Pregnant woman in the doctor's office. She has a prenatal check up.

How to Stay Fit and Healthy During Pregnancy

Congratulations on finding out you’re pregnant! If like most mothers, you want to make sure you and your baby stay healthy throughout your pregnancy, we have created a few tips for the different trimesters of pregnancy.

First Trimester Tips

During the first three months of pregnancy, symptoms and emotions are high. Your body is undergoing serious changes, which can leave you feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. Morning sickness is also at its highest during these months. Fortunately, you can offset this symptom.

How to Avoid Morning Sickness

Squeeze lemon juice into ice water throughout the day. Not only will the water keep you hydrated, but the lemon will help reduce bloating and provide necessary anti-bacterial elements that can improve the health of your digestive track.

Ginger sweets and teas are another excellent way to reduce the symptoms of morning sickness. If your doctor approves, try adding a Vitamin B6 into your morning supplements to take the edge off severe morning sickness. Your doctor may also be able to prescribe an anti-sickness medication that will reduce severe vomiting.

Sleep As Much as Possible

In today’s modern world, most of us have full-time jobs that we can’t simply step away from when we find out we are expecting a baby. However, it is critical that you get enough rest during this time in your pregnancy. If you are feeling completely fatigued, try to reduce any evening commitments and listen to your body. Don’t worry about skipping workouts during this time, you need your rest!

Second Trimester Tips

Use your hormones to your advantage

Once the morning sickness has passed, you might feel ready to start exercising again.  Try to avoid anything too rigorous such as contact sports and instead opt for taking a swim or simply walking around the neighbourhood. There are some great classes specifically designed for pregnant women so it’s a good idea to find out what’s going on in your local area.

Make healthier diet choices

Now that you actually feel like eating again, use your logic to curb cravings and shoot for 80% nutritious foods and 20% ‘craving’ food to ensure you are getting the right amount of nutrients. Opt for foods high in good fats and calcium. Also, keep moderation in mind. You can eat an ice cream cone or a piece of chocolate cake, you just don’t want to eat them after every meal! Fill up on veggies and fruits to feel full and support your developing baby.

Third Trimester Tips

Exercises

If you’re feeling up to it during the final trimester, strive to walk, swim or do yoga regularly.  These exercises are low impact and don’t put you at risk of falling and injuring yourself. Swimming is particularly beneficial because it allows you to feel weightless at a time that you’re likely to be at your heaviest and you won’t have to worry about losing your balance. Be always reminded that maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a especially important for pregnant women.

Find balance

You’ll likely feel better than you did in your first trimester but lack the energy you had during your second, throughout your third trimester. The key is to strike a balance by doing your best on days where you feel good and then giving your body the rest it needs on the days when all you want to do is eat biscuits and rest.

Don’t neglect your emotional health either. Being pregnant is stressful, so treat yourself to a spa day and get a prenatal massage and pedicure. You deserve it!

Love yourself and your body will love you back, and enjoy being pregnant! Before you know it, your beautiful baby will be here and your life will change for the better. Embrace the transition.

If you would like any further support, don’t forget to sign up for a one on one coaching session with Leyla here, with 10% off all future consultations after your first booking.

 

Body After Baby – What can I Expect?

The birth of a baby is such a a joyous occasion and one that will take all your energy to meet the new challenges that motherhood often brings. Different mummy’s react differently to post birth issues. Most are able to recover naturally and easily but some face problems, feeling exhausted, sore, and occasionally depressed. What’s important is to arm yourself with as much information as possible so when the time comes that your body does undergo the stress of childbirth, there are no surprises by what’s to come. So here are the main changes you will face:
 
Immediately after Birth
 

Pregnancy and birth are a natural part of life. A woman’s body is designed to be able to handle the stress encountered as a result of childbirth, however, it is important to never underestimate just how much your body has gone through to bring a child into the world. The changes that your body went through to grow and nurture your baby will have a deep impact that can take months (or sometimes years) to recover from so being patient is important.
 
Discharge of Blood
 

Now that your womb is no longer supporting the baby, the blood lining will be discarded. Whether you’ve given birth naturally or through caesarean, a period type bleed will occur. It can last for six weeks, of which, the first ten days are often the heaviest. For some women, it takes quite a few months for a regular menstrual cycle to resume.
 
Pains
 

Pain and cramps are also a part of post pregnancy recovery. Your womb had distended to house the baby and must now return to its normal size and shape. You might feel some pain, almost like contractions, as it shrinks. A hormone called oxytocin triggers this and can be increased while breastfeeding. Paracetamol is advised to ease the discomfort and is perfectly safe to take within the recommended guidelines while breastfeeding if you choose to do so.
 
Breastfeeding
 

Immediately after birth, your breasts will remain soft. At this point, they haven’t yet started making milk and contain very little colostrum but within around 3-4 days, they will start producing milk and when that happens, your breasts will feel tender, swollen and sometimes hot.
 

The first few times that you feed your baby can be a bit uncomfortable as your nipples might be very sensitive, however over time that feeling of discomfort goes away. You might want to seek advice from a midwife before you leave the hospital if you choose to breastfeed your baby. It’s important to guide the baby to latch on properly to reduce any unnecessary discomfort.
 
Pelvis
 

It’s normal to feel sore and stretched in the pelvic area after birth. Eventually, your vagina will regain its former tone. Your pelvic floor (a stretch of muscles that supports your bladder, womb, and bowels) will eventually relax from its extended position. The pelvic floor has supported your baby’s weight throughout your pregnancy so it’ll take time for it to recover. If you have small or severe vaginal, cervical, or perineum tears, your midwife or doctor will advise you the best way to care for yourself until you have completely healed.
 
Be kind to yourself
 

However you feel, it’s important to remember that you are recovering from a huge emotional and physical upheaval. If you had a caesarean, you will have had major abdominal surgery. Be certain to constantly eat healthy and stay fit. Be kind to yourself and your body, and allow yourself time to get your strength back. What you have achieved is one of the greatest miracles of life and with rest and support, you will soon recover, loose weight after pregnancy and have a beautiful baby or babies to show for all of your hard work.
hospital bag 2

Packing my Hospital Bag

The first time I had to pack a bag to go into hospital, I was 10 days overdue carrying Ariana and I was going to be induced. The second time around, I was packing for the twins to be born by elected cesarian, which was completely different but what was consistent was that I wanted to feel organised!
 

I remember feeling like I was preparing for a trip overseas but I didn’t know where I was going, how long I was going to be there for or who I would be bringing home with me, which wouldn’t have sounded too bad when I was younger but when I was pregnant, I felt pretty anxious. The bag I packed became my life line. It was my link to home in a very alien environment and I loved having it and it’s contents at my side.
 

^^^Walking…err I mean waddling into hospital to have Kian and Kaira. I can’t believe the size of my bump!^^^
 

I don’t think there was much difference in what I needed between giving birth to a singleton or multiples, the difference was the type of delivery so I’ll list everything here for both scenarios because I really think it could help anyone packing their bags to enter the great unknown!

For me:

  • Birth plan and midwife notes – It gave me a lot of comfort to have them with me but I didn’t use them either time to be honest
  • Night dresses – big and baggy. I didn’t like pyjamas in labour or after the birth either  because of the pressure of the bottoms on my stomach. I packed 2 maternity dresses like this from Marks and Spencer
  • Maternity briefs –  (big enough to stretch over a ceasarian scar if necessary) I packed 7 pairs from Mothercare
  • C-Panty (CEASARIAN ONLY) – I only had these after I researched ceasarian support pants after having Ariana and they made such a difference between my 2 deliveries. I could jump put of bed and care for the babies without feeling the pain of the wound wearing these and my recovery was so much quicker. They are a life saver for anyone who is having a c-section
  • Nursing bras – I packed 2 from Mothercare
  • Nipple cream – I used Mothercare’s Lansinoh
  • Maternity pads – specific for maternity as they need to be bigger than regular pads
  • Slippers – the heel free kind. I made the mistake of taking in bootie types to have Ariana and I couldn’t bend over to get them on and off (duh!)
  • Earplugs – such a necessity. I had no idea what to expect when I was being induced with Ariana. In brief, I was on a hospital ward surrounded by women in labour for 3 days so you can imagine the noise levels. I didn’t sleep the entire time! Silicone earplugs are amazing. I used to buy them from Boots until I found them half the price on ebay
  • Socks – 2 pairs
  • Dressing gown
  • Big towel
  • Pillow – I brought mine from home as I wanted to be comfortable and used it in the delivery room!
  • Phone, earphones, charger
  • Relaxing birth music album saved on a phone or iPod (LABOUR ONLY) – I practised Natal Hypnotherapy so used theirs (available on Amazon)
  • Camera and/or video camera (mine had video built in) and charger
  • Tens machine (LABOUR ONLY) – I was so glad to have this with me when I was in labour with Ariana pain relief is so minimal when being induced so I had this strapped to me for ages! It really helped. I hired it from Boots and they’re still available here
  • Medela electric breast pump – I borrowed one from the breast care nurse at my local children’s centre but they are available to borrow at some hospitals.

Cosmetics bag

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Makeup and mirror – I kept a mirror in my bedside table as everyone wanted to take pictures and I wanted to look half decent
  • Tinted moisturiser – I packed Stila’s
  • Concealer – Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage for me
  • Blusher – Mac Pink Swoon
  • Mascara – 2000 Calorie
  • Eyeshadow – Espresso by Mac for my eyebrows
  • Makeup brushes
  • Lip balm – really important for labour, I packed Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream
  • Shower gel
  • Face wash
  • Hair smoothing cream
  • Face, body moisturiser and hand cream
  • Shampoo, conditioner, dry shampoo, shower cap and bobbles
  • Femfresh wipes
  • Water cooling spray (LABOUR ONLY) – great for the face during labour. I used Eau Thermal from Boots.

kaia holding mummys fingerFor baby/ies

  • Nappies – I took in 2 packs of 24 Pampers Micro nappies for the twins as I knew they were going to be low birth weight
  • Baby bottom wipes – we used Water Wipes because they are made up almost entirely of water and no nasty chemicals (available at Boots or on Amazon)
  • Muslin cloths – 6
  • Pre-maid formula – I packed Aptimil Stage 1 cartons, 4 for each day’s stay
  • Dummies
  • Baby grows – I packed 10 for the babies (all white with matching hats) and needed to send Ste out to Mothercare to buy more as they wore so many and got them all dirty during our 4 day stay in hospital. I’d recommend packing around 20 for twins and the same amount of vests. Half for a singleton birth
  • Nursing pillow – I didn’t know if I would breastfeed but I bought one and took it into hospital with me anyway and it was great to hold both babies after my ceasarian. I used a My Breast Friend Twins Plus Pillow
  • Going home outfit – I’m not sentimental but I have kept all of our children’s outfits that they came home from hospital in. It’s such a nice thing to keep to remember how tiny they were!
  • Bag for dirty laundry.

photo 3


It’s such a good feeling to get a bag packed and ready to go. Coping up with twins when I was pregnant both times, I wanted to maintain a feeling of control during a very uncertain stage of my life and having my hospital bag prepared really helped.

Please leave your comments, I’d love to know what you packed in yours!

DSC_6809-Edit-2-2

The Best Things – When There’s a New Life – are FREE! A Gift List for a New Mummy

sleep-couple-baby-mother-nickelodeon-moms-ecards-someecards

 
There’s only one thing on my Christmas list this year and that’s the health of my kids so we can all enjoy some quality family time together (oh and a new Canon EOS Rebel SL1 DSLR camera would be nice if you’re reading this Father Christmas 😉 ).

But this Christmas got me thinking about last and as a new mummy, the things that I would have loved to receive the most are FREE, so I thought I’d put together a list of ‘gifts’ that I know would make any new mum super happy.
 

  • Time
If you have any during the day, just a friendly face can make all the difference to a new mum who’s at home buried in laundry and tending to a newborn. I remember when a lovely friend of mine called round when the twins were around 3 weeks old. I think she was at my house for about an hour while I was upstairs the entire time seeing to the babies. I was flustered by the time I came downstairs because I hadn’t had time to speak to her but I was amazed when I walked into my kitchen and saw that she had cleaned all the babies bottles from their night feeds, tidied away the breakfast mess and even made me breakfast. I could have cried with gratitude! No amount of diamonds could have made me happier that day!

 

  • Food
I was so lucky when the babies were little because my mum-in-law would bring us freshly made meals a few times a week that we could reheat when the babies went to bed. We wouldn’t have eaten at all some nights if there wasn’t a dish ready to stick in the oven in between the babies feeds and I appreciated every single one of them. If you have the time to make a little extra food and freeze portions when you’re cooking for yourself, I’d really recommend making up a few batches to drop off with a new mummy because they really could be little lifesavers. I’m contemplating buying a vacuum sealer!

 

  • Babysit
Even if you are at home with mummy, just being an extra pair of hands while she takes the time to have a hot bath or wash her hair, have a nap or maybe just do the food shopping. Even just an hour to herself can be as refreshing as a week in the Bahamas (OK not quite but it’s the closest she’ll get for a long time!) If she is a mum of multiples then an extra pair of hands at feeding time can be a lifesaver

 

  • Daily texts
I never had the time to talk on the phone when the babies were born and even now I struggle to hold a conversation together for longer than a couple of minutes without one of the kids needing my attention, but just a daily text from a friend can give a new mummy such a confidence boost. Genuine compliments and words of encouragement go a long way and I was lucky enough that one of my best friends checked in on me every day to tell me she thought I was doing great and to keep going through the exhaustion! Just someone to even ask how the kids slept made me feel grateful to offload a little to someone who genuinely cared about me.

If you do have more cash than time or if distance is a problem, here’s what I recommend spending your money on:
 

  • Spa day
To be used at mummy’s convenience. Somewhere to spend a day (not too far from the baby) either alone or with you or their partner (if you offer to babysit!) Just having something like this to look forward to can really keep a new mummy going through some stressful times. We were lucky to escape together when our babies were a couple of months old and my mum and sister babysat the twins while my mum-in-law looked after Ariana. We managed an overnight stay at a nearby hotel and caught up on a night of much-needed sleep

 

  • Course of massage sessions

Ste bought this gift for me last Christmas and I had a massage every week to look forward to. It really was bliss to leave the kids with my mum for an hour while they napped and so beneficial for my back that was suffering with all the bending to feed and change the babies I was doing
 

  • Manicure, pedicure, facial
Any treatments at a local beauty salon or a set of nail varnish and matching lipstick, perfume, bath soak, anything that can help mummy feel like her old self again

 

  • Family photoshoot
As in the picture above, we managed to do a photoshoot when Kian and Kaira were just 2 weeks old. How we managed to get everyone ready and out of the house and spend an afternoon taking pictures, I’m still not sure but I’m so glad we did. We were recommended a great photographer  from a friend of ours and I’m sure any new mum would love this as something to do when the time feels right for them.

 

I really hope anyone who is a new mum this Christmas manages to catch up on some much-needed rest. You can’t put a price on a good few hours uninterrupted sleep. There’s nothing like motherhood to teach you the best things in life are free!

 
 

Family twins cuddle kiss big sister

Twins, a definitive list of the things you might need!

Bringing two babies home from hospital was such a challenging experience for me and although already having one baby at home to care for added to the amount of work I had to do to settle them in, it was such a blessing because I already had recent experience in caring for newborns and the equipment that I needed. I am a massive researcher (once a student, always a student!) and so I spent a lot of my pregnancy researching new items on the market that could make my life easier when the babies arrived.  I was pretty organised to be honest, but that’s only because I already was a stay at home mum and I had the time to plan. One of the questions I have been asked the most is for a list of my recommended items that in an ideal world parents could buy before their baby/babies arrive, so here it is.  It seems long but its pretty detailed and I’m sure there are alternatives to the products I used, but amongst my friends and other twin mum’s, these seem to be pretty popular.

Feeding:

  • Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep Machine – this has to be my number one recommendation and not just for twins, but every household bringing home a baby. I wasn’t sure if I would breast or bottle feed and knowing from experience that things don’t always go as planned, I found it best to prepare for both scenarios
  • Six bottles – (or as many as your steriliser will hold). We used Dr Browns with the babies
  • Steriliser – (electric or microwave). Electric sterilisers are bigger and can hold up to six bottles at a time. We used the one by Avent and somehow managed to squeeze the Dr Browns bottles into it but that’s only because we still had it from Ariana being a baby. I think the Dr Browns steriliser is better for their own bottles. We ended up using a microwave steriliser (again by Avent) in the end because we found it quicker and easier to tidy away
  • Bottle brush – the double handled ones by Tommee Tippee work well and Dr Browns bottles come with their own really narrow brush for their own parts
  • Milk – whether you’re planning on breast or bottle feeding, I’d recommend having some ready made cartons of milk in your kitchen cupboard for those bewitching hours when you have screaming babies to care for and your body is too exhausted to co-operate (speaking from experience –  a lifesaver!)
  • Mini fridge – this is something that may not be necessary for your household but we found it to be essential for us both with Ariana and the twins. We would make up the milk at night and store it in the mini fridge upstairs for the nightfeeds as we only every fed the babies in the nursery. Bringing them downstairs and fumbling around in the kitchen in the middle of the night seemed too disruptive to me!
  • Bottle warmers – We used the ones by Avent again to prepare the night feeds
  • Dummies – I prefer the ones by Avent as they’re orthodontic and come with lids for hygiene purposes.

Furniture:

  • Pram – I researched this purchase a lot and came to the conclusion that the iCandy Peach Blossom 2 would suit our needs best (the Peach Blossom 3 is available now). What I love is that it carries the car seats directly on the chassis, which is essential when the babies fall asleep in the car and you need to get them in and out. It is also extremely light and folds easily, which is imperative after child birth/c-section
  • Crib for downstairs (along with sheets and blankets to fit) both babies can sleep in here together in the early days. By the time they outgrow the one crib, they should be taking their naps in their bedroom anyway. We used one by Mothercare we purchased second hand
  • Cot beds – space was limited in our twins bedroom so we already had a cotbed from Ariana that we used and then purchased a small cot from Ikea. If you do have the space and cash, I would recommend paying the extra and buying cotbeds as babies grow so fast and you will soon find yourself needing to upgrade. Ikea do great options
  • Wardrobes and drawers – something that can grow with the child/children
  • Feeding chair – we used a glider chair with Ariana but with twins who need to be fed at the same time, we knew we would need something bigger so we bought  this Ikea chair bed second hand from Gumtree and it has worked so well, initially as a bed in the nursery to allow us both the space to sit on and feed the babies at the same time (and sleep in there when we needed to) and now folded into a chair
  • Blackout blinds and curtains – IMPERATIVE! I can’t emphasise this purchase enough! As babies are born oblivious to night and day, I found teaching them their sleep patterns is a major part of bringing home baby/babies. I think it would be impossible if their nursery isn’t pitch black for day time naps and to get them to sleep in until the magical time of 7:00am
  • Decor – time, finances and motivation have given me the opinion that decorating a nursery doesn’t need to involve a full renovation of a spare bedroom. I generally pick a theme and then work around it. With Ariana and the twins we simply left all but one wall white, then created a mural painting hills and sky then adding re-usable wall stickers and matching curtains, lamp shade and fabrics. The twins theme was jungle (because we had to go unisex, of course) and these Fisherprice stickers work fabulously because when the time comes to redecorate, it will only involve removing them and repainting
  • Swing chair – again a lifesaver. We used the Fisherprice swing that we found on ebay and in the early weeks we could put one baby in here for their day time naps, it would provide such comfort for them and allow me to nurse the other
  • Bouncer chairs – (two of these) are a great place to sit the babies as soon as they can hold their heads a little and eventually tandem feed. I had so many issues with feeding two babies at the same time, I found these chairs to be the only way possible. We like ones that vibrate as they can be soothing (although not directly after a feed!) and researched the biggest one we could find so the twins could snuggle together in the early days. The Bruin Zebra Chair worked well for us and is still going strong a year later!

Clothing:

  • Sleepsuits – with twins, you will need 100’s. OK, maybe not 100’s but a lot. I learned with Ariana that my pregnancy hormones were to blame for a huge waste of time and money purchasing fancy clothes, shoes, bows and all kinds of crazy paraphernalia that will hang very prettily in their wardrobe until they outgrow it because you could never bring yourself to get them dressed in it and then have to wash, dry and iron it all over again after they barfed on it within 5 minutes. More so with twins! If you do have the energy to take them out, invest in pram suits so no-one can see what they’re wearing underneath. As long as they’re clean and comfy, that’s really all that matters. Integrated mittens are a must!
  • Vests – as above, the more the merrier. I prefer short sleeves as I like to keep babies cool and warm them up with layers
  • Hats – little cotton ones for those early days and warmer ones for any trips out
  • Swaddles – we didn’t swaddle Ariana but couldn’t have lived without the Miracle Blankets for the twins. We swaddled until they were five months old, they would never have slept without them!
  • Blankets, sheets and mattress protectors (all cotton and fitted where possible)
  • Muslin cloths – you can never have enough of these!
  • Comfort blankets – Ariana gave them to the babies when they were born and they’ve slept with them ever since (so cute!)

Electricals:

  • Room thermometer – we love the Gro Egg as a quick glance into the bedroom is all it takes to check if the temperature is right
  • Radiator – electric oil radiators with a thermostatic control are in both our kids bedrooms. We turn off the central heating radiators in their rooms so we can regulate the temperature ourselves so regardless of the time of year, their rooms are always at the same level and I don’t have to panic about them kicking off their covers during the night
  • Fan – for warmer weather. One that’s whisper quiet is best and if it has a timer too, even better
  • Breathing monitor – not everybody likes these but I really don’t think I would have slept a wink (the rare moments I had chance to anyway) without. We used the Angel Monitor with Ariana which was great for one baby but with two sharing a bed in the early weeks, separate monitors were needed. We chose the Snuza as they attach to the babies nappies rather than static under the mattress so we could monitor them wherever they slept throughout the day
  • Baby monitor – we already had the Angel Monitor (as above) and found this worked well, it also had the temperature indicator on the handset, which was a bonus.

For the car:

  • Car seats – the Maxi Cosi are fantastic and fit so easily onto our pram, it made life a lot easier
  • Isofix base – these fitted into the car making it so much easier to get the car seats in and out without fiddling with the seat belts. I could leave the car seats in and just get the babies in and out, I’ve loved these and highly recommend them
  • Footmuffs – coming home from hospital, the nurses won’t let you leave without a car seat (or two) so to have some footmuffs to tuck your babies into is really cozy. We had the JJ Cole Bundle Me and they stayed like new, wash after wash

Bits and bobs:

  • Changing table – makes life easier to have a changing station at the right height to avoid bending over changing the 100’s of nappies each week especially after a c-section! We got one that folded away (from Ikea) at the end of the day so we didn’t have the sit looking at it!
  • Top and tail bowl – these are so cheap and will be used daily
  • Nappies – all sizes! If anyone asks what they should buy you for the baby/babies forget toys – say nappies!
  • Wipes, nappy bags, Bepanthan, Sudocrem, disposable change mats (warmer than plastic mats and can be replaced quickly if things get messy. They’re also great as mattress protectors and useful for mum to sleep on when you first get home from hospital
  • Baby body wash, massage oil – organic if you can or rapeseed oil worked great for the twins
  • Towels – the fluffier the better!

Beautiful babies I really hope this list isn’t too overwhelming! I remember being pregnant and everything seemed so hard when I was dragging an extra 3 stone in weight around with me and barely getting and sleep but with the right amount of time and help (accept ANY that’s offered) you can be prepared for all eventualities with the items on this list. If not, everything will be fine anyway because you can always pick things up as you go along or leave me your comments/send me a message and I’d be happy to help!

Love from Leyla


(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});