Woman Abroad is delighted to introduce Muscat’s only independent midwife, Karen Wilmot RM, RYT
What you need to know about being pregnant in Oman
AVING a baby, especially your first, in a foreign country can be a daunting thought. Your family and support system are far away and you don’t know where to go for things you would easily find in your hometown. Life as an expatriate requires an adjustment in our lifestyle and attitudes. It is important to remember that routine antenatal care is standard in most countries and you will be offered the same tests and scans as you would in your home country. These include screening tests (estimate the risk of your baby being born with certain conditions, such as Down’s syndrome but don’t give a definite answer) and diagnostic tests (confirm whether a baby has a certain condition and are offered if the screening tests predict an increased risk of a problem). It’s your choice whether or not to have any test during your pregnancy. No test can rule out all problems, but by far the majority of babies are healthy. Sometimes neglected in our culture is tending to the psychological, emotional, and spiritual preparation as we approach this life-changing event. So for a moment, let’s forget that we are pregnant in a country far from home and go back to the basics.
What to do in the first trimester Once you know you’re pregnant you need to be seen by a Gynecologist for your booking appointment, ideally before 10 weeks. During this appointment you can expect tests to confirm • Your rhesus blood (RhD) type • A Full Blood Count to test for anemia • Blood screening for infections that can affect you or your baby - hepatitis B, syphilis and HIV • your immunity to rubella (German measles) Your blood pressure will be checked and your urine tested for infection, protein and glucose. You will be offered an ultrasound scan called a dating scan to estimate when your baby is due.
You will be given your Green Maternal Health Card. This is an official record of personal information, results of blood tests and has space to document all your antenatal visits. It is very important that you carry the green card with you at all times as it provides any caregiver with vital information about your pregnancy. You will be instructed to take the card to your local health clinic to register with the Ministry of Health and obtain a number. Screening for Down’s syndrome - Nuchal translucency scan This is an ultrasound scan between 11 and 13 weeks, which may be done at the same time as your dating scan. It measures the thickness of the layer of fluid at the back of the baby’s neck (the nuchal area). A thicker than normal layer of fluid may suggest that the baby has an increased risk of Down’s syndrome.
What to do in the second trimester Once a month between week 12 and 28 you will need to see your care giver to measure your blood pressure, your weight and test your urine for protein, glucose and infection. You will be offered a midpregnancy ultrasound scan, known as an anomaly or morphology scan, between 18 and 20 weeks of pregnancy. The scan is to check for problems with the baby’s development. You will be offered another blood test for anemia at 28 weeks as well as a Glucose Tolerance Test to check for gestational diabetes.
What to do in the third trimester Between week 28 and 36 you will need to see your care giver every fortnight. If your pregnancy proceeds normally and your baby’s measurements show that growth is good, you don’t normally have any further scans during your pregnancy. After 36 weeks you will be seen weekly to assess the position of the baby, the level of engagement into the pelvis and your readiness to give birth. This is also the best time to have the 3D or 4D scan. If you have any concerns you can contact Karen on her website www.pregnantinoman.com Next month Karen writes about ‘’Emotional preparation for pregnancy abroad’’ woman abroad • June 2012