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10 Things You MUST Do During Pregnancy

Firstly, CONGRATULATIONS! If you’re newly pregnant and reading this post, you have the most incredible and life-changing months and years ahead of you, that will fill your heart with so much love that it could burst.
There is so much to think about when you find out you’re pregnant and it can be overwhelming, especially when you’re still trying to get your head around the fact that you have a little life growing inside your tummy.

When I was pregnant with Beau, I don’t think it really sank in that I was having a baby until I went into labour, but the bond that you feel with that tiny little life inside you is already strong enough to move mountains, to be honest, that’s all that matters.

The end.

Joking!

In the grand scheme of things, it is all that matters, but there are also a few things that you absolutely must do before that sweet little bundle is snuggling in your arms. Some obvious – some not so…

1. Stock up on prenatal vitamins

Prenatal vitamins are essential for any mother to be, and typically contain more folic acid and iron that most standard multivitamins. Folic acid helps to prevent neural tube defects which can cause serious brain and spinal cord abnormalities in babies, and iron supports the baby’s growth and development.

The cost of prenatal vitamins varies widely from – £2/£3, all the way up to £25/£30 for a month’s supply. Whichever brand you choose, look for a vitamin that contains folic acid, calcium, iron and Vitamin D.

When I was pregnant with Beau, I tried some of the higher end prenatal vitamins, and found that not only did they turn my wee a rather alarming radioactive looking shade of fluorescent yellow, they actually made me feel really nauseous, and make my morning sickness worse.

My acupuncturist highly recommended taking a prenatal vitamin that contained Omega-3 DHA, and I found the Pregnacare plus Omega-3 vitamins worked best for me, and I didn’t experience any gross side effects with them either.

2. Decide where you want to give birth

It’s not a very well-known fact, that you can give birth in any hospital of your choice – depending on the trust in a particular area. This is something you should discuss with your midwife at your first appointment as she will be able to talk you through your options of hospitals, birthing centres or having a home birth. You might want to plan visits and tours of the hospitals and/or birthing centres so it’s best to do this way in advance so you have plenty of time to make your decision. Bear in mind, if you’ve had assisted conception, or fertility treatment such as IVF, some trusts will consider you ‘high risk’, and limit your options of where you can give birth. As my pregnancy was the result of a cycle of IVF, I wasn’t given the option of a birthing centre, or even the birthing suite in my local hospital – I had to be on the ward, which was still totally fine and I was so dosed up on drugs, I could have been anywhere!

On that note, don’t overthink it – when you’re in labour, you’ll just want to get to the NEAREST hospital!

3. Book up your scans and midwife appointments in advance

Midwife and ultrasound appointments get booked up super, super fast, so try and have the next two booked in ahead of where you are in your pregnancy, if you can. Also make sure you write down any questions or concerns before each appointment, whether it be with your midwife, doctor or consultant, and take a note pad to jot things down. Baby brain is a real thing!

4. Book a babymoon/couple time with your partner

If your finances/work schedules allow, book in as much ‘couple time’ with your partner as you can before you have your baby. The time that you share together now, you’ll never get back in the same way again, so make the most of it during your pregnancy.

Go to the cinema – if your pregnant bladder will allow you to sit long enough to actually catch the story line of a film. Go for a pamper day – most decent spas will offer specific treatments for pregnant women. Have long lunches in your favourite restaurants, or get away for long weekends. My husband and I had our ‘baby moon’ at Calcot & Spa in the Cotswolds. If you’re near enough to visit, it really is heaven on earth!

5. Learn what happens during a C-section

It wasn’t until I attended some NCT classes that I really knew what happened during a C-section. During this particular session, the teacher picked on my husband to lay across 3 chairs pretending to be a woman in labour (which by the way, I had a good LOL about, as he was the class clown throughout the course so this was his payback!).

She continued to set the scene of a C-section by bringing more and more people to the front of the class to surround my husband who was ‘in labour’ to demonstrate how many people would be in the room in a real life C-section. Turns out, there could be as many as 20 people in the room. As the only one on our NCT course who ended up with a C-section, I’m so glad I knew what to expect, but not just for me, for my husband too.

6. Register for Amazon Prime

Sounds a bit random right? But seriously…Amazon Prime was (and still is) a life saver. In the days leading up to giving birth, you’ll remember 101 obscure things that you didn’t know you needed, that will be arriving on your doorstep within 24 hours, if you have Amazon Prime. One less thing to worry about.

7. Stock up on coconut oil to prevent stretch marks

For some women, stretch marks are an inevitable by-product of pregnancy, and for some, their postpartum bodies have zero stretch marks. Genetics play a big part in whether you’ll get them or not, but keeping your skin beautifully hydrated can go a long way in keeping you stretch mark free. I used coconut oil (the same stuff you can cook with) throughout my whole pregnancy from day 1, on my thighs, bum and tum, and I was fortunate to come away without one stretch mark. When the smell of the coconut oil made me nauseous, I switched to Bio Oil which I also loved.

8. Destress and enjoy it

Pregnancy is mentally and physically overwhelming, and if you’re like me, and end up puking your way through your pregnancy, chances are you’ll be looking forward to the little bubba’s arrival. But it’s still a super special time for you and your expanding family, so try and enjoy it if you can. My favourite part of being pregnant was feeling Beau move around in my tummy, and seeing my bump grow as the weeks went by. Us women are incredible! Take time to bask in the glory of what your amazing body is doing and try not to stress over the little things.

9. Start saving £££

This is one piece of my own advise that I WISH I took before going on maternity leave and then subsequently returning to work part time. Those little people are expensive! There are tons of ways to be savvy when it comes to buying all the supplies you need, i.e. car seats, nursery furniture, feeding equipment etc, but once the higher value items have been accounted for, you’ll need to get used to living on a much smaller budget – unless you have a wonderful company that has a killer maternity package, in which case, I’m super jealous! Returning to work part time and having the majority of my wages go on child care is also something that took a while to get my head around, and I look back to the days when my husband and I were both earning pretty decent full time salaries, with no child care costs, and I wish we buckled down a little more and tightened our purse strings, as it really would come in handy now.

10. Invest time in organising your home

As part of the ‘nesting’ process before you have a baby, chances are you’re probably going to knock this one out of the park standing on your head with your eyes closed, but when it does come to having a sort out, try to think long term as well. When it comes to the kitchen, think where you’ll put/store a high chair, where you’ll store all of the baby’s weaning pots. For your living room, think about the space you’ll need when the baby starts crawling, then walking. Ask yourself if there are any minor changes you can making to your living space now, to prevent a frantic baby-proofing exercise being done 6 months down the line.

And if all else fails, remember – a baby will make love stronger, days shorter, nights longer, bank balances smaller, a home happier, and most importantly, fill your life with more love and joy than you could ever dream of. Enjoy the ride Mumma!

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