18 Jul 2021

My Pregnancy Safe And Postpartum Skincare Routine



During my pregnancy I made a couple of changes to my skincare routine and now that I'm postpartum, I've realised I've stuck to this same routine for over 9 months now! In this post I wanted to share the products I use as well as the what I cut out and how my skin changed during pregnancy and post-baby. 

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11 Jul 2021

My Postpartum And Recovery Essentials


Baby S is almost 3 weeks old and I'm slowly starting to feel like my normal self again! I've noticed that I've been reaching for certain essentials over the past few weeks, which have helped with my postpartum recovery and breastfeeding journey, and I wanted to share them here in case some of you are looking to purchase things for your postpartum recovery!
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4 Jul 2021

Pregnancy Diary | The Second Trimester



If you’ve read this post, you’ll know that I wanted to keep a pregnancy diary so I’m uploading them now (and if you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know I’ve already had the baby - surprise!). Going back to past me...


Hello second trimester! This trimester flew by and was by far my favourite! I’m currently 26 weeks as I am writing this up and I can’t believe how fast time has gone by. We’ve had a really good couple of months, I feel really grateful for being pregnant, getting to experience this amazing feeling and how smoothly my pregnancy has been going so far!


Morning Sickness
By around 15 weeks, my morning sickness FINALLY calmed down. I had the odd day where I felt a bit funny or nauseous, thankfully it wouldn’t last too long. When it did go, I did feel slightly worried because I couldn’t tell if something was wrong. I didn’t have a bump yet and had no other symptoms, so I felt a bit lost. But of course everything was normal!


Bump
Speaking of the bump, it didn’t make an appearance until around 17 weeks! I did have a lot of bloating before that but if it wasn’t there before I ate breakfast, I wouldn’t class it as a baby bump. I’m quite a petite person so I wasn’t expecting it to pop out straight away anyway but when it did, I’d notice it growing every week!


It has been amazing to watch it grow but I did start to feel the stretching pain around the 25 week mark - it’s quite uncomfortable, especially during the night! I started using Bio-Oil and Burt’s Bees Mama Bee Stretch Mark Cream on my belly, chest and thighs from the start of the second trimester to avoid stretch marks. I apply it morning and night, which was a nice little step to add into my routine as I’d give myself a mini massage.

It did start to get uncomfortable at night so I started using a pregnancy very early on - I’d do whatever helped me to sleep! I bought the BellaMoon Pregnancy Pillow because it had a cover, which you could replace or wash and could be separated into 3 different pillows for different uses during pregnancy and postpartum. Definitely a great purchase and I’d highly recommend it to anyone looking at purchasing a pregnancy pillow.


Food
I really enjoyed my food this trimester but there were a few things that would make me feel funny! Chicken on the bone was a big no-no so roast chicken dinners have been non-existent, sadly! One thing that changed for me was my tolerance for spicy food - I used to be a bit of a wuss when it came to spice but I’m now loving it and can handle a good chilli kick in meals.

When I was hungry for a meal, I was hungryyyy! I would wake up STARVING and would need to eat immediately. Once I even woke up at 5am and had to go help myself to a bowl of cereal! Dinner times quickly moved to 6pm or as quick as I could make it because I just needed a full meal and fast!

I did find myself snacking throughout the day too. 3pm - 4pm was prime snack time so I’d go and treat myself to some pink wafer biscuits (my latest obsession), Cheese Strings (childhood favourite) and sweeties! Probably not the best snacks, but it kept me and baby happy.


Movements
I didn’t expect to feel any baby movements for quite some time but I felt little kicks at around 18-19 weeks! I didn’t get the ‘flutters’ that people often talk about (or maybe I didn’t realise at the time) but I definitely felt little punches. I’d describe it as being similar to gas bubbles in your tummy!

The movements got stronger and more frequent and eventually you could see them outside of the tummy and my husband got to feel them also - which was amazing! It really began to feel real at this point because the bump was growing and movements were happening.

At 26 weeks, this baby has a bit of a routine (which my midwife told me to keep an eye on) and I can really feel the baby moving around at specific times of the day.


Fatigue, Insomnia and Sleep

As mentioned, the growing bump did make sleeping a bit uncomfortable and growing a baby is really tiring work so you need all the rest you can get! I don’t really get to nap during the day due to my work hours but I think it helps so I sleep longer and better at night. I’ve been sleeping longer than I usually would, sometimes a solid 9 hours of sleep, and I could probably sleep more on some days too!


There is the odd night where I would wake up at random hours and not be able to sleep! I’d have my headphones within reach so I can watch some Youtube videos or listen to a podcast (Happy Mum, Happy Baby by Giovanna Fletcher has been a brilliant listen!)


Antenatal Class

As I was pregnant during the lockdown, I did join in a few antenatal classes online. I would be served with an Instagram advert for one pretty much everyday so I looked into them and participated in a few free classes. I found them really reassuring and they helped me feel prepared for this baby!


Hair
My scalp has been quite dry. I noticed very quickly that I had mild dandruff. I changed my shampoo and conditioner, but it didn’t help too much. So every week I’d apply coconut oil to my scalp and massage it in, leaving it overnight and washing it out the next morning. It has been helping to keep the flakes at bay!

I also have white hairs sprouting EVERYWHERE, which is just brilliant (not) but I’ve heard a lot of women experienced this during pregnancy so I’m hoping that it doesn’t continue postpartum too. My hair has been growing like crazy, so the white hairs are forgiven! My hair has been more knotty as a result so the coconut oil hair mask has been a lifesaver for that also.


Sciatica
No one told me about the pregnancy sciatica! I experienced regular pain in my legs and back, which was not the most comfortable! It didn’t help that my job involves sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day but if you are in the same boat, make sure to take regular breaks, rest and take it easy!


And that was pretty much my entire second trimester! Overall, really enjoyable and I’m looking forward to seeing the bump grow, buying more baby things, preparing for labour (ahhh) and meeting this little cupcake!

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Pregnancy Diary | The Third Trimester



So my previous two posts explain that I kept my pregnancy a bit of a secret around these parts (surprise, I’ve already had the baby!) but I wanted to keep a diary to A) look back on and B) help some of you who may be looking for reassurance in hearing someone else's experience! I know these types of blog posts helped me massively during my pregnancy, so I wanted to make sure I documented my experience.

Let’s wind back a few months...

Wow - I’m now reaching the end of my pregnancy (say whaaaat). I’m 37 weeks now, which can be considered full term, and I definitely feel it! This last trimester has been a mixture of ups and downs but I know it’ll be worth it when this not-so-little watermelon pops out.


The Growing Belly
Bump just keeps on growing and growing and growing… It’s insane how quick your bump changes! Looking back at photos from when I was 25 weeks and thought I looked ‘massive’, it’s nothing compared to how large my bump is now, haha!

The growing belly meant I went through my stretch mark creams and oils very quickly. I decided to purchase the Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Massage Lotion for Stretch Marks for my bump, chest and thighs! I wanted something super nourishing and soothing to apply in the mornings and evenings.

I was also very kindly sent the Natural Birthing Company Nourish and Relieve Massage & Stretch Mark Oil*, which is packed full of nourishing oils and butters that have helped soothe any stretching pains.


Movements
The baby’s movements definitely got stronger and there have been many moments where the kicks have literally taken my breath away! As the baby grows each week, it’s definitely running out of space to move around, kick and punch. The movements have started to feel different and body parts are definitely noticeable, which is crazy!


Nesting
Obviously the nesting has kicked in and was in full force throughout my final trimester. I made a checklist of things I wanted to organise and sort in the house and ticked them all off at the start of this trimester - when I had the most energy!

Other preparation bits we did during these final few months… buying and organising everything for the baby, getting the bedroom prepped for the co-sleeper crib, disinfecting and sterilising bottles and toys and much more! It’s been surreal getting everything ready for the baby and now we’re just playing the waiting game.

I will be sharing our ‘essentials’ and what we purchased for the baby after we’ve had a chance to actually use them so keep your eyes peeled for more baby related blog posts.


Tiredness Has Kicked In
I had a lot of energy at the start of my third trimester but when I hit around 35 weeks, the tiredness well and truly kicked in! I would find myself getting physically tired from doing usual bits around the house and also sleepy in the afternoon. After my maternity leave started, I definitely took it as a sign to rest and let my body relax because I’m guessing I won’t have much of that once baby arrives!


Lightning Crotch
This is basically exactly what it says on the tin. The pain is sharp and makes an appearance at any time and every time it does, it really throws me off! It’s common in the third trimester as the baby is head down, begins to engage and ‘drop’. I took it as a good sign that baby is ready and is coming soon!


Piles
This isn’t glamorous at all but I have to mention it! Pregnancy piles is 10x worse than regular piles, sadly. There is a lot of pressure down there which explains why a lot of pregnant women do experience piles. It’s important to treat it as letting it get really bad can be very uncomfortable!


Leaky Boobs

One day as I was showering, my milk came in! It just started pouring out and it was the most unexpected thing. It’s a great sign of course and the milk that leaks before you have the baby is actually the best milk. It’s called colostrum or ‘liquid gold’. You can harvest it, freeze it and feed it to the baby once they arrive if you wish to.


Night Sweats
The amount of times I wake up in the middle of the night covered in what feels like buckets of sweat - too many! We had a slight heatwave during my last trimester so the night sweats were even more intense. Let’s just say that pyjamas were nonexistent!


Pre-Labour Prep!
The hospital bags are packed and are already in the boot of the car, the car seat is fixed in and my birth plan is ready to go! Everything is ready so that if baby arrives, we’re not rushing around trying to get things done. It’s a weird thought that we’re just waiting for the big day to arrive but it’s super exciting!



*gifted
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Pregnancy Diary | The First Trimester


Hello from past me! As I’m writing this no one knows that I’m pregnant but now, if you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that it’s been well over 9 months as I’ve actually had the baby! I wanted to make sure I documented my pregnancy experience, so here is the first of many pregnancy diary entries and baby-related posts. I’m hoping that this will help other first-time mums going through their pregnancies and inform or reassure them, because I know they helped me!

Let’s start at the beginning… From the second you see ‘pregnant’ come up on the test, your life changes. You have a life growing inside you, of course it changes (and I can tell you now that it’s a wonderful, wild and crazy experience!).


Taking the test
The day I took the test, I was very shocked to see an *actual* positive result. I always imagined what the moment would be like and it really was just a bundle of emotions all rolled into one! I realised that I’d experienced one of the signs a few days before, which was spotting or implantation bleeding, but when you are in that situation, you never really want to get your hopes up so I ignored it and assumed it was good ol’ mother nature arriving!

Anyway, I immediately did some maths and calculated I could be around 4 weeks along! Baby was the size of a poppy seed, how tiny and cute. I also downloaded two apps: Ovia and Pregnancy+ (which I can now tell you were super helpful throughout the whole pregnancy!)


Weeks 4 & 5
One of the very first things I noticed was the nosebleeds and bloating! Both completely normal as your body adjusts to the new life growing inside you. It also reassured me that my body is doing what it’s supposed to be doing!

I started taking Pregnacare immediately, I later discovered from my midwife booking appointment that it is recommended to take extra vitamin D supplements as those tablets don’t have quite the recommended amount. I also called up my doctor's surgery and booked in to see the midwife when I was expected to be around 8 weeks pregnant.


Week 6
Oh boy, the morning sickness and nausea had kicked in. I thought this was quite early, but reading other people’s experiences, it is very normal. It would come and go in the morning, afternoon or evening - so any time really and at first I knew how to manage it. Sickness bands worked for a short while or scoffing down a ginger biscuit before I even got out of bed. Peppermint tea also helped to calm the sickness throughout the day but after week 11, all of these remedies stopped working. I just had to let it out, which helped relieve the discomfort and feeling.

We decided to go for an early private scan for reassurance and because of pure excitement. We booked in at Window to the Womb in Leicester, who were really amazing. At the time, the NHS (in my region anyway) would not allow partners to attend any scans due to COVID, so we were relieved that booking privately allowed my husband to come in too.

Seeing the little heart beating in the scan was a massive reassurance. We had the scan quite early (and earlier than I was expecting as I measured smaller and therefore was a week behind) at 6 weeks but I would recommend it to other first time parents too. Also it’s worth noting that many early scans are done internally, rather than external (with the machine on your belly). I didn’t find it too uncomfortable and it was worth it to see the little bean we were so desperate to know was okay!


Weeks 7 & 8
The nausea and sickness paired with pregnancy headaches are the devil! I'd wake up with a headache, go to sleep with a headache, there’s a headache that lingers throughout the day and it was just awful. I struggled to find something to soothe the thumping pain, lying down for a while helped but wasn’t always possible with busy working days. I really don’t know how I would’ve coped if I was working in the office. I found that I just had to rest and let it pass, as I was avoiding taking Paracetamol, if not completely required.

I also had my midwife appointment this week. Due to coronavirus, the first half took place over the phone answering questions about your family history and medical health. The second half was at the surgery and included a blood test, urine sample testing and a few other bits and bobs your midwife will go through with you. It’s all a bit boring as it involves paperwork but the appointments will get more exciting, I promise!


Week 9 & 10
I noticed that my eczema began to flare up again. I’ve always had a few patches on my neck area but it got worse and spread down to my chest. Paired with winter, I don’t think the hormones helped at all but I didn’t let it stress me out too much. Luckily with lockdowns and tier 4, no one saw me anyway and it was easily hideable on video calls etc. To treat the dry skin, I used Weleda Skin Food, as it is pregnancy safe and natural.

Speaking of skincare, I stopped all use of retinol as soon as I found out I was pregnant. It’s not recommended for pregnant women, due to the Vitamin A levels. I’d research and make sure your skincare products are all pregnancy-safe.


Week 11 & 12
My 12 week scan appointment was booked in, which was exciting! The Government guidelines changed just before my appointment, which meant that my husband was allowed to come to my 12 week and 20 week scans - hooray! I feel very lucky that he was allowed in.

So according to my dates, I would be 12 weeks when the appointment was booked in, however, I knew from my private scan, I was a week behind. I did mention this to my midwife but they go according to NHS scans so they booked me in anyway.

When I got to my 12 week scan, the sonographer did tell us that the baby was measuring quite small so they asked me to come back the next week. When we did return, they were happy with the measurements and we were able to see the baby wriggling around!

It was a huge relief and was a very special moment. The baby looked like an actual baby in this scan! We also received our due date: 4th July!


The countdown begins…

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