During Pregnancy

Each pregnancy goes through 3 periods of trimesters.

The first trimester of pregnancy lasts for three and a half months. During this stage of pregnancy you may experience the dreaded morning sickness which can occur anytime during the day as well as sore and enlarged breasts. You will also urinate more frequently. Most miscarriages occur within the first trimester, so be aware of any unusual cramps or spotting.

The second trimester of pregnancy lasts until the end of the sixth month and is often the easiest stage of pregnancy as most women will start to regain some of their energy back. During this stage your stomach will begin to expand. At this time any feelings of morning sickness should lessen, although some women may continue to experience it but at usually a lesser extent.

On the final trimester of your pregnancy you may notice that you feel more sensitive, emotional and anxious. Extra care must be taken during these times. Often, the increased size and weight of your baby can cause increased discomfort, causing symptoms such as weak bladder control, severe leg cramps, and back-ache. Sit with your feet propped up if you notice that your feet have begun to swell. Have lots of sleep, rest, do moderate exercise and wear comfortable shoes. Sleep on your left side as much as you can. This is the best position for good circulation. Use extra pillows between your knees or under your belly to help keep you more comfortable.

Avoid soda and carbonated drinks as it can cause leg cramps. Alcohol and caffeine are strictly not allowed. Try certain types of prenatal massages available for pregnant women, it can help relieve weary feet and a tired body.

At whatever stage of your pregnancy, it is always best to consult your doctor regardless of how minor or major your concern is.

Getting Organised & Preparing for the Birth

Here are a few steps that you can take to be well prepared for the labour and birth.

  • Get regular prenatal check ups. Prenatal checkups are advisable every two weeks for women who are 7 months pregnant, and every 1 week for those who are 8 months and after. Your checkups are very important. It may surface any problems that you are not even aware of. Prenatal checkups can sometimes mean the difference of life & death for you and your baby. Prenatal and postnatal checkups are FREE in all government clinics, married or not married. So do not be afraid to go for check-ups.
  • Choose where you will be giving birth. ALL women have the right to give birth in a government hospital for a minimal cost. Note that some hospital require a deposit, others do not.
  • If you are a single-pregnant woman, think about who will raise the child: You will need to figure out future plans for you and your child. You will have to decide whether you will be raising the child, or giving up the baby for adoption.
  • Get support. It is important that you surround yourself with the people you love and who care about you while you await childbirth. Do not be shy to ask for help, financially, emotionally, or in any way you can think of.
  • Plan your budget. Money will be a very important factor and you will need to start saving. Soon you will be paying for two people.

Staying Positive & Preventing Depression (for single-pregnant women)

The circumstances that led you to being a single-pregnant woman is none of anyone’s concern or business. Once you have identified the negative thoughts, you can now replace them with positive thoughts. Stop living in the past. Focus on what you can do right now to begin to make positive choices. Seize the moment. Your future is yet to be lived.

1) Self-assurance
Know and always remember this, “You HAVE NOT committed a crime. No matter people say, you cannot be charged or punished by the law for being pregnant”

2) Mending the past
While you can try to mend any relationships that you’ve lost or that has turned out badly, the harsh reality is that you have to prepare yourself to get rejected too. At least you can be assured and satisfied that you’ve tried your best.

3) Self Realisation
This will be a big change in your life. They say that once a mother holds her baby in her arms, the amount of love that swells in her heart is overwhelming. But for many mothers, the feeling begins even when the child is still in the womb.

4) Reaching out
Do not be afraid to reach out for help, either from a family member or a woman’s organisation. You might feel embarrassed that you are in need of help, but after a while, you will start to feel comfortable and feel thankful for the help received.

5) You can do it!
There have been hundreds of women who have found themselves in your situation and have come out stronger than before.

From “Single and Pregnant: What are my choices“, by Women’s Aid Organisation Malaysia