An essential to all of us is water! Tap water in the majority of Australia is extremely safe to drink, accessible and inexpensive! Tap water contains fluoride, which concerns some but this is an essential element required for developing strong bones and teeth.

Unfortunately when we are unable to access a tap you can be paying a premium for bottled water. This may mean that people opt for another less healthy drink option, usually a soft drink or juice. Water is of course free of sugar and therefor, there is an absence of the acidity found in soft drinks and juices. It is the acidity in these drinks, when drunk regularly that can destroy tooth enamel which results in tooth decay. In some parts of the world children under 10 years of age are having their teeth surgically removed due to the teeth rotting down to the roots!! Soft drink and juice consumption has been blamed for this in a lot of cases. Water should always be the drink of choice. The sugar in soft drinks can sometimes contribute to weight gain.  Water of course is free from calories!


Infants should only be given breast milk and or formula, exclusively until 6 months of age. Cooled boiled water can be given in a bottle or cup from 6 months.  Up until 12 months of age the milk should only be breast milk  & or formula. After 12 months cow’s milk can be introduced to their diet. Babies should not be put to bed with a milk bottle as this also encourages dental caries. At no time, should babies be given a bottle with soft drink or juice in it. It is also advised that a baby should only be drinking from “sippy” cups from 12 months of age and no longer using a bottle at any time of the day.


Water is an essential to health & well being. In pregnancy, being well hydrated helps particularly with fluid retention, it can also reduce the risk of urinary tract infections and makes you feel better. Dehydration can make you feel tired  and cause the bowel to become sluggish. So if you are feeling tired ensure you are drinking enough and ensure your iron level is adequate.

In pregnancy 2-3 litres of water is encouraged dependent on activity level and the weather. Some elderly and children should be encouraged to drink before they become thirsty.


Next Month

The Food Pyramid and what has changed.



Healthy Eating Guidelines for Life & Pregnancy

The Australian Dietary Guidelines updated their recommendations a year or so ago. Many of you who might have been familiar with the “Healthy Food Pyramid or Healthy Food Circle” may not have seen the change to these diagrams and their associated information.

Visually it hasn’t changed but the content inside has been updated to reflect current recommendations. There are now 5 layers in the pyramid or divisions of the pie (circle). This diagrammatic representation is by no means new and has been in existence for 30 years. In 2012 a survey revealed that the average Australian was getting over a third of their daily energy requirements from junk food.

The evidence is mounting that many are confused about food types and the nutritional levels of food and this has lead to the change in the food “pyramid” guidelines for the first time in 15 years. Food fads & diets are very topical and there are not many days that these aren’t being discussed in the media. Add to this the large number of reality programs on TV & cooking programs and it is no wonder people are feeling overwhelmed.

Over the next few weeks I plan to break down the Pyramid and explain it at each level including food amount  and provide additional dietary requirements for pregnancy where it is recommended.

Reference -http://www.nutritionaustralia.org/national/news/2015/05/new-look-healthy-eating-pyramid-help-tackle-nutrition-confusion


MC&M Antenatal Record Card

Have you forgotten your MC& M Antenatal card lately???

Why do we ask that you keep your MC&M antenatal card in your hand bag, even in early pregnancy? It is because you never know when you might need it!

The MC&M Antenatal Card, is a record of your pregnancy and contains all the important details required by the hospital when you present for assessment in the labour ward or go to your GPs for a check up. It also has the hospital numbers printed on it. We will generally give you the card at a routine visit at around 12-16 weeks.

If you are unwell between appointments, have a fall or are involved in a car accident. It may be recommended, that you present to the Emergency Department,  the labour ward or your GP for a  check up. If you are not carrying your antenatal card it can be difficult to get all the necessary information required for a thorough assessment.

The following information is about the details on the MC&M Antenatal Card & what the abbreviations mean.

On the “Front” of the card : demographic details/medical history/recent pathology (blood results)ultrasound details/immunisations. As the pregnancy progresses further results are gathered & they are added to this part of the card.

The “Back” section is divided into two sections. It is the place to record your antenatal visits, GP visits and hospital admissions during the pregnancy.

Weight is mostly recorded.

Urine testing is sometimes attended but not routine.

Blood Pressure (BP) is always recorded.

Oedema (swelling) comment made if present

Calculated Gestation– How many weeks pregnant you are at the visit

Fundal Height a measurement of your uterus size by tape measure after 20 weeks.  An ultrasound may also be done to check the growth of the baby. The tape measurement should be equal to your gestation plus or minus 2 centimetres e.g. if you are 28 weeks a measurement could be 26-30cm and this would be considered to be in normal range.

EFW/Centile Estimated weight by Ultrasound & centile the baby is tracking along.

Presentation & position: this describes what part of the baby is presenting into the pelvis & how the baby is lying. Head (cephalic or vertex)/ Bottom (breech)/ Baby lying sideways(Transverse-nothing in  the pelvis) or oblique.

PP above Brim 5/5 ths: this describes “engagement” it is the depth the baby’s head or bottom presenting  inside  the pelvic brim e.g. 5/5, 4/5,3/5,2/5,1/5.  Written as ENG (presenting part is deep in the pelvis) N/E (not engaged presenting part above the pelvic brim).This is not usually recorded on the card  until later in the third trimester.

F.M/F.H.S.these abbreviations are for Fetal movement and fetal heart sounds. FHS is documented as present every visit and FM each visit after the mother starts to feel the baby move. This is usually 20-24 weeks with your first baby but as early as 14 weeks with your second or subsequent pregnancy.

Remarks: is self explanatory

At the base of the card are 4 large columns to record various aspects in you care including information to be discussed as the pregnancy progresses. It is also where notes are made to “alert” labour ward and or postnatal staff when you are admitted to hospital.