This is going to be a long post. I had grand plans of documenting my pregnancy as I went along and all of a sudden I find myself at 34 weeks wondering where the time went. Growing a little human is no joke! I sincerely hope if you are pregnant, or planning on becoming pregnant in the near future then my ramblings are of some use to you. Like a lot of women I’ve always been waiting for the non existent ‘perfect timing’ to have a baby. Also, very selfishly, I really enjoyed my life how it was. Having the freedom to do whatever. Happy hours on random Tuesdays with my husband just because. Nights out. Last minute weekend getaways to Vegas. All the fun stuff that can seem scary to give up, I’m embarrassed admitting that now. And grateful that fate intervened on my behalf. The night we conceived- we just knew. I even bought a pregnancy test just to have on hand incase. Low and behold the time came when, just over a week late I decided to take it. Only one line showed. Surprisingly we were both a bit disappointed. We took a nap and when we woke up, my Husband looked at the test again and it had two lines. I went into complete shock and he ran, literally, to the store and bought three more pregnancy tests. They confirmed that our life was about to change forever.
My first few weeks were great. No sickness. I stopped drinking immediately and became very conscious about everything I was eating. I was determined to have the healthiest baby in the world! Until nausea hit. This coincided with me being back home in Ireland for two weeks. The only thing that made me feel better were Irish sausage sandwiches, chipper chips, Meanies, Cadburys Golden Crisp and Club Lemon. My mashed sweet potato in the fridge and protein powder didn’t stand a chance. From week 5-14 I was nauseous every single day. Although I never threw up, I had absolutely no energy. Knowing that my little teeny tiny human being was in there made it completely worth it though.
My must haves-
I’ve loved this the most. It gives a weekly update on what’s happening in there, and explains so many of the weird changes our body is going through. It has a weekly update for your partner too and you can also track your weight,appointments,birth plans, the lot.
What to expect app
A great online forum to share with other women who are at the same stage in their pregnancy as you. There’s so many posts to read. It’s saved me from freaking out and calling my doctor a million times.
I couldn’t stand the taste of water and American soda seemed overly sweet. It’s SO important to drink as much water as possible when you’re pregnant so at first I went through endless cans of flavoured sparkling water. Blah. That worked for a few weeks but I really missed drinking regular water so I started to make big jugs filled about 1/4 apple juice and 3/4 plain water. It was everything. I was able to hydrate properly, and still have a slightly sweet taste that helped with my nausea. Mints/hard candy helped as well. Ginger tea and sea sick bands? Not so much.
Whenever you can take a nap or just veg out on the sofa, DO IT. And make no apologies for it. By week 6 of pregnancy the metabolic work your body is doing at rest is even more than you would be doing working out. Crazy.
Coconut Oil. I was using this anyway but I have been applying it like a maniac since I found out I was pregnant. If the light scent doesn’t sit well with you in your current delicate state, then mix it with something you do like. I mix mine with Nivea. Make sure to apply it ALL OVER. Not just boobs and tummy. I’ve read about so many women doing this and ending up with stretch marks on their hips, butts, thighs and even the back of their knees. For the last trimester however I decided to step it up a bit and have been using Mothers Special Blend All Natural Skin Toning Oil. I just bought mine at a local store but you can get it online on Amazon. I’ve been taking Omega 3 EPA/DHA fish oil as well to nourish my skin from the inside out. Not to be confused with cod liver oil or just plain fish oil which has mercury and isn’t safe to take while pregnant.
This was the most enjoyable time for me. Starting to look a little bit pregnant instead of just bloated, my skin clearing up and mainly getting my energy back and feeling more like myself. It was at this point that it all really started to sink in. I felt overwhelmingly humbled to be carrying such precious cargo. My girl.
Being able to get back into the gym was a big thing for me and I truly believe it’s contributed to me not having alot of the usual pregnancy symptoms like leg cramps, headaches, constipation, varicose veins, back pain and swelling. Nightly foot massages from my Husband have been key as well! I personally don’t suggest beginning a workout plan while pregnant if that wasn’t your lifestyle prior but getting into the habit of walking for at least 20/30 minutes 3 or 4 times a week really will make such a difference with how you feel. I promise. I love to lift weights and have kept doing that throughout but I’ve listened to my body, lifted lighter than usual and really focused a lot more on cardio. Some people think I’m nuts but the benefits for me and the baby are undeniable. I’ve been able to stay within the healthy range of weight gain, have energy, lower the chances of baby developing diabetes later in life and it helps with labour and delivery lowering the need for forceps/vacuum delivery by 75% AND lowering the risk of csection by 55%. Food for thought indeed.
From 13 weeks on I have religiously drank a green juice every morning. All hail the Nutri Bullet. I literally cannot start my day without it. And its had the same ingredients in it each time as well. Kale, spinach, a full granny smith apple, carrot juice and water. The juice combinations are endless of course- I’m just a creature of habit. Other than being completely addicted, I like knowing that at least if I don’t eat as well as I’d like to for the rest of the day, baby has gotten a bunch of nutrients. It sets the tone for the day and I am less likely to crave junk after having this. I bought a bunch of large air tight Mason Jars so I can make a few days worth at a time and they stay fresh in the fridge.
Honestly, I have managed to sneak my way through without getting maternity clothes but one trick that has worked perfectly on jeans and trousers is the hair bobbin trick. Just google it. Brilliant and completely works! Preggo or otherwise! Leggings have been loyal to me and an absolute lifesaver. If you find yourself shopping around for maternity clothes, considering how short term you will be wearing them for, I think the H&M maternity line is hands down the best price and style wise. Really nice stuff. ASOS have a fab range worth looking at too.
The idea of having a baby shower was strange to me because I had never been to one, and I felt weird expecting people to bring gifts for someone they hadn’t even met yet! One of my best friends organised the entire thing and it ended up being the most perfect beautiful day and I’m still blown away by how generous everyone was and how loved this little girl is already. Even if you don’t plan on having one I highly recommend using Babylist. I loved it because it meant I wasn’t stuck to one store. It was also a great way to keep track of what I needed to get for the baby myself and just alot of fun picking all this cute stuff and having it in one place.
Finally at the home stretch! Completely in awe of what my body can do and what a privilege it is to carry her life and feel her moving and growing inside me. It amazes me all over again every morning I wake up. It’s such a special and spiritual time and I have found myself tuning into my body more than ever and praying for her and her safe arrival into this world.
This will be a separate blog post but if you are interested in natural childbirth, and you only read one book I cannot recommend ‘Ina Mays Guide to Childbirth’ by Ina May Gaskin enough. It has been SO helpful, empowering, insightful and encouraging.
The Business of Being Born. You will either find this documentary on Netflix or Youtube. I recommend watching this one with your partner. It’s so informative. Whatever your birth plan, it’s important that you both be on the same page and make an educated decision. Warning- you may or may not see Ricki Lakes boobs. I wasn’t ready.
Now that my tummy has been gradually getting bigger my absolute lifesaver has been my Bao Bei Maternity sports bra. This is SO comfortable and has really helped with my lower back. Maybe this is in my head but I honestly think it’s been helping with keeping stretch marks at bay too because my tummy is supported and held in place rather than being pulled down by gravity (I’m dramatic, I know). Not only for working out I wear mine everyday. This is a lovely gift if you have any friends that are pregnant as well. I actually began wearing this from my second trimester, but I cannot go without it right now. You can order it online http://baobeimaternity.com/
Other than the ton of water and coconut water I’ve been drinking throughtout my pregnancy, for the last 6 weeks I’m incorporating Red Raspberry Leaf Tea. It has so many health benefits, but I am taking it because apparently it tones your uterine muscles and helps speed up the labour process. It’s not something that by drinking one cup you will reap the benefits from- It needs to be taken regularly, hence why I am taking it from now. The first week I will do two cups a day and increase my intake each week. It should be the loose tea leaves (not a blend) and steeped in cup of hot water for ten minutes before drinking. I’m all about natural options so I’m excited to try this. Feel free to do your own research as it does have a ton of benefits, even if you’re not pregnant. For men also. Check with your doctor/midwife before taking it though.
On a slightly more serious note, and by serious I mean traumatizing- There’s the slight issue of what happens to your body AFTER the baby arrives. Without going into detail, I am going to share one of the things I’ve done in preparation. Ladies, I introduce to you, padsicles! Get yourself some Always Infiniti heavy/overnight pads, I hear these are the best because they are super thin but handle the job like a boss. Open the pad but make sure you don’t disrupt the backing. Put some witch hazel onto the pad, followed by a few drops of tea tree oil and finish it off with a generous amount of Aloe Vera GEL. Wrap your new besties back up, pop them into a Ziplock bag and leave in freezer. When the time comes to use them let them defrost for about ten minutes first. Fire crotch be gone…
For my little girl, once we have decided on her name I will be setting up an email address for her. Every year on her birthday I am going to write her an email and attach pictures of her/special
moments from throughout that year. Close family members might send her ones too. When she is older I will give her the email address and password. I think it will be nice for her to have. On a more practical note, we’ll also be setting her up with a savings account that cannot be touched until she is at least 18. Just something to put a few bob away here and there that will add up over the years. My Grandad did that for me at the post office, and it has always stuck with me how thoughtful it was.
Ok I’m done for now! I really hope even a tiny portion of this was in someway helpful…Good Luck to all you mamas to be out there, heres to the next wonderful stage in our lives.
Samantha Mumba – Pregnancy Survival Guide