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Practical Tips for Pregnancy and Newborn Life

Congratulations, mama-to-be! Discovering that you're expecting is such an incredible and joyous moment. As you embark on this exciting journey of motherhood, it's only natural to feel a mix of emotions, from pure excitement to a touch of anxiety. But fear not, because I'm here to guide you through the steps to take when you find out you're pregnant. From preparing for birth to getting ready for life with your little one, consider me your go-to companion on this beautiful adventure.

Celebrate the News:

First things first – take a moment to celebrate this wonderful news with your partner, family, and friends. Whether it's a quiet dinner, a cozy night in, or even a virtual celebration, acknowledging this special moment will help set a positive tone for the journey ahead. And if, for any reason, you're not feeling the joy right away, it's okay. It might be that you simply need a bit of time to get your head around such an important life moment! But if you start to struggle with accepting or enjoying the thought of welcoming a baby in your life - consider seeking support. It could be through therapy (NHS guide), a previous birth debrief (usually offered by trauma-informed doulas), or connecting with communities/charities that can guide you through any feelings you might have!

These are some incredible charities in the UK that offer valuable resources for pregnant families:

  • Maternity Action works to improve maternity care and support for pregnant women and new parents, particularly those facing challenging circumstances, such as immigration issues.

  • Birth Trauma Association supports women who have experienced traumatic childbirth, offering information, resources, and a helpline.

  • Pregnancy Sickness Support provides support and information for women suffering from severe pregnancy sickness (hyperemesis gravidarum).

  • Home Birth UK provides information and support for families considering or planning a home birth, promoting the benefits of birthing in a familiar environment.

  • Sands provides support for anyone affected by the death of a baby, including resources for bereaved parents and information on reducing the risks of stillbirth.

  • Tommy's dedicated to funding research into stillbirth, premature birth, and miscarriage, while also providing information and support to parents.

  • NCT (National Childbirth Trust) offers information, support, and classes to parents throughout pregnancy, childbirth, and early parenthood.

  • Pregnancy Sickness Support provides support and information for women suffering from severe pregnancy sickness (hyperemesis gravidarum).

  • Doulas Without Borders provides support to vulnerable and marginalized pregnant individuals through trained birth and postnatal doulas. These doulas offer emotional and practical support to those who may face additional challenges during pregnancy and childbirth.

Remember, your local health services and birth doulas are also here to provide valuable guidance and information tailored to your individual needs.

Choose the Prenatal Care:

It will be time to schedule your first prenatal appointment with a midwife as soon as you find out you're pregnant (preferably before 8 weeks into the pregnancy). Regular check-ups can be incredibly helpful for monitoring the health of both you and your baby, and they provide a great opportunity to discuss any questions or concerns you may have.

There is an alternative option. ‘Unassisted’ or ‘wild’ pregnancy is the term most frequently used to describe the situation when a woman decides to have no antenatal care from a midwife or doctor at all. Rooted in the belief that pregnancy and birth is a natural and instinctive process, the movement emphasizes a woman's innate ability to carry a baby and give birth without intervention. It may not be the right choice for everyone, but understanding the principles behind the Free Birth Movement can open up new perspectives on the diverse options available for bringing your precious little one into the world. It’s perfectly legal in the UK (BirthRights) and a good place to start researching this option would The Free Birth Society.

Prepare for Birth:

Preparing your mind for birth is a crucial step, and there are two effective approaches.

The first involves independent preparation by immersing yourself in positive birth stories and insightful books. Engage in mindful practices such as deep breathing and meditation to foster a positive mindset and alleviate stress. In my Fear Free Pregnancy & Birth Guide, I've collected some of my favorite resources (for all of the above) and journaling prompts to challenge existing beliefs about childbirth, replacing them with accurate information. You can also look for local meetups organized by birth workers, they provide a supportive environment for sharing resources and addressing questions - ask about these in your local communities.

Attending prenatal educational classes is the second option, they usually cover essential topics like labor, delivery and postpartum care. Beyond well-known options like NCT classes, there are private and small-group courses led by Hypnobirthing teachers and doulas, both locally and online. I, too, offer full birth preparation, as well as personalized sessions to meet your specific needs. Explore my virtual support options available.

It’s just as important to focus on your body's preparation for the upcoming birthing experience. Carry on with your regular activities and/or start gentle exercises tailored for expectant mothers – think yoga, walking, and pelvic floor exercises. Fuel your body with a balanced, nutritious diet rich in prenatal vitamins and hydrate adequately to support both you and your growing baby. Consider visiting a prenatal chiropractor or an osteopath. They are trained to offer gentle adjustments that align the spine and pelvis, potentially easing pregnancy-related discomfort and supporting your body in the ability to give birth naturally.

Remember, each step you take to nurture your body contributes to a more resilient and empowered birthing process.

Getting Ready for Life with a Baby:

The arrival of your little one will bring about a significant lifestyle change. Here are some practical steps to prepare for life with a baby:

1.Build a Support System:

  • Attending breastfeeding support groups provides valuable education and emotional support, while connecting with others who share similar experiences. Establishing these connections early on also provides access to experienced individuals, including lactation consultants, who can offer ongoing assistance and guidance after the baby is born. To find independent breastfeeding support and information ( including local groups and free helpline and chat) visit Breastfeeding Network.

  • Initiating a food train, where friends and family take turns preparing meals, not only ensures proper nutrition but also eases the burden of meal preparation during the fourth trimester. 

  • Birth doula guidance can foster a positive and reassured environment for everyone involved by providing evidence-based information, emotional support, experience and continuous advocacy throughout the pregnancy and all the way to the fourth trimester, ensuring expectant parents feel empowered and well-supported. You can read more about what pregnancy with a doula can look like here.

2. Discuss The Childcare Options:

Talking about childcare options early on lets parents look into different choices like daycare (keep in mind UK nurseries can have waiting lists of up to 2 years in some places), in-home care, or family support (talking openly with family helps set realistic expectations and builds stronger relationships). Consider factors like cost, availability, and  personal preference. Dealing with childcare worries before the baby comes reduces stress and makes sure there's a good plan, making things easier for both parents and the newborn when the time comes.

3. Stock Up Freezer:

During the first weeks or even months, the responsibility of caring for your newborn(s) around the clock may shift your focus away from your personal needs. Prioritizing the availability of nutritious meals that can be easily prepared with minimal time and effort is a valuable strategy to maintain your well-being during this demanding period. This free Post Birth Meal Plan gives partners and relatives a good understanding of how to feed mamas in the fourth trimester!

Embracing pregnancy is a remarkable journey filled with anticipation, love, and growth. I hope these steps will help you set the foundation for a smooth and joyful transition into motherhood. Remember, each pregnancy is unique, so trust your instincts and enjoy every moment of this incredible adventure. Wishing you a happy and healthy pregnancy!

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