Pregnancy Survival Guide


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Pregnancy is a huge adventure that I don't really think anyone can prepare you for. For some women it comes on slowly and gently, for others it's like being hit by a bus. Whether you're the pregnancy unicorn or gremlin here are some of the products and tips that have helped me get through the highs and lows.

Clothes

I have always enjoyed getting dressed and choosing outfits. That started to change in pregnancy because all of a sudden I couldn’t wear what I wanted to. We decided to keep our news to family for as long as possible, so I had to dress to conceal my body. Honestly I don’t think I’d ever really thought about doing that before. Obviously I had always wanted my figure to good and for me to feel confident in clothes, but I’d never tried to hide myself before. It was a huge change and challenge, all of which came at the same time as really bad morning sickness. So I was feeling awful physically and trying to hide it all, which put a strain on me mentally. I take my hat off to women that manage it with better grace than I did, because it really is hard. Throughout the experience I did find some brands and styles that I clung to.

  • Zara Maternity is affordable and looks like normal clothes, which helped me keep my identity. Most of their pieces aren’t marked maternity so won’t give you away either.
  • ASOS` has a huge Maternity range which is also affordable and covers most occasions, from the gym to weddings.
  • H&M maternity is great for Jeans and Swimwear.
  • J Brand – I read somewhere that the only thing worth investing in for pregnancy is jeans. It’s some what true.  I wore my J Brand maternity jeans to death.
  • Hatch is the only Maternity brand I spent money on. Their Dresses and Swimwear are lovely and great quality, not only that, but I could actually see myself wearing them afterwards.
  • Wacoal is a great underwear brand. For me, within the first month of being pregnant my breasts went up a size. So I had to adjust really quickly and they were quite uncomfortable at night so I started to sleep in bras. Wacoal does amazing non-wired options that have lasted me and been comfortable throughout.
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Beauty

I’ve been super smell sensitive during my pregnancy. I had a strong sense of smell before but wow, it’s on steroids now! During the first two trimesters when I was still feeling sick a lot I couldn’t bare the smell of any fragrance, even my favourite smells were too much. I haven’t worn scent at all during the pregnancy. So I had to find some products that were fragrance free that I could cope with. As I’ve felt less sick I have been able to bring back some fragrances lucky, so I can use more products. But these are my heroes from throughout.

  • For Stretch Marks – I have had a two step process. Fingers crossed it’s worked so far. I use a serum and then an oil every single day, from the moment I found out I was pregnant. Palmers is a great highstreet option that really stays put in your tummy locking the moisture in. They also do a fragrance-free option now. The Chemistry Brand does a great fragrance-free Hyaluronic Concentrate which I layered with Clinique Products during the darkest days of smell sensitivity. If you can cope with fragrance I love the Aurelia Products, I use their Body Serum and Cell Repair Night Oil together. The Susanne Kaufmann Oil is also lovely.  I’ve sprayed my whole body, face to bum, in the ReVive Hydration Mist, it’s also lovely and cooling. I sometimes use face sheet masks on my tummy too.
  • Shhh areas – Everyone has an opinion on how to stop tears from happening during birth. Massaging and moisturising is one theory. I use the Kokoso coconut oil for this. I apply it every night to the perineum area.
  • For your face – I used a lot of Clinique when I couldn’t cope with fragrance because its all fragrance-free and great.
  • Toothpaste – During my worst morning sickness, I found that every time I brushed my teeth I was sick. It was so challenging, since oral health is so important during pregnancy. Eventually I found Oranurse no foam, no flavour toothpaste which just about let me finish brushing! Life saver. It has a texture like a cream and tastes and smells of nothing.
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Food and Drinks

I wish I had a secret morning sickness remedy to share with you. I was one of those desperate women who googled for them, but honestly I don’t think such a thing exists. I know somethings made me worse – raw vegetables, strong smells/flavours and anything too sweet. Although I don’t have a cure, I can share the few things that I was able to keep down in the hope they help you too.

  • Hot Drinks – I actually haven’t been keen on hot drinks during this pregnancy but I was willing try anything, and the Yogi Tea’s didn’t hurt, so I think they helped a tiny bit. I also had a lot of water with fresh ginger and ginger shots. It was something to order when I was out at meetings too.
  • Cold Drinks – The only things that I could keep down, were really cold water with ice and coconut water. I endlessly ordered ice to get things as cold as possible, which did help. The coconut water also helped with leg cramps. I go through a carton a day almost, often mixed with ice cold water.
  • Food – When I was really sick I stopped eating because I just couldn’t find anything I could keep down, but then the weight started to fall off me so I decided I had to eat for the baby however unpleasant. Mostly all I could cope with were dry carb snacks. I ended up eating a lot of the Clearspring Rice Crackers (I prefer their texture to other brands) and Salt and Vinegar Jacobs Crackers.
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Fitness

I felt so unwell for months two and three (weeks 8-12 weeks), that I couldn’t workout at all. During this time I was literally horizontal. The only thing I could bring myself to do was yoga in my bedroom. After month 4 (week 16) I was a bit more with-it and got back to my normal workouts plus reformer pilates which have helped me a lot mentally and physically.

  • Youtube Videos – I really liked the Prenatal videos from Sarah Beth Yoga. She has a calming voice and it helped me to do gentle short sessions in my bedroom to her videos, when I couldn’t cope with anything else.
  • PT Mat Pilates – I workout with my PT Bryony Whitfield twice a week (she trained me for my wedding and ever since we have been close). Bry is an amazing person who lifts up women and I have found her support invaluable. I really recommend finding a trainer that you feel the same about to guide you through pregnancy fitness and beyond.
  • Reformer Pilates – I discussed with with Bry and we both thought reformer would be a great regular addition to my prenatal workouts. I had done some before but never consistently. So I booked block PT sessions with Vita Pilates which I have loved using one a week. The studios are lovely and the staff supportive and helpful.
  • What to wear – I found pretty quickly my fitted gym wear didn’t fit anymore! So I had to buy new things. I ended up loving this Nike Bra which I bought several of, and the Spanx Maternity Leggings are definitely the best quality of everything I have tried (I also wear them for travel).
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