Wow.. where is the time going?! I remember booking the NCT classes and thinking we had aggeeessss till they started. It feels like only yesterday Josh and I nervously sat in a circle with 7 other couples introducing ourselves, 5 weeks later and we've finished them! (Minus session number 6, when we all meet up with our newborn babies in July.. Eeek!)
One thing I knew when I became pregnant was that I wanted to do the NCT antenatal classes. Partly because I didn't want to buy and read a ton of pregnancy books... I just didn't want to be overwhelmed with too much information! Plus the fact reading a book is a nightmare for me being dyslexic, I get all the lines in a muddle and would probably confuse myself even more!! So doing the classes would be my way of gathering the necessary information about labour, different pain relief, once babies here etc. But the biggest reason why I wanted to do the classes was for the social aspect, wanting to meet other couples in the area, having babies at the same time as us!
Although there are free classes offered through our midwife. I really wanted to do the NCT Essentials Antenatal course because of the great reputation they have. I also had so many recommendations from clients and family members who had done the classes, and say they had met some of their closest friends there! Some of the groups even still meet up today for catch ups! My group have planned to meet up for coffee next Sunday which I am really excited about. Not sure what the barista will be thinking when 8 heavily pregnant ladies come into Costa and all order decaf drinks!
For any mummys-to-be who are thinking of or considering the NCT classes, I would say go for it! The classes were really informative and pretty much covered all areas and any questions that I did have, and it was great hearing questions from other couples that I hadn't thought of but am pleased I now know the answers to. I'm a pretty stubborn person and already had a good idea in my head of how I want labour to go and what I want for my birth plan. Although my decisions haven't changed after the classes, they have confirmed what I would like and it was good for me to actually know all the pros and cons of the different options out there. Unfortunately, as much as you plan, I'm very down to earth with the fact that labour can be unpredictable on the day! The main priority is that the baby and I are safe and healthy. So I'm pleased that I now have more knowledge about certain situations like emergency c-sections, so I can be as relaxed and calm when D-day comes!
Something I really wasn't aware of, was how long you might be at home in early stages of labour! I mean I wasn't as naive to think it was as quick as the movies... (the waters break, they rush to hospital, pop and the babies here!) But did you know it could be around 24 hours at home before you're even admitted to hospital?! So ways of coping with the pain and being comfortable is some vital information I will be remembering! Anyone who knows me.. I am rubbish at coping with pain and I get anxiety really easily. So till I am in the safe hands of doctors, midwives and pain relief, keeping calm and being comfortable at home is something I have really taken away from the classes.
One area that I didn't realise would be covered so heavily was, the emotional journey we are all going through, and how our relationships with our partners or spouses might be affected. I think it's just always important to remember that everyone's journey in pregnancy is different, everyone's relationship is unique, and everyone's background and living circumstances are different. It's not always this perfect journey full of love and glow, and can be a real mental challenge not only during pregnancy but once you've given birth. Post-natal depression is real, and far more common then you may realise. I feel so blessed and lucky to have Josh who is such an incredible boyfriend and baby daddy, have a secure roof over my head and a loving and supporting family. It makes me confident in knowing if I do struggle emotionally, I won't be alone.
Probably the most fun, and slightly surreal part of the course, was practising to wash, change and hold a baby with newborn size baby dolls! Fun, as it was practical and hands on.. Surreal, the thought that this is something which will become a daily task and in a few weeks our 'dolls' will be real life babies!! This is another reason why I wanted to do the course, it's all very well reading about how to change a babies nappy, but it's just not the same as doing it practically! Plus, if you did do something wrong, we could all just have a giggle together and learn from it.. rather than sitting at home alone and freaking out with no one to talk to!
All in all.. money well spent I believe. I'm very excited to hear about all the other couples birth experiences and meeting everyone's gorgeous little babies! Plus any questions I have or worries, I know I now have a lovely group of ladies I can talk to who are in exactly the same position as me! So if you're a mummy-to-be (in the UK) and are trying to decide whether to do the classes I hope this post gives you a little insight and helps! Any further questions I'd be more than happy to answer and if anyone has any experiences they'd like to share, feel free to comment below or contact me via the social page!
If you are one of those lucky mummy's out there that didn't get any sickness or nausea during your pregnancy... I envy you! I don't think any amount of reading prepared me for how I would actually feel having morning sickness. It was a battle of listening to my body and what I needed to eat or do to get through those weeks, BUT trying to stay as nutritionally balanced and getting the right nutrients for my baby as I possibly could! There's genuinely no feeling quite like it and it's hard to describe. That constant feeling of nausea is so surreal, because you don't feel 'sick' like stomach-bug-type-sick, as if you are actually poorly and ill. You can still function, but just feel like you need to grab a sick bag constantly!
So my sickness started around week 7, a couple of weeks after I knew I was pregnant. It started with just feeling nauseous in the evenings, yup.. evenings. (The name “morning” sickness, doesn't quite fit, as many pregnant ladies or mummy's know!) This then turned into 24/7 feeling nauseous and then it turned into actual physical sickness. They say sickness “should” die down after the first trimester, however my sickness didn't actually stop till about week 18/19, so mine was at its worst over Christmas - (brilliant!) I really do feel for the poor women out there that have sickness throughout their whole pregnancy, or get it so badly they're bed bound or hospitalised! The only thing you can do is just keep telling yourself.. it's worth it in the end!
I know every women's body is different, and everyone's experience is different. But here are the 5 things I discovered and stuck by, to help me cope and get through my pregnancy sickness...
1. LITTLE & OFTEN
The only way I could control, the physically being sick part, was nibbling LITTLE and OFTEN. As soon as I felt myself starting to gag, I knew I had to eat something ASAP or it was too late. This was such a nightmare, as even when I wasn't hungry, I had to eat to stop being sick. I couldn't have any big meals either, it had to be little snacks, or light meal options and often!
2. SOLID FOODS
One thing I found in particular, was I always felt more vulnerable to throwing up if I hadn't eaten something solid. Now by this I'm talking more about the carbohydrate side of a meal e.g. toast, rice, sweet potato etc. I found this really helped feel like I had lined my stomach, and gave it a good base, ready to absorb fluid or more liquid based foods later on such as soup. The only way I can describe it is.. it's a bit like when building a house, you need your foundations first to set up a strong building. I felt without a strong base, any liquids would just be sloshing around in my stomach, making me feel more prone to being sick!
Now this one you've probably heard of or read about elsewhere but ginger is a miracle worker when sick! Now I say ginger rather than a ginger product exactly, as I know for some women, ginger tea is great to sip on to calm the sickness, however I had only been able to face drinking water up till about 20 weeks, so ginger tea just wasn't going to work for me! However, nibbling on a ginger biscuit every now and then, really helped! Again I think it relates to my previous point about having something solid in my stomach rather than liquid.
I think this is an obvious one, but staying hydrated was a big thing, and still is! Being a personal trainer, I meet so many clients that never drink enough water, or they simply don't realise just how much their body needs! Staying hydrated now isn't only a priority for me but now for my growing baby! Again, the little and often rule comes into play, as gulping tons of water would make me feel awful, but not having enough water would make me feel sick as I'd get dehydration headaches! It's also especially important to hydrate after being sick, as you loose a lot of fluid through throwing up. So replenish, and avoid the headaches! We're already going through enough!
My final trick for coping with my sickness... mint. I found that either chewing on some minty gum, or sucking a mint sweet, just completely helped take away the nausea! It made me feel fresh in my mouth and took away any sensation that I was going to gag. I also found chewing on some gum helped when I was caught out without a emergency snack or had a little wait till I could next get food. It just temporarily tricked my body into thinking it was eating, till I could get some actual food in me! Again preventing me going through the ordeal of actually being sick!
So I hope some of these tricks are useful and help fellow mummy's-to-be out there! This is all personal, so what works for me wouldn't necessarily work for everyone, but it's definitely worth a try! Any sickness hacks you discovered when pregnant I would love to hear from you, so leave a comment or contact me via the social page!
This section will all be focused on being pregnant, discovering motherhood and baby bits!