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The best lightweight stroller for toddlers

It is hard to choose from all the range of different strollers available on the market. I know myself- I spend weeks on researching the best strollers for my baby when she reached the sitting down milestone. For me very important feature was the buggy’s weight so it would be light enough to take it with me when travelling, small size so it wouldn’t bother us in my small apartment and the parent-facing option (surprisingly not easy to find within strollers for toddlers)

When I was walking in the park I was acting like a creepy person checking out other mothers with prams, looking at the brand of their strollers. Uppababy Vista/Cruz, Babyzen YoYo and Bugaboo are the main brands mothers prefer. But when it comes to the functionality, the look and the lightweight option the winner for me was Bugaboo Bee 5.

The best look and quality

I know this might sound vain and shallow but who doesn’t want to have the prettiest and the cutest pram? Pushing a baby in a stroller is a bit like driving a car, am I right? (Ok, maybe there is a slight difference). So you want to own a nice car (meant a stroller) without sacrificing the quality of it. That is why Bugaboo Bee is the right choice. It curved chassis and bright colours definitely makes this buggy stand out from the crowd. You have a 3-year guarantee from a manufacturer so you can be sure it will last you for long time(or even pass it to your next baby).

What’s an extra plus is that you can buy loads of useful accessories to it: cup holder, umbrella, matching footmuff and liner, travelling bag etc. Another cool thing about it is that you can change basically any part of this pram starting from the wheels, seat, frame to sun canopy so it will look like new whenever you need to.

The best size

Bugaboo Bee 5 is really small comparing to other ones available on the market. It’s great if you have to keep it inside of the flat or somewhere with limited space. It folds really easily and although it is not one hand fold, it’s simple and quick when you get a hang of it. In my case, I don’t even have to fold the stroller as it’s small enough to stay in the hall of my flat without bumping into it. I also love how fast it unfolds (making my life easier whenever I have to travel by a car ) and the fact that it’s compact enough to fit into a small car trunk. Because of the adorable size of the Bugaboo Bee, it is best for urban use. If you live in a city like London pushing it around supermarkets, narrow streets or in the underground won’t be a hassle at all!

Best functionality

Simple to operate from the back of the seat, Bugaboo Bee has 3 reclining positions from lying to sitting down. With 2 steps you can reverse the seat from world-facing to parent-facing (my daughter is not ready to leave her precious mama out of sight just yet!). This feature had a big value for me when I was choosing this stroller as most other lightweight prams are not reversible. Another advantages are the adjustable height of the handlebar (which will please even really tall people) and the extendable padded seat that grows with your child. And my favourite feature is the extendable sun canopy; it really protects your baby from the sun as it covers your child fully (no need for an umbrella).

The manufacturer says the pram is suitable from birth if you buy an extra bassinet until your little one reaches 17 kg so approximately 3-3,5 years old. The shopping basket will carry max 5 kg and in my opinion is large enough for daily shopping (however I did have trouble fitting my changing bag into it so I bought hooks and just hanged the bag around the handlebar).

Best weight

This pram is great for everyday use as well as travelling; although there are some lighter strollers available on the market, Bugaboo Bee 5 with the weight of 8.9 kg can be easily lifted by a skinny person (or a person without muscles=me). It’s not only a useful feature for travelling but also when using public transport or when the elevator breaks in your building! I did not try to lift the stroller with the baby in it but my partner did it without a problem. Putting it into a car trunk is effortless as well.

Few things that are not ‘the best’

Bugaboo bee is of course not that perfect. It has small wheels, which even though have a good suspension and shock absorption, they do struggle on uneven ground or gravel. And although it grows with your child, it does have quite narrow seat so if you have a chubby baby this might not be the best option for you. Another thing that might annoy some of you is that it’s missing bumper bar, so your child doesn’t have anything to hold on to (rest assured, the 5-point safety harness is enough to secure your little one from falling). What’s more, make sure you don’t mind bending and kneeling when out and about as the stroller seat is situated lower to the ground than most others; it didn’t bother me personally as it gives the pram extra charm- just like the Lamborghini’s low suspension ūüôā And, unfortunately, it is not cheap but you have to look at it as an investment.

So is Bugaboo Bee 5 really the best lightweight stroller for toddlers?

I would say it’s definitely one of the bests available on the market. It’s charm and quality are something hard not to like. You can customize it and change the parts when you feel like it. It really ‘pushes like a dream’, with one or both hands. Fitting it in your flat and car won’t be an issue and when taking it into crowded places you will appreciate its small size. It has decent basket and a really great sun canopy

Is it the lightest- not really, however if you would go for a super light stroller that weighs around 6 kg (like Babyzen Yoyo) it would most likely do a better job when travelling by plane but could not live up to your expectations on other level (when shopping for example) .

Remember, there is not a perfect stroller, some of them are exceptionally good in one aspect and others in something else. Finally, you should find a pram that suits your lifestyle. If, like me, you live in a busy city, often travel and appreciate quality items then Bugaboo Bee 5 is the right choice for you.

Is it worth practising hypnobirthing? Mindful hypnobirthing review

You are getting closer and closer to the big day. You start to imagine how the birth of your baby will look like, how much this must hurt and how are you going to even manage this pain. If you are already getting the most horrific images in your head, please hold your horses. Does giving birth hurt that much? The answer is yes. Can I do something about it? Yes. Does it have to be so scary? Not at all.

 

How I came across the ‘hypnobirthing’ term

When I was browsing about different stages of labour and managing the pain the term hypnobirthing popped up. I looked at the Youtube videos which showed testimonials of women who had an amazing birthing experience thanks to the hypnobirthing technique.

I’ve always been interested in psychology: complexity of our brain, how does subconscious affect our lives or how meditation can improve our lifestyle. But I was sceptic at first, I couldn’t imagine a painless birth (can you?). Since I believe in the power of mind I decided to research the topic in detail.

What is mindful hypnobirthing

In short, hypnobirthing is a mix of meditation, hypnosis and visualising techniques. Mindfulness is about being aware of the present moment, feeling all that is happening around you and bringing the attention to mundane but how important processes such as breathing, sitting or walking.

Because the idea of the most excruciating pain that labour involves has been embedded within us for ages, it is hard to change our view that it can be a positive experience. We have all watched movies with screaming women giving birth; your friends who already have kids probably told you awful stories and your mum just gave you that look when you asked about her experience.¬† So it’s apparent that in society persists this belief that suffering is an integral part of bringing a little human to this world.

There are courses available to attend and learn all the hypnobirthing method but for me the price was way too high (limited budget anyone?)¬† so I bought a book instead. It’s called Mindful Hypnobirthing by Sophie Fletcher.

How does the book help you to become more confident

The book is well written and introduce you the the world of meditation and self-hypnosis in an uncomplicated way. I really enjoyed listening to the meditation tracks from the book, especially to Sophie’s voice- it was so calming and relaxing! The CD (or the audio book if you choose it) is divided into short mindfulness part, visualisation, and longer meditation tracks. You are meant to listen to them daily, ideally from 28-30th week of your pregnancy.¬† Sophie gives you advice on how to write your birth plan, how to relax on a daily basis and how to shift your awareness in any situation. She¬†outlines the advantages of water birth and using hypnobirthing¬† techniques at the same time (which I also intended to do) and how to prepare the room you will stay in during your labour.

There’s even track for your partner (if you convince him to listen to it you’re a winner!).

So the book gives you a sense of confidence: you will finish reading or listening to it with a feeling that you are in power during your labour.

My personal experience with hypnobirthing 

I’ve never done mediation before, although I tried few times. I even joined a class one day but came out laughing at the breathing exercises those people were doing; it just sounded so funny for me on that time! Plus I couldn’t focus at all; it’s actually difficult to clear your mind completely.

So deciding to try out the hypnobirthing was more like a challenge to me. I remember when I first listened to the track I felt weird but definitely more relaxed.¬† So I started doing it diligently every day, putting an alarm for the same hour. This was actually working, even my friends told me I look more calm and stopped complaining that much ( when I thought my mood swings don’t exist at all).

So when my first contractions started to appear at 4 am in the morning I immediately put the hypnobirthing tracks on and I started to do my visualisations. I have to say that at that point I was feeling as if I’m having a painful period so there was not that much to distract from. Few hours later I was in a bigger pain but listening to Sophie’s voice kept calming me down.

However my reaction to stronger waves of contraction that were about to come was not what I have planned or expected. In the hospital it turned out that I will be throwing up quite often during the second stage of labour. I could not eat anything, even water made me sick; eventually they had to put me on a water drip.

I have to admit that as much as I wanted the tracks to work during the last, most difficult stage of labour, I could not bother to listen to them. I tried to use all the advice that I learned from the book and although it didn’t work for me with every painful contraction, I believe I put the focus on a right thing when it was the most needed ( in the combination with gas and air).

Final thoughts…

So is it worth practising hypnobirthing? I would say yes, definitely. By this day I enjoy the benefits of mindfulness practice in the most stressful situations (and there are many when the baby finally arrives!). It is so important to keep the right mind while you are pregnant and during labour; I’d say any kind of mediation will be beneficial for you.

If you decide to buy the book or sign up for a hypnobirthing course make sure you don’t do it at the last minute. Your body has to get used to being in a ‘hypnosis ‘zone’ so if you start 4 weeks before your due date it won’t do much for you. The earlier you start practising the better for you.

Just because my birthing experience was not exactly as I wished for, it doesn’t mean your one won’t be positive. Nevertheless you have to be ready for anything as nobody can predict the unpredictable.

Cute and cheap maternity clothes- how to dress with a growing bump

Finding cute but also cheap maternity clothes can be a challenge, considering most of the high street shops sell overpriced goods. They often want you to pay way too much for a piece of clothing you will only wear for several weeks and then throw it away, put on the back of your wardrobe waiting for another child (like you were even thinking of it right now) or maybe for your sister/friend to get pregnant.

But then again, getting bigger and more curvy is a good excuse to spend some money on your new wardrobe, even if it will serve you only temporarily. After all, you deserve to feel and look fabulous during your pregnancy.

So, here are my tips on how to shop for some great and cheap maternity clothes.

 

 

 

 

Don’t start buying maternity clothes too early

 

I know you are getting weirdly excited to start wearing those funny-looking over bump maternity jeans but hold your horses. If you are just 12 or even 16 weeks pregnant chances are you are still not showing. In my case, people couldn’t tell I was pregnant up until 6 months!

However, as each woman is different, you may already feel bloated in your first trimester. That means you would find it difficult to squeeze into your regular jeans but your belly is not big enough to wear maternity trousers just yet.

What I would suggest is buying couple of stretchable jeggins or leggins, could be in a size bigger than you usually go for. They will fit nicely, without the need to zip or button up your growing belly.

I made a mistake of buying maternity jeans, jeggins and shirts while 4 months pregnant and didn’t wear them for weeks because my belly was growing rather slowly so the clothes were too big for me.

 

 

 

 

You will find lots of affordable staffs on Amazon

 

Amazon has everything these days, including clothing for every occasion.

They actually have a range of good-quality maternity clothes from jeans, dresses, T-shirts to bras. And the prices are attractive as well.

Some things I bought for myself :

  • Leggings: Elastic, with high waistband, available in different colors. Good from second trimester, depending on your bump size. I found these very comfortable and practical for spring/summer, especially if you prefer wearing longer shirts/ tops that cover your bottom or these warm, thicker ones for winter/autumn season.
  • Jeans: It’s worth to have at least one good pair of maternity jeans in your wardrobe. And they don’t have to be expensive at all. They’re better than leggins in terms of thickness and material, they won’t cling to your belly so tightly like most of the leggins would do. Plus, they will match with every casual style. Should be a good fit once you start showing.
  • Shirts: Very practical, come in 2-pack, made of cotton. Great for pregnancy and nursing, available in multiply colors.
  • Tops: Gorgeous long top/tunic available in different colors. Looks great with any leggins or jeans and it’s practical as it can be a nursing top as well. You can start wearing it at any time.
  • Bras: the trick with bras is that you should buy them gradually as your boobs grow (and they will!). So don’t be hectic when shopping. There is no point buying 4 bras straight away as you may find a huge difference between week 20, 28 and 34 of your pregnancy. For many expectant mums, even with the small boost, cup goes even three sizes up. However, if you really can’t wait, many maternity bras are stretchable so have a bit of space for your growing boobs; they also conveniently turn to nursing bras.
  • Dresses: they are the best for summer, when the heat make us sweat like pigs. I’ve experienced it myself, as my last trimester happened to last through the whole July and August (ironically, that was one of the hottest summers ever recorded in UK). So on that time you definitely want to use as thinnest clothes as possibles. Cotton dresses are the best option as they are breathable and loose; here you will find some cute, nicely designed dresses.

 

 

 

 

Look for second hand and outlet clothes

 

If you really want to save some money and don’t mind wearing second hand piece of clothing, visit charity shops and look for something suitable for you or ask your friends who already had babies, maybe they still keep their maternity clothes on the back of the wardrobe so you can borrow them if you are the same size.

Another option is EBay. There you won’t only find used clothes but also brand new ones with tags on; you can bid on some and pay half price (or less) for the product comparing to the original price from the high street shops.

You will find anything from smart tops (such as this one from New Look) to fancy dresses and maternity jeans from Mothercare.

 

 

 

 

Start buying bigger size clothes

 

At some point, in my last stage of pregnancy, I found it pretty annoying that there is a limited choice of nice and not overpriced clothes for expectant mums out there.

So what I started doing (and can definitely recommend) was buying ‘normal’ clothes from high street shops. Not forgetting about hunting for sale, I simply bought few items that were two (or three) sizes bigger than I was before getting pregnant.

Don’t get annoyed though coz not everything will fit on you; some designs of size 12/14 can simply look weird on you if you were an 8 before- too loose in your boob area/ too tight on your growing belly. But I was lucky enough to find a good bargain for larger trousers that would not obstruct my movements, or even a loose dress designed for not pregnant women (yay!). It all depends on your figure really.

 

 

 

 

Don’t go crazy

 

Speaking from my own experience, I know how hard is to not to get tempted by buying hundreds of new shirts/ T-shirts/ dresses and trousers since you’ve already outgrown the old ones.

Just remember soon you will be able to squeeze into your old size again, and those new maternity clothes will become useless to you. Especially that you will have your favorite, most comfortable clothes anyway and use them most of the time.

 

 

 

 

Best shoes for pregnant women- top 8 picks for different seasons

In my previous post I emphasised the importance of supportive shoes for your pregnancy journey. They can make a big difference in your posture and confidence and, therefore, alleviate any back pains you may have from the growing bump.

So here there are- 8  short reviews of the best shoes for pregnant women, my top picks for different weather/season. And you will actually like wearing them as they are not granny-looking-like, yay!

Spring

a) Skechers Memory Foam trainers

What is better than typical trainers? Memory foam trainers!

These will serve you not only during pregnancy but long after, they are perfect for getting back into shape when (or if) you find time for the gym workouts! And even if you don’t, they are still great for everyday walks or any other day-to-day errands.

Extra comfort and relief for your swollen feet guaranteed!

Features:

  • Product colour: Grey/pink
  • Material type: memory foam+ textiles
  • Sole: Synthetics
  • Fastening: Lace-ups

b) Keds slip-on sneakers

Must-have for vintage fans! Great for any occasion, whether you are going out to a restaurant or simply going to pick up some groceries.

Keds were invented over 100 years ago and with that long experience the company found loyal customers from all over the world, attracted by comfort and chic style.

Their shoes even appear on feet of Jennifer Grey in Dirty Dancing movie- now that’s a guarantee of a comfort and satisfaction!

Features:

  • Style: Fashion Sneaker
  • Closure Type: Slip-on
  • Sole: Gum rubber
  • Heel Type: Low-heel

Summer

a) Clarks flip-flops

These ‘higher-end’ version of flip-flops are very comfortable for the feet. They are perfect for expectant mums because they are easy to put on and allow the feet to expand.

The fit is great (got one pair for my tired feet as well), they’re very light and the colour matches loads of clothes. The soles are well padded and the toe posts don‚Äôt rub. You can adjust the fit with the Velcro strap which is also useful.

Features:

  • Product colour: Gold
  • Material Type: Leather
  • Sole: Gum Rubber
  • Hill type: Low-hill

b) Verbenas Pink Espardrilles

If you are a fan of Espadrilles, these cute pair is one of the best you can get on the market. The Verbenas brand is originally produced in Spain, they provide you with a super comfort thanks to leather and foam- like padded soles.

They are also easy to put on, without the need of bending (which we all know suddenly becomes a challenge with a growing bump). Again the color is very feminine and neutral so will go with anything you have in your wardrobe.

  • Product colour: Pink
  • Material type: Leather
  • Sole: Gum Rubber
  • Closure: Slip-On

Autumn

a) Cipriata Leather Ankle Boots

Produced in Italy Cipriata shoes is a great choice for classical (and affordable) taste. Made from genuine leather, these ankle boots are a great fit to anything you wear- from casual clothing to office look.

Available in black and brown (tan) colors, these will serve you well during and after pregnancy. Get the desired look without much effort!

Features:

  • Upper Material:100% Leather
  • Lining:
    100% Leather
  • Fastening:
    Pull On
  • Sole:
    Rubber

b) Joules Wellington Shoes

Highly durable, these wellies are a must-have for the rainy autumn days. Available in multi-colors and various design, they are very comfortable and great for swollen pregnant feet.

Made of 100% natural rubber upper with hand-drawn floral prints these wellies are also breathable and have a textile lining; they reach¬†your mid calves so you can be sure your feet won’t get sweaty.

Features:

  • Natural rubber
  • Outer Material: Rubber
  • Sole: Synthetic
  • Closure: Pull-on
  • Heel Type: Block Heel

Winter

a) Emu Snow Boots

Is there anything more comfortable on earth than Emu shoes? Although not the cheapest, they are worth the investment. Wearing Emu feels like walking on the clouds thanks to the wool inner material. And they keep you super warm during cold winter days!

I particularly loved the fact they are so easy to put on and being so cozy I didn’t feel like taking them off even at home!

You won’t regret buying them as they will last you for years, thanks to the top quality material. Emu are made with waterproof suede and 100% Australian sheepskin lining. Do you still need more convincing, winter mamas?

Features:

  • Water proof
  • Outer Material: Leather
  • Inner Material: Wool
  • Sole: Gum Rubber
  • Closure: Slip-On
  • Heel Type: no-heel

b) Timberland Boots


Perfect for harsh snowy or wet winters, these comfortable Timberland shoes (known from its strong brand) will be a great relief for your swollen feet and provide you with safety when it comes to slippery surface.

They are great for more active women who spend a lot of time outside or have a long commute to work.

They are a bit pricey but worth the investment; available in different shades.

Features:

  • Material: Suede
  • Hill type: No hill
  • Soles: Rubber
  • Fastening: Lace-up

One more thing…

If you still feel like getting an extra support for your feet, simply buy a pair of so called ‘foot pillows’, ‘gel cushions’ or ‘comfy soles’ (depending on a chosen style of your shoes). They are cheap, invisible when put inside and will provide you with an extra comfort when you wear any type of flat shoes.

The technology used by Scholl conveys two gels that effectively absorb shock and reduce the pressure felt on your feet Рa firmer gel that supports the arches of your feet and your heels, plus a softer one to ensure the optimum shock absorption.

They are great for pregnancy, especially for those of you who are still working or standing longer hours.

Check them out on Amazon

Back pain during pregnancy-third trimester struggle

Back pain during pregnancy, especially once you hit the third trimester, is a common problem among women. And there is nothing really surprising about that- you are inevitably getting heavier and the growing baby bump is pushing your posture down. What’s more, the ligaments in your body naturally become softer and stretch preparing you for labour. This can overburden the joints of your lower back and pelvis, which ultimately causes back pain.

But fear not, there are many ways to alleviate this pain and make your daily life a bit more bearable.

Here are some of my suggestions:

 

 

 

 

Exercise as much as possible

There are loads of good exercises for your back in pregnancy. The best ones are stretching and strengthening exercises, such as yoga and/or pilates; doing them regularly will definitely eliminate the pain.

Good ones are core exercises which strengthen your back. One of my favorite without the need of any equipment is called Bird Dog- it will stabilize your back and give the relief you are looking for.

How to do it:

  • Go onto all fours (hands and knees)
  • Create slight tension in your abdomen
  • Extend one arm out in front at the same time extending the opposite leg to the back (hold this position for about 8-10 seconds and repeat on the other side)

Another great and pleasurable type of sport/ exercise is swimming. It’s not only safe for you and your baby but also relaxing (since you will feel much lighter in the water than you actually are). It works out every muscle in your body and on top of that it can reduce swelling of your feet and ankles.

 

Also, makes sure you walk a lot, don’t stand or sit in one position for a long time. Going for a walk in the park is a great option in those last weeks of pregnancy, especially in those days when you don’t feel like doing any work out at all.¬†¬†If you are still working and it’s a desk job, make sure your feet are elevated from time to time and you go outside for a lunch breaks so that you could stretch those overloaded joints.

 

 

 

 

Keeping the right posture

The right posture is one of the most important things during your pregnancy. Obviously your belly will keep ‘pushing’ your posture down so it’s not always as easy as it sounds.

However, pay attention to keeping as good posture as possible as it will reduce the pressure on your spine.

 

  • keep your back straight and knees bent when you reach for something from the floor
  • avoid lifting heavy objects
  • when carrying shopping bags makes sure you’ve got 2 of them to balance the weight out
  • avoid tilting your head- this will keep your head and neck in the upright position
  • when sitting keep your knees straight and don’t cross your legs
  • good support for your back when sitting at work or at home is essential ‚Äď you can use couple of normal pillows or look for maternity support pillows.
  • you would be surprised how a good fitted bra changes your pregnancy back issues so makes sure you get the right one for yourself. Ask the shop assistant for help if needed.

 

 

 

Supportive shoes

These are so important and invaluable when you have gained few (or more like a dozen) of pounds! I’m sure you’ve already heard about the possibility of your feet growing (or rather swelling) to even a full size up. Although it’s rather difficult to avoid the swelling itself you can make your feet and ankles feel more grateful¬† if you chose the right footing.

Say goodbye high-heels (I’ve never been a fan of them anyway) and say hello to low-heeled shoes, flats and flip-flops with a good arch support. These will assure your spine is aligned and well-supported.

Shoe inserts can also turn out to be helpful.

Here is my review of top shoes I found to be useful while I was pregnant.

 

 

 

Massage

There is nothing like a good massage for tired muscles. And having it done while you’re pregnant is a heaven for your aching back, stiff shoulders or sore hips. It will also improve your mood and get those endorphins flowing around your body, making you feel like a newborn again.

You can choose a spa that offers massages specifically for future mums which means the therapists taking care of you will have a special training for dealing with pregnant women.

You could also ask your partner to gently massage your back while you sit. Combine it with some relaxation techniques such as meditation or relaxation music and you will feel much better in a blink of an eye.

 

 

 

 

 

Back support during day and night

Sleeping on your side, especially left side, with your knees bent and a pillow between them is the best option for pregnant women. There’s no such thing as too many pillows in late pregnancy! Try different variations: you can use pillows under your belly, between your legs, and also behind your back.

You should avoid sleeping on your back in the third trimester; the reason being is that that position puts pressure from your enlarged uterus onto your spine, back muscles and major blood vessels which can decrease blood flow around your body and to your baby.

The best comfort will give you specially designed pregnancy/maternity pillow which supports your back, belly, and legs during rest or sleep, also giving you a proper back support in sitting positions.

 

 

 

Alternative treatments

I haven’t tried any myself however some women swear on this method and there is enough research suggesting that acupuncture might help to get rid of lower back and pelvic pain during pregnancy. Acupuncture uses fine needles to stimulate specific pressure points in the body that correspond with various systems of physical and emotional health. This method supposed to eliminate any blockages that are obstructing smooth flow of the body’s energy, ultimately improving health and ease any pain (including back) symptoms. Make sure you tell your practitioner that you’re pregnant when arranging an appointment.

Another solution is aromatherapy. Having a warm (but not hot) bath with just a few drops of lavender oil (and maybe some candles around you) is something you will genuinely be grateful for. Guaranteed you will feel an improvement after that as combination of warm water and gorgoeus essence will relieve your muscle tension, pain triggered by stress or fatigue, and soothe your pacing mind.

 

 

 

 

 

Rest, rest, rest

So, apart from staying active, using the right footing or pampering yourself at a spa, what is equally important for the back pain is rest. In the third trimester you will hopefully stop working and stay at home, preparing for your little one’s arrival.

But we all know that staying at home doesn’t necessarily mean being lazy. You will have hands full with cleaning the house, washing and ironing baby clothes, preparing the nursery room or doing the last minute shopping. On top of that you still eat for two so you spend some time in the kitchen, working on your cooking skills!

Just remember that rest in this time is essential for you and your baby. Sleep at least 8 hours during the night and have an afternoon nap if you feel tired- you deserve it like nobody else. When I was in my last weeks of pregnancy, I slept until 10 am most of the days and then I still slept one or two hours during the day as I felt like I won’t have that opportunity once my baby girl is here. And guess what- I’m glad I did because the sleep deprivation in those early weeks is not a myth (unfortunately). And having that extra rest is also good way of keeping up your energy levels for the labour day!

 

 

 

When can you find out gender of your baby? What to expect from the ultrasound

Would you like to know if it’s a boy or a girl kicking inside of your womb? You can play games with your partner and predict the sex of your unborn child, according to some old tales, or wait for the professional opinion.

So when can you find out the gender of your baby?

The sex of your baby is usually determined between 18-20 weeks of your pregnancy and you can find it out from the second ultrasound. The accuracy is never 100%, however with the advanced equipment technicians have these days, it is rare to make a mistake.

 

Ultrasound- your first scan at 12 weeks

 

In England, your first scan, called dating scan, is available for you through NHS at about 8-14 weeks.

Although you should see your GP as soon as you’ve found out you’re pregnant (they will assign you a midwife), most local hospitals will not book your scan appointment until you reach 12 weeks pregnant. This is because miscarriages are not uncommon in the first trimester of the pregnancy ( so the hospital ultrasound department basically just wants to save money- surprise, surprise).

Therefore, the waiting time for your first scan can be irritating. But be patient; this scan is something to look forward to as it will be your first insight into how your peanut looks like. When you finally get to that room, the scan lasts for only about 20 min.

Things that will be checked during the dating scan:

  • how far pregnant you are and what’s the estimated date of delivery
  • whether it’s only one baby in your womb
  • if the baby is growing in the right place and if it’s developing in the right way
  • baby’s heartbeat
  • whether you agreed to the screening : an estimated risk of a Down syndrome your baby may be born with (this is called a ‘combined test’)- you may have to wait outside of the room for a few minutes to get the results.

Second ultrasound at 20 weeks

The other offered scan, called an anomaly scan, will take place between 18-21 weeks of your pregnancy. This scan checks for structural abnormalities in the baby.

This is a chance for you to see your little one for the second time, this time with many more details as the baby is bigger and its parts more visible to you. Moreover, the sonographer will take more time to examine the baby, giving you chance to peak at her/him from different angles.

If you’re lucky you may be able to even notice your baby moving its legs or arms! The sonographer will zoom the baby’s different developing body parts and the inner organs such as heart, lungs and brain. At the end you will be given some printed pictures of your baby that you can keep with you. However, in some places there might be a charge for the service (still worth it if you ask me).

Your second scan usually allows you to get to know your baby’s sex. Make sure you tell the sonographer at the start of the scan that you wish to find out. Also, keep in mind that there is no such thing as 100% accuracy when it comes to discovering the gender. It may happen that your baby is lying in an awkward position, making it difficult or even impossible to tell.

In addition, some hospitals have a strange policy of not telling patients the sex of their baby. Ask your sonographer or midwife to avoid disappointment.

 

Pros and cons of finding out the gender

Finding out the gender of your baby is a very individual decision so make sure you (and your partner) are not pressured by your family members or friends.

1. Some benefits of knowing whether it’s a boy or a girl:

  • Bonding with your baby. You can start creating positive scenarios about you and your child, for example if you know it’s a boy you will imagine yourself playing football with him or, if it’s a girl, playing with dolls.
  • Choosing the name. Knowing the gender of your baby allows you to pick a name earlier and start calling your little one by name even when she’s still inside of you. This helps you, again, to bond with your unborn child.
  • Preparing the nursery. Being aware of the sex of your baby simply makes your life easier when you think of redecorating that room- painting the walls blue or pink? Choosing curtains with Disney princesses or Spider-man? Same when it comes to clothing- after all you need to buy few essentials for your newborn, such as bodysuits. And yes, you can buy neutral colour of those tiny clothes but let’s face it- it’s much more exciting to shop for something that has cute pink hearts or imprinted cars than just choosing boring white
  • Enough of surprises. If you got pregnant unexpectedly, the last thing you want is to get another surprise and be guessing for the whole 9 months who is residing your womb. You’ll be better off prepared. And let’s face it- even if you say it doesn’t matter if it’s a boy or a girl as long as it’s healthy ( I was saying that for quite a long time), your mind is subconsciously settled for one or another!

2. Benefits of NOT finding out the gender:

  • Can be fun. For some people it’s more exciting to wait and play guessing games with your partner or friends and family. Plus, you get to stay ‘old-school’- you grow a baby and stay in that oblivious state just like women in times before the technology became so advanced. The moment you find out will be, undeniably, one of the most amazing things you’ll ever hear in your life!
  • Can be a bigger incentive to push. When the time comes, the mother’s deep curiosity held for so long can enhance her motivation to push. She will be desperate to hear those words in the delivery room: ‘it’s a boy’ or ‘it’s a girl’!
  • You won’t be misinformed. Imagine they told you during your scan that it’s a girl and you did everything accordingly to that gender, from preparing pink crib and cute little dresses to having only one settled name in your head. And then suddenly, when your baby finally arrives, you get to know that it’s actually a boy! Now that’s not the best surprise ever. Not knowing the sex of your baby can prevent you from getting a potential disappointment.

 

 

Is there any other scan available to me after the anomaly scan?

If your pregnancy is low-risk and is progressing without any complications, you probably won’t have more scans after 20 weeks.

From that point, your midwife will be looking after your baby’s growth by measuring its, so called, fundal height- the distance from the front of your pelvis to the top of your womb (uterus).

The regular check-up also include:

  • measuring your blood pressure
  • taking and testing your urine and blood samples
  • keeping an eye on your BMI (especially if you gain weight too quickly or too slowly)

However, if any problems or complications occur, you may be sent to conduct some extra scans. And don’t worry: there are no known risks for you or your baby from having an ultrasound scan.

 

 

Welcoming your baby

Just by visiting my website I’m sure you already made up your mind about finding out the gender of your little one. So, congratulations to all of you! Finding out the gender, sooner or later, is an unforgettable experience. It makes your pregnancy so much more realisitc and joyful:)

I’d suggest bringing someone for your scan appointment, especially the one at 20 weeks as you will want to share this moment with a close person. If your partner cannot make it (or is not around), then make sure your mum or a friend can come along- you will feel more supported and calm.

And don’t forget, you should be ready for any outcome if you want your baby’s gender to be revealed; after all, the doctors warn you they can make a mistake.

 

 

 

 

Best food for pregnancy- top 10 healthy snacks and dinner ideas

During pregnancy, it is crucial to maintain a healthy, well-balanced diet. Just because you are growing a baby doesn’t mean you can eat anything.

Your body needs additional nutrients, vitamins and minerals (more on essential vitamin intake in here: http://topprettymama.com/pregnancy-tips-for-first-time-moms-dealing-with-all-the-information-you-come-across). Lack of them may negatively affect the baby’s development.

Bad eating habits also rises the risk of diabetes, may lead to premature birth and general complications during your pregnancy. What’s more, excessive gain weight may cause your baby to grow bigger than it supposed to and slow down the labor, making the delivery more painful,

I can bet that’s the last thing you would want! So, have a look and my tips for the best food for pregnancy. It is really not difficult to find healthy food out there, it’s just a matter of choice.

 

 

Top 10 foods that are good for you and your baby:

Let me lay out few snacks that are packed with nutritional ingredients, are tasty as well as affordable and easy to get in any supermarket :

  • yogurt– especially Greek yogurt, is rich in calcium and probiotic bacteria so it’s super beneficial for pregnant women and gentle to our digestive system. Top up with some cereals or muesli and you got a perfect breakfast or a snack for the day.
  • eggs– contain necessary calcium and vitamin D, both very important in pregnancy. Additionally, they are source of choline. Never heard of it? Choline is responsible for many processes in the body, including proper brain functioning.
  • avocado– source of iron, fiber, potassium. Eat it sliced with some cheese crackers or wholegrain toast and you get yourself much more nutritional snack than potato crisps¬† ¬†
  • mango, oranges– contain fiber, potassium and vit C. Slice it before you leave to work and put in the container; they are great to eat on the go, any time of the day.
  • oats- rich in fiber and antioxidants. I like to have them in porridge made on coconut milk; add some cranberries (another great thing in pregnancy looking after your urinal system), sesame or sunflower seeds or mix them all, topping up with honey. Delicious for breakfast! Alternatively, look for a granola bar which contains oats, there’s plenty of choice out there.¬† ¬†
  • carrots– contain beta carotene which the body transforms into vitamin A; it is needed for the baby’s cell growth. Note: since it is easy to get enough of vit A from foods that we consume daily (such as tomato, milk, eggs and oranges), the doctors don’t recommend taking any supplements containing this vitamin as you may easily overdose and harm your baby) .
  • nuts (especially walnuts and almonds) and dried fruits- contain omega 3; great to eat as a snack between the meals as it kills your hunger for a while
  • banana with peanut butter– perfect combination when you’re craving something sweet. Banana is a good source of vitamin B6 and magnesium while from peanut butter you will get sufficient amount of potassium.

  • berries– are rich in antioxidants and contain healthy carbs, vitamin C and fiber. Its high levels of compounds help maintain the accurate blood flow. Making a smoothie out of them is a great idea; simply mix berries with raspberries and strawberries and you get yourself a fruity vitamin bomb! Or you can play with the ingredients; if you prefer adding some diary into it, mix berries with a sliced banana, Greek yogurt/ milk and add some honey. Yummy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

And what to eat for dinner?

 

  • Salmon= contains the essential omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which are important for brain and eye development in the growing baby. Salmon is also a natural source of vitamin D. Its easy to prepare in the oven,:add some smashed garlic and oregano, wrap around with kitchen foil and bake in the oven for about 20 min. Voila!¬†

 

 

  • broccoli and leafy greens, such as spinach and kale= valuable source of fiber, vitamin C, K and A, as well as calcium, iron, folate and potassium. Mix with pasta and king prawns; by adding some sweet chili sauce you will make it a type of Thai food!

 

  • lentils, peas, beans, chickpeas, soybeans = rich in folate (crucial especially in first 12 weeks of pregnancy) and fiber

  • lean meat such as beef= rich in proteins, iron and vit B12. Serve with earlier mentioned beans adding some gravy for a flavor.¬† ¬† ¬†¬†¬†

 

  • quinoa– alternative to rice that provides you and your baby with double portion of proteins, more fiber and additional magnesium as well as folate. You can make a great salad out of it that will fill your stomach. Add some avocado, falafel, feta cheese and some veggies of your choice (I liked peppers and sweet corn) and salad becomes a meal.¬† ¬†

   

 

 

  • sweet potato= is a great source of vitamin A, B and C. Also, you will get a fair amount of fiber, potassium, phosphorus, manganese and copper. You can grill them or bake them, serving with salmon or meat; you can’t get any healthier than that!

 

 

 

 

 

How many calories shall I be eating daily?

So as mentioned before, you don’t need to ‘eat for two’ in order to gain weight and help your little one to grow. In fact, it is not recommended even if you are expecting twins!

In the first and second trimester you should eat the same as usual, so for an average woman it equals about 2,000 calories a day. The reason behind is that your energy ‘demand’ doesn’t change in the first six months of pregnancy. Only in the last trimester you’ll need an extra 200 calories a day since the mothers’ energy starts to increase; this amount is not much at all, it is like having 2 more slices of wholemeal toast with margarine or cottage cheese daily.

Keep in mind that every pregnancy and every woman is different, so the number of extra 200 calories is only based on average recommendations.

The real number of calories you need while you are pregnant depends on:

  • your height
  • your BMI (body mass index)
  • your activity (how fast you burn calories)

Final tips: don’t skip breakfasts as they are very important to maintain your energy level throughout the day and they will help you to avoid eating unhealthy snacks (high in fat and sugar such as doughnuts and biscuits).

Also, remember to eat regularly, up to 6 times a day: 4 times smaller portions of snacks/fruits/veggies and 2 bigger, nutritional meals during the day. The best meals will be based on starchy, wholemeal foods like bread, rice and pasta.

 

 

 

Convinced?

It’s really not that challenging to keep a varied diet; it often means only changing the amounts of different foods you eat rather than cutting out all your favorites.

If you still need an extra incentive to eat healthily, here’s one: you will recover after pregnancy and get into your old shape much sooner than when eating too much junk food!

So just make sure you get the best foods as often as possible; and don’t feel guilty if you have that craving for a pizza or a burger once in a while. After all, anything in moderation won’t harm you or your baby

 

 

 

 

 

When can you feel baby movement? Distinguishing first kicks and pokes

So your pregnancy is running smoothly, you are at the end of your first or beginning of second trimester. You start to notice changes within your body week by week, some are minor (you feel bloated but you can still wear your regular jeans), some are major (are these boobs even mine?). You definitely feel different with this constant fatigue and nausea, however you may not look pregnant just yet.

But many women don’t even feel pregnant until they actually start noticing there is something moving inside of them! It’s an exciting moment when you finally realize there’s’e a little active human creature inside of your belly. So when can you feel your baby movement? Here’s what you can expect.

 

How long do I have to wait?

Your peanut starts moving long before you can actually feel it, and his/her activity will vary with time.

Generally, you should be able to feel first movements at about 16 till 24 weeks time. It all depends if it’s your first pregnancy and on your body weight. It’s not always easy to distinguish those first kicks, especially if you are a first time mum. You may simply mistake those first gentle flutters for some kind of revolution in your stomach.

If a woman had kids before she already knows what to expect and she will feel those pokes much earlier at around 16 weeks; but if you are pregnant for the first time, you may only feel it at 18-22 weeks. Also, if your weight was normal before your pregnancy and you don’t have much fat around your belly you will most likely feel it sooner than more obese women.

In my case, I just reached 5 months when I finally felt it, and by that time I was certain it’s a baby, not something I’ve eaten an hour before!

 

 

How the first baby movement should feel?

That’s a tough question to answer, however I was curious as well and I bet many of you are too. I was actually anxious it takes so long for my baby to let me know everything is all right ! So I was asking my friends with babies and surfing the internet for some clues. Many of women described it as a feeling of a fish residing their womb. Some said it felt more like having butterfly nest or bubbles popping in their belly.

And for me? It just felt like a gentle punch from inside! So I guess every experience is different, when the time is right you will simply know it. However, if you don’t feel anything up till 24 weeks of your pregnancy, consult it with your midwife. It may be nothing to worry about but it’s better to stay cautious.

 

What is my baby up to inside of my womb?

Growing and getting ready for his/her arrival ! It’s amazing how fast the baby its growing its organs week by week. His/her ability to do certain things also evolves rapidly. Here are some major milestones of your baby’s evolution that you have every reason to celebrate:

  • 5 weeks: at this time your baby’s tiny heart starts pounding twice as fast as yours
  • 6-8 weeks: facials features begin to form, following arms and legs
  • 10-12 weeks: eyes have fully developed although they are still closed, the fetus starts to look more like a human. The main organs (kidneys, brain, and liver ) begin to function while fingernails are starting to form, bones are becoming more hard. The baby can yawn, stretch and hiccup but you won’t feel it just yet. By the end of week 12 (if you are having an ultrasound) you will be able to hear your little one’s heartbeat for the first time (how exciting!).
  • 14-16 weeks: the baby can suck his/her thumb! Even though the eyelids are still shut he can move his eyes and recognize the light as well as make facial expressions. If you are having an ultrasound now, you may find out the gender of your baby.
  • 18-20 weeks: the skin is wrinkly and covered by a protective layer. Your baby can hear your voice and others around you, but mainly recognize your partners voice. Its good time to put the biggest headphones you find at home over your belly and play some calming music, she may even react with some movements!
  • 23-27 weeks: your baby’s sense of movement and hearing continues to improve. You may be able to notice your little one squirming from time to time. The brain begins to develop in a rapid pace so now it’s particularly important to include those omega 3 in your diet. Lungs are also developing but won’t be working properly for few more weeks; she can now open her eyes as well. At the end of second trimester you may notice your baby’s pattern of sleeping and waking up. By now the baby weighs over 0.5 kg and measures around 30 cm.
  • 28-32 weeks: neurons in brain continue to develop, the eyesight is improving, the baby might be even dreaming! Tiny fingernails and toenails are fully formed. Your baby is also visibly gaining on weight in preparation for birth. It weighs over 1,5 kg and measures roughly 45 cm.
  • 34-37 weeks: lungs and central nervous system are on the finish line of developing. The baby’s skin loses the protective ‘coat’ and becomes soft. At the end of 37 weeks the baby is considered as “early term”, meaning if its born now it will most likely be healthy, but ideally it will wait for a couple more weeks.
  • 39-40 weeks: Your baby is now ready for life outside of your womb. The average weight of a newborn is about 3,5kg and length is about 50-52 cm.
  • If you reach 41 weeks you are over your due date and your baby will be considered as “late term”. To avoid complications, your doctor will probably suggest inducing labour.

If I don’t feel my baby kicks one of the days, should I be worried?

Definitely don’t panic, stress is not good for you these days (and when it is anyway?). Try to concentrate when counting your baby’s movements, you can lie on your left side with a pillow under your belly. (You’re more likely to notice your little one’s pokes when you’re lying down rather than sitting or standing).

Stay still for at least an hour or 2, during which time, according to many guidelines out there, you should feel around 10 separate movements. However, please be aware that this general rule does’t apply to all of us, it’s a bit outdated technique as each baby is different and has different patterns of movements. So don’t stress out if you felt for example only 8 kicks, instead of 10, everything is all right as long as you feel your peanut on the move.

What’s more, from around 30 weeks of your pregnancy you will feel change in the activity of your baby; those kicks will turn into¬†less vigorous movements (they will also occur less often than you may have noticed before)¬†because he or she is running out of space in your womb!

 

 

How to encourage my baby to move?

 

Here are some tips if you want to try making your baby move on your ‘command’:

  • Sit or lay down with your feet up. Your baby may be falling asleep while you’re moving around so he/she could wake up when you relax and have something to eat.
  • Have something cold to drink. Your baby may want to avoid the coldness so will try to move away from the change of temperature.
  • Play loud music (could be through the headphones) or try to switch on the torch and direct the light onto your belly

If your baby starts to move around, that’s great. But if not, it might be a signal for you to take an action. Keep in mind that you should feel constant movements every day from about 28 weeks of your pregnancy; ask your midwife if you have any concerns.

 

 

 

 

 

Pregnancy tips for first time moms-dealing with all the information you come across

Becoming a mom for the first time? Overwhelmed? Confused? Worried? Feeling sick and tired already? Welcome to the mamas club! Whether you want it or not you officially became a mother with the moment you saw those two red lines on your pregnancy test. After all, your whole world is about to turn upside down!

However, it doesn’t have to be all so scary if you know what to expect. In this article I will give some useful pregnancy tips for first time moms on how to grow a healthy baby but without forgetting the need to lead your life in as normal way as possible.

Even if you find yourself sick of the whole 9-month drama, you will soon realise this baby is one of the best things that ever happened in your life:)

 

First things first: your diet

I know you must be fed up with all the information you hear and read everywhere about how anything you eat affects your baby. And although most of it is true, let’s not go mad about things.

Obviously alcohol and cigarettes are an absolute no-no, but caffeine is fine as long as you don’t overdo it (one cup of coffee a day is perfectly fine). Raw sushi is on the forbidden list due to potential bacteria¬†but you can have sushi with any cooked fish rolled inside.¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†

Fish such as salmon is recommended as it has a lot of omega 3 necessary for your baby’s brain development but you can’t be possibly eating this more than twice a week unless you have a lot of money to spend! (If you don’t know, salmon is not cheap at all). Plus, eating too much of a fish is also not the healthiest option as it contains traces of mercury.

So if you have a craving for a burger now and then (I know I had) then go for it! Just be careful not to become a loyal customer of McDonalds any time soon. Too much Ice cream can make you fat but it also contains calcium which helps to develop your baby’s strong bones and if you add some strawberries into them, then they become (almost) healthy. Well, at least that’s what I kept repeating myself every time I was reaching to my freezer (roughly 3 times a week- but didn’t feel guilty at all).

So, the guidelines are basically the same as on a normal, healthy balanced diet. Eat plenty of fruits and veggies, and don’t forget about proteins and diary. More on good foods during pregnancy in here (link).

 

Be on the move

Sorry ladies, for those who hate working out: it’s been proved that regular exercise help you get through pregnancy, reduce the time of labor and get to your old shape after giving birth much quicker than if you just sit on your couch watching Netflix. Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, you should be on the move!

You don’t have to be a sports woman and exercise every day to keep it healthy. With our busy lives it’s sometimes hard to schedule an hour for a training. The most important thing during your pregnancy is just to keep moving for roughly 30 min a day and, honestly, everything counts- a walk (even if you get off one bus stop earlier and walk 10-15min to your house), dancing (must look graceful especially in 3rd trimester) and hoovering (although your partner should be doing that). Also, if you have a desk job, you don’t want to be sitting for a couple of hours without stretching your legs, so make sure you walk around every hour or so (it will also prevent getting those swollen legs).

 

 

I personally tried to exercise twice a week for about 45 min, using videos from YouTube where you can find plenty of short trainings specifically designed for pregnant women, from core and cardio workouts to Pilates and yoga. I must say it helped me with the fatigue, if I didn’t do them now and then I’d be taking 2-hour ‘naps’ all the time (but then again, don’t feel guilty if that’s your thing- after all, these are most likely, the last months you get to sleep peacefully).

Also, listen to your body while doing any kind of work out as for some pregnant women 30 min is already too much for them. And remember, it’s very important to stay hydrated while exercising.

Make sure you avoid any sports that are considered dangerous in terms of falling- skiing, skating, excessive jumping or horse-riding; also restrain from doing excercises on your back when you begin your second trimester.

Above all, don’t forget about those Kegel exercise everyone is talking about (pelvic floor excercises). It will not only ease up your labour but also spice up your sexual life (if you still have any).

 

Vitamins are important                                                        

Prenatal vitamins should become your best friend for these 9 months as some vitamins from food are hard to get even from a well-balanced diet.

As you probably heard folic acid is one of them; it’s¬†essential to take 400 micro-grams¬†of folic acid tablets daily, until at least 12 weeks of your pregnancy. Because during that time your baby’s spine is developing, taking this supplement will help¬†to prevent birth defects.

Doctors don’t really seem to know much about supplements, (did you know they are trained on the importance of nutrition and vitamin supplementation for only about 20 hours during their 4-year medical course?! ) so I did my own research and here’s what I concluded:

  1. Vitamin D is essential not only during pregnancy but in general. In countries where people don’t get enough sun exposure, such as UK, it is particularly important to get higher doses of that vitamin. It’s responsible for the absorption of calcium and promotes bone growth of the baby. Additionally, it helps to improve your mood, the same way sun makes you feel more happy (though nothing can replace an actual sunshine). Most prenatal vitamins contain only small portion of vit D, however the correct dosage is very individual. In fact, people should get tested first on the level of vit D deficiency and then look for an accurate pill suiting their needs. (I was taking separate pill of 2,000 IU plus the amount from a prenatal multivitamin so about 2,800 IU of vit D daily).
  2. Vitamin C should also become on your list of daily intakes, however I would not¬† ¬† overdo it as it’s easy to find it in fruits that we consume every day. What I started to do during pregnancy (and continued after) is drinking a glass of warm water mixed with squeezed half lemon, every single morning before breakfast. It takes away all the generated acids from your body and makes your immune system stronger. I haven’t been sick even once since I got into habit of having that lemon water on a daily basis and it replaced other vit C supplements.¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†
  3. Iron- take it after you reach 20 weeks of your pregnancy; naturally our iron levels tend to drop as the baby grows inside of us. It can also help reduce the painful leg cramps that you get during the night (but nothing guaranteed, sorry).
  4. Calcium- although you can find it in things you eat every day, such as milk, cheese, eggs and yogurt, pregnant women have much higher need of calcium:1,200 to 1,400 milligrams a day; from your diet you can get roughly half of that a day so you need that extra pill to get you going. Calcium, as mentioned earlier, helps your baby to grow strong bones, teeth, but also a heart, nerves and muscles.

 

Don’t look at the weight

To be more specific: look but not too often (otherwise you go crazy, trust me). The thing is, you should not put more than 16 kg during your pregnancy, unless you were underweight or overweight before. You will start gaining the most in your second trimester, after 20 weeks. Your extra weight comes from your baby, the placenta and amniotic fluid but in a big part from changes in your body that occur during the pregnancy such as blood volume increase, some extra fluids, bigger breasts as well as your growing uterus and stored fat.

Now this may seem like a natural thing every woman goes through while growing a baby- yes. But you will only realise how much 14-16 kg is when you actually start gaining it! Nothing fits from your old clothes, you feel unattractive and simply fat (even though everyone tells you otherwise).

The trick here is not only to invest in a pair of good maternity trousers but also stop obsessing if you have gained quarter of pound every second day. It is recommended that from second trimester you should be gaining 0.5 kg weekly. But this doesn’t mean if you gain 0.8 or 0.4 kg one of the weeks there’s something wrong with you. Remember each pregnancy is different, and we cannot generalise every single woman out there.

So hop on that weight, most preferably in the mornings¬†but limit yourself to once a week (I know it’s tempting to do it more often). And if you find yourself gaining more than 1 kg every week, well then it’s no reason to panic;¬†just¬†slow down with that cookies or fries that you crave so much!

 

Balance it out

All in all, from my own experience I can tell how difficult it is to follow all the guidelines out there, especially when so many are contradictory! Your mum tells you one thing, your friends who had babies another and then you read something in the book published in 2010 that does not seem right comparing to the information you just found online.

I would say, listen to your midwife of course, but also to your¬†gut and do your own research before you start freaking out about anything. I listened to different advice of people who I considered wiser than me but rejected¬†anything I heard or read from an uncertain source. After all, it is your pregnancy and your baby, and you know what’s best for both of you.

 

 

 

 

 

About Agnes

Hello everyone and welcome to Pretty Mama. I am dedicating this website to all young, especially first-time mothers.

Being pregnant can seem a bit confusing, challenging and not pleasant at times. Many say it is a blessed or ‘sacred’ time in our lives but, let’s face it, it not always is, and surely not for the whole 40 weeks period! (Nausea, heartburn and backache anyone?). You may become a bag full of mixed emotions. But if you think pregnancy is difficult just wait for the baby to come…that little creature will turn your world upside down:)

My short pregnancy story

Becoming pregnant at 24, fairly early stage of my life, has made me anxious and worried about my future. I had a part-time job in retail and just graduated from University in London. My main goal was finding an internship and a good job. However, the universe had other plans: instead of me chasing a career he wanted me to chase a baby.

I was shocked once I saw the positive pregnancy test result. I didn’t know how I’m gonna manage because I was not ready to be a mother, not mentally and definitely not financially!¬† But I was lucky enough to had my partners’, friends’ and family’s support.

Once I accepted the fact that there is a little person coming into my life, I just embraced this pregnancy and tried to enjoy it as much as I can. I started to do a lot of research about development of the baby, how to stay healthy and try to avoid all the miserable aspects of being pregnant. I tried to save some money but having a small budget it was not the easiest thing to do, considering the need to update my wardrobe to a maternity-style and putting some money aside for those newborn essentials!

Becoming a mama

There are so many websites out there which will give you tips about pregnancy dos and donts (plus your mother won’t let you sleep if she’s as overprotective as mine). I’m not an expert or a midwife but I have a big family with babies, I read many books about growing a baby and listened to more experienced mothers who have more than 2 children. Oh, and I also gave birth to one, a gorgeous little girl named Amelia:)

My baby is just few months old so my memory of having a big bump is still fresh in my mind. For this reason I gathered all the essential information and wanted to share them with you, including my experience and views on pregnancy and motherhood. Most importantly, I want to let you guys know that you can do it, and you can do it with grace and a smile on your face! Carrying and then raising a baby is a journey full of tears, worries and self-doubt but there are so many moments of joy. And I guarantee you, once you see your little pumpkin’s face for the first time, you’ll know all that suffering was worth the pain:)

What’s in it for you?

I will give you tips on things like how to prepare easy healthy meals and not to overdue with eating (my craving was ice-cream, not mango), which exercises are safe to do, how to relax on a daily basis, which vitamins are best to take or where to shop for nice, cheaper clothes and other items . I will also give you some insight on what you really need to buy for the arrival of your baby and some general info about your baby’s development, during pregnancy as well as after the delivery.

After your little one arrives you can still look into my website for tips on how to adjust to a new lifestyle, which baby gear and toys might be useful, how to handle a difficult child and so much more.

Everything available for you here, on a single website.

I am really hoping to help women look and feel great during and after their pregnancy journey and make the most of this special time. My goal was to make some of the posts on a funny side, to lift your spirits on those worse days and make the mummy-daily- routine a little bit less boring. We rock mamas!!:)

If you ever need a hand or have any questions, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to help you out.

All the best,

Agnes

http://topprettymama.com/

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