Your Pregnancy

Your pregnancy journey is an important and exciting experience and we would like to ensure that your maternity care and support is right for you. website has a really helpful your pregnancy and baby guide which looks at common problems and things to know as you begin your journey. 

This is your pregnancy. We will of course observe your birth choices, keeping it in the forefront of your maternity care. However if any concerns arise during one of your visits this will be discussed with you in-depth so you are able to make an informed choice about your care and an agreed plan can be made.

Women with a more complex pregnancy will require a named consultant e.g diabetes, previous pregnancy problems, when a complex pregnancy is identified, there will be early specialist involvement with that Consultant and or other specialists. But your management plans  will still be agreed between you and that team.

You will be encouraged to participate equally in all decision-making processes to enable you make informed choices about your care. All women will be given accurate information to enable their informed choice of intended place of birth and mode of birth, including maternal choice for caesarean delivery.

Making an appointment with us

You should be offered a booking appointment with a midwife for a booking appointment by the time you are 10 weeks pregnant and have self-refer for maternity care at either Peterborough City or Hinchingbrooke Hospital using My Pregnancy Notes. You can watch our tutorial on how to self-refer here.

Your pregnancy will be treated confidentially, even if you are under 16 years old.

Common Symptoms


During pregnancy, the ligaments in your body naturally become softer and stretch to prepare you for labour. This can put a strain on the joints of your lower back and pelvis, which can cause back pain.        

Bleeding gums
Some women get swollen and sore gums, which may bleed, during pregnancy. Bleeding gums are caused by a build-up of plaque on the teeth.

Hormonal changes during pregnancy can make your gums more vulnerable to plaque, leading to inflammation and bleeding. This is also called pregnancy gingivitis or gum disease. This is also called pregnancy gingivitis or gum disease, see your dentist if you are concerned.

Some pregnant women find they get lots of headaches. They are most common in early pregnancy and usually improve or stop completely during the last 6 months.

They don't harm your baby, but they can be uncomfortable for you.

Headaches can sometimes be a symptom of pre-eclampsia, a condition that affects some pregnant women, usually from around 20 weeks of pregnancy or soon after the baby is delivered. Pre-eclampsia can lead to serious complications if it's not monitored and treated.

Indigestion, also called heartburn or acid reflux, is common in pregnancy. It can be caused by hormonal changes and the growing baby pressing against your stomach.

Itching is common in pregnancy. Usually it's thought to be caused by raised levels of certain chemicals in the blood, such as hormones. Later, as your bump grows, the skin of your tummy (abdomen) is stretched and this may also feel itchy.

However, itching can be a symptom of a liver condition called intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP), also known as obstetric cholestasis (OC).

Morning sickness
Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy, often known as morning sickness, is very common in early pregnancy. It doesn't put your baby at any increased risk, and usually clears up by weeks 16 to 20 of your pregnancy.
Some women develop a severe form of pregnancy sickness called hyperemesis gravidarum. This can be serious, and there's a chance you may not get enough fluids in your body (dehydration) or not get enough nutrients from your diet (malnourishment). You may need specialist treatment, sometimes in hospital.        

Severe vomiting
Sickness in pregnancy (sometimes called morning sickness) is common. Around 8 out of every 10 pregnant women feel sick (nausea), are sick (vomiting) or both during pregnancy. This does not just happen in the morning.

Some pregnant women experience very bad nausea and vomiting. They might be sick many times a day and be unable to keep food or drink down, which can impact on their daily life.

This excessive nausea and vomiting is known as hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), and often needs hospital treatment.

Pelvic pain
Some women develop pelvic pain in pregnancy. This is sometimes called pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain (PGP) or symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD).

PGP is a collection of uncomfortable symptoms caused by a stiffness of your pelvic joints or the joints moving unevenly at either the back or front of your pelvis.

Piles, also known as haemorrhoids, are enlarged and swollen veins in or around the lower rectum and anus. Anyone can get piles – they don't just happen in pregnancy. When you're pregnant, piles can occur because hormones make your veins relax.      

Stretch marks
Stretch marks are narrow, streak-like lines that can develop on the surface of the skin. They usually appear on your tummy, or sometimes on your upper thighs and breasts, as your pregnancy progresses and your bump starts to grow. When stretch marks appear will be different from woman to woman.

The first sign you notice might be itchiness around an area where the skin is becoming thinner.

Stretch marks are not harmful. They do not cause medical problems and there is no specific treatment for them.

Swollen ankles
Ankles, feet and fingers often swell a little in pregnancy as your body is holding more water than usual. Towards the end of the day, the extra water tends to gather in the lowest parts of the body, especially if the weather is hot or if you have been standing a lot. The gradual swelling isn't harmful to you or your baby, but it can be uncomfortable.

Tiredness and sleep
It's common to feel tired, or even exhausted, during pregnancy, especially in the first 12 weeks.

Hormonal changes at this time can make you feel tired, nauseous and emotional. The only answer is to rest as much as possible.

Later in pregnancy, you may feel tired because of the extra weight you're carrying. Make sure you get plenty of rest.

As your bump gets bigger, it can be difficult to get a good night's sleep. You might find lying down uncomfortable or that, just when you do get comfortable, you have to get up to go to the loo.

Vaginal bleeding
Bleeding during pregnancy is relatively common and doesn't always mean there's a problem – but it can be a dangerous sign. Call your midwife or GP immediately if you have any bleeding from your vagina. 

Vaginal discharge
All women, whether they're pregnant or not, have some vaginal discharge starting a year or two before puberty and ending after the menopause.

When you're pregnant, it's normal to have more discharge than before.

In all women, healthy vaginal discharge is usually thin, clear or milky white, and shouldn't smell unpleasant.

More common problems
Your body has a great deal to do during pregnancy. Sometimes the changes taking place can cause irritation or discomfort, and sometimes you may be concerned. For more symptoms in pregnancy please click here.

Cervical smears

If you are due a routine cervical smear and you have just found out you are pregnant, please let your GP know and you can have the smear taken 3 months after your baby is born.

If you have recently had an abnormal cervical smear and have been invited for colposcopy, please attend this appointment even if you are pregnant. Colposcopy is a safe examination in pregnancy.

If you have previously had treatment to the neck of your womb (cervix) and are due your first cervical smear after treatment, you may have this done 3 months after your baby is born.

If you are due a colposcopy appointment as a follow up for a previous abnormal smear or colposcopy, please attend this appointment even if you are pregnant. However follow up colposcopy appointments for previous low grade cervical abnormalities (CIN1)  may be deferred to 3 months after delivery.

Please contact your GP if you wish to discuss any cervical smear related issues further.