Before I was pregnant I booked myself in (with a close friend) for a pamper day at an excellent local spa. This was a belated 30th birthday celebration for the both of us. I love chilling out in spas and pools and was really looking forward to visiting this one for the first time. I’m normally a big fan of saunas, steam rooms, Jacuzzis and the like and was really disappointed when I learned that these are definitely not allowed when pregnant. Tiny as the baby is, it can still overheat which can damage its developing nervous system. When your core temperature rises, the amniotic fluid can heat up and the poor baby has no way of keeping cool. I don’t think unborn babies like hot baths like we do!
So, a relaxing pedicure was on the cards instead. As my friend treated me to a pedicure she joked that I soon wouldn’t be able to see my feet so she wanted me to make the most of them now! Half an hour later I was looking at my pink toenails and my newly invigorated legs and wishing that I could have a leg massage like this every day. My friend had decided by then that we must come back later in the pregnancy and was already asking the therapists about special pregnancy massages and treatments, busy planning a baby shower.
I may have missed out on the hot and cold experiences at the spa but on the plus side I attacked the lunch buffet with gusto – and without feeling guilty about it! I’m trying not to eat for two (I know that I only need a bit extra every day) but I think it’s incredible how hungry I feel sometimes. My friend had to choose cheese and biscuits for dessert though. I love blue cheese, smelly cheese, brie etc. It’s another forbidden fruit when pregnant (unless you grill it or bake it). That’s because of the risk of listeria I think. So I watched as my so-called friend indulged in Stilton (claiming it was the best she’d ever had!) and camembert. I tried not to covet her cheese. But it was very hard indeed, even though I’d just had a great meal. Why do I want what I can’t have? Cheese has been one of my pregnant cravings and up until now I’ve managed to limit myself to hard cheeses that are convenient to snack on like Babybel. But now I know what I’m missing out on it’s going to be hard to stay disciplined. I think baked/grilled cheese is the way for me.
I also picked up some belly bands when I was in Mothercare. I didn’t know what belly bands were until my friend told me about them. She used them during her pregnancy and found them useful afterwards when she was breastfeeding. Belly bands are designed to support your bump (a bit early for that you might think!) but as well as covering up a tummy for a mum who is moving her top around trying to breastfeed, they also allow you to wear your non-maternity trousers a bit longer by hiding unfastened trousers. They give a layered look – so if you were using them over the top of trousers that you can no longer do up they just look like you have a longer top on underneath your main top. The belly bands are made of cotton and elastane so feel just like a normal vest/cami top albeit with gentle support – and they wash just like a t-shirt. They come in a pack of two (one black, one white) for only £10 so for anyone looking to delay purchasing bigger clothes I would say that they’re worth every penny. I’m already finding that hardly any of my trousers fit so I know I’m going to give them a try.
Well the reason I’ve started going in and out of Mothercare isn’t because I want to buy things already for my tiny baby (tempting though that is). My bras don’t fit anymore. I already bought new bras about a week after I found out I was pregnant (I dashed into Asda Living one evening to buy a couple of sports bras as I was getting very tender) but they are now simply too tight. So Mothercare it is. The cup sizes in there are scary… but the assistants friendly and I now have bras that fit and are comfortable (for the time being). To get over the shock of my new cup size I feel compelled to get a gingerbread latte just down the street (with a granola treat). I’m trying to cut down on caffeine as much as possible but with the ginger content it sounded like the ideal coffee for a pregnant woman. Good job I don’t go into town very often because it could become a habit…
The NCT also provides a free magazine called ‘Bumps & Babies’ which I ordered online. This soon arrived and contains in-depth articles for mums-to-be and new mums. I had a quick look at Tommy’s which is another good site to browse. Tommy’s www.tommys.org is a charity that exists to save babies lives by funding research and providing information on the causes and prevention of miscarriage, premature birth and stillbirth. Just like the NCT website, the Tommy’s site is a wealth of information. They have free magazines/leaflets available and I ordered my copy of ‘Your guide to a healthy pregnancy’ which arrived in the post just a few days later and was useful bedtime reading. Reassuringly, Tommy’s offers a helpline staffed by qualified midwives. They clearly understand that pregnant mums don’t always want to phone their local doctor’s surgery if they have a non-urgent query. I’m sure I’ll be coming back to this site!
When I popped into Sainsbury’s (to buy some food for my latest cravings!) I spotted a leaflet at the checkout for the Sainsbury’s Little Ones baby & toddler club www3.sainsburys.co.uk/littleones/ which you can join online. It said something about free Nectar points or freebies from Huggies so I thought I’d give it a go. They also send you free magazines and vouchers so that’s a bonus – I know those vouchers will make a difference once the cost of parenthood sets in and they’ll give me brownie points with Tim!
As you might expect, Sainsbury’s offer recipes and meal planners tailored to pregnant mums, breastfeeding mums, as well as suggestions for feeding babies and toddlers. I didn’t look at the recipes for too long as they made me feel hungry again! Sainsbury’s offer expert advice on their site and have partnered with Netmums www.netmums.com to provide an experienced panel. Netmums are celebrating their 10th anniversary and are the country’s biggest parenting website – so I figure they must know a thing or two about children. A good move by Sainsbury’s to include Netmums.
On a bit of a roll now, I’ve also signed up to the Mothercare Baby & Me Club. www.mothercarebabyandmeclub.com is where you can sign up online or you can just pick up a leaflet in-store. Mothercare are promising offers and information tailored to my stage of the parenting journey. The mum-to-be section covers a variety of topics from kitting myself out with a maternity capsule wardrobe to thinking about travel systems and car seats as well as preparing me for what I’ll need for the hospital etc. It looks like a well-thought out and comprehensive site and I’m sure I’ll be logging in quite often! Meanwhile, my mum and mother-in-law are both drooling over the Spring/Summer Mothercare catalogue…!
As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I thought about NCT classes. I went to www.nctpregnancyandbabycare.com to find a suitable antenatal course. The NCT is the UK’s biggest parenting charity and offers excellent value antenatal and postnatal courses (there are discounts and different payment options available to make these viable for as many parents as possible) as well as providing support and a wealth of information. One of my friends is an NCT teacher (also a primary school teacher in her day job) and I’ve seen her shelves bulging with books on pregnancy and parenting. I know that I can trust the NCT!
I also have a friend in London who had a baby a year ago and couldn’t recommend their classes highly enough (and she had a very straight-forward, natural birth!). Given that September/October is a busy time of year (all these Christmas/New Year babies!) I wanted to book in early. I soon found what I wanted – a comprehensive antenatal course in my local area, covering preparation for labour and birth, feeding, and early parenthood. So Tim and I will be going to these evening classes in July.
I guess it really depends on which area of the country you’re in – I’m sure there are other good alternatives in some regions – but from what I can see, this is the best there is in my local area. From what I hear from friends and family the information given by our NHS hospital is fairly basic. So I’m more than happy to help support the NCT and I’m really looking forward to meeting other mums to be!
When I suspected I might be pregnant I went to Boots and bought two home pregnancy tests (their own brand). I took them home and did the tests. They both came back positive, but it really didn’t sink in and I wanted to be totally sure I was pregnant before I told Tim. So I drove to Tesco and bought two of the most advanced HPTs that they had. The Clearblue Digital Pregnancy Test with conception indicator was the most expensive but I wanted a confirmation. It was lunchtime so I knew that my HCG hormone levels wouldn’t be at their highest (test first thing in the morning if you really want the conception indicator to accurately tell you how far along you are). With the first Clearblue test I peed into a jug and then stuck the stick in (as per the instructions). With the other one I tried to pee on it for the correct amount of time but seeing as it was the fourth test I ran out of wee too early! No worries, both tests soon displayed as PREGNANT 1 – 2 weeks. I knew that I was really 2 – 3 weeks but I was testing at lunchtime so I didn’t expect it to be accurate, I just wanted to see the words PREGNANT and have it confirmed! I recommend the Clearblue tests. I think it also helped Tim to take it in given the word PREGNANT on the screen. You pay for the simplicity!
Having only recently started to play around with apps on my iPhone I went on the lookout for free pregnancy/conception apps. I came across BabyMed which is an app using fertility and pregnancy calculators by an ObGyn and Maternal-Foetal Medicine specialist in New York. It helps you to predict ovulation and the best days to conceive. Based on this information it will also calculate your due date once you know you are pregnant.
Another free app I downloaded was called iPr. On this app you can enter notes, look at lists of popular babies names and it will also tell you how much your baby is growing amongst other things. I haven’t really used this app much but I’m sure that others could get more out of it.
The app I’ve most looked at is ‘What To Expect’ based on author Heidi Murkoff’s bestseller – What To Expect When You’re Expecting. There’s an accompanying website www.whattoexpect.com which I’ve not used a lot but it looks like a good resource. The WTE app I’ve used every day! It reminds you of your due date, how long you’ve got until then and the gestational age of your baby. Plus it gives you an indicator of how big it is (poppy seed, blueberry, raspberry etc.). Each week it tells you what to expect – what is happening in your body and the baby’s. There are also daily tips, a place to store photos of your pregnant belly and a forum, including one dedicated to mums whose babies are also due the same month.
You can’t post things on the forum using the app (you have to go to the site for that) but I find it helpful to read the forum posts whilst having a cuppa – learning that other pregnant mums are going through the same thing (or having completely different symptoms) is both reassuring and informative. The forum is mainly used by Americans so at times it can be daunting because they all seem to be seeing specialist Ob/Gyn doctors almost as soon as they know they are pregnant and having ultrasounds, blood tests, hormone levels read, baby’s heartbeat monitored etc. etc. Here in the UK, with the NHS to take care of us, no such activity. I have one friend who went to her doctor to say that she was 6 weeks’ pregnant (and to find out what the next step was) and the doctor asked her why she had bothered to come, what did she actually want him to do for her!
Now I think there needs to be a balance between that kind of unnecessary rudeness from a British doctor and the high levels of medical attention received by pregnant American women, but having seen the anxiety caused by all this monitoring in the US – constant posts by worried mothers about whether or not their HCG levels are ok or whether there is something in the baby sac or whether the heartbeat is as it should be – I am convinced that ignorance is bliss. Some of them seem to be taking home pregnancy tests every day just to reassure themselves that they are still pregnant! If a pregnancy doesn’t last then unfortunately that’s nature – really sad as it is. It concerns me that apparently a lot of mums in America stress out over data given to them from Ob/Gyn clinics (and by comparing themselves with what friends and family say happened to them) when most of them will make it to the 12 week milestone and go on to have healthy babies.
One free app I downloaded because it sounded like a really good one for a pregnant lady to have. The charity WaterAid has developed a toilet finder app which shows the nearest public toilets to your location. You can report a toilet i.e. tell them about a toilet you know about if it’s not on their list. I think this app is a really good idea. Whilst as a pregnant woman you are conscious of the inconvenience caused by feeling like you need to empty your bladder all the time, the app reminds you that 2.5 billion people in the world (so almost half the world’s population) don’t have anywhere clean and safe to go to the toilet. Suddenly, getting up in the middle of the night to use my heated and hygienic indoor loo doesn’t seem like so much of a hardship. I hope that this app is a success and that users continue to add free public toilets in their areas as well as supporting the Charity. Thanks for this free app WaterAid – I’m sure pregnant women are grateful!
I read that if you have a lot of dairy products it’s supposed to be good for ovulation – I wasn’t sure how much a lot really was, but as the ‘O’ day approached I did try to increase my milk intake as well as buying more yogurt. I love greek yogurt with honey so felt quite happy to indulge in the organic versions available in most supermarkets (Rachel’s/Yeo Valley are both very good). I also tried to have more scrambled egg (not a hardship as it’s one of my favourites!).
I wanted to make sure that I was getting the right levels of vitamins, minerals and folic acid etc. before trying to conceive. I spotted the Sanatogen Mother & Father To Be supplements on a 3 for 2 offer in my local supermarket. Tim immediately got on board and started to take his blue-lidded vitamins with plenty of zinc to keep his system in good order. Well, I got pregnant so I think that the supplements were a good buy!
Hello everyone! Tim and I found out this week that we are expecting our first baby! We are thrilled and have started this site so that we can blog about our pregnancy experience. We are so excited about our baby!
We’re hoping that by recording our experiences here, we might build a useful resource for others. We hope you enjoy it and we invite you to comment!