Surprise! That’s right, I announced my pregnancy on Instagram this week, and in December 2020, I will be a first time mum.
Of course, I’m no expert, and will not be giving medical advice here. However a pregnancy during a pandemic has meant that I can take the process slowly, and work out what has made it easier, and what has made it more stressful for me.
Gifted products in this post.
Go to your antenatal appointments
You’d think it’s common sense, but every time I have been in the hospital, I’ve heard at least one name called out in the waiting room for no one to respond.
The NHS offers mums-to-be at least two scans, and a number of other appointments to discuss your progress with a midwife. These appointments help the NHS track what extra support you may need, and also offer you peace of mind.
Of course, hospitals can be scary. Sometimes you might be sat in a stuffy waiting room for hours – which is even worse when you have to wear a mask. These minor inconveniences are completely outweighed by the benefits of knowing that your pregnancy is as safe as it could possibly be.
Another good idea is to sign up for an antenatal course. These courses teach the basics of the latter stages of pregnancy, labour, and the early stages of your child’s life. My first antenatal session is on 14th September, and I’ve also booked onto a hypnobirthing course.
Look after your body
1. Pregnancy is not an excuse for ‘eating for two’. A midwife told me that you actually lose body weight in the first two trimesters, as your body is working overtime to grow a tiny human! It’s important to follow guidance in terms of what to avoid, but I’ve found that everything in moderation is okay. For example, it’s recommended that pregnant women don’t eat soft ice cream, the kind from machines, but if you’re at the beach and fancy it, don’t deny yourself the odd treat.
2. Staying hydrated is one of the most important ways to look after your body, especially if you are pregnant during the summer (and a heatwave) like I have been. If drinking lots of water is making you feel a little sick, spice it up with squash and cordials, or make a smoothie from ice – just remember that milk doesn’t hydrate you!
Related: Survive a British Heatwave
3. You also should start thinking about your skin. There are a variety of creams and oils that are safe to use in pregnancy, and designed to promote elasticity in your skin. I’ve heard really interesting things about perineum massage to prevent tearing and damage during natural childbirth, and Motherlylove were amazing enough to send me some perineum oil to try. It’s meant to be performed from 6 to 4 weeks before birth, so I’ve got a little bit of time yet.
Go to baby shops!
When we first found out I was pregnant, baby names were the main discussion. We quickly realised just how much we would have to buy, and just how little we knew about baby products.
Because Mothercare went into administration, we found it difficult to find baby products. The first shop we went into was Mamas and Papas, realising the expense that a baby brings! It wasn’t until we spent a bit of time in some local baby shops, like Kindercare in Southend-on-Sea that we started to have a better idea of baby brands and the quality of products.
We didn’t actually purchase anything for the baby until after the 20 week scan, but I’d definitely advise getting out to the shops a few weeks before. That way, you’re not huge as you’re spending a day shopping in a hot building, and as pregnancy progresses, you’re more likely to start suffering with aches and pains, like swollen feet, heartburn, or pelvic girdle pain.
Pregnancy is a time of anxiety & nerves. Both Dan and I have had our moments of pure panic throughout our journey so far. If you follow NHS guidance, you are doing all you can to look after your baby. There’s nothing more you can do, and nothing that will make a difference to the growth of your baby.
1. Stay away from reading or watching sensationalist stories about birth and babies. I made the mistake of watching One Born Every Minute, and though people who have had babies enjoy watching it, it made me really uncomfortable. It wasn’t until a friend said that they only pick the dramatic births to show that I felt more relaxed. Likewise, I spent the first trimester in lock down reading horror stories of missed miscarriages, stillbirths, and death in labour. It wasn’t until I had my 12 week scan and spoke to the midwife that I realised I needed to chill out about the pregnancy.
Now, I’m pretty laid back. What happens will happen.
2. Find a hobby, TV show, or book series to take your mind off thinking about your pregnancy 24/7. Because I was working from home, I had the time to fret. We decided to binge watch series 1-4 of The Last Kingdom on Netflix so that I had something else to think about. Although, the downside is I will forever associate Utred, son of Utred with my first born child!
3. One more way to chill out during pregnancy is self care – perhaps join a pregnancy yoga class. I particularly like an evening bath. Set the scene with calming music – or perhaps the music you want your baby to respond to – some candles, and a bath bomb, bubbles, or bath oil. I really liked using the Mother’s Pamper Gift Box by Motherlylove. Inside the box are three fab oil products – Tums and Boobs Stretch Mark Massage Oil, Pamper Mum Relaxing Bath Oil, and a small bottle of Due Date essential oils. The fragrances are slightly woody, but light and pleasant, and a couple of drops of the bath oil made my skin feel super soft, and somehow managed to ease some of the aches and pains after a week of work!
Overall, being pregnant – especially for the first time – can be a time riddled with anxiety and fear. Not surprising really, since there are so many things that could go wrong. However, the more professional advice you take, and the more positive messages you read (like this one) the smoother your first pregnancy will be. Good luck!