How to survive a summer pregnancy

Right, everyone is looking forward for the warmer  summer days. Clothing becomes lighter, the days are longer and normally summer also means holidays.

But last year I found that for the first time in my live I really wished that summer in UK was just one day. Not only it wasn’t, but it was one of the warmer summers I remember and quite a long one as well.

I remember my mum used to say that we should avoid having the last trimester clashing with summer time, and that is because a pregnant lady will be warmer than usual due to the baby being inside. It’s like hitting the menopause a lot easier. Heat becomes a problem, quite a big one. But this is exactly what I had. Since she was born in September, I had my last 3 months on summer and I have to admit I’ve struggled with it big time. I remember once I went to the theater with my girlfriends and I’ve almost passed out in the middle of Soho because it was 30 something degrees in London (yeah unusual I know). Then in the theater as I was in a middle sit I’ve started to boil so badly I could barely breathe and had to leave to a corner so I could have a bit more air.

So how to survive a summer pregnancy?

  • Move to a colder country – Probably not practical for most of us as we won’t be able to travel at that point either
  • Eat lots of fresh fruits and drinks lots of water – Fruit was definitely my savior. I had 9 months sickness and fruit happened to be the only thing I could keep down. Water is really really crucial as you need to keep hydrated  and baby as well. So carry a bottle of water with you at all times and keep on refilling it
  • Light and comfortable dresses – I gave up on more office type dresses and was going to work in white light dresses (with a nice necklace or so), simple because I had to be comfortable and as light as possible
  • Avoid the sun – It might sound obvious but try to stay indoors during the sun peak times. Leave your walks for end of the day or early morning.
  • Get a good fan! – So in UK houses have carpets and windows that might not open fully because summer it’s not supposed to last. I had 35 degrees in my living room and it was quite unbearable. For the first time in this country I had to buy a fan. This year I’ve bought one of those tower fans because it’s important to keep the house at good temperature for baby as well
  • Avoid doing anything that will make you sweat – I mean by this stage you won’t feel like doing much anyway, but find a cool place (if they have air con even better), read a book and try to relax.
  • Find a nice outdoors coffee place in the shade so you can enjoy some fresher air. It’s a good way to pamper yourself as well
  • Nap a lot – it’s a good way to keep temperature down as well
  • Carry a spray bottle so you can refresh yourself on the go

Any other tips? Did you had a summer pregnancy too?

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What to pack in the hospital bag

I have to admit apart from baby’s first clothes and nappies I had no idea what to pack, this was something I had to learn as well. Also it might sound obvious, but you also need to pack something for mum as well!

Also I was expecting that because it’s a hospital bag I would be able to fit everything inside. Nahhh, so I’ve ended up having 2 hospital bags, one for me and another for the baby

For the baby

  • 100% Cotton Comfy pyjamas – yes you will need more than 1 as you’re still learning how to put the nappy or the baby might throw up like my little one did. I had a little bag called “my first clothing” with 2 pjs and a hat

  • Also consider when baby will be born, you might need a jacket to take him out of the hospital. My little one was born in summer so there was no need for lots of clothing
  • Nappies – It’s kinda obvious but yes bring lots of nappies
  • Muslins – I found them really handy to wrap baby and ended up using them almost as bed linen too. I had bamboo muslins which I totally loved. They are perfect to keep the right body temperature and they are really soft and light, so perfect for baby. You could swaddle baby with them. My little one hated being swaddled
Little Bamboo

Little Bamboo

  • 1 portable nappy changer – I found that the hospital didn’t had any, so I was changing her nappies on the bed… needless to say pee went all over the place a few times. I didn’t pack anything but I wish I had
  • Cotton Pads – I find these more efficient than cotton balls. I use Johnsons & Jonnsons ones because they are quite big

  • Waterwipes – I know I’m being very specific here, you can bring any wipes you fancy really, but I love waterwipes because they’re pretty much just water and no chemicals. Yes they are expensive but they are really worth it!

  • Milk – This is a bit controversial but some people pack formula in case baby can’t latch. What I would have done was to bring seringues and use the hospital pump to pump some milk in the scenario where baby wouldn’t latch. My little one was glued to my breasts as she was starving when she was born. If it makes you feel at ease, pack formula even if you end up never using it. Also, if you’ve managed to store some milk before baby was born, bring it with you. This will be quite important if baby needs to go to ICU.

And that’s pretty much it for the baby.

For Mum
Now this is where people tend to pack things they will never use. In my case I can say I haven’t use any food since I’ve ended up in emergency C-section without ever going into natural labour. Most people will pack cereal bars but labour makes you really thirsty so this is what I had packed:

  • Coconut water – as labour makes you sweat loads! You need something you can drink fast and helps with the heat as well
  • Fruits
  • Porridge – because provides a slow release of energy. I had the instant ones where you just need hot water
  • Big bottle of water
  • Cheap knickers- the disposable ones are not very comfortable
  • Maternity pads – believe me you’ll need them
  • Comfy clothing – for labour and when you are at the hospital. I had cotton trousers and t-shirts and a large dress
  • Nursing bras and breast pads
  • Toiletries and a towel – You will need a shower after all the hard work and don’t forget flip flops so you don’t go barefoot into the hospital bathroom
  • Lip balm and hair ties – again handy if you’ll end up in long labour and you’ll feel like you’re in the desert!
  • Hospital notes and plan…. although I would say my plan was really useless
  • Something for you to read – I had my kindle
  • Phone and phone charger
  • Ipod or music on your phone

For dad

  • Ensure dad knows your birth plans and knows how to assemble the car seat
  • Mobile phone and charger
  • Lots of snacks as he won’t be getting any food while he’s supporting you and drinks too

The biggest tip I would say is, if you need to stay overnight in the hospital try to get a private room, otherwise your partner won’t be able to stay with you and help you out. My first night in the hospital was horrible because I could barely move, I was thirsty all time and I still had to manage to hold baby. On the 2nd night we went to the private room and at least he could stay with me and help me out a bit. Made tons of difference. You can have a female partner with you, so if you have a family member that can stay with you, that’s great.

It’s always handy to have the hospital bag ready as soon as possible, so in the case you need to run to the hospital everything is ready and you both know what you need to do.

Pregnancy Yoga

I wanted to do yoga for a long long time but I’ve never managed to set myself into actually do it. Once I’ve decided I had to start eliminating stress and take better care of the baby in my belly (and myself too) I’ve decided straight away to join Pregnancy Yoga Classes.

Photo from Yoga 4 You

Photo from Yoga 4 You

I have to say I loved them! It was great to take some time out and be able to stretch and learn breathing techniques. I totally recommend it to all mums, seriously. You won’t have that much me time left once baby is born, so make the most of it!

Main benefits for Mum

  • It teaches great breathing techniques which are crucial during labour
  • You’ll meet other mums in your area
  • It’s great for relaxing and learn good postures for labour and also to deal with the pregnancy itself
  • Lots of pelvic floor exercises which will also be key during and post labour
  • Helps to handle the pressure (and pain!) in the hips

Benefits for the baby

  • If mum feels relaxed baby will feel relaxed and nourished as well
  • A smoother labour for mum means it will be easier for baby too

I found a great article that explains the main benefits into more detail here.

Have you done pregnancy yoga? Did you enjoyed it? Tell me your thoughts. Once baby is born don’t forget there is Mum & Baby Yoga too!

Pregnancy – Hypnobirthing

I don’t know about you but I can tell you that one of the scariest things for me was actually labour. Because I had strong pain during my periods and had fainted a few times in the past, especially in really hot days, I was really scared about the thought of going into labour and being hours in pain.

I hate hospitals every since I know myself. Again I’m the fainting type. The smell of the different products, the lack of fresh air, needles and blood makes me feel really dizzy, so I was scared the moment I’ve discovered I was pregnant.

Then I did something that made the matters worse, I’ve started reading hospital reviews (UK) and got even more scared. It felt it was a matter of luck if you were going to have a good support or not. On my first ante-natal appointment and because I have been throwing up a lot, I was really week and feeling dizzy, so I’ve asked to lay down while the midwife was doing my bloods. She answered: “I don’t have all day you know?”. I’ve ended up getting out of the room almost about to faint to try to find some chairs so I could sit down. If I was concerned before, now this was the peak of it all. I wish I was stronger but I’m not, it’s just the way I am.

At around 5 or 6 months I’ve decided to get a private midwife to support me through pregnancy and the first days with baby. (I’ll write about my overall experience in a different post)

One of the things she advised me was to look into Hypnobirthing. I had no idea such a thing existed.

What is hypnobirthing?

“Hypnobirthing is a complete birth education programme, that teaches simple but specific self hypnosis, relaxation and breathing techniques for a better birth.”

You can find more about it at hypnobirthing.co.uk

Why I found it useful?

  • It explains all you need to know about labour, how your body reacts, how the hormones play such an important role throughout pregnancy and after
  • It also goes through positive birth stories (normally you only ear about that friend that was in labour for 3 full days in agony)
  • But it also tells you what can go wrong and what you can do to deal with it

Overall I found that most of my fear around labour was directly related to my lack of knowledge. I knew nothing about pregnancy or babies. Zero. Throughout my reading, I started to relax a lot more because I knew what to expect.

I’ve bought this one at amazon and really liked it. Really informative

The book also comes with relaxation techniques and exercises, but I’ve ended up not doing them as much as I was doing meditation daily and also having the yoga classes. I just couldn’t focus 40m in doing the daily exercises. But loved the book.

As you’ve probably read on my planning story, everything went away from the plan, but at least by knowing what to expect I felt really relaxed in my final stages of pregnancy and I’ve ended up making the most of my last Me time in a long long while.

Have you done hypnobirthing before? Did it worked for you? Were you afraid of labour as I was? Let me know your stories and your thoughts 🙂

Have a lovely weekend,

Planning

You know when I’ve said that I wouldn’t just be doing maternity related posts? Well, it seems I’m struggling as I’ve been doing 24h baby, so don’t have much time for any other random thoughts. Although I’ve managed to write a bit a few weeks ago. Normally if baby sleeps I’ll stop everything and will sleep too (there are not many of those opportunities)

Anyway, one of the things I’ve learned during pregnancy is that there is no point in planning. In this particular case I’m talking about labour. And I have no shame in saying that to me labour was always a frightful thought, just the idea of pain for hours (maybe days) and hospitals….  but I’ve decided not to panic and real all about labour.

I’ve also read about hypno-birthing, did pregnancy yoga and was doing meditation.

Hypnobirthing is a complete birth education programme, that teaches simple but specific self hypnosis, relaxation and breathing techniques for a better birth.

this is not how most women feel at labour!!!!

this is not how most women feel at labour!!!!

Because I’m the type that faints in hospitals, I wanted a birth in the natural birth centre ideally in the birthing pool. You are encouraged to write all the details of your birthing plan, as if that was going to happen. I was already expecting it wouldn’t be going to be as per plan, but you always hope….

What I had was a roller coaster. Even on my due week (40 weeks), I was still going for walks, had a small belly (looking like 6 months) and went out for nice tea in the afternoon. After being measured by the midwifes, they’ve said baby wasn’t growing so better to do an additional scan. Based on the scan it was confirmed, baby had stopped growing. So was booked for a c-section for the next morning (they’ve also said she was breech (head up as opposed to head down), which I found surprising.

So I had less than 24h to get used to the idea, no natural birth, it was going to be a c-section. But it was for the best right? At night I guess I’ve started to feel more relaxed, although I’ve ended up not sleeping. Next morning at 06a.m I was already at the hospital. After speaking with the doctors, who’ve explained all the procedure I was ready to go for it. Then they’ve decided to do another scan, and as she was head down (as I was expecting!), they’ve said it was better for me to be induced so she would be born naturally (I wouldn’t be able to use the pool anyway because of her size). I’ve argued a bit, as I was already prepared for the c-section and it would be easier now. As the doctor said, it would be better for baby induction, I’ve decided to go for it.

While I was being prepared for the induction, her heart beat decreased, so the emergency alarm was triggered and I was being sent to the magic room. I was so scared for the baby. Although the journey was really short, I never felt so scared in my life. I remember seeing loads of people in the operation centre and then waking up and not being able to focus, but I knew there was a baby in my arms. So yap, not at all according to plan and it was so stressful that I’ve started to suffer from insomnia and had panic attacks the next 2 weeks….

Not to mention that the recovery is quite a slow one…. still in recovery mode 2 months later. So the conclusion is, whatever you’re about to plan, plan the opposite!