41 articles Articles posted in Pregnancy

Boost Your Post-Baby Confidence

Boost Your Post-Baby ConfidenceI don’t know about you, but I am definitely not one of those women who wears pregnancy well. I carry HUGE bumps despite having small babies, suffer with problems with my hips and the closest I come to a ‘glow’ is wiping the sweat from my brow after a particularly nasty bout of morning sickness. By the time baby comes along, most of us feel well and truly battered and it’s basically the law that “normal” women feel a bit lost and frumpy in their post-baby body. I thought I’d take a look at ways to help you to give your confidence a little boost so that you feel more human and ward off those baby blues.

Get Some Exercise

I know. I know. Suggesting exercise when you’ve either squeezed or had a human cut out of your body is probably going to make you hate me, but everyone knows that exercise boosts happy hormone levels, so it’s pretty much guaranteed to make you feel better. I’m not suggesting you start training for a marathon a couple of weeks post-partum (unless you want to!) but trying a mum and baby exercise class or just going for a walk can really boost your morale and help you lose the excess baby weight.

Get a Hair Transplant

Okay, this one might sound a little bit bonkers but LOTS of women lose hair during pregnancy and for some people, it simply never grows back. Hair transplant cost doesn’t have to be astronomical and if replacing your lost hair gives you your confidence back, it’s priceless.

Make Time for Friends

Sometimes, being a new mum can feel incredibly isolating and months can fly by in a baby-haze before you realise how lonely you are. Making time to see your friends can be incredibly theraputic and just getting the chance to have a chinwag with someone over the age of ten can give you more of a boost than almost anything else.

Take Care of Yourself

When Sausage was born, I became obsessed with painting my nails. I bought dozens of different colours and my nails always looked great. There was something really soothing about taking ten minutes for myself while she was napping to make sure just one part of me looked good, even when the rest of me was unwashed and plastered in baby sick! It doesn’t have to be nails – shape your brows, do your make-up, whatever it is to perk you up, tale some time to do it.

Remember You’re Part of a Couple

I think it’s incredibly common for new parents to get so completely caught up in parenting that they forget that they’re also someone’s partner. If you don’t want to have someone else look after the baby, plan a mini-date for when baby naps and have an adult conversation with your other half. We went to Wagamama last week and there was a young couple with a tiny baby in a carseat, fast asleep on the table the whole time they were eating, but at least they were spending time with one another.

Protecting Yourself: Which Type Of Contraception Should I Choose?

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There are many different types of contraception on the market. Not every style of contraception is suitable for each person, so there is a range of types and brands on offer. The best person to talk about what contraception is right for you is your nurse. This is because a medical family history will need to be taken before you go on a pill or have an injection. But just so you aren’t going in blind, today we are going to look at some of the most popular methods of contraception that may suit your lifestyle.

The Pill

The contraceptive pill is one of the most popular methods of protection. There are two types of pill. There is the mini pill and the combined pill. The combined pill contains artificial oestrogen and progesterone. These prevent your ovaries from releasing an egg, which is what is known as ovulating. If you are not ovulating, you should not get pregnant. When the pill is taken correctly, it is over 99% effective in stopping pregnancy. But pleased do remember that it offers no protection against STDs. If you are concerned about STD’s, always get tested. And if you are sleeping with a new partner, always make sure he uses a condom. The pill can also help with heavy periods and muscle cramps. And sometimes it is prescribed for these things.

The Mini Pill

The combined pill is taken for 21 days and then has a break of seven days before resuming again. However, the mini pill is taken continuously. Its main difference to the combined pill is that it only contains one female hormone, and that is progesterone.  Sometimes is it referred to as POP or progesterone only pill. The mini pill is often given to women who have just had a baby or those who have risk factors from the combined pill. Please talk to your nurse or doctor to see which one is better for you.

Contraceptive Implant

If you don’t mind a very small thin tube inserted under the skin in your upper arm, then the contraceptive implant may be for you. This method of contraception stops the release of your eggs, and it lasts for three years. However, it can be taken out whenever you want it to be. Again, this method is over 99% effective, and it means you do not have to worry about taking a pill at the same time every day. Using the implant can make your periods stop after the first year of implantation. Or they may just become lighter. If you have any side effects, the implant can be removed.

Diaphragm

Possibly the one that scares men the most! The contraceptive diaphragm is known as a barrier method of contraception. It is a large looking cap that you put into your vagina before having sex. You must then leave it there for at least six hours after having sex. It works by covering the cervix so that the sperm can’t get in. But you also need to remember to use a spermicide with it as this kills sperm. This type of contraception is around 92-96% effective. However, it is a good form of contraception if you are concerned about the health risks of taking the pill.

Busting Pregnancy Myths

SpatonePregnancy can be an absolute minefield of “advice” coming from a multitude of different sources. If it’s not your Mum, your mother-in-law, your Nan, sisters, friends or extended relatives sharing their collected wisdom about what your pregnancy should be like, it’s random old ladies in the supermarket stopping you to tell you what they did “in their day”! Sometimes, anecdotal advice can be the best thing in the world and there were a few things that my mother in law and sister in law told me when I was carrying Sausage that I still pass on to others because the advice was so sound. However, sometimes, it can all seem a bit much when you’re hearing different things from every person you speak to.

The awesome people at Nelsons, makers of iron supplement Spatone, have been speaking to proper midwives in an effort to bust some of the biggest pregnancy myths around, and we thought we’d share some of them with you:

Myth #1: How you are ‘carrying’ the baby can tell you the sex.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The shape and height of your bump is determined by your muscle tone, uterine tone, and the position the baby is in, not by the sex. The only way to know is via an ultrasound scan or amniocentesis and even then it is not always possible to be completely sure.

Myth #2: You shouldn’t drink coffee while pregnant.

You don’t need to give up caffeine entirely, the current advice for is to limit yourself to (ACOG 2010, FSA 2008, Jahanfar and Jaafar 2013) 200mg of caffeine a day – this equates to drinking approximately two mugs of tea, two mugs of instant coffee or one mug of filer coffee a day (or five cans of coke!). If your habit exceeds these amounts try a de-caf version in the afternoons, it may help you sleep better too!

Myth #3: Heartburn means baby has lots of hair

Heartburn is a common discomfort during pregnancy because your stomach is pushed higher by the growing baby. It is no way an accurate predictor of baby being born with a full head of hair. Lots of women who experience heartburn give birth to bald babies!

Myth #4: You shouldn’t eat smoked salmon when pregnant

Pregnant women can eat smoked fish and not advised to avoid it currently. Fish is good for mothers-to-be because it is a good source of many vitamins and minerals, as well as essential omega-3 fatty acids like DHA. There are some types of fish you should limit to 2 portions a week, this includes oily fish like salmon. There are also fish you should completely avoid like swordfish. The NHS website provides a full ist.

Myth #5: You are eating for two

In the first six months of pregnancy our energy needs do not increase. The average woman of normal weight pre-pregnancy only needs about 200 extra calories per day in her third trimester to promote her baby’s growth. That’s roughly the number of calories in a piece of buttered toast and a banana. Gaining too much weight can result in gestational diabetes and a struggle to lose the weight post birth so think twice before eating a double helping of dessert!

Myth #6 Lying or sleeping on your back will hurt the baby

While you won’t harm your baby if you lie on your back for short periods of time, lying on your back after 16 weeks can be uncomfortable. After 16 weeks it can make you feel faint as the baby presses on major blood vessels. Sleeping on your side might be more comfortable and as your bump gets heavier you might find it better to prop yourself up with pillows so you are almost sitting.

Myth #7: Guinness is a good source of iron

Mums and nans are forever telling us about the daily dose of stout they consumed during pregnancy because it is a good source of iron and a lot of people still believe this old wives tale. In fact Guinness and similar stouts contains no more iron than standard beer and you would need to drink a whopping 35 pints to get your daily intake of iron. But more importantly pregnant women should avoid alcohol altogether as not only does it carry an increased risk of miscarriage but may be harmful for the unborn baby.

Guinness in pregnancy

If your doctor or healthcare practitioner says you may need to supplement your diet with iron, why not try a sachet or two of Spatone, which contains iron rich water sourced from the Welsh mountains of Snowdonia National Park. The iron naturally present in Spatone can help top up your iron levels whilst causing fewer of the unpleasant side effects often experienced with conventional iron food supplements. Generally, iron is a very difficult mineral for the body to absorb. However, the iron naturally present in Spatone has been shown to be easily absorbed, with an average of 40% bioavailability, compared to 5- 20% from food and other iron food supplements#. Always check with your doctor or healthcare practitioner before taking any supplements if you are pregnant.

Spatone is available from Boots priced at £11.49 for 28 sachets (4 weeks supply) and Spatone Apple is priced at £12.49 for 28 sachets.

For more info visit www.spatone.com

The Realities of Being Fat and Pregnant

A couple of weeks ago, I read a viral Facebook post about a pregnant woman who’d been fat shamed after posting a series of photos online that she’d had taken of her and her bump. The story was then picked up by the Huffington Post after the woman was asked to take part in “The Honest Body Project”, a photo series which gives an honest look at women’s bodies.

The whole story was something which really resonated with me. Brittany Dykstra, the woman in the photos said “I’m 35 weeks pregnant and just last week I had maternity pictures taken to celebrate this horrible, but beautiful pregnancy. For the first time in about 35 weeks I felt beautiful, and was so excited to share this moment with my friends and family.”

She goes on to say “Later that day we got the sneak peak pictures back and I posted them on Facebook thinking my friends and family would think I was beautiful and would love them, however that wasn’t the case. All I received were negative comments about how huge I am, about how unhealthy I am, and about how they think my baby is going to be a 10 to 12 pound baby by the looks of how much I weigh. I literally went in the bathroom and cried for hours. It’s so hard being plus size, pregnant, sick, and getting negative comments about the way I look. If I’m happy and accepting of my body, why can’t everyone else just be happy for me?!”

Before I fell pregnant with Sausage, I wasn’t huge, probably around 12st, so a little overweight for my 5’4″ height, but not horrendously so as I have a large frame and huge boobs which tends to mean even at a ‘healthy’ body shape, I’m a little over what BMI charts say I should be. I gained a lot of weight during that pregnancy; for the first 4 months, I could barely eat anything at all and actually lost weight because of hyperemesis gravidarum. Then I developed gestational diabetes and despite trying to eat a low GI diet, the weight piled on. Once I’d given birth, I was in a cycle of depression and PTSD which meant that I never lost the baby weight and by the time I fell pregnant with Burrito Baby 5 years later, I was pushing 14 and a half stone.

I’d had every intention of losing the weight BEFORE getting pregnant again, especially as I was already diabetic, but I fell pregnant a lot quicker than I thought I would after having my implant removed, which meant dealing with pregnancy with a much higher starting weight than I would have liked. Like Brittany, once I reached a certain point in my pregnancy, I also felt a little more body-confident; my shape was suddenly defined by the life growing inside of me, not the amount of biscuits I ate, and while I wasn’t about to post photos of myself in lingerie on Facebook, I totally understand whet she meant about feeling beautiful for the first time in a long time.

According to the story, Dykstra started receiving abuse from family and friends regarding her weight, although no examples are given and I can’t help but wonder how much of this “abuse” was unwanted but well-meaning concern for her obvious weight problem. Because, while I am against the idea of ‘fat-shaming’ (lets face it, us fatties do tend to KNOW we’re fat, we don’t need to be constantly reminded), I do think it’s deluded to think that being overweight doesn’t cause health problems, especially during pregnancy. Being “happy” with your body is one thing, but being aware of health ramifications is also hugely important.

On a medical level, obesity during pregnancy can increase the risk of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, infection, problems during labour, increased birth weight, birth defects, babies with a high birth weight and even miscarriage. This isn’t about ‘fat shaming’ or ‘thin privilege’ – these are REAL risks, caused by being overweight.

On a personal level, I definitely found that being overweight during pregnancy adversely affected me. Hauling around a giant bump AND a giant body was genuinely exhausting and I honestly think my SPD and mobility would have been slightly better had I not been putting so much pressure on my pelvis with my excess weight (although and friend of mine, who is very slim, also had SPD, probably worse than my own, so I’m not saying obesity is a cause or necessarily means I suffered more, just that I don’t think it helped at all).

I’m not saying that Brittany Dykstra deserved to be abused for being overweight, nor am I saying that she deserved to feel any less beautiful than other pregnant women who enjoy the glow of carrying a child, but tip-toeing around the issue of obesity isn’t right either. Lots of women get pregnant at a less than ideal time of their lives and I’m sure that, given the choice, women would always choose to be in peak health when conceiving but it doesn’t always happen that way.

The thing is, weight is such a hot-button issue for most people. I know I’ve taken offense, even from medical professionals who’ve tried to talk to me about being overweight. It’s one of those things that people are hugely sensitive about because it’s so closely tied to their self-esteem, so choosing a moment where a mother-to-be is feeling good about herself to give her a lecture isn’t the best timing, not to mention the fact that she probably already KNOWS the issues AND has a team of health professionals telling her the same thing, but that doesn’t alter the fact that being fat and pregnant can be a problem, so it’s not simply a case of whether a person is happy with their weight.

What do you think? Are people overstepping the mark by expressing concern for her? Have you experienced pregnancy as an overweight person? I’d love to hear your opinions and experiences because this whole story has obviously struck a chord with me.

The Expectant Mum: How to Treat Yourself

You might have that glorious pregnant glow on the outside but now and again that pregnancy feeling can leave you feeling a little icky on the inside.

woman-356141_1280Whilst you’re coping with the morning sickness in the first trimester and heartburn in the second, the delights of the third leaves you with shoes that are too tight and a far too stretched tummy.

So, it’s safe to say you are in need – and truly deserve a bit of pampering every now and again and here is exactly how you should be treating yourself during your nine months of pregnancy.

Show your feet some lovin’

Remember, you are carrying another person around so your feet are taking a bit of a battering these days. Your feet may also be swollen from an increase in fluid around your body, so be sure to get yourself a pedicure every now and then, whilst also placing them in some nice warm water with lavender. This will leave you feeling relaxed with super soft tootsies.

Eat something truly yummy

Yes, whilst we know it’s important to be eating a balanced diet yada yada yada – it’s also important to treat yourself now and again, so head down to your local bakery and pick up the ultimate cupcake.  As long as you’re maintaining a nice, healthy diet most of the time, this will have no impact on your unborn baby.

Treat yourself to some flowers

If no one is going to buy you flowers – buy them for yourself! I mean, you are carrying another human around all the time, you deserve some flowers! So, check out Serenata and take advantage of their deals and discounts and brighten up your home with a lovely bunch of brightly coloured flowers; they’re guaranteed to give your mood a boost.

Wear something pretty

Living in your partners jogging pants and baggy t-shirts is no way to treat yourself during your pregnancy. So, put on a nice dress and go for a walk; if you look great, more often than not you’ll feel great. Remember – just because you’re pregnant that doesn’t mean you should feel fat and frumpy; you’re still a gorgeous woman!

Have a movie night

Arrange a night for you and your partner to sit on the couch and relax in front of a funny film – this is guaranteed to give your mood the boost it needs.

With these small treats, your nine months of pregnancy will fly past!

Maternity Matters Week 4 #maternitymatters

I can’t quite believe this is the fourth Maternity Matters linky already! We really hope you’re enjoying the process of sharing and reading so many great posts as much as we are. Seeing how pregnancy and birth experiences vary so much from person to person is as beautiful as it is informative and that uniqueness is exactly what’s at the core of Maternity Matters.

As usual, we’d love it if you displayed our badge, either on your individual posts or in your sidebar, and we’d also be grateful for anyone who isn’t already to follow the Maternity Matters Facebook and Twitter accounts.



MaternityMatters~ Mum's the Word

Creative Ways to Announce a Pregnancy

Before any of my friends and family has a heart attack, let me just say, this is NOT a creative way for ME to announce a pregnancy – BB is one next week and we’re pretty resolute that two is enough for us! However, there are some pretty cute and creative ways to announce a pregnancy and I’ve been trawling through the internet (mostly Pinterest, obvs…) so that I can share my favourites with you, to celebrate the launch of M&S Baby, a new one-stop-shop for everything your newborn will need, available across six stores nationwide, or online.

Husband and I were fairly low-key in our announcement of both pregnancies. With Sausage and BB, we told our friends and family right away, ignoring the 3-month rule, and opting for the usual scan photo on Facebook. However, there are far more interesting ways to do things, as the following examples show…

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Although I’m not much of a drinker, I love the humour in the card above and know a fair few people who this would suit perfectly!

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Husband and I are both great lovers of cinema and the movie-poster style announcement really appeals to this side of my personality. I also love the fact that the people who made it used a poster from a film that’s totally non-baby related as it makes you look twice before you realise what it means!

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I saw a whole bunch of chalkboard announcements whilst looking online, but I think this is my absolute favourite. Who doesn’t love a set of gorgeously chubby toddler legs?!pitter_patter_babyfeet_1200x800

This photo is so beautifully simple; no words are needed to explain that this couple is having a baby girl and I love the way they’ve used the beach as a setting for the photo, so that it’s not just a random photo of feet!

scrabble-pregnancy-announcement

This is another one that I would have loved to have done for Husband as we’re both fans of Scrabble!

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I love the idea of getting an older sibling involved in the announcements. Husband and I took Sausage to some of BB’s scans, including the one where we found out that we’d be having a girl, so it’s lovely to see people getting kids involved in the ups and downs of pregnancy and sharing the joy right from the beginning.

Did you announce your pregnancy in a creative way? We’d love to hear about it. so do leave me a comment below.

The Return of Maternity Matters

When I started blogging in the Autumn of 2010, a large part of my need to get my thoughts out of my head was because of the birth trauma I’d suffered whilst having Sausage in August 2008. Skip forward two years and I’d joined forces with Susanne from Ghostwriter Mummy, someone I’d only ever communicated with online, but who understood me better than some people I’d known my whole life because she’d been through a traumatic birth of her own.

You don’t want to believe that trauma, depression and PTSD will be something that defines you for the rest of your life but, in my experience, it’s something that does stay with you forever – you just learn how to carry it more comfortably, over time, like a heavy bag with a rubbish handle.  And it’s out of this shared experience that Susanne and I started Maternity Matters, a place for us and anyone else to tell their stories, find some support and to join together in improving knowledge and care for families who’ve suffered a trauma.

Over the past three years we’ve shared some incredible accounts of women of all ages and all walks of life, as well as collating news regarding maternity care in the UK, although life and babies (two more for Susanne and one more for me, bringing our collective total to six!) meant that the site has gone unloved for a while…until NOW! We’re hoping to bring Maternity Matters back to life and get it back on track. Susanne and I have a lot of new experiences to write about and we’re hoping that we’ll have lots of contributions from fellow bloggers and parents who want to share their stories.

In the meantime, Susanne and I will be launching the #MaternityMatters linky, starting tomorrow, for you to link up any article, blog post or story relating to:

fertility

conception

pregnancy and pregnancy related conditions/ complications

childbirth – of all kinds

breast/bottle feeding

postnatal experiences

parenting a baby

pregnancy/baby loss

The linky will go live every other Friday and we’d love to get as many of you as possible linking up with ANYTHING maternity-related. Also, if you’d like to contribute to Maternity Matters, please email jayne@maternitymatters.net with your ideas.

MaternityMatters

No More Babies?

baby clothes bundleCan you believe BB is almost 5 months old? How can it possibly have gone that fast? Being the dinky dot that she is (more about that in another post), she’s only just gone up to wearing 3-6 month sized clothes and yesterday, I sorted and bagged up all of her newborn and 0-3 month sized stuff to make way for the clothes that fit her. Once I finished, I stood looking at the bag full of tiny rompers and scratch mits and suddenly I felt desperately sad.

I never thought I’d have kids.

Years of gynae problems, starting age 11, meant that it had always been made very clear to me that I’d probably find it hard to conceive, so I galvanised myself by “deciding” that I never wanted kids anyway; a pre-emptive strike against heartache and disappointment. Then I met Husband and things changed. Sausage was conceived after about 18 months of trying and so commenced one of the most miserable pregnancy and labour experiences that one could ever endure. I never wanted to repeat the experience again. I genuinely considered having my tubes tied.

But, bad memories fade and heartache is more of an occasional throb once time has passed, and instead of thinking about what could go wrong if we had another baby, we started to think about all of the things that could go right. We wanted Sausage to have a sibling, an ally in the world when Husband and I cannot be, and we couldn’t see how having another Sausage could ever be a bad thing, so off we went on our mission to try again. And it worked. Quickly this time, as BB was conceived after just 3 months.

Another miserable pregnancy, but in different ways this time; no oesophagus-tearing morning sickness this time, but insulin injections and a million hospital appointments, leaving me weary and more than ready to never be pregnant again by the time BB came along.

And, come along she really did.

The labour was beautiful, a healing experience for both Husband and I, though the subsequent weeks were anything but. BB was diagnosed with a cows milk allergy, but only after about 14 weeks of pain and misery; we were told is was colic, then reflux and she was tried on two different formula milks, Gaviscon to add weight to her food, ranitidine to try to stem what was assumed to be acid reflux, lactulose to deal with the subsequent constipation caused by the thicker milk…making a bottle for my baby ended up being more like using a chemistry set.

As a final attempt before referring her to a paediatrician, our GP recommended that we try her on Nutramigen, a formula milk made without cows milk and almost immediately it was like we had a different baby. The 6-hour screaming sessions (please believe me when I tell you that is NO exaggeration) stopped and suddenly BB was laughing and smiling more often, sleeping through the night and able to get through the day without pain and discomfort. I could have kissed our GP, though I fear she may have objected somewhat. It changed all of our lives.

We’ve started to find balance.

I can do things with Sausage without having to worry about BB screaming all the time; she’s still a fairly vocal baby and she’s been teething for a few weeks, so things are by no means perfect but they’re a whole lot better. Better, I’ll take.

So, what does my sadness at packing all of the baby clothes up mean? Is it my body’s way of telling me that I do want another baby at some point? Many of the clothes I put away were Sausages’ first, then stored and passed down to BB. Looking at some of those precious little babygrows and knowing that they’ll never have another one of my babies in them again makes me feel more than a little bereft.

But.

And there are SO many ‘buts’.

I’m now over 30. I’m lucky to have managed to have two healthy children already and having another increases the chances of something going wrong. I really don’t do ‘pregnancy’ very well. I still have a bunch of weight to lose that I was supposed to get rid of before BB even came along. We don’t have the space.  Having another means splitting ourselves into even smaller pieces to make sure they’re all being cared for.

And yet, despite all those buts, I still can’t get my head (or my ovaries) around the thought of never doing it again.

Maybe its just my hormones.

Durex Real Feel Review

32680_DUREX_real_feel_pack_home_landingOkay, so my blog usually focuses on family life, so a review of condoms is a bit of a far cry from my usual content, but since BB was born I’ve not had a chance to arrange a more permanent form of contraception, so the opportunity came along at just the right time. Durex Real Feel condoms are made from a special new material which feels as close to the real thing as you’re going to get whilst being protected and the best part is, they’re latex free. Here’s me, talking about them a little bit more:

 

 

Durex has a dedicated site for their Real Feel condoms, and there’s a whole bunch of other bloggers over their talking about their experiences with the product, so do head over there to get the lowdown on what everyone else thought of them, as well as all of the ‘technical specifications’!