The husband surprised me with some time out at a spa, to help relieve some of the pregnancy aches, pains and lack of sleep of late (1 billion husband points to him on this one!). One of the treatments was floatation therapy, which I thought was going to be a bit strange but was actually so incredibly relieving on my aching muscles!
So what is it, exactly?
It’s basically a warm pool, heated to body temperature, in a dark room lit in candlelight style and highly salted with Epsom salts to allow for floatation. I went to Life Day Spa for my treatment where it’s a pool in a private room and not a tank, some places have special tanks for this.
(If you’ve ever been in the Dead Sea – I have, it was so weird – then it’s the same weightless floating you’ll experience there, but in a relaxed treatment setting and not surrounded by a million tourists doing the same.)
What does it do for your body?
“Floatation Therapy allows you to escape the added weight of pregnancy by floating in a weightless environment, thus taking the strain off the body and spine. It promotes excellent sleep, a lovely sense of well being, and can help with all the aches and pains normally associated with pregnancy.”
The weightlessness really did took all of the pressure off my spine (such a relief), the quiet was very welcome and the Epsom salts soaked into my sore muscles.
I was sceptical, but it was wonderful for my pregnant body 🤗
I’d highly recommend this treatment for sore, pregnant (or not) bodies.
So we all know the importance of eating healthy foods during pregnancy, staying away from refined sugars, alcohol, caffeine and foods that are dangerous for pregnancy, but have you thought about what’s going into your body through your skin?
It’s probably best to think about it a little bit, do a little bit of research and then stop because what you’ll find in your everyday skincare products is quite frightening. Given that our skin is our biggest organ, it absorbs a large amount of chemicals and toxins through our skincare products.
Look, this post is not meant to frighten you, but rather to make you aware of this, especially during pregnancy when you’re trying so hard to keep your body in the best possible condition to grow your very own little human. If you want the low-down on why you should be using natural skincare products, have a look at this post by Natralogic, which goes into detail on it all.
In the meantime, I’ve been trying out some of the Natralogic natural maternity skincare products and am really loving them. I wish that I’d found out about them earlier in my pregnancy. They are 100% natural, vegan and safety approved for use during pregnancy. I’m currently using the exfoliating creme (gentle enough to use every day), the tummy creme and my personal favourite is the toning massage oil that focuses on problem cellulite areas (all of these are actually available together as a starter pack which works out cheaper than buying them all separately!). I haven’t had a chance to try the nipple creme, but it’s waiting for me for when Baby 2 arrives soon… These products smell and feel amazing and I am honestly loving them, especially knowing that I’m not putting any nasties into my baby-growing body at the same time.
Because what you put ON your pregnant body is just as important as you what you put IN.
With my first pregnancy, I didn’t invest in decent nursing or maternity underwear – I bought one or two cheapie bras, large panties and that was it. I had a really hard time with breastfeeding and also had an unplanned c-section, so having uncomfortable underwear in the mix as well was all just a big mess. I wish I’d thought about things differently before the baby arrived because by then it was too late and lingerie shopping didn’t even make it to my to-do list!
In planning things for this next pregnancy, I’m not keen to make the same mistake again and top of my list is to make sure that I’m comfortably dressed this time around and am hoping for a more pleasant baby growing and nursing experience to follow!
So you have no idea what’s going to happen to those magical “assets” of yours, but it is guaranteed that they will grow. As soon as you feel that your underwear is uncomfortably tight (usually around 3-4 months), it’s time to invest in some maternity lingerie that will see you through your growing pregnancy and the breastfeeding journey thereafter.
Measure yourself and head off to get some basics – every day bras, an active bra and some preggie panties. I tend to shop online more than going in-store and this is always my go-to for shopping, so good measuring upfront is essential. (Try Mama Noo, you won’t be disappointed.)
You may have been told to avoid underwire and this is mainly so that you don’t restrict movement or flexibility. This may not be the case for bigger-busted women, though (that’s definitely not me, lol) as you may need more support (with comfort of course), and often benefit from underwire/boning on the sides and a bra with more structure that offers more support. *However, if you’ve had a history of mastitis, underwire is not recommended.
In terms of where to start on your hooks, first check how many hooks the bra caters for. Some will have three rows and some have 5. Make sure that the hook setting you start on allows space to go bigger during pregnancy (but this is also very individual) and smaller after birth as one’s chest shrinks again after 6-12 months.
In the end…
It’s actually pretty easy! If you have any questions or issues with measuring, contact Mama Noo for some help and if you’re in the Stellenbosch area, you can even pop in for a fitting 🙂 I’ve been trying out their *sports bra over the past few weeks and am thoroughly impressed!
*It’s called the Lifestyle Nursing Bra (featured in this post’s image) and provides sufficient support for medium and high impact activity and is made from a double layer of stretch cotton for breathability and comfort. It has drop-down cups and a studded centre front for easy breastfeeding. I’m loving this bra now while I’m pregnant and am sure I’ll be wearing it way past breastfeeding days!
You all know that I’m all about a healthy lifestyle and particularly so during pregnancy. I was quite fit and healthy when I got pregnant the first time and maintained a fit pregnancy right up into the third trimester and it did wonderfully for me. Now, having not quite having lost all my baby weight yet before getting pregnant again, it’s even more important for me to be dedicated to a fit pregnancy (again).
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to sit on the couch eating pickles on ice cream (well, you can if you want to, but you don’t have to) for fear of harming your baby with your daily exercise routine. Obviously this is all dependent on your specific pregnancy and if your doctor says you’re okay to continue with exercise into your pregnancy.
I’m not a sports professional in any way, but here is what I learnt from my first pregnancy and am taking with me into my second:
Myth 1: You can’t run when you’re pregnant
You can. If you’ve been running before you fell pregnant, you can continue to run during your pregnancy. The goal now is just maintenance and you should forget about chasing speed and distance, you’re now a plodder 🙂 The key is to listen to your body and never push yourself. I do some light jogging (when it’s cool) and walk when my heart rate goes into the endurance zone. It’s also important to make sure to run on a good path where you’re unlikely to trip or lose your balance (which will go out of whack for a while).
Myth 2: Only do light exercise
Again, if you’re cleared to exercise, there’s no reason that you can’t do moderate exercise. In fact, it’s good for you to exercise moderately every day during your pregnancy. Avoid the high intensity workouts which spike your blood pressure. I would recommend that you start adding prenatal yoga into your routine from the early days, though. It really helps to loosen and tighten the right areas and can help with preparing you for natural birth. It’s nurturing and meditative as well and good for those mad pregnancy hormones!
Myth 3: Stick to light exercise, like stretch classes at the gym
It’s probably a good idea to stay away from stretch classes. When you’re pregnant, your body produces Relaxin, which helps the body to relax the cervix and ligaments during delivery. This means that you can likely stretch much further than you’re used to and can overstretch, causing injuries.
Myth 4: Ditch the weights
You don’t need to stop using weights, just use lighter ones. Lifting heavier weights can spike your blood pressure so use lighter ones with more reps to maintain muscle tone.
Myth 5: Don’t work your abs during pregnancy
You can, but you’ll need to modify the exercises for pregnancy. Maintaining core strength will help with the belly weight and back pain later on, but you do need to be careful. Lying on your back after the first trimester can restrict blood flow and you also want to avoid exercises that can cause diastasic recti (where the abdominal wall separates). So make sure to do the research properly on this one and avoid crunches and normal plank exercises. Best to approach a professional here!
And there you have it – my top 5 myths that I’ve busted along the way in my pregnancy journeys. So now you can lace up your takkies, slip on some gorgeous new maternity active wear and hit the gym!
It’s all a lot more enticing with good quality workout gear, let me tell you. I’m wearing Fit Mama maternity active wear and it is honestly amazing. It’s been made with the growing bump in mind and their range has varying support levels for different types of activity, so you know that you have the right support for what you’re doing. I feel great in it, I’m supported and it also looks great!
Having a baby is quite scary. Getting pregnant, being pregnant, growing a healthy baby … it’s all a big deal and then the time starts to draw near when you need to think about getting the baby out. I found it completely overwhelming and terrifying. I intended to have a natural birth, missed the antenatal class that actually dealt with details of the birth (it overlapped with our baby shower) and was armed with Dr Google information. Our baby came 2 weeks early and it was a wild ride, ending with an emergency c-section after 13 hours of natural labour and a very drugged up new mom who felt like she needed to sleep for a week.
With all of the anticipation and uncertainty around birthing a tiny little human that you’ve made in your own body (it’s still a bizarre concept to me), you can at least be prepared for your hospital stay. Having something that is certain and planned can help to ease the anxiety that comes with this exciting time of a new mom-to-be’s life.
What I found:
A lot of the experience is a bit of a blur to me, but I dug out my research from when I was pregnant and freaking out about the birth and pieced together bits of my memory and created a downloadable checklist for you. It’s based on a 3 night’s stay in hospital in a private room. I’ve left some space for you to add some extra items that I might not have thought of or maybe didn’t find necessary but you do. (I’d add some earphones if you’re sharing a room, because I’m sure it can get pretty noisy and when you’re needing a nap you’ll want to be able to.)
I included nursing vests as I found these far more useful than nursing bras. The first 2 days I couldn’t fathom getting changed into pyjamas, never mind putting on a bra so those nursing tops with the built-in support and clip-off straps are amazing and comfortable.
I added in maternity panties and large cotton panties because those maternity panties are not amazing. When you get up for the first time after a c-section (I’m not sure if this happens with natural birth as well), there is a scary amount of blood and the maternity panties are good for this. Once that calmed down I wanted to be in normal panties – just make sure they are quite large and stretchy to be comfortable when you’re still so round and also tender.
Don’t underestimate the amount of maternity or maxi pads you’ll need. Rather have more than less. The hospital provided me with a pack in my welcome pack as well as some newborn nappies, a newborn hat and a few toiletries as far as I can remember.
Don’t bother with any nipple cream other than Lansinoh and remember your breast pads else you’ll stain your bra/top with the oils from the nipple cream.
I’ve been told that the squirt bottle and ice pad is a life saver after natural birth but we didn’t go the whole hog with that so I can’t tell if it’s true or not. Pack them just in case!
Juice was an essential item for me. I was insanely thirsty for some reason and I asked every visitor to bring me juice! It might have been the pain meds that had me so thirsty. The hospital does supply some juice and water, but I needed far more than they were giving me.
To be honest, I waited about 2 days before attempting to dress my baby. He was wrapped up so nice and snuggled in the wraps provided by the hospital that I didn’t feel the need to. Depending on what size you think your baby is going to be, pack a size smaller and bigger in case he/she comes out bigger or smaller than you expected! Our baby needed Premature sized clothes of which we had none.
The vaseline is necessary for baby’s first sticky black poo… it’s quite a shocker and the vaseline helps.
You’ll spend a lot of time trying to get the hang of breastfeeding and your baby will need to feed A LOT while there so a nursing cushion is a must for comfort.
And that’s it! There’s a lot that you are going to discover and figure out for yourself and a lot that you don’t see coming, but at least you can be prepared for your hospital stay 🙂
We spend so much time preparing for pregnancy and birth, but once that’s all done, then what?
So much happens to our bodies during pregnancy and labour/delivery and once it’s all over, we’re left with a bit of a mess, to be honest. The baby room’s all ready, you’ve had your baby bag for the hospital packed for weeks and you’ve stocked up on nappies and bum cream, but there is so much more that YOU need to be able to get through the few weird weeks after birth.
If you’re squeamish, stop reading here because I’m about to get all kinds of weird real with you.
I went through the natural birth process and then ended up having to have a C-Section as we started the pushing phase, so my experience is a bit of both kinds of birth and post-birth happenings.
Here’s my experience of what you can expect postpartum. It’s not meant to freak you out, but rather to help you make sure that you’re prepared for the looking after that you need after birth, so that you can enjoy your new baby without having to worry about how the hell you’re going to ask the next visitor to bring you more maxi pads.
I’m not sure if it was from the painkillers and anti-inflammatories or from the breastfeeding, but the thirst was insatiable. You know the kind where water just won’t cut it after a while? Take some juice boxes with you to hospital and ask visitors to bring some for you too, it’s necessary!
I did not expect to bleed so much, to be honest. I bought 2 packs of hideous maternity pads thinking they were enough. They were not. Buy all the maxi pads in the world – you will be bleeding for a long time (some women up to 6 weeks) after birth, regardless of what kind of birth you had. Be careful when you get up for the first time and have someone help you – you’re likely to feel quite faint and lose a lot of blood in that one movement, which can be quite scary.
The baby blues
You might not feel the immediate overwhelming motherly love for the strange little screaming creature in your arms immediately. You’ve been through a lot physically and emotionally and your hormones are completely out of whack for a while. You may have a few days of feeling down instead of elated, this is okay. If it continues, it may be signs of postnatal depression so check up on those symptoms to be sure you don’t need treatment for that.
The night sweats
This took me completely by surprise. For some women postpartum, their bodies need to get rid of excess fluids and hormones for quite a while after birth and this results in night sweats. I would wake up for feeds in the middle of the night, freezing cold and soaking wet. Have a few pairs of extra pyjamas (that are feeding-friendly) on hand unless you want to be washing them every day.
Your breast milk doesn’t appear immediately. For the first few days you produce colostrum, which is sufficient to feed your baby initially, but he may get hungry and scream for real milk at some point. It’s just a waiting game then to see when your milk comes in.
Well this is awkward. If you didn’t get haemorrhoids during pregnancy, you’re likely to get one or few during childbirth. This, along with constipation makes for a very uncomfortable “glowing” new mom. Do yourself a favour and make sure you have haemorrhoid cream and stool softeners ready and waiting. It’s hectic.
They will hurt. Stock up on nipple cream from the get-go and apply that stuff all the time. It will save you. Don’t bother with anything other than Lansinoh cream. Also make sure you stock up on breast pads – there will be leaking and you don’t want to worry about that when you’re dealing with a hundred other things.
Oh gosh, I haven’t painted a very pretty picture, have I? The first few weeks after birth are hectic, so at least after reading this you are prepared for all these nasties and can just take them in your stride. This is the time we need to be enjoying our teeny tiny little humans while we can – they are so precious!
I wrote this post before our little boy surprised us 2 weeks early and didn’t get a chance to post it, or really even go through all the photos, before rushing off to the hospital to give birth. Looking back now, I can’t believe that there was such a perfect little human growing inside me. Also, water retention, OMG. Side note: perhaps 37 weeks is a bit late for a maternity shoot – we got ours in just in time but didn’t get a chance to enjoy it much before baby arrived… nonetheless, here’s what I wrote pre-baby and some of my favourite pics from the shoot.
This pregnancy has been such an exciting time for me, it really has. Amongst all the aches and pains and weird stuff happening to my body, I’m in awe every day that there is a tiny little human inside of me.
I have become obsessed with my baby bump and spent most of my pregnancy just waiting for it “to pop” so that I could show it off as much as possible. And even though I’m probably one of the worst models in the history of modelling, I decided that we needed a photoshoot to capture this very exciting and very short time of transition in our lives.
But not just any photoshoot. Maternity shoots are very often cheesy and posed and they make me cringe. I’m not a ‘flower-fairy in a field with my belly exposed’ kind of girl and my husband would actually rather die than have to pose and fake-smile his way through an hour of his life.
So I first searched for a natural photographer who uses natural light and beautiful locations to enhance what the camera sees, not to create what you want the camera to see, if you know what I mean? I managed to find this in Hannah Mentz and we could not be more impressed with what she created with us!
I chose one of the most gorgeous and secluded locations in Hout Bay, Cape Town: Orangekloof, where I often ride my horse (not now that I’m pregnant, obvs) through the protected mountain reserve. It’s sensational there! And to make things even more challenging, I brought my horse for a guest appearance. The potential for ‘cheese factor’ was very real with this addition, but it worked out just beautifully. Even better than I imagined.
So thank you, Hannah, for capturing this special time for us, we couldn’t be happier with the results!
Here are some of my favourites from the shoot, shot at 37 weeks (exactly one week before he actually arrived!)
When I first found out that I was pregnant, I was determined to have a fit pregnancy. I had worked so hard to be fit and healthy and wasn’t about to let that all fly out the window and turn into a whale. Getting fit in your 30s is a whole new ballgame and it’s freaking hard work!
What I didn’t realise is how intense pregnancy body and hormonal changes really are and as much as you want to fight it, the body is designed to slow down and take it easy during pregnancy.
My focus has shifted from “must do what I can within the preggie limits to not get huge” to “must do what I can for both of us to be as healthy as we can be” from the first to the third trimesters. Growing a human life inside your own body is a concept that cannot actually be described. It’s exciting and terrifying at the same time and carries a huge amount of responsibility. I mean, this little life that we have created is dependent entirely on what I put into and do with my body. It’s insane.
What I also didn’t realise is that a fit pregnancy is not only for mom, but is so beneficial to baby too. Here’s why:
A healthy mom = a healthy baby, there’s no doubt about that
During early pregnancy, exercise increases the growth of the placenta, meaning more nutrients for baby!
A fit pregnancy is said to result in “easier” labour and moms are less likely to need to be induced
Babies of fit moms tend to be a healthier weight at birth
Babies of moms who exercised during pregnancy have a more stable heart rate during labour
So moms-to-be: squeeze on those workout shoes while you still can and get moving! It’s hard when you’re feeling sick, tired, heavy and bloated, but all you need to do is move for 30 minutes every day.
I ran up until about 22 weeks and have continued strength workouts throughout my pregnancy, along with regular brisk walking and prenatal yoga. It’s all slowing down dramatically now at 34 weeks, but I’m keeping these balloon feet moving, even if they can’t fit into shoes anymore 🙂
I can’t actually tell if my pregnancy yoga is for me, for my baby or for the bond between me and my baby. Isn’t that an amazing confusion?
I started prenatal yoga at about 9 weeks into my pregnancy and even though I could have continued with my normal yoga (with modifications), I just didn’t feel confident enough that I knew enough about pregnancy to know what’s safe and what’s not. So prenatal yoga it was.
With no belly to show and nausea to spice things up a bit, I entered into the pregnancy yoga world not knowing what to expect. A bunch of pregnant woman just lying around and stretching and arm or a leg here and there? A whole lot of child’s pose? Will we even move?
It was everything I didn’t expect. Having been an ashtanga and vinyasa yogi for years and continuously pushing my body and my mind through yoga flow, this was a strange new world to me. This is a world where you don’t push yourself. You don’t see how deep you can take a pose, you don’t try and stretch that little bit further, you don’t try and take your mind into deeper place. You “just be” and move with yourself and your baby in a way that soothes your soul, your baby and your body.
When we found out that we were pregnant, a friend gave me a card with a quote in and at the time, it didn’t sink in how powerful it really was, until I had actually spent time with my pregnancy, through yoga.
I’m going to end off with this quote and let it sink in for you.
To be pregnant is to be vitally alive, thoroughly woman, and distressingly inhabited. Soul and spirit are stretched – along with the body – making pregnancy a time of transition, growth, and profound beginnings.” – Anne Christian Buchanan
If you read my blog post about the first trimester of pregnancy, you might be put off ever wanting to grow a little human in your body. Sorry. It was crappy. But it’s not forever and the uncomfortable bits of it didn’t actually last very long for me and life took a delightful turn just before the 12 week mark for me.
The second trimester has been wonderful for me.
Here’s what they didn’t tell me about the second trimester:
The fat roll becomes a noticeable baby bump and you don’t need to keep announcing to the world that you’re pregnant, not fat. I honestly thought that this would happen much sooner in pregnancy, but it’s really only half-way through the second trimester that I was noticeably “pregnant-looking”
You can get away with scaring the crap out of people who ask when you’re due or congratulate you on your pregnancy by saying “Oh no, you think I’m pregnant? This is still the after-effects of Christmas”
People compliment you because that is what you do for pregnant women. People HAVE TO tell you how great you’re looking and how you’re glowing and all that wonderful stuff. I think it’s written in a secret book somewhere. Even if you’re not, they HAVE TO tell you these things.
You feel the baby move around and it’s incredible! Every day is an amazement at what is happening in your body and it all becomes very real.
A lot of the first trimester was about feeling fragile and uncertain. This goes away in the second trimester. That baby is stuck in there and becoming a “proper human” more rapidly than you expected. The feeling of certainty and excitement cements itself in.
Enter the pregnant appetite! You’re sometimes going to feel ravenous and that is totally understandable, given what your amazing body is up to. I used this as an excuse to pump even more healthy foods into my body than usual (as well as treating myself to indulgences of chocolate and cheese when the need arises, no questions asked). This is not a time for deprivation or ignoring hunger pangs. EAT THOSE GREENS!
Get used to strategically positioning yourself near a bathroom at all times. Your baby is literally squashing your bladder so you will need to pee ALL THE TIME.
Sore feet. Like, walking on knives kind of sore feet. A great excuse to keep your feet up whenever you can. Prep your partner for foot massages – I haven’t won this game enough but I keep trying.
You feel like a normal person again. Like you did before you got pregnant, except more excited, bigger and slower.
You can still exercise, making sure it’s preggie-friendly. It’s actually so important to look after your body while it’s going through these drastic changes and while you can still move easily. I’ve been walking a lot, continuing (amazing) pre-natal yoga and doing trimester-specific home strength workouts.
Candles. I have nothing to say about these. We’ll just ignore them.
What an amazing experience it is to be growing a little human inside my body and I feel so grateful to have this privilege.
I’m still feeling great as I enter into the third trimester, growing and growing and growing this precious little human life.