10 Things I wish All Pregnant Women Knew
By The Modern Midwife
1. There’s no one way to experience pregnancy. As you progress you may find you receive lots of unsolicited comments; “My wife had no morning sickness” or, “I did Zumba until I gave birth” etc.No matter how harmless they’re intended to be, these remarks can sometimes make you feel like a bit of a failure if you aren’t enjoying every aspect of your pregnancy. So my advice is to take any unhelpful comments with a pinch of salt, even better, just ignore them and focus on your own, unique pregnancy.
2. Your baby is developing in response to your lifestyle cues. For example, a baby reacts to the amount of food you eat, the types of food you eat and the stress levels you experience. Your baby receives a little part of everything you do in preparation for the environment in which they will be born into. I know it’s obvious but try to eat well, sleep well and manage your stress from the beginning of your pregnancy. Meditation has been scientifically proven to reduce stress levels and improve sleep. Try just 10 minutes a day and see how well it works for you. There are several free videos on youtube or you can tune into my pregnancy meditation podcast.
3. As tempting as it might be, “eating for two” is not only bad for you but it’s a myth. According to NICE guidelines there is no U.K. evidence-based guideline regarding set weight gain. Obesity in pregnancy carries serious risks and if you think you might be overweight I would recommend you attend appointments offered by the NHS to discuss weight management or speak to a nutritionist, Laura Hughes is very helpful and knowledgeable. If you have a normal BMI, you still need to be mindful of what you eat; most weight gain should be after 20 weeks. Ordering food shopping online, meal-planning and of course The Pregnancy Food Company will help provide delicious nutritional meals.
4. You get free dental care (once your pregnancy is confirmed by ultrasound) up until your baby is one year old! Take advantage of this and see your dentist and/or hygienist because they will spot any changes early on which may prevent tooth loss and gum disease. If your gums seem sensitive and start to bleed, swap to a softer bristle brush.
5. If you are thinking of painting your nursery it is important to ensure the paint is safe for a babies room, try to opt for an eco-paint (Little Nights Paint is great) and if you get a new carpet make sure it is fitted at least 2 months before the baby is due as the chemicals linger for a while.
6. You may notice that your nipples get darker and bigger this is because your body is starting to prepare for breastfeeding, don’t worry it’s normal. Babies have poor eye sight at birth the darker and larger the nipple the easier it is to for them find.
7. Preparation is key; look into and book antenatal classes for both you and your partner. It’s useful to understanding what’s to come. Classes vary in length, frequency and delivery. The more knowledge you have surrounding your pregnancy, birth choices and pain relief in labour, the better. If you do your own research too; bear in mind that not all sources you come across online are credible. Midwives and Doctors refer to NICE or RCOG guidelines nationally because they are credible and trustworthy sources.
8. The common saying “babies don’t move much at the end of pregnancy because they don’t have enough room” is a myth. Your baby’s movement may not be as vigorous due to the lack of room but the frequency of movement should remain unchanged. You should monitor the pattern and frequency of your baby’s movement and be feeling regular, frequent movement right up until labour. If their regular frequency or the pattern changes, you need to see your midwife to have a Cardio Toco Graph (CTG) monitoring of your baby’s heart rate.
9. Constipation, due to the release of progesterone, is most common in the first trimester and it can make you feel very uncomfortable. Actively increase your fibre intake as soon as possible to ensure you have regular bowel movements. Spelt is one of the best fibres to ingest and there’s a lot more to it than just helping you poop! Again, The Pregnancy Food Company offer some delicious, very handy solutions.
10. Understand your baby’s position and optimal fetal positioning. To help get your baby in a good position, ready for labour, spend as much time as you can in positions in which you can lean forward and where your knees are below your hips, particularly from 34 weeks onward if it’s your first baby, or 37 weeks if it isn’t.