Pregnancy is a special time in the life of any woman, but I am not going to say that it’s always easy and straight forward. Some of us get pregnant just by ‘looking’ at our partner, some struggle to do so and some choose not to have kids-every choice is personal and to be respected.
My pregnancies were different in the sense that I felt different emotionally and physically with each of my ‘bumps’ but I was lucky to have had straight forward pregnancies and was guided by a wonderful support network.
I have extensively discussed the subject with many of my girlfriends and have to say, that there are no exact guidelines. For example, a few years ago you were told not to have any alcohol, now it’s being said that an odd glass of red wine might be beneficial for both mother-to-be and the bump.
Does one eat sushi? I did or so did many of my girlfriends, as long as the fish was really fresh and the restaurant ‘tried and tested’.
Do you take supplements? Some buy any off the counter vitamins for pregnant women but many of my girlfriends name Zita West’s ones for each trimester and pre-c0nception as firm favourites.
Do you exercise? Again, depends on the pregnancy. Sometimes you are just too tired and don’t want to do anything other than walk in the fresh air and that is the right thing to do. More often than not pregnancy yoga and pilates achieve great results-be it in the class or doing a DVD workout at home-a word of warning though-don’t start any new activity during pregnancy and often yoga and pilates are not recommended before you are 3 months along. Again, talk to your midwife or Ob. My favourite and tried and tested yoga DVDs are by Shiva Rea ‘Prenatal yoga’ (it has trimester modifications) and ‘Tara Lee’s ‘Pregnancy Health Yoga’ (it has full and restorative practises, breathing exercises, relaxation, visualisation, partner work, preparation for labour and birth and also covers common pregnancy related ailments). It’s better to do little but every day than do a bigger session let’s say twice a week-again, that’s what worked for me.
I saw Dr. Gowri Motha and one of her lovely therapist’s Sarah, when I was pregnant with my son-the only thing I didn’t like is that there were always several women who had treatments side by side, separated by whimsical screens. Her book ‘Gentle Birth Method’ has been on my bedside table each time though, as it gave lots of useful and sensible advice and answered lots of questions, covering each week of the pregnancy and labour. It talks about birth preparations, symptoms, diet, exercises, treatments and so far, I haven’t found a better book, though I have high hopes for Emma Cannon’s next book, due out next year.
I have to be honest and say that I have been very diligent about not taking any medication during pregnancy, unless it was advised by my obstetrician.
I also used homeopathy and my lovely homeopath Kay truly convinced me that homeopathy is potent and very helpful when dealing with various pregnancy related ailments like sciatica, tiredness, back ache etc. You can also benefit from it during labour and it helps you heal faster post delivery and gets milk production going faster (if you choose to breast-feed) and can help to calm you and the baby among other benefits. My son had some homeopathic medicines made by Kay before he had MMR, which I consider to be one of the ‘toughest’ vaccination combinations on the kid’s immunity and he sailed through the vaccination and post vaccination period without fever or aches or swelling of the glands.
I also gave a lot of thought to cosmetics i.e. what I was putting on my skin, be it on the body or face. I have been truly lucky that my friend Michelle Roques-O’Neil has been mixing me body and face oils throughout and the end result is that I never had stretch marks or dry skin. Regular massages and pedicures would also benefit both you and the baby, just be careful that you don’t have unqualified reflexology on your feet, which can lead to miscarriage or complications.
Most of all, enjoy that special time, spend time with your partner and friends, savour the food, enjoy the nature and know that your life will change for the better but your peaceful existence will be no more, as kid’s always make you worry .)
Last, but not least, before I bore you with all the advice that I have accumulated, check out Rachel Waddilove’s ‘The baby book: how to enjoy year one’ before your bump turns into the baby- it will calm your fears and worries, especially when your first precious child arrives and you will be clueless to start with. This book gives you lots of advice that has been tested with love and care, it will teach you and reassure you, thus benefiting you and the baby and the whole family possibly too. And not forgetting Clare Byam-Cook’s book ‘Top tips for breast-feeding’ if you are planning to nurse your little one-very easy to read while you are at it .) and giving lots of easy but effective advice to get you going and doing it successfully.