Friday, 4 December 2015

My Top Tips For Expectant Mothers

Aloha, Bunnies! Guess what? I finally have internet after over two months without it so I can finally do all of the blog posts I've been desperate to write without fear of my data running out on my phone (as I've been using it as a 'personal hotspot' - which sounds rather cheeky, doesn't it?!). I realised I had been doing SO many posts about dresses recently on here so I thought it was about time for something different! As I am writing this, I will be 9 months pregnant on Monday (7th December) so I feel like I have well and truly experienced the good, the bad and the ugly of pregnancy which makes me feel knowledgeable enough to give you my personal advice on the matter that is growing a human!

This post is more aimed towards to ladies in early pregnancy but of course there are tips that apply to the whole of pregnancy so if you know someone who is expecting then it would be great for you to share this with them as who knows... It may help! :-)

I also wanted to mention that a couple of weeks ago I started my own Facebook group for retro-loving mummies and mum's to be where we can all share our own advice and tips on the wonderful journey of being/becoming a mother. From maternity-friendly dresses to what to pack in your hospital bag to the latest baby & child sales... You can find it all here and we would love you to join us - or search Retro Mummies & Pregnant Pinups on Facebook.

Tip 1
One of the most important tips in my opinion... Pregnancy really takes it out of you because all of your goodness goes straight to the baby so it is so important to make sure you are getting all (if not more!) of the nutrients and supplies you need. With my pregnancy, I had pretty much every single symptom that I could possibly get. It was textbook - nausea, acid reflux, dizziness, exhaustion, migraines, cravings, breathlessness... You name it and I just found my body coped so much better when I was really hydrated. I literally didn't stop drinking and I do think that helped a LOT. It is really important to make sure you carry around some water or squash or whatever hydrates you when you're out because I found my body could get dehydrated super quickly which would immediately lead to dizziness and headaches. 

Being hydrated all helps relieve symptoms such as acidity problems, heart burn and morning sickness - I definitely preferred to add a little fruit squash and ice to my water as I found it really helped with keeping me cool and because I had really bad acid reflux (we're talking spitting out stomach acid into tissue all day) it was nice to refresh my mouth and actually have something that tasted nice!. Drinking lots of water also helps prevent urinary infections which are really common during pregnancy by diluting your urine.

Please do note that tea and coffee is actually make you more dehydrated as they're diuretics which makes you pee more therefore make you loose more water. If you can't resist your morning coffee or evening cuppa, then just switch to decaf. You should try to drink about three litres of water a day... I found ensuring I was always carrying around a bottle of squash/water with me really helped remind me to drink more. 

For women in the later stages of pregnancy, I also found when I was dehydrated my baby's movements weren't as strong and frequent so staying hydrated throughout the WHOLE of pregnancy is super important, too. Drinking water & staying hydrated also helps increase your volume of amniotic fluid which is also really essential for ensuring your little baby is healthy and developing on schedule. 

Tip 2
Sign Up To Mummy/Pregnancy Clubs
It is really worth joining as many pregnancy/baby clubs as you can as early on as you can because most offer lots of vouchers and freebies which can be a real help when buying all of your new born's essentials. Most clubs also send you weekly updates on your pregnancy which are just amazing for keeping track and up to date with your little ones growth and development. The updates are also great for sharing with your loved ones, especially baby's father, to make them feel more included and in-the-know regarding how their little one is doing inside your tummy.
My top clubs I recommend joining are -
 Boots Parenting Club: they send you a book of vouchers when you first join and offer great discount codes. They also give you 10 points on your Advantage Card per £1 you spend on baby products which really does add up very quickly, especially as you can still collect points with online orders too. Boots also do gorgeous baby clothing which they always have offers on so it's well worth checking those out, too!
Emma's Diary: One of the most well-known mums-to-be clubs out there. They send you weekly updates on your little one and also give you access to free gift packs that you can claim in Boots stores or Argos stores when you print off the voucher. Their site is jam-packed with advice that help you from fertility all the way to toddler tips. Emma's diary also have an app for your phone and they run lots of competitions and giveaways. 
My Mothercare: Another club that sends you weekly updates. They offer you over £100 worth of exclusive money off vouchers which I found really helpful, especially for big buys like my car seat which I got money off because I was a member. They also give you 20% off toys on your child's birthday, sneak previews of their sales and invitations to be product testers. It's also worth keeping your eyes peeled for when your local Mothercare is holding event nights for expectant mother's where you get a goodie bag to try out some products, in-store discount and also advice from the staff regarding car safety and products etc.

Check out what clubs/groups there are in your local area by doing a few google searches/asking around other mum's. Try phoning your local children's centre to ask them if they know of anything groups and they might actually hold groups themselves so it's always worth doing your research.

Research Nearly New sales/events where people sell their good condition baby supplies which can be a massive help for those of you on a budget (which is most mums-to-be with lots to buy and low maternity pay).

Tip 3
Take your vitamins/folic acid
Similar to the Stay Hydrated tip, make sure you take your multi-vitamins throughout your pregnancy. You should start taking folic acid as soon as you find out you're pregnant until you are roughly 12 weeks pregnant (although, I think I took mine for longer) as it helps prevent certain birth defects. Brown rice and green leafy veggies contain the natural form of folic acid which is folate. If you are taking a multi-vitamin, please make sure it does not contain Vitamin A (retinol) as this can be harmful towards your baby. Vitamin D is important to take throughout pregnancy and afterwards if you're breastfeeding as it helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body which help keep your bones and teeth healthy. Taking Vitamin D through your pregnancy will ensure your baby has enough to last it through the first few months of it's life and not having enough Vit D can cause bones to soften in children. Vitamin D can be found naturally in oily fish, eggs and meat.

As your little one will be absorbing all of your goodness, it is important to make sure you are getting all of the nutrients that you need, whether that is through a tablet or a healthy diet. Smoothies are a  great convinient way to pack lots of vitamins and minerals into your diet without having to eat loads of fruit & veg.

Tip 4
Listen to your body and follow your intuition
This is very important on many different levels throughout the whole of pregnancy. The first part of this tip kind of speaks for itself in the sense of listen to your body - if you feel like you need to sit down then sit down whether that's on a chair or on the floor (trust me, it's better to go down by choice rather than pass out and potentially hurting yourself... Been there, done that!). The second part is more about listening to your mind... Follow your instinct, girl. If you feel like something isn't quite right, then follow it through - phone your midwife/triage (whose number should be on the front of your maternity notes. They'll be able to give you the best and most important advice regarding your pregnancy. Trust me when I say nothing is ever 'too silly' or 'too small' or you 'over-reacting'... Even if it is something that is just niggling you in the back of your mind, it's better to speak to a professional about it so you can at least stop stressing and put your mind at ease because you being worked up isn't good for you or your baby. 

Use the support around you - whether that's your parents or your partner. Talk to them as communication is key, but be sure to get professional advice where it's needed from your midwife or GP.
If you can't get through to your triage or midwife, then give NCT who are the UK's largest charity for parents a call as they have a helpline who are open 8am to midnight including bank holiday's. 
NCT - 0300 330 0700 - select option 1 for their helpline. 

Tip 5
Save your midwife/triage numbers to your phone
A simple but great one. Save your midwife and triage numbers to your phone so if you need help and don't have your notes on you then you can easily give them a call or if for some reason you're unable to use the phone (passed out or unwell etc) and your partner/family need to call a professional then it's easier & quicker if they are saved to your phone. Make sure you let them know that you have them saved and what they're saved under.

Tip 6
Reach out to other expectant Mothers
I absolutely love talking to other pregnant women and I think it is so so so important to know you're not alone as I know sometimes it can feel this way. It is even better if you can find ladies who are at the same/similar stage as you in your pregnancy journey. I did this by searching hashtags on instagram, for example when I was 12 weeks pregnant I would search '#12weekspregnant'. I also tagged my photo's with what stage I was at in pregnancy too so other ladies could find me. I ended up connecting with a lady who is due the day after me and we have followed each other's journeys from pretty early on and still talk regularly now. It's great to be able to talk to someone who is experiencing similar things to you at the exact same time whether that's scans, midwife/health visitor appointments, symptoms or general pregnancy advice/rants to each other. 

Tip 7
Do an antenatal class
One of the best things I did during pregnancy was do my NCT antenatal class. I didn't realise how much I didn't know until I completed the course and me and my partner met so many lovely local couples who we've been able to share our journey's with. You do have to pay for the classes and they do offer discounts to low income families but I honestly highly highly recommend them. They cover everything from labour to breast feeding to pain relief options to caring for your new born. It is great for your partner (and you!) to be more in the know about what is actually happening to your body throughout pregnancy and labour (and to get some extra sympathy points, too!). I think my course was 5 weekly sessions and also includes a reunion session for once everyone has had their babies. Admittedly, I was the earliest along in my pregnancy so everyone apart from me and one other lady have had their babies now which is great as they are all full of such good advice and it is an amazing support network to have. We have a Whatsapp group that we regularly chat in together.

To find a course near you/more information - Click here!   

Tip 8
Embrace your bump!!!!!!!!! 
...And all of the changes pregnancy brings to your body. I get so many women commenting on how they love how much I embrace and show off my pregnant body and they wish that they'd done the same so really ladies, please just love the body that being pregnant has given you. My tummy is covered in stretch marks, but I love them because it shows the beautiful journey my body went through to create the most amazing thing that has happened to me and it is also evidence my baby is growing big and healthy inside me. Take lots of photo's throughout your journey... If you can take weekly ones to document your progress and one day you can maybe print them all out so you have a physical copy of the amazing changes your body went through to create your child. I mentioned hash-tagging my photo's with how far along I was earlier and that helped me massively because I am able to know exactly how many weeks I was in certain photo's which isn't easy when you have baby-brain!
Wear clothing that shows off your gorgeous body! Pregnancy is such a wonderful thing and shouldn't be hidden. You will also have another pair of assets (look down, ahem!) that you should definitely embrace as being pregnant can make you feel frumpy and more akin to a potato with a bowling ball glued to it rather than your usual self  so it is important not to loose your identity as a woman and make sure you don't just feel like a nauseous-baby-making-machine-with-weird-cravings-and-a-short-temper.

And  that concludes my top tips for those of you who are expecting your first little miracle. I could probably write at least 10 more tips but truth is... I would be here forever! (And I have pizza in the oven which is calling my heavily-pregnant name, hahaha!). I hope these helped you and please do share this with anyone who you think might benefit from them. Do hop over to my Facebook group to seek/give any advice and just be around ladies who are in the same boat as you! 

And a blog post isn't complete without a couple of pictures now, is it?

Thank you for reading and good luck!

All my love,