Mummy needs rest… 12 Activities to do with your little one when Mummy can’t do so much.

I’ve been feeling some guilt that so late in my pregnancy I’ve not been out and about as much as I’d like to with my daughter. I’ve been trying to encourage my daughter to play a lot more by herself but I think these little games, even if they are really simple, have meant we have still been able to have fun together.

Being heavily pregnant when you already have a toddler/pre schooler is hard work isn’t it?! Especially if your little one doesn’t spend very long entertaining themselves without asking for Mummy to play too. If you’re on maternity leave, you might even want to save a few pennies too…

So I’ve been trying to think of 12 simple ideas so we can still be involved in play time at home. Ways that don’t create too much mess and that allow tired mums to put their feet up for a bit and enjoy a cuppa at the same time! It’s so easy when you’re feeling exhausted to put some cartoons on or a game on your phone, but I’ve been trying not to overdo these things if I can.

1 – Puzzles. Either doing one together or having little competitions of who can complete their puzzle the quickest. You can make it a bit more challenging for yourself by choosing the puzzle with more pieces, turning your pieces over or giving little one a timed head start.

2 – Colouring. You can’t go wrong with some colouring, and putting some music on in the background makes this even more relaxing. Mummy can be colouring in her therapeutic adult patterns at the same time. Win win! If you’ve run out of colouring books there are some great websites where you can print out pictures for free.

3 – Book reading. I can’t not put this in because story time is a lovely excuse for a cuddle on the sofa.

4 – Play dough. In an attempt to make this a bit different I saved some small plastic trifle pots from going in the recycling bin. I put some little spoons out so my little one could pretend to make little ice cream sundaes from the play dough. I haven’t tried this yet but you could also put some little plates out, a plastic pizza cutter and pretend to make pizzas with different toppings. I find play dough is such a good distraction but can be a bit of a pain when you’re picking bits of play dough up off the floor after, especially if you’re struggling to bend over at this point in your pregnancy!

5 – Cafe. My little one really enjoyed playing this. I got to sit down with a little table in front of me while my daughter took my order like a little waitress. Then she was going to her play kitchen and making me meals like a chef with her play food. If you don’t have a play kitchen, get a few pans and wooden spoons out the kitchen and encourage your little ones to use their imagination. You can do as much or as little as you like with this.

6 – Snap. We have nursery rhyme snap cards but if your little one is a bit older, you could use a normal pack of cards and match the numbers. What child doesn’t love slamming their hand down and shouting “snap!”?

7 – Domino bingo. Take a piece of paper or card per person and write 9 random numbers on,h no than the number 12. Turn over the Domino pieces so you can’t see the numbers and take it in turns to pick a domino. Ask little one to count the dots and match them to the numbers on the paper and when you get all 9 numbers shout Bingo!

8 – I spy. I spy with my little eye a quick and simple game to try to help with colour recall. You could ask little ones to describe to you something they can find that is the colour red for example.

9 – Treasure hunting. I love the sand pit. I’ve been hiding things such as shells or coins in the dry sand and my daughter has been sieving to try to find the ‘treasure’. You could ask your little one to cover their eyes and then hide a surprise toy in the sand for them to find. This is a nice excuse to sit out in the sun. All that is missing is a nice Pina Colada! Not too long to wait ladies!

10 – Playing with a ball. You don’t have to be running around the garden to play with a ball. Sit on the floor (if you are able to of course!) with your feet together to make a diamond shape. Roll the ball to each other and sing nursery rhymes. This is such a simple game but we had some giggles when we were rolling the ball as quickly as we could.

11 – Memory game. Laying out some items on a tray. Asking little one to look for a minute then turn around so you can remove one item. See if little one can remember what has gone missing from the tray.

12 – Photo puzzles. Make some copies of family photos, cut them up into different shapes and ask little one to put the pictures back together again.

I’ve been feeling some guilt that so late in my pregnancy I’ve not been out and about as much as I’d like to with my daughter. Driving in the car has become uncomfortable and I’m walking around at a snail’s pace. My body is definitely telling me to slow down. I’ve been trying to encourage my daughter to play a lot more by herself but I think these little games, even if they are really simple, have meant we have still been able to have fun together.

I hope you get as much enjoyment as we both have out of them and please share your ideas with us!

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Why I refuse to be ashamed about my miscarriage

Unfortunately, my husband and I experienced a miscarriage in May. If you’re close friends or family, this will probably not be news to you, but if you’re not, there you go.

When it first happened I felt totally lost. We told only the essential people, and spent lots of time giving our 18 month old daughter lots of extra cuddles and attention. However, when the time came that I felt I wanted to tell a few more people what had been happening in our lives, I was amazed by the amount of women who said ‘I’ve had one too’.

The one statement that I heard more than anything else was ‘it’s not something you just talk about’. Why is that? I was met with a few different responses

I was only 6/7/8 weeks. Not far enough to be too upset.

While I understand that the pain felt due to an early loss would be different to stillbirth, that’s not to say that experiencing pregnancy loss doesn’t hurt. At the end of the day, a life is still a life. From the moment a woman discovers she is pregnant, she starts to form an emotional connection with her baby. She has plans and dreams for them. It’s painful to lose that, and be totally out of control.

2. I don’t want to burden people with my problems.

I want to start by saying that pregnancy loss can be absolutely devastating. I was lucky enough to be surrounded by some incredible people during our difficult time, and anyone who knows me knows that I do not mince my words and I tell it how it is. I do this because I want my daughter to grow up and know that her feelings are VALID, she’s not a burden, and that she deserves to be listened to.

BUT I do understand that not everybody feels comfortable to do that.

However, telling people about your miscarriage or asking others for help does not make you a burden. It makes you BRAVE. The people that love you are happy to help, and it doesn’t make you any less of a person to need help with something that, at the end of the day, is a big deal. Telling people about your miscarriage helps dispel the idea that there’s something wrong with discussing it. It helps you feel less isolated and alone, and it helps reality set in.

My body was designed for one thing, and it failed.

Yes, your body was designed to reproduce, it’s true. But you know what it was also designed for? To run, climb, laugh, love, eat, sleep, play, sing – the list goes on. Yes, you are created to reproduce, but you’re also designed for SO much more. While it’s difficult, don’t reduce yourself to that one function.

1 in 4 pregnancies end in a miscarriage. It’s a scarily high figure, but it means you’re likely not alone. 1 in 4 means for every three children you see, a woman somewhere is mourning for theirs.

So, I refuse to be ashamed about my miscarriage. I won’t keep quiet about it or pretend it never happened. Instead, I choose to see it like this: my baby was never cold, or hungry, or scared. There was never a time in their short little life that they were not loved, and cared for and wanted. They will never have to know how it feels to be alone.

And that’s enough for me.

Mental Health Monday: Dealing with previous birth trauma during pregnancy

I am sitting with my midwife and letting the tears roll down my cheeks as I explain how I HAVE to be in control, even of things go wrong I NEED the information and the facts, natter how frightening they sound. I need a plan in place for everything so I know that what is happening to me is MY choice, and I consent.

Mental Health Monday: Dealing with previous birth trauma during pregnancy

I spent a long time denying that my first birth was traumatic and after that I spent a while playing it down, yes it was traumatic but it wasn’t THAT traumatic. How could I be traumatised? What right did I have? I’m healthy (ish) and my son is healthy (ish) and we made it through the whole thing relatively unscathed.

Turns out, I was wrong. Very wrong. And I didn’t really let that trauma in, I didn’t accept it or start deal with it until I was already pregnant again, three and a half years on.

So, for context, let’s look at what went wrong…

My labour was 18 hours, culminating in an episitomy and forceps delivery with a spinal anaesthetic that took around 5 attempts to insert between heavy contractions. I had been pushing for 2 hours solidly with no progress and had been given pethedine which was making me lose consciousness between contractions and wake up in extreme pain and confusion, scared out of my wits. My baby was in distress, registering a heat rate of 58bpm and I had been told that I wasn’t trying hard enough – I couldn’t communicate that I could feel that my baby was stuck. I believe my baby was stuck because I was told that I must be ready to push by now, so I started pushing before my body told me to.

Now, there are worse births, but this was not okay. I was not okay. This whole ordeal was followed by a harrowing week in hospital as my son fought jaundice and I was readmitted because of infection caused by retained placenta.

What’s going on this time then?

I wrote about taking control of my second pregnancy very early on, but as my due date approaches my head is now focused on the impending birth.

In thinking about how things went last time I began to recognise that the root of my trauma was the very stark and sudden loss of control, when things were taken out of my hands it was terrifying.

I am tackling the issue by filling my head with information because knowledge is power. I’m learning more about how my body works, what it does and why. I am researching pain relief options and what the side effects are and whether they can slow down labour or pass through the placenta to the baby.

I am sitting with my midwife and letting the tears roll down my cheeks as I explain how I HAVE to be in control, even of things go wrong I NEED the information and the facts, no matter how frightening they sound. I need a plan in place for everything so I know that what is happening to me is MY choice, and I consent. I am very determined not to have any medical intervention this time but I know that sometimes things are beyond our control, so it is important to me to have a comprehensive plan in place for a variety of outcomes. I am going to meet with the midwives at the hospital midwife led unit to write up a formal plan that can be communicated with the team ahead of time so they don’t accidentally repeat the mistakes from last time.

Honestly, I am not even scared anymore. I still get emotional about last time but all that does is fuel my determination to have a better outcome this time. I’ve found the process so far to be very therapeutic and I feel like I have made steps to recover. Keep an eye out in the next few weeks for my birth story!

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Preparing toddlers for a sibling. Is it really possible?

I’ve asked a couple mum friends who have toddlers a similar age to my daughter and who are expecting their second baby if they think their kids are excited about being older siblings. They’ve told me they don’t think their toddlers really know what is going on but I would completely disagree! I think that you can prepare a toddler by making the new baby part of the new norm. However, as the baby is not here yet, I am fully prepared to eat my words!

Myself and my partner have included Imogen in almost everything baby related from relatively early on. In hindsight this was risky in case something didn’t go right with this pregnancy, so I think we should have introduced her to the idea of a baby a bit later on just in case. My daughter came to the first scan of her brother, she’s come with me to some of my midwife appointments and heard her brother’s heartbeat. We talk to her about her brother all the time and let her know he is looking forward to meeting her. We tell her what a great and important responsibility being a big sister is and she seems so excited. She often comes over to me to put her hand on my tummy to see if she can feel him kick or sings nursery rhymes to him.

When I was younger I wasn’t really ready for my sister to come along. It felt like a bolt out of the blue and when I should have been excited, I was completely confused! My younger sister and I laugh about this now, but I really didn’t take the news well as a youngster, I was very jealous. So I think this is why I’ve tried to make sure my daughter is prepared, if that is possible with a toddler! I’m fully prepared that she will still be filled with jealousy and worry when the baby arrives, but I just want to do what I can to make it easier for her and if I’m wrong then it was worth trying!

Books

There are great lists online of books to read to a toddler/pre-schooler to help prepare them for a sibling. I picked two books: ‘You Were the First’ and ‘Big Sis, Little Miss’. What attracted me to ‘You Were the First’ was that the story talks about how the eldest child is special because he/she was the first child that the parents saw do all of these amazing things. The book tries to reassure an elder child that they are not valued less just because another child is coming along, it doesn’t change how much they mean to their parents. It’s so important to me that she feels as celebrated as the baby when he arrives.   

‘Big Sis, Little Miss’ is a book all about the important job of becoming a big sister and how much the younger sibling will look up to them for guidance and will want to play with them.

Toys

I was browsing online and found dolls that have a removable tummy and a baby inside. Yes they are a bit creepy, but I thought this would be a great big sister gift for my little girl from her brother. The set I got had a Dad and young girl in as well, which I thought reflected the size of our family, but obviously every family is different and there are dolls sold on their own which have the removable tummy. We have also been playing with baby dolls, pretending to feed them, wash them etc. and I have been dropping in the odd “you can help mummy and daddy do this with your brother.”

Shopping

I’ve been taking my daughter to shops that sell baby items and have been talking her through what the different items are, which is a great opportunity for her to ask questions, like “what is this and what does this do?” She picked out a cot, a pushchair and a drinks beaker, (all of which we didn’t get), but I told her how thoughtful she was. It was nice to see that she was considering what her little brother would like. She has ‘bought’ him a couple toys and helped me to pick out some clothes too.

The nursery

We have yet to decorate and sort out the baby’s nursery, but I have asked Imogen if she can help mummy and daddy to make the room look nice and welcoming for her brother and I told her we will also be getting some nice things for her room too and rearrange the furniture a bit.

The birth

Family members have asked if we want them to take Imogen out when the baby is born, which is a lovely idea and of course we will need to ask someone to help us to look after her at that time, but I don’t want her to feel she isn’t included. I would like to make her feel special, so if anyone has any ideas from their own experiences please share them!  

Why I’m harvesting colostrum at 35 weeks

I haven’t told all that many people that I am antenatally expressing my colostrum (first milk) into tiny little syringes but I am and I am actually pretty proud of myself at the moment (even though my running total is 1.5ml at the time of writing).

I haven’t told all that many people that I am antenatally expressing my colostrum (first milk) into tiny little syringes but I am and I am actually pretty proud of myself at the moment (even though my running total is 1.5ml at the time of writing).

So why am I doing it?

Tongue tie

Primarily, I decided to do this because I have a tongue tie, my son has a tongue tie and so do several members of my immediate family who have subsequently had issues breastfeeding. There is very real risk that this baby will have a tongue tie as well and having a supply of milk that she doesn’t need to work so hard for could buy us some time to get it sorted.

When I was pregnant with my son four years ago I had no idea that I could save this stuff and that it could be even remotely useful. As it happens, the reason babies can survive on so little before your normal milk comes in after a couple of days is because colostrum is high in sugar, fat and calories. It really is amazing stuff and I want my baby to have it even of it can’t come direct from the source right away.

Allergies

At 2 days old, between phototherapy lights for jaundice and having my boobs manhandled by several midwives a day because I wasn’t “feeding right” I was coerced into feeding my son a bottle of cows milk formula because “his blood sugar must be low and he’s too exhausted to feed” even though frequently falling asleep at the breast before finishing a feed is a tongue tie symptom that should have been spotted by these experienced professionals. He promptly threw up pretty much the entire feed and we were back to square one. Now, I have no real evidence to back up this theory but part of me believes that if I hadn’t been guilt tripped into giving that bottle of formula my son might not have developed an allergy to milk. Tiny little babies aren’t designed to break down such complex proteins. If there is even the smallest chance that I can avoid this baby going through what my son still suffers I will take it.

Being in tune with my body

Last time I didn’t know what my body was capable of so I didn’t trust it and I didnt work with it, I possibly even worked against it. I remember being told to just express a bit of milk by hand onto a spoon or something and I just didn’t really know how to handle my breasts effectively (sounds daft, right?) so I didn’t get anything out.

I did go on to pump breastmilk a little and learn how/when it was best to do that and what my breasts responded to and what they didn’t but it was slow progress with a lot of sore nipples and heartache. It was also nearly four years ago.

Being prepared like this, knowing what my body can do and understanding some of my limits is making me feel stronger as I head towards full term and much more confident that my body can take care of my baby.

Recovering from trauma

I haven’t talked too much about the trauma of my son’s birth and the weeks that followed it. They somehow manage to be both the best and worst weeks of my life and unfortunately a lot of the happiness is still shrouded by simmering anger. I have been working hard to turn that angry energy into positive progress throughout my pregnancy and expressing my colostrum is surprisingly therapeutic. All the knowledge and experience I gained from being let down over and over with my first child is being channelled directly into making more informed choices this time. Any bitterness I felt towards my boobs for letting me down (yes, that’s a thing and yes, I know it’s silly) is melting away now I can see how well they are already working for my unborn child.

If I am separated from my baby at birth

No one wants to think about some of the things that could go wrong during labour and childbirth or unexpected complications with mother or baby that result in separation at birth but sometimes it does happen. If I am unable to attend to my baby’s needs for whatever reason then I know she will have a little stock of my milk to get her through for a little while, packed full of my antibodies to protect her in this big scary world.

Gestational diabetes

Now, I don’t have gestational diabetes but it definitely deserves a mention here! If a mother has GD then there is a risk that her baby’s blood sugar could drop rapidly once they are born. Having expressed colostrum on hand means baby will be able to get the sugar they need quickly without the need for formula milk.

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Swimming to Help With Hip Pain in Pregnancy

The weightlessness of being in the water is bliss in itself, but what it enables me to do is move. I can keep my mobility up without wearing myself out and causing further pain. I missed a swim due to illness and by the next day I was unable to walk more than a few feet – I fully believe I would be on crutches by now if I wasn’t still swimming regularly.

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When I found out I was pregnant at 5 weeks I was halfway through a course of hydrotherapy to help with my Fibromyalgia but when I told the physiotherapy team about my pregnancy they decided that the hydrotherapy pool at the hospital was too warm for it to be safe for me to use and I wouldn’t be able to complete my course. I was absolutely gutted, the pain relief afforded to me by being in that pool was incredible. When they turned me away I almost cried.

Even before I found out I was pregnant the pain in my hips was the focus of my physiotherapy which I attribute to my son getting stuck during labour and requiring a forceps delivery. Naturally, I was apprehensive about hip pain being a problem this time and, unsurprisingly, I was right to be concerned.

As my normal fibromyalgia flares turned into sharper twinges I realised I needed to get back into the water and I knew I wouldn’t be able to maintain any level of fitness on land. Having spent several years saying I should join a gym whilst also avoiding actually signing up, I finally took the plunge. I packed my swimming gear and hit the local gym after dropping my son at nursery one morning and signed up for a swim only membership there and then and it has saved me from a whole world of pain since.

I have been swimming three days a week after the nursery run for four months now, at one point I got up to 40 lengths of the pool and I was feeling really fit, since the baby decided to move into my lung space I can only manage 20 but it’s not the lengths that are important, it’s about being in the swimming pool to take the pressure off of my hips, well, all of my joints really. The weightlessness of being in the water is bliss in itself, but what it enables me to do is move. I can keep my mobility up without wearing myself out and causing further pain. I missed a swim due to illness and by the next day I was unable to walk more than a few feet – I fully believe I would be on crutches by now if I wasn’t still swimming regularly.

This ability to move about was missing in my first pregnancy, so my health suffered. I gained a lot of weight last time which I think I have been able to avoid this time… I suppose we will find out how effective it has been in a couple of months!

As my pregnancy progresses I am slowing down somewhat but there is an amazing level of support from the other “slow lane” users at the pool. When I started this I was not expecting to make friends but I have. The support from these strangers means I know I will be able to continue to use the pool until the end of pregnancy… even if I can only wander about in the shallow end in a few weeks.

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Are antenatal classes worth it?

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When I was pregnant with Olivia, like many other mums, I looked into antenatal  classes to help us both prepare for the birth of our baby.

After doing some research, we signed up to our local NCT class, mainly because locally there weren’t many other options, but also because the reviews of these classes seemed to be really good. I had heard of them before, and that you could end up with a lovely group of friends too if you all kept in touch. I’m pleased to say that we all have, but I’m probably the flakey one of the group as I live out of county to the rest of them! (Apologies if you’re reading this guys – I do try to make it to meet ups!)

The classes are attractive not least because you are grouped with a bunch of people whose due dates are all within a month or two, so your babies will all be the same age.

I didn’t really know what to expect from the classes when we started going, and had been suffering a bit with antenatal depression and anxiety so had a bit of trepidation ahead of the first session.

As a brief overview, we had 4 sessions in total.

The first session was pretty much about the scientifics – labour, assisted delivery, emergency c-sections, birthing positions, oxytocin, the different types of  induction, etc… I had no idea what I’d gotten myself into and found it quite helpful, except for the terrifying visualisations of what a 10cm diameter circle looks like!

The second session was a mums only session to talk about “gross and personal bits”. I actually really disagree with this session being mums only. We talked about episiotomies, tearing, and postnatal depression. Dads need to know this information too. Dads can suffer with PND and even if they don’t, it would actually have been brilliant for them to be involved to know what to do and how to support their partner if they were going through it. As far as I know, 2 of the 8 of us had PND, and both men were excluded from the discussions about it in our antenatal class. On the other hand, it was a nice opportunity to get the know the other mums more personally, but again there was no similar dads only session. I also wonder how the NCT would deal with this scenario with a lesbian couple if only one of them was pregnant – they do need a bit of modernising, despite the content of the session being really good.

Then the third session – the breastfeeding session. Oh my lord. Just going to share a highlight: “you can feed the baby upside down over your shoulder if you wanted to”.

Do I need to say anymore than this? Didn’t think so…

The final session rounded it all up, in truth I can’t remember much about that one now, it was 3 years ago. It was by far the least controversial though, more of a well wishing and any final questions sort of session.

There were 8 of us mummies in total (and 8 daddies), so I’m going to share some stats:

  • 4 of us had girls
  • 4 of us had boys
  • 4 of us had vaginal deliveries
  • 4 of us had c-sections
  • We all attempted breastfeeding
  • We all stopped at different times
  • 2 babies had tongue ties
  • 2 of us had PND (that I know of)
  • 6 of us were married before we had the babies
  • 2 of us got married afterwards
  • 4 of us have had a second baby
  • 2 of us went late
  • 6 of us went early

We all still stay in touch and try to meet up at least annually, and in honesty, the best part of the antenatal classes was the amazing friends we made.

I feel grateful to know such lovely and inspiring mummies on top of knowing the amazing mummykind mummies. It’s brilliant having a WhatsApp group with the mums so that if my toddler does something totally weird I can ask them questions and see if anyone is going through the same. They encouraged me to drop the nappies at night time and since last week Olivia has been dry at night too! They’re a really supportive bunch and they were definitely the real gain behind doing the NCT class.

Did you take any antenatal classes? Have you stayed in touch with the other parents too? We’d love to hear about it!

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Review: Chaffree Knickerboxers During Pregnancy

Nothing I have tried has come close to the comfort and support offered by Chaffree Knickerboxers. I was concerned that they wouldn’t be suitable for me because I.m pregnant and they don’t offer maternity sizes but I am pleasantly surprised that at 27 weeks pregnant I am still getting on well with them.

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Let’s be frank here for a second, shall we? Thigh chaffing, the infamous “chub rub”. Most women, regardless of size, know what I mean. I have suffered through it and struggled to find an actual solution to this for years – I’m not much of a skirt/dress wearer and this is probably why.

I have tried chopping the legs off of my tights and leggings and wearing them as shorts but unsurprisingly the bottom of the legs would roll over themselves and make the problem worse.  I have purchased shorts specifically for the job – most notably the flimsy white ones that I bought to try and get through my wedding without catching my dress on fire from the thigh friction. Thank goodness my wedding dress went to the floor and wasn’t figure hugging because I can only describe those shorts as “gigantic bloomers” and they set me back £15 – for only another £3 I could have had a pair off Chaffree Knickerboxers… if only I had known. 

Honestly, nothing I have tried has come close to the comfort and support offered by these Chaffree shorts. I was concerned that they wouldn’t be suitable for me right now because I am hugely pregnant and they don’t offer specific maternity sizes but I have to say, I am pleasantly surprised that at 27 weeks pregnant I am still getting on well with them. I was a size UK 14/16 pre-pregnancy so I got the M/L size to fit UK 16/18/20 and they’re only just getting snug.  As a realist, I predict that this pair probably won’t be comfortable for me right up until the end of my pregnancy at the rate I’m growing, but they are not too tight yet! I’m considering just rolling the waistband down once they become too tight around my ever growing belly.

Inside of the legs/crotch

When the shorts arrived I realised that they have a slim padded section that almost looks like towelling but it is synthetic so I was concerned that I would get very hot in them and sweat but actually the oppposite happened, they kept me very much cool and dry. The main material feels like thick tights to touch but the wizardry that keeps them from riding up or drooping down like tights is impressive. 

I got the ‘long’ leg Knickerboxers, which I thought would be fine as I am not much of a short dress wearer and I worried about them rolling up if they were too short. At 5’3″ (29″ leg) I would say the long is just slightly too long for me unless I am wearing a dress on or below the knee – anything above the knee can flash them a little bit – what I didn’t account for was my dresses appearing shorter after they’ve made their way all the way over my bump!

As far as I can tell these are not intended to be a shapewear garment – they have too much stretch for that – but I have found them to be supportive and flattering. They hold my bump up and take some of the pressure off of my hips and seem to smooth out some of my wobbly bits without being constrictive. 

My one quibble with the product is the use of synthetic fibres and the risk that poses to the environment – if they developed a natural fibre product I wouldn’t hesitate to buy every colour – as it is, I am pleased that one good quality garment is replacing all of  my feeble attempts at comfort. 

What other products have you come to swear by during pregnancy?

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Can you have a smear test during pregnancy?

A few weeks ago, after talking to a friend about her smear test I started to wonder, should I still be having this done even though I’m now very pregnant?

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In short, yes. But read on to find out why and when…

I am approaching my 25th birthday, so naturally I got my first smear test letter a few months back. I was filled with the usual apprehension that I hear so much about but a stronger determination to get it done and shout it from the roof tops. A couple of days after my letter arrived I got a positive pregnancy test and that put pay to that. I just figured I’d have to be 6 months postpartum with everything back to “normal” to have one so I’d try again next year and keep nagging all of my almost 25 year old friends to get theirs booked.

A few weeks ago, after talking to a friend about her smear test I started to wonder, should I still be having this done even though I’m now very pregnant? I read that it is unsafe in the first and third trimesters but apparently safe in the second trimester, which I am right in the middle of. So should just go ahead and book it?

I spoke to my consultant about it last week and the good news is that pregnant women who need a smear can have one, but it will likely show some kind of abnormality and they will need another soon after birth. I was told that unless I had a specific concern or a history of abnormalities in smear tests I should avoid having one until 6 weeks after the birth of my baby. At that point I will have been 25 for 5 months, so not as bad as I thought.

So the takeaway from this? If you are worried about something, talk to your doctor and if you have had abnormalities in previous smear tests then get yourself booked in during your second trimester. If everything is fine, go get yourself booked in when you have your 6 week postpartum check up.

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Antenatal Depression


20 weeks pregnant – half way there!

I am quite fortunate and very aware of it. My pregnancies seem to be quite mundane, the small human grows in there with very little interference for the most part and for that I am endlessly grateful.

I am quite fortunate and very aware of it. My pregnancies seem to be quite mundane, the small human grows in there with very little interference for the most part and for that I am endlessly grateful. I do, however, suffer some of the usual pregnancy complaints and this time it’s all happening a little sooner than before!

Hip pain.

In my previous pregnancy my hips didn’t start to bother me too much more than usual until I was about 30 weeks, this time I made it to 16 weeks before the hip pain crept in. I’m not impressed and I starting to worry that it is going to affect me quite badly as the baby grows. If you are suffering with hip pain in pregnancy you can see what the NHS says about it here. To combat this (and to maintain some level of fitness) I have started swimming three days a week. Being in the water is a huge relief for all of my aches and pains whether they are pregnancy related or caused by Fibromyalgia. 

Heartburn.

My goodness, the heartburn is getting to me. I have indigestion tablets in every room and every bag and I have a huge bottle of heartburn relief on my bedside table. It’s aniseed and it is gross but it does a good job. This has happened much sooner than I expected as well, I was hoping to get a few more weeks before the pregnancy heartburn really kicked in. My mum keeps telling me I’m going to have a very hairy baby so keep an eye out in another 20 weeks and we will see if this old wives’ tale has any truth.

Kicks and wiggles

Of all the things in this pregnancy that have happened sooner I am sad that this was not one of them. I started showing sooner this time but didn’t feel any kicks until I was at least 16 weeks, if not 17. Last time I felt flutters at 14 weeks. After a few quiet weeks with just one or two flutters a day baby has now discovered there is room enough for a party in my womb. The kicks all feel very low down so I am taking a guess that the placenta is front and centre, which would explain why I didn’t feel anything for so long. I will see if I can find out at my scan next week.

Cravings

silhouette of  a pregnant woman on the beach at sunset with title text overlay

I’ve had some oddly specific and slightly strange cravings this time, compared to fairly average ones last time. My first craving – before I knew I was pregnant – was burger relish. Specifically the one they use at McDonald’s on the cheap cheeseburgers. The cravings then moved on to basically anything salty, this was during ‘morning’ sickness and no one could understand why I was fine eating Greggs pastries for breakfast but not cereal. This is where it starts to get strange though, I craved the lettuce from inside a burger. Not the burger itself, not fresh lettuce or a salad – the soggy, warm shredded lettuce from inside a burger. And now it’s just Mustard. Mustard on everything. I don’t even like mustard but there we go. Compare that to peanut butter, strawberries and chicken noodle soup last time and things certainly are looking a little odd.

All in all, I am having a pretty good pregnancy and I am looking forward to the little milestones over the next 20 weeks.

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