During pregnancy the lower oesophageal sphincter(ring of muscle) that acts like a gate between your stomach and your oesophagus relaxes, allowing stomach acid to leak back up.
  • Women are also more likely to be affected with heartburn if they have suffered with it before pregnancy or have been pregnant before.

How to prevent heartburn?

Changes to diet and lifestyle may be enough to control heartburn and indigestion, particularly if the symptoms are mild. Certain foods or beverages tend to trigger the symptoms. Avoiding those foods can help to prevent the discomfort associated with heartburn. Foods that tend to trigger heartburn are:

  • Citrus fruits, such as oranges, grapefruits, and pineapple
  • Caffeine
  • Carbonated drinks, or sodas
  • Fatty and greasy foods
  • Spicy foods
  • Tomatoes
  • Chocolate

Other top tips to prevent heartburn include:

  • As well as avoiding these foods, it can be helpful to eat smaller meals more often. Instead of three big meals per day, five or six smaller meals may be better.
  • Staying upright for at least 20 to 30 minutes after eating can prevent the stomach contents from backing up into the food pipe.
  • At night, it is better not to eat within 3 hours of going to bed. Propping up the head of the bed or using extra pillows to keep the head elevated can help prevent heartburn that occurs at night.
  • It is also important to avoid smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol. Neither is healthy during pregnancy, and they can both contribute to heartburn.
  • Drinking a glass of milk can help to reduce symptoms. Low-fat or non-fat milk is better because whole milk is rich in fat, and this can worsen heartburn.

When should I see a doctor?

If you have severe heartburn, or if changes to your diet and lifestyle don’t work, there are various over the counter medications available from your local pharmacy to help calm symptoms.  It is always recommended to discuss this with your pharmacist, midwife or GP before taking any medication especially during pregnancy. As part of your prenatal care it is important you see a doctor or your midwife on a regular basis this should be mentioned to the doctor at a routine visit.


To screen or not to screen, that is the question?

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pregnancy-scanNot everyone wants to screen for a potential chromosomal problem in their pregnancy but when they do Non Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT) is the optimal chromosomal screening test currently available in the UK. However as this article says it is only available on the NHS to patients who screen high risk via the current 1st or 2nd trimester screening tests and is limited to only a few hospitals in the UK.

The number of laboratories offering NIPT testing is growing worldwide and this is also the case in the UK. This is my: works with the three main independent laboratories in the UK and two overseas laboratories in order to offer patients a choice of screening for their pregnancy.

All the laboratories that this is my: uses offer screening for the common chromosomal problem including Down’s, Edwards’ and Patau’s syndromes, with some also offering screening for certain microdeletions and sex link aneuploidy conditions including Turner’s. They also offer the option of screening for the gender of the baby.

The accuracy of the NIPT screen is greater than 99% for Down’s syndrome and far fewer women therefore have to undergo invasive testing unnecessarily, making it a far superior test than the current NHS screens.

The 1st trimester combined screen is the current NHS national test which uses a combination of ultrasound and maternal blood serum to detect up to 90% of affected chromosomal pregnancies. It also puts 1 in 30 patients into a high risk group where they are given a risk greater than 1 in 150 of the pregnancy being affected by Down’s syndrome. It is reassuring to know however that the majority of pregnancies falling into this category will be normal and will NOT be affected with a chromosomal abnormality. For these patients further testing is advised to rule out the pregnancy being affected by a chromosomal problem. Prior to NIPT the only testing available was invasive which carries up to a 1% risk of miscarriage to many likely unaffected pregnancies. NIPT has changed this. Many women falling into the high risk category are opting for NIPT instead of amniocentesis or Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS). In London it seems that this can be offered via the NHS in these opt in centres to high risk mothers, but women can also access this service at any stage as a private fee paying client in centres such as this is my:.

This is my: has also seen much demand from clients just wanting a better screen for their pregnancy. Over 80% of our clients have either already been given a low risk result or are just opting into our service wanting better screening. This has been the case for many years as this is my: has always offered ‘Gold Standard’ screening.  We have over  13 years of history of screening both private patients and also contracting with the NHS itself for the previous triple test screening. NIPT Chromosomal screening for Down’s syndrome and other chromosomal abnormalities has now been available for over three years at this is my:, and it seems the NHS now agrees with the benefits of this screening.

Further links below.



As this article suggests it is still a relatively expensive screen for the NHS to be able to offer it to the entire population at this point in time.

This is my: Health Screening and Ultrasound Centres constantly strive to offer screening which is affordable to as many as possible. Currently we offer a comprehensive screening package from 9 weeks including ultrasound and NIPT for £395.

It is important to note that an ultrasound
scan for the first trimester at 11 weeks should also include a structural check that the baby is developing normally including anatomy of the head, body and limbs whilst the NIPT blood test will rule out the main chromosomal problems to the highest degree.

NIPT is still a screening test and when a patient is given a high risk result on the NIPT screen then an invasive test is recommended to confirm the NIPT findings.

We have a team of trained advisors and clinical specialists who will be happy to talk to you about Non Invasive Prenatal Testing and the best options for you and your baby.

For further information please visit our Non Invasive Prenatal page here

Pregnancy tips: Morning Sickness

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Morning sickness can often be first sign that you’re pregnant and is extremely common affecting over 80% of mums-to-be. Despite its name morning sickness can actually happen any time of day or night and does vary from person to person. So, what is the cause of morning sickness? Unfortunately there isn’t an answer to that question, Doctors still aren’t sure of a definitive cause however the most common theories would suggest:

• High levels of the pregnancy hormone HCG during the first trimester
• Elevated oestrogen levels
• Enhanced sense of smell during pregnancy

We have come up with some top tips to help you cope and minimise the unpleasant sickness in the first trimester of pregnancy.

1) Get plenty of rest – It is important to ensure you get a good night’s sleep, to help this try block out as much sunlight as possible by wearing a sleep mask etc. To ease the stomach and backache maybe consider purchasing a maternity body pillow to support you whilst you rest. In the morning take your time. Avoid rushing around and get up slowly.

2) Avoid certain foods – Try avoiding caffeine, fatty and spicy foods. Alternatively try eating a selection of nuts, salty crackers and citrus foods. It is very important to eat plenty of vitamins found in fruit and veg! If chocolate is a must, ensure it is a small amount of dark chocolate as it contains more nutrients and less sugar than white and milk chocolate.

3) Eat little and often – It is important to always have some kind of food in your stomach, as this will lower your chances of experiencing nausea. If the stomach is empty, the acids have nothing to work on, except for the stomach lining, resulting in worsening sickness.

4) Work in an office? Avoid computer monitor flicker – The rapid, almost unnoticeable flickering of the computer monitor could cause morning sickness. If you must use a computer, reduce the chances of nausea by adjusting the screen by making the fonts bold and larger and changing the background to a soft tan or pink colour reducing eye strain.

5) Fluids, Fluids, Fluids! – Being hydrated is crucial for good health, and is very important during pregnancy. It may seem hard to drink your recommended 8 glasses of water per day, especially if it feels your stomach disagrees. However, the more dehydrated you are, the more nauseated you will become. If drinking water is hard, it has been said flat decaffeinated Coca-Cola is a lifesaver, you could also try sucking ice cubes made from water or fruit juice is also an effective method. The colder the drink, the easier it is to consume.

6) Ginger – For many years, ginger has long been publicised as a stomach soother, and studies have shown that it may help relieve nausea symptoms. Sipping cold ginger ale, or adding a slice of raw ginger to water or tea may help sooth your stomach. Snacks such as ginger bread, or ginger cookies will all effectively help prevent nausea.

We would like to hear from you too!
Why don’t you send us your tips and help others

Email us at: info@thisismy.co.uk

This is my: Happy Summer Holiday Baby!

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Book a scan before the schools go back and take advantage of our Summertime Special Offer.
Upgrade from a 4D Growth to a 4D Well-being scan, or from a Growth Scan to a Well-being Scan at no extra charge.
Quote STS2016 when booking.

Terms and conditions of offer

1. This is my: reserves the right to withdraw, alter or decline this offer at any time without prior notice.
2. The STS2016 code (the “Code”) is valid for a single use only, cannot be exchanged for cash or gift vouchers, is not transferable, is not for resale and cannot be sold over the internet.
3. The Code is valid at any this is my: Ultrasound Screening Centre for a free upgrade either (i) from a 4D Growth Scan to a 4D Well-being scan or (ii) from a Growth Scan to a Well-being Scan.
4. The Code is not valid against any other scan or screen or other service offered by This is my:.
5. The Code must be quoted when booking your 4D Growth Scan or 4D Well-being scan (as appropriate). and the upgrade will be applied at the time of your scan.
6. The Code cannot be used with any other promotional voucher or discount.

Are you the Face & Belly of this is my?

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Do YOU want to have a full range of pregnancy ultrasound scans, including dating scan, gender scan, NIPT and even 4D scans?

Do YOU want to be the star of this is my:’s YouTube channel?

We are looking for someone in the very early stages of pregnancy to be in a series of videos showing what is involved with various baby scans that this is my: offers. In return, you get all the scans and your NIPT screen for FREE!

Ideally you will be less than [12] weeks pregnant,  and available to attend our Leeds clinic regularly during your pregnancy. If you are used to using Facebook and twitter, that’s even better!

If this sounds exciting, please fill in the form below and we will be in touch soon!

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Your phone number

Your Age (required)

Number of weeks pregnant (required)

Your Twitter Account link

Your Facebook Account link


Exercise in pregnancy ‘good for mum and baby

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Written by Catharine Paddock PhD

Published: Sunday 10 July 2016

The traditional view was that women should avoid exercise during pregnancy because of the risk of preterm birth. However, views have changed. Now, a new study that reviews and analyzes the evidence, confirms what many studies have found – exercise during pregnancy is safe and can benefit both mother and baby.
The researchers say their analysis reinforces the view that exercise is good for a pregnant woman and her baby and does not hold any increased risk of preterm birth.

The study is published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Senior author Vincenzo Berghella, professor at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, PA, and director of its Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, says:

“The thinking was that exercise releases norepinephrine in the body, which is a chemical that can stimulate contractions of the uterus, and thus lead to preterm birth.”

He and his colleagues pooled and analyzed data from nine randomized controlled studies.

Overall, the analysis included 2,059 women: with about half assigned to an aerobic exercise group and half assigned to a control group.

The women in the exercise group did aerobic exercise for 35-90 minutes, three or four times a week for 10 weeks – or up until their delivery. The controls did no exercise.

No increased risk of preterm delivery

The results showed there was no significant difference between the exercise and control groups in terms of incidence of preterm delivery (before 37 completed weeks of gestation).

However, there was a higher incidence of vaginal delivery (73.6 percent versus 67.5 percent), and a significantly lower incidence of caesarean delivery (17.9 percent versus 22 percent) in the exercise group than in the control group.

Also, the researchers found a lower incidence of gestational diabetes and lower incidence of high blood pressure in the exercise group compared with the control group.

Looking at the babies, the researchers found no differences in low birth weight and average birth weight between the exercise group and the control group.

All the pregnant women in the analysis were carrying a single baby – no twins – and they were of normal weight to start with. There were also no health problems that prevented them from exercising.

Support current guidelines for exercise in pregnancy

Prof. Berghella says the results support the current guidelines from the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), which follows the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendation that pregnant women get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week.

However, he also acknowledges that “there are many reasons women pull back on exercise during pregnancy – discomfort, an increase in tiredness and feeling winded by low level exertion.”

Aerobic exercise is activity that moves the large muscles of the body – such as those of the legs and arms – in a rhythmic way (for example as in swimming and walking).

Moderate intensity means the exercise raises heart rate and the body starts to sweat – “you can talk but you can’t sing” is a useful way to think of it.

Examples of moderate-intensity aerobic activity include swimming, brisk walking, and general gardening (such as raking, weeding, or digging).

However, the ACOG guidelines also recommend that even if they are healthy, pregnant women check with their doctor or healthcare team member during early prenatal visits and get their advice on what kinds of exercise are safe and fit their needs.

A person can achieve 150 minutes a week by doing 30-minute aerobic workouts on 5 days of the week. It is just as effective to do 10-minute bursts of equivalent intensity activity two or three times every day.

“This paper reinforces that exercise is good for the mum and the baby and does not hold any increased risk of preterm birth.”

Professor Vincenzo Berghella

Top tips on how to keep cool in the heat when pregnant.

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It is normal to feel hotter than usual when you’re pregnant due to the hormone changes and an increased blood supply in the skin, however being too hot isn’t good for you and your baby. We have come up with some top tips for staying cool whilst still enjoying the summer sun! Click here for further tips and hints.

  • Carry a fine water spray. This is a great way to cool down, the fine mist gives you a little burst of refreshment when you need it. Small plastic bottles with spray nozzles are available from most chemists. At home, store the bottle in the fridge for extra refreshment. For the best skin hydration you can even add a drop of moisturiser.
  • Buy a fan. Either a folding hand fan or a battery-operated one will work well. They’re particularly handy if you’re stuck in the heat on crowded transport or stuck in traffic!
  • Stay out of direct sunlight wherever possible. Be sure when out and about to find a shady spot under an umbrella or parasol. This is especially important when the sun’s at its highest, which is generally between 11am and 3pm for UK summers.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. You can dehydrate very easily when you’re pregnant, which can result in you feeling faint, tired and dizzy. To help avoid this, carry a bottle of water and take regular sips throughout the day.
  • Find time to go for a swim at your local pool to help refresh you on a hot day. Swimming is also an excellent form of exercise in pregnancy and may help reduce any swelling in your lower legs and ankles.



Hypnobirthing workshop

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this is my is excited to announce their first 90 minute ‘mini hypnobirthing workshop held by Birth-Happy.

Katie is the founder of Birth Happy, which specialises in one day hypnobirthing workshops using Natal Hypnotherapy, The UK number 1 hypnobirthing method used by over 100,00 women. Katie is a fully accredited Natal Hypnotherapy Practitioner who was trained personally by Maggie Howell, the founder of Natal Hypnotherapy. Katie excelled in her training and Natal Hypnotherapy examinations and went on to launch Birth Happy, bringing hypnobirthing to Leeds!

Prior to having her own family, Katie was a senior Physiotherapist in the NHS. However, having had three children using hypnobirthing, she had a secret she wanted to share! She wanted to share the secret that with proper preparation, everyone has the potential to have a really positive birth experience. Everyone has the potential to enjoy the build up to the big day they meet their baby, feeling calm and confident. Everyone has the potential to give birth without fear, feeling calm and in control.

Katie left her physiotherapy career behind to follow her heart and belief in Natal Hypnotherapy. She aims to empower women with sound knowledge and understanding of the labour and birth process, and provide techniques to help manage labour pain, to allow more women to have really positive experiences of birth, as she did herself.

When not at work, Katie is a family lady. She loves nothing more than a day spent in the great outdoors with her husband and three young children, followed by a lively family teatime!

The mini workshop will include: The science of hypnobirthing and how it can help you during labour, practical hypnobirthing/relaxation session, hypnobirthing breathing skills and rapid relaxation tricks to reduce pain during labour.

This workshop will run Monday 9th May from 6pm and includes a voucher for a half price wellbeing scan, to book your spot call us on 0113 262 1675

NIPT Services are still only available from private providers in the UK

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Non Invasive Prenatal Testing

Non Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT) is available to pregnant women but as this article says, at present it is still only available via private providers or as part of a research implantation study where a patient has been given a high to medium risk result.

Many of these studies have or are reaching a conclusion and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has been taking evidence and considering advice in order to give their recommendations for its introduction on the NHS. We still await their announcement. This may well be too late for many pregnant women, especially those who have been given a high screen result or who just want the best screening test available for their pregnancy.

At this is my:, we have been offering ‘Gold Standard’ Chromosomal screening for Down’s syndrome and other chromosomal abnormalities for over 13 years, backed by a team of experts including Professor Howard Cuckle, a leading expert in the field of genetic screening. Being constantly at the forefront of screening we have introduced developments from the early days of just biochemical marker screening, through to the addition of ultrasound markers, to what we now know today as the new Gold Standard – NIPT technology which has a detection accuracy of over 99% for the 3 most common trisomies, Down’s, Edwards’ and Patau’s syndromes.

This is my: Health Screening and Ultrasound Centres constantly strive to offer screening which is affordable to as many as possible. Currently today we offer a comprehensive screening package from 10 weeks including ultrasound and NIPT for £395.

For further information by visiting our Non Invasive Prenatal page here

Concerns over NIPT Prenatal Tests

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Prenatal Tests

Non Invasive Prenatal Tests have been available at this is my for 2 years.
Lots of parents choose the option of finding out the sex of their baby but the main reason they attend our centres seems to be more for the genetic information.

I am unaware of any of our clients using the test for pure gender selection.
If a woman or couple want to know the sex of their unborn baby for the purpose of gender selection I am sure there is no way of stopping them if they are that determined.

In my view, we should not allow the few who may wish to misuse the results of the test to stop it being offered for the purpose of what it is truly there for. Please click here for our NIPT Prenatal Tests.