Sunday, 26 April 2015

12 things to do in the Second Trimester

The second trimester is a lovely time, you can spread the good news to everyone without having to deal with any huge amount of aches or pains. You also get to enjoy being pregnant before you really have to process the exit strategy!

But aside from ‘being pregnant’ what else should you be doing? Here is the definitive (in my opinion!) things to do from week 13 - 27.

1. Book Antenatal/ Childbirth classes
In Ireland you are reminded to do this by the midwife in your hospital, but if not, do enquire and get booking. You usually don’t actually attend the classes until early third trimester, but if this is your first time pregnant you do not want to miss out.

2 Shop for Maternity Clothes
Yes your pants are tight and your boobs and belly are protruding, ditch the tight waistbands and prepare to enter what can only be described as heavenly, guilt free clothes! Check out my post on maternity wear essentials, try to pick out basic items and if you can buy a size or two bigger as you will need them post birth.

3 Maternity Leave
Now that you are in your stretchy pants it is time to talk business, discuss and set down your maternity leave at work. Get your dates in order and find out what your rights are. I found that doing this part usually leads into …

4 Research childcare
At some point you may want to return to work, so you should discuss with your partner and family the best childcare options. Crèche, playschool, childminder - keep your options open but have your research done.

5 Lists
I love lists (as you can see), they motivate me and keep me in reality! Now is the time to get out the pen and paper - list down what exactly you need for the first 6 months of the baby’s life - forget about clothes, think more like cot, high chair, car seat etc. See what you can get second hand and what you must buy new. Also write down what you need to buy for your hospital bag and start picking a few bits up. While you have the pen in your hand maybe plan out your finances for the same time period.

Me and my husband on our Babymoon

6 Babymoon/ adult time
I took my honeymoon in the second trimester and really enjoyed it, depending on your finances (see number 5) plan a holiday, trip or day away with your partner, friends or family. It will be lovely to get away for a while, and also you will cherish that time later on. Read about our babymoon here.

7 Sleep
This may be the time to start sleeping on your side. I sleep face down usually and found the transition quite hard, prepare your bedfellow for the huge amount of pillows that will now take up ‘your side’ of the bed. While we are on the bed and nice and comfy - nap. Take them whenever or wherever you get them. Don’t think about being lazy, rest is good for baby and for you.

8 Exercise
Some may feel that this should be higher up the list, but with my SPD it had to sadly take a back seat. Try and walk or do some light activity to keep you nimble and strong. Also do not forget to stretch, yoga is great for balance and breathing too. The most important exercise is the KEGAL, practice daily, preferably while talking to someone else … it just makes it more fun!

9 Baby Names
Towards the end of the second trimester it is a good idea to start narrowing names. Realistically you do not want to be thinking of any more than two names per gender. Decide and ponder them for the rest of the weeks to come, pop the name into as many scenarios as you can think of!

10 Keep a diary
I have a terrible memory, some days I feel like a goldfish, so I have to keep a journal. It is not so much for feelings and thoughts, but more like daily events/ occasions/ things I want to remember. You do not need to write down every thought for the 42 weeks, but maybe a few of the milestones and symptoms. Even if you hate pictures of your bump, do take a few of you as a larger lady - believe it or not you will miss it and forget what it felt like.

11 Me Time
Not Mummy Time ... not yet, this is Just Me Time. A bath, a spa, an evening reading or watching movies. Paint your nails, curl your hair and do what makes you happy. Be selfish and do not feel guilty, once your precious bundle is here your priorities will automatically change.

I tried a fish pedicure as part of my time - I loved it!
12 Baby Time
Read, sing, talk, play music and spend time with your unborn baby. My sweet baba didn't have much room to be kicking and playing games, but I know loads of mothers who can touch their belly and get the baby to kick them back. That is amazing - surreal really, treasure it. If you can get the daddy to interact too, do so, you want baby to know their father, you will need to pass over your bundle at sometime when they burst into the world.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Pregnancy vlogs on YouTube

I have never been a huge fan of YouTube. I liked to listen and watch music videos from time to time, but I never seemed to have the time to sit down and watch a video, I am much better at reading blogs - which are more discreet without the noise!

But being pregnant, I had to rest more, especially with Smphysis Pubic Dysfunction (SPD), and well sometimes you can only read so much! Also for the first time in my life I wanted to compare myself to others - I wanted to see what other 16 week pregnant ladies looked like, what I should expect in the third trimester, what were other moms doing, buying or worrying about!

So I became obsessed with pregnancy vlogs, I watched them weekly and I loved them. My husband on the other hand hated them and felt they would stress me out. They did not, I did not compare myself negatively, but positively, and I enjoyed taking the journey with other ladies in waiting towards the birth of babies.

So for those of you who want the extra pregnant company I will share with you my favourite pregnant and mom vloggers. I followed these ladies through their pregnancy, birth and now I watch their babies growing (when I get the few spare minutes!).
Hope you enjoy, some are inspirational, funny and slightly strange!
Jess and her four kids

Mom of four under five, I have no idea how she does it! You can watch her pregnancy and baby vlogs from her teenage pregnancy, her twins and her newest arrival. She is also getting married soon, if that interests you! Her life is like a soap opera sometimes!

Anna Saccone

Anna is one of my favourites, she is Irish and mum to Emilia and Eduardo, two of the cutest kids. Their family also post daily vlogs on Her week by week pregnancy vlogs were brilliant and honest. Such a lovely family.

Bubz is inspirational, funny and beautiful. She really is my favourite and I still look forward to her vlogs, she is from Northern Ireland, living in Hong Kong with her husband Tim and the chubbiest baby ever Issac. She knows her beauty and also gives tips on exercise, life and personal goals.

Danielle with hubby and baby Olivia
Danielle Baby Bliss
Danielle is mum to two fab girls, she is an American living in Germany. She is a vegetarian who tries to live a sustainable life. She is also doing daily vlogs now, but her week by week pregnancy vlogs were fantastic.

DainaG showing her monthly products
Daina is Canadian and she struggled through pregnancy, which was refreshing to watch. Her vlogs were really helpful. She is a beautiful lady with a cutie girl and her monthly favourite videos offer great advice on beauty and toddler tips.

Hope you enjoy!

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Learning a life lesson with Pregnancy yoga

I was struck down with Smphysis Pubic Dysfunction (SPD) at around 20 weeks pregnant, which ruled out most exercise for me, especially walking. This made me very lazy, helped me pile on the pounds and made me very anxious about childbirth. So I decided to do a pregnancy yoga course for six weeks.

I had never tried any type of yoga before so I was a real beginner and didn't know what to expect. As usual when I am trying something new, I was a little nervous, but as soon as I walked into the room, I was calm. The smell of burning incense, the cushions laid out on the ground, the lovely colours and the soothing music combined into the perfect atmosphere.

The one hour class started by explaining how to breath properly, and it moved on to stretches, gentle poses and balancing exercises. Everything is slow and gentle and if you feel uncomfortable you are encouraged to stop. There were ladies present at different stages of pregnancy and it was lovely to talk to other pregnant women.

At the first class, I was slightly annoyed by the 15-20 minute meditation section, which felt like napping, we were told to lie down, cover with a blanket, close our eyes and listen to the music. I thought I was being conned out of money - eh I could nap at home for free!! But as the weeks went on I did use this time to free my mind and try to connect with my baby.

If you have weak ankles or plantar fasciitis you may find the balancing exercises tough, like I did. Also after a few weeks the yoga seemed to aggravate my SPD.

I would highly recommend the course though. After just one session my lungs felt ten times bigger, I could breathe easily and I felt that the stretching elongated my body giving my womb more room. It was of course relaxing and it was one hour a week to free my mind or any worries, stresses or to do lists and just tune into my body and baby.

Above all that, I feel like I learned how to breathe properly and that is a real life lesson. The breathing exercises are excellent for calming your body and are invaluable for labour pains. Moving forward from pregnancy I still use the breathing techniques frequently to clear my head before sleep and also during exercise classes to get more oxygen into my body.

It also improved my sleep, helped with some back pain and gave some ideas for different birthing positions.

Also check out: The First 12 weeks
First Maternity Hospital Visit

Sunday, 5 April 2015

First maternity hospital visit

The first pregnancy hospital appointment is a big one, you are nervous, excited and don’t know what to expect.

My first visit  to Cavan General Hospital was at 17 weeks, we chose the public maternity route (which is FREE in Ireland). I had only been to my doctor prior and thankfully had not needed to visit the hospital until then.

Cavan General Hospital. Image from

So what should you expect? - A long wait. On our first hospital appointment, we were there for almost 3 hours!

First up was the ultrasound, the images were blurry but the technician seemed to see what she was looking for. In relation to my strange uterus, she said she could see one womb with a separation down the middle which was a “possible bicornuate uterus.” We asked about gender, but she said she couldn’t be sure … but we would know at our next scan.
She said that my uterus situation may become clearer as the pregnancy progresses or we may have to wait until after birth to find out the true situation.

Then came my first visit with the midwife, I know many people are lucky to see the same midwife the whole way through their pregnancy, but this was not the case in Cavan.
She measured my height and weight, she took the blood tests my doctor did and I was sent to get one more blood test.

Then the questions came. My husband came with me to the hospital, but aside from the ultrasound he may as well have stayed at home, because he had to just wait by himself.

I think the purpose of not having your partner in there is so that you answer the questions honestly!
The midwife asked a million questions about my medical history, my husband’s and our families. I couldn't be 100% sure for all the questions relating to our families but answered in relation to our immediate family. There were a lot of questions about alcohol, smoke and drug use. She also asked if there had been any violence in our relationship.
After what seemed like hours, she said I was very healthy and would have been categorised as low risk pregnancy only for my unknown womb situation. As a low risk patient I could have opted for the midwifery led unit, which is supposed to be a nicer experience but it would rule out the use of epidural or drug based pain relief during labour. I also think there are less ultrasound scans using that unit.
It being my first pregnancy and as I was unsure what exactly my womb was at, I was happier to have a consultant led pregnancy.

I was born with a clicking hip, so the midwife made a note of that and the baby will be assessed for that issue after birth.

Breastfeeding was also a big conversation. I was unsure of my feelings about breastfeeding at the time, but said I would like to breastfeed if only for a few weeks. I was send home with a lot of literature to read and told my next hospital appointment was in four weeks time.

At my second hospital visit, I brought a urine sample. My blood pressure was tested and I met a doctor under my consultant. The doctor said my baby was growing on target and there was no sign of “another womb” on the ultrasound. There was also no sign of gender … next scan will show “for definite.”

After doing a lot of googling and trawling through forums at home, I had a lot of questions for the doctor, such as will I go into premature labour, can I have a vaginal birth etc.
The doctor said she saw no issue with my pregnancy and birth being normal, which annoyed me a little as we had no idea if it could be normal because we didn't know what shape or position my womb was!

For your first hospital visit:
- Try and go alone, it is a long wait for your partner/ friend
- Schedule a lot of time, such as the whole morning or afternoon
- Have a rough idea of your family history
- Expect you may have to give a blood sample
- Make a list of any questions you have and bring it with you

***This post relates to June 2014***