Pregnancy webchat with Dr Virginia Beckett, Mon 24th October 12-1pm

If you've got a question on your pregnancy, from pre-conception right through to the first six weeks with your newborn, Dr Virginia Beckett will be here to answer your questions in a live webchat.

Dr Virginia Beckett specialises in caring for women with high-risk pregnancies and runs a satellite IVF unit. Her latest book, My Pregnancy, is a highly accessible guide to pregnancy offering personal insights and real-life experiences from top experts who are also mums, and have seen and advised hundreds of women through pregnancy.

Join us here, between 12-1pm on Monday 24th October. We have 10 copies of My Pregnancy (worth ??22 each) to give away to the first 10 BabyExpert readers who post a question below to Virginia.

Don't worry if you can't make the chat then, post your question now and Virginia will endeavour to answer as many questions on the day as possible.


  • if you have spd in pregnancy, the no longer give you a support belt, and there quite expensive to buy, is there anything else you can do to help with the pain??
  • I wasn't very fit in my first pregnancy but want to be different this time. I have been keeping fit prior to conception and now 6 weeks pregnant I'm worried whether too much physical exercise will be dangerous. What can I do other than yoga and pilates to try and keep fit without causing problems?
  • my question is how can i reduce my chances of developing pre-eclampsia in my pregnancy? i have had it with both my boys but not my girls?

    many thanks!
  • I'm 18 weeks pregnant and am wondering how much weight I should be putting on in each trimester. I've put on around 9 lbs so far. I put on 3 stone with my daughter so dont want to put that much on again this time around!
  • Hi,

    I am 22 weeks pregnant with my second child. My first labour resulted in a forceps delivery as after 3 hours of pushing he was not budging, I was told at the time that I had a narrow pelvic arch. I saw my consultant last week and I told him that under no circumstances did I want another forceps delivery. He responded by saying that if a baby fitted through there once it should be no problem this time, but this bothers me, because the only reason he came through is because he was dragged through. How can I be sure that this won't be the same case? He then proceeded to say that if I go as far this time again and baby gets stuck they would use forceps rather than do a c-section.

    I am totally against another forceps delivery, not because of the effect that it had on me but on my baby. Do I have any rights to say that I don't want forceps? Are there any alternatives? I don't want a c-section either but I would certainly prefer one to forceps. What do you think my chances of having a 'normal vaginal delivery' are, is there anything I can do to now to help myself have an easier delivery? I am petit and my son was almost 8lb, I worry because second babies tend to be bigger.

    Many thanks in advance

  • is there anything to help with hearburn and strech marks.
  • Good morning!

    I'm Virginia Beckett.

    I work as a Consultant Obsterician & Gynaecologist and have just published a book called 'My Pregnancy'.

    I'm looking forward to answering your questions today.

    As there are some here for me already, I'll get going.

    Hope you'll excuse any typos!!
  • Hi LisabbyUK,

    SPD can be so uncomfortable. I had it really badly with my daughter.

    I'd recommend seeing a physiotherapist specialising in pregnancy. Your midwife or obsterician can refer you. They can give massage therapy & recommend exercises and changes in your posture that may help. Some physios do still prescribe support belts, but they aren't effective for everyone.

    Paracetemol is safe in pregnancy in normal doses, but not that effective for this kind of pain. Non-steroidals, like ibuprofen, are NOT safe.

    Try placing a pillow between your knees & one under your bump as you sleep or rest.

    Pilates can be very effective as it stregthens core muscles. Perhaps consider this before your next pregnancy too!

    Good luck!

  • Hi Lola82_RA

    It can be so frustrating if it takes longer to conceive than the first time but it is perfectly normal to take a year or 2 to conceive despite regular sex.

    I'd discourage the sex every 2-3 days thing. Make love when you want to but at least 2-3 times a week. that way, there will always be sperm around when an egg is released. Try to focus on making love rather than having sex to conceive, or your relationship may suffer & you will both feel under pressure.

    As you conceived easily before, ther are unlikely to be problems. Just consider a few things though...

    Many women put on weight during & after pregnancy & this may affect the balance of hormones needed fro normal fertility. Check your body mass index is in the normal range (19 - 25)

    If you or your partner have had an STI (like chlamydia), you may have blocked tubes.

    I'd leave it 6 months before you see your GP unless you aren't haveng regular periods (at least every 35 days). They will do some basic tests.

    Remember to take folic acid!

    Good Luck!

  • Hi emsy1981,

    Well done for improving your fitness before conceiving this time. You have already reduced your risks for this pregnancy.

    I wouldn't recommend taking up exercise that is much more strenuous than you are used to, but there is no evidence that exercise is harmful in pregnancy. So, there is no problem with cardiovascular or strength work in moderation.

    AS a genereal rule, don't do anything that hurts & remember to be careful with your joints. You are already making Relaxin, designed to help your pelvis give a little so you can push your baby out. This also makes all your joints more relaxed though. This is why swimming is good in pregnancy, as the joints are protected by the support of the water. Avoid impact sports like horseriding & martial arts which may risk injury to the baby.

    Yoga & Pilates are great at developing the muscles that support your back, so keep those going too.

  • Are second pregnancies often very differnt from the first?
  • Hi Milliesmummo,

    I think that you need to chat this through with your Obstetrician & midwife. It's impossible to predict what the outcome will be if you opt for a vaginal delivery but they will be able to tell you what your chances of delivering vaginally are, based on what happened last time. Most women who opt for vaginal birth after CS (VBAC) do deliver vaginally.

    Don't tie yourself up in knots over Millie. Keep reassuring her of your love & involve her in preparing for the new baby when the time is right. Have some little gifts ready for her 'from the baby', that she can have whatever the outcome.

    Stretching pains over the old scar are pretty common at this stage. Try Bio-oil or vitamin E oil, to improve the ski's elasticity, around the scar.

    Hope it goes well!

  • Hi annabelleverney,

    Sure, a homebirth is possible. Your midwife & obstetrician's roles are to support you in your decision & can't refuse you a homebirth.

    They will, however, caution you about the risks involved.

    In a recent paper, 1:5 women who chose to deliver at home required emergency transfer to hospital. This is usually because labour isn't progressing quickly enough, or for more complex suturing after delivery, but for some it will be because of fetal distress or excessive bleedind (like with a retained placenta). In these last 2 cases, there might not be sufficient time to transfer to hospital before mum or baby become very unwell. For most wome, the risks of homebirtha re low, but in your case, with a previous CS, there is additional risk. There is a risk that your scar could rupture, which would require immediate CS to save the baby, & maybe you. Having said that, I think that because your CS was for malposition (the baby's brow, or forehead, was coming first) you have a very good chance of a vaginal delivery. It's just that we can't predict your outcome with certainty. Being in hospital means that the facilities for an emergency delivery are there for you, even though you are unlikely to need them. If all goes well, you could have a 6 hour discharge.

    Make an appontment to see your team, so you can make a decision based on the facts of your case.It really is up to you!

    Good luck!

  • Hi jamieaka,

    Probably one of the most important things to reduce chances of pre-eclampsia(PET) is to ensure that you enter pregnancy the correct weight. As you are already pregnant, try not to gain too much weight. Your obsterician will have considered whether or not you would benefit from aspirin treatment. This is usually given from the first trimester to women who have had severe or early-onset PET.

    Hope it goes well!

  • Hi Angel3130,

    On average, women gain around 2 stone in pregnancy. The amount per trimester varies widely. 9lb doesn't sound too bad.

    Eat heathily & watch portion sizes. Make sure that you take some exercise every day (a 20 minute walk in the fresh air is ideal).

  • Hi Tink,

    This is tricky! As I've said in previous replies, it's impossible to predict outcome as we don't have crystal balls (I wish!!).

    I can see that your last delivery was pretty traumatic. I think what your obstetrician is trying to say is that if you are fully dilated, a vaginal delivery is usually safer for mum & baby than a CS. At full dilatation, there is increased risk of trauma & this may cause significant bleeding & lasting damage. A ventouse (suction cup) can be used which is less traumatic than forceps for mum & baby, but not all obstetricians are confident in using them & they have a higher failure rate than forceps.

    It might be worth your obstetrician assessing your 'narrow pubic arch' to see if they feel that vaginal delivery is reasonable. You are correct in saying that 2nd babies tend to be a bit bigger, but wome tend to have babies that are the correct size for them. 2nd labours are usually more effiecient as the uterus contracts better, so forceps deliveries are less common. The only way to avoid an instrumental delivery is to opt for an elective CS, but this had its own risks. If you were my patient, I would document that you prefer to avoid forceps, but discuss with you that sometimes this is the only option (eg. fetal distress at full dilatation). Sometimes, there are signs in the first stage which make us think that operative delivery is more likely, like slow progress. If this were the case, you could make it known that you'd prefer a CS.

    Hope it works out for you.

  • Hi Nessynoo


    Try not to gain too much weight, small meals often rather than 3 big meals, nothing to eat or drink for 3 hours before bed & raise the head of your bed by about 15-20cm with blocks under the legs.


    I used an oil every day in both pregnancies & don't have any but I think it's down to luck & good genes really!

  • Hi Jilly 72,

    Some units are now refusing CS for 'maternal request' on cost grounds.

    I think that you need a through discussion with your obstetrician. I don't agree that you are likely to have the same experience again. It seems that you were induced very late last time, not sure why.

    I would suggest that a reasonable approach would be to aim for a vaginal delivery as lond as tyou labour spontaneously, but to say that you prefer to avoid induction, given your previous experience.

    Good luck!

  • Hi _mummy2grace_,

    Statistically, 2nd pregnancies are the safest for mum & baby. Every pregnancy is different, sometimes markedly so.

    Enjoy it!

  • Time for me to sign off now, it's 1/2 term & my two children are shouting for lunch!!

    I've really enjoyed answering your queries.

    My take home message is to PLEASE ask questions of your health professionals if you are unsure of anything, no matter how daft the question seems. Do all you can to become the expert on your pregnancy. Any health professional should be pleased that you are taking this approach because you can then really contribute to making decisions about your care. This is the ethos of my book 'My Pregnancy', which I hope will be your back up when you are unsure.

    Enjoy your pregnancies!

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