heart shape on stick in front of a woman's pregnant belly

Loving Your Body During Pregnancy

When you are pregnant there are many changes that your body goes through which affect you mentally and physically. And on the appearance side of things, it can be hard to adjust to your weight and body image. Even the women who receive compliments to say that they are glowing, think about how they look.

You are carrying a baby

Stating the obvious here but remember that you are carrying a baby in your uterus, a baby which develops and grows every day. I keep using the good old saying, I’m bloated!” then I am corrected by, “No, you’re pregnant.” As simply put as it is, it’s true. For someone like me, my weight has never changed drastically, other than the odd 6lbs ish weight fluctuations here and there, sometimes due to Slow Transit Constipation but also because I am a woman, I’m human, and it happens. 

The other week I got teary eyed when I weighed myself. Maybe it was an emotional day or perhaps the reality of that true pregnancy weight gain hit me. Either way, I am reminded that every woman’s body is different. We all have our own shapes and we shouldn’t let our minds think so negatively about our bodies – that goes for inside and outside of pregnancy. But remember, during pregnancy, there’s a baby, a placenta, fluid etc. There’s bound to be weight gain. If you are concerned, speak to your midwife. 

Growth is precious

Remember the day you found out you were pregnant? Baby was barely the size of a pea. If you was like me, it was very early on. Your baby goes through some huge milestones. From that first scan to the anomaly scan, you notice a difference in baby’s size and features. 

So, if you love to see your little bundle of joy growing, try to enjoy the wanders that pregnancy brings the growth of your body. I for one struggled a little at first, especially facing the fact that clothes didn’t fit anymore or just didn’t look right. After only a few weeks, I told myself to cherish everything, even the sickness in the first trimester reminded me that baby was inside and was changing every day. 

I adore my baby bump. The bigger it gets, means baby is growing more and getting stronger. And I cherish each and every movement and kick that I feel, no matter what time of the day it is.

Love your pregnancy body

Try not to compare yourselves to other pregnant women, stories, predicted baby weights etc. Enjoy your pregnancy! Make the most of feeling your little one wriggle around inside you. Bond with your baby – talk, play music, let your partner be part of the experience as much as possible. I look in the mirror most mornings as I get change and I now accept my pregnancy body. If there are times where I am starting to feel low, Danny always tells me, “You look beautiful!” then gives me more food to cheer me up of course!

I love the days where I can wear nice dresses, especially as we are now in the spring months (or at least they say it’s spring in the UK at the moment but the weather doesn’t look like it). I am so excited for the summer months to be here for more flowy dresses, and the moment will be here before I know it when we are holding our baby boy in our arms. 

A quick little tip here for any pregnant women, Palmers lotion for stretch marks is really good. I definitely recommend. 

fresh glass of milk

How to Cope with Heartburn During Pregnancy

Oh the wonderful joys of heartburn during pregnancy. Heartburn is something I have experienced before until my second trimester of pregnancy. It started with a burning sensation in my throat followed by acid that travels from your stomach to the oesophagus. So, I am having random bursts of this, sometimes when eating and other times I could just be doing my usual daily activities. Luckily, I haven’t had it too severely but there are a few things I can suggest due to the difference I have seen when doing the below.

Do not drink caffeine or fizzy drinks

This is a given as you are advised to avoid caffeine during pregnancy, thank you for decaf tea! But one thing I noticed going a few weeks back, is that I wanted to drink Pepsi Max whenever Danny had it during meals or throughout the day. That goes with the list of many things I want when Danny has them! But unfortunately it doesn’t help and only makes heartburn during pregnancy worse. Try having a glass of milk. This has worked wonders with me most nights. It’s said to neutralise the acids in your stomach. 

Avoid spicy foods

Wait, what? Don’t eat spicy foods? I know, it’s a challenge for me too. I love so many spicy foods. But if you want heartburn during pregnancy to ease or go away, you have got to do what you can. There are so many little things like peri peri pasta salads, curry, fajita chicken wraps etc. You name it. If it’s spicy, I want some (all) of it. I have treated myself to the odd spicy treat here and there. Reducing the amount I usually eat and certainly helped. The same goes with greasy foods too. 

Drink lots of water

Again, something you hear often during life inside and outside of pregnancy. Staying hydrated is important and it’s another natural way to help reduce heartburn. One thing I like is a nice smoothie during the day. But I have to keep an eye on eating or drinking too many citrus fruits as this doesn’t contribute well to easing heartburn during pregnancy. 

Try not to eat too much chocolate 

Erm… I am a chocoholic during pregnancy so that’s just mean! Needs must though and I do steer away from it if I know heartburn is coming back with a vengeance. I am writing this post, it is Easter Sunday so there’s no doubt about me indulging in chocolate later. It’s a worth a try if it’s an option you haven’t given a go during your pregnancy yet. 

Do medicines like Gaviscon help?

It is safe to take Gaviscon when you are pregnant and there are a few flavours available. However, there are some guidelines which outline when you shouldn’t take it e.g. if you have kidney or heart disease (see https://www.nhs.uk/medicines/gaviscon/).

I was given a large bottle of Gaviscon from my GP the other month which was good as outside of pregnancy I think you usually have to buy it over the counter. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to feel the true effects from Gaviscon because my midwife and MAViS advise me to take 2 aspirin each night along with my prescribed blood pressure tablets due to chronic hypertension (developed years before pregnancy). It can be a pain because with me, heartburn tends to appear more at night time. And taking these along with Gaviscon within 2 hours of each other only makes heartburn symptoms worse. So, I only take Gaviscon if none of the above have helped or if it’s kicking in worse than ever.

I also have some medicine to take as I have slow transit and chronic constipation. I think this is why I was sick on one occasion. Try to find the best time to take it and make it a routine if you are taking other medication. Always consult your GP first to make sure it’s safe. 

More information on heartburn during pregnancy 

There are a few other remedies which your GP may advise. Visit NHS online to find out more: https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/related-conditions/common-symptoms/indigestion-and-heartburn/ 

baby boy star shaped balloon

We Are Having a Baby Boy!

About a month after we discovered I was pregnant, there were many questions on our minds, one being “I wonder if we are having a boy or girl?” For us, the most important thing is that our baby is healthy and developing well but it’s exciting to think about whether you are bringing a baby boy or girl into the world.

Before the 20 week scan

Leading up to the 20 week anatomy scan, I just wanted to be sure everything was okay. I have worried about a couple of things along the way but I am only human. I guess those mum feelings kick in right away eh? Each week I learn about how our baby is developing and what’s new. From around the moment their heart starts to beat to having tiny fingers, toes and nails, to growing their vital organs and being able to recognise their gender on a scan.

The day of the 20 week scan

The day had finally arrived! As excited as I felt to see our baby, I’ll admit I was little nervous. “What if the sonographer picks something up? Have I been doing everything I can to make sure they are as healthy as possible?

Our appointment was early in the morning at 8am so we didn’t have to wait around wondering for part of the day. We entered the room, I lay on the bed and the sonographer put some gel on my stomach to start the ultrasound. She gave us a quick glimpse of baby, said she will do all of the checks then come back to show us baby again at the end in more detail.

I was asked to lie on my left side because baby was in a funny position and then asked to lie on my right side. The silence killed me wondering what was going on. A couple of tears strolled down my eyes. Moments later the sonographer turned the screen to us and there were no concerns.

I smiled and heart began to relax. Oh my, their little hands, arms, legs, heart beating strong, even their eye sockets! I fell in love all over again. Danny squeezed my hand then he started to tear up. Everything’s okay. In fact, it’s amazing. Our little dream come true is growing well and everything looks healthy. And guess what? We are having a BABY BOY! A big brother to our second child in the future (we hope). He was looking right at us and gave us a wave.

Were any of the gender myths true?

Quite a few people asked me if I had signs or feelings along the way that it’s a boy or girl. The truth is, no. This is my first pregnancy so I have nothing to compare it to. And it turns out all of the baby gender myths weren’t true for me. I have become a chocoholic, haven’t had any real cravings, typical morning sickness in the first trimester etc. One thing I didn’t have before I was pregnant is indigestion and that sure loves to kick in every now and again, especially at the night time.

Boy or girl, we always knew our baby would we loved so much even before they are born. We are imagining so many special moments in the future. 

We are having a son who will be a page boy when we get married! I am imagining the cuteness already. There are so many magical moments happening for us and there isn’t anyone else I would want to experience them all with but Danny. We’ve got this!

Here’s to seeing you again, our beautiful baby boy. 

teddy bear waving

What Being a ‘Mum to Be’ Means to Me

Am I really a mum to be? Yes I am and it feels so amazing.

While this is such an exciting time in my life, I’m not ignorant towards the topic of pregnancy loss, nor have I ever been since a I was child. Some women I’m very close to, have lost a child. It’s raw but it’s real.

I know people who have miscarried at different stages of their pregnancy, or  experienced a still birth. My mum fits into both of these categories, someone who I love so much and every day I think about how strong she is. I also have friends who have health issues which causes barriers for them to be able to get pregnant. I’ll always remember them and what they’ve been/are going through.

This post hasn’t been published to disregard anyone’s feelings, it’s simply to share how my mum to be journey is going and how it feels for me. Even my mum says, “Nothing should stop me from the light that pregnancy brings to your life, especially when it’s for the first time.” She (and Danny most days pre-pregnancy) has taught me how important it is to be happy and to focus on whatever triggers. Now, my first pregnancy is something beyond that. It’s an experience which I am sure I’ll never forget and I am learning to cherish every moment.

One thing I’ve always wondered is, what it’s like when you know you have a baby inside you. How does it feel? Does it change you? There are days when I panic, others when I wonder if I have exercised enough.

Doing everything I can

Anyone who knows me, understands that I did everything in my power to put my body in it’s healthiest state when trying to get pregnant. I wanted to sort some medical bits out, speak to my doctor and gynaecology department to check if I would be putting me/baby at risk if I was to fall pregnant. They didn’t doubt me, they offered to help and support me wherever I needed it. It’s like they knew it was my time. And I wasn’t shy to share the fact that we have always known we wanted a baby. I just never knew if it could happen because we hadn’t tried before without contraception. 

My GP was in touch a lot in the first trimester to check on me, mostly due to the fact that I have chronic hypertension. But more so, because my body was about to go through some big changes and I was bound to have questions. Before seeing the midwife, I remember asking him over the phone, “Am I definitely pregnant?” And he said, “Natasha, the amount of positive tests you have, there’s your answer.” I was in some kind of disbelief that we had been given this chance, something we have always dreamed of.

Getting pregnant has always been an image in my future ever since I was younger. I remember going shopping with my mum and I would always run to the baby clothes section, that hasn’t changed to this day. I’ve never really been afraid to hold a new born baby and I have always looked into their eyes and wondered what it would be like to hold one of my own some day.

Dreams do come true

And now, the dream is coming to life. The day I seen those two pink lines then the word Pregnant on a pregnancy test, my whole world froze for the most surreal moment ever. I remember thinking, “Wow, we have made a new life. A little one to call ours.”

For days I wondered how our baby would start to grow, what they look like, is my body strong enough to take this on? Is there anything I can do more of? What shouldn’t I be doing? The list of questions went on.

As much as there are hard days and confusing times during my pregnancy journey, I never for one minute forget how blessed I am. Since I have had a visible bump, I must look in the mirror at least once a day and smile. I talk to my baby bump, I sing, and we dance together.

I want to give our baby everything and more. They will know what it’s like to be loved, cared for, and how important a family is. Just the other day, I was talking to Danny and there was a little quiz on the pregnancy app I’m using. It asked about the qualities you would like your child to have, things to understand when growing up etc. Every answer we gave was the same, and we said them simultaneously.

We are already factoring our baby’s future into everything we do. We are good at working as a team and I can’t wait until we become an extended team of 3. We are both keeping busy and I am whizzing round the house tidying and cleaning as much as I can. What’s new there? Danny is doing a lot of painting, he has the patience of a saint. I won’t lie, I only did a small amount of painting in the nursery but still, I’m in 1000% house maintaining mode and doing my usual thing. In the process of my daily routine I have started to realise how clumsy I am… or maybe just a lot more than I already was? Oh and it’s official, my name is Tasha and I’m a chocoholic!

I stared at the room once it had been painted and I choked with emotions – happiness, warmth, and excitement. What was once our little office is now a room becoming our son or daughter’s bedroom. We have a white cabinet with shelves that has some toiletry bits on, story books, Winnie the Pooh storage boxes with clothes, that kind of stuff. Sometimes, I walk into the room just to remind myself that as each day passes by, we are one step closer to meeting our baby.

Every time I see mums and dads pushing babies in their prams by the river at home, it makes me feel so happy. That’ll be us in the summer!

This is such a special journey. The next highlight will be finding out baby’s gender which will probably be the topic of my next blog post so keep a look out.