Looking After Your Pregnant Self

If you are pregnant, or have been pregnant (as a matter of fact – if you are a woman), it is highly likely that you are aware of the amount of controversy and pressure surrounding pregnant and post-pregnant bodies. The media is laden with photos of celebrity before and afters, even social media dictates what is acceptable via Likes and not acceptable via (often mean) comments.

Each pregnancy is different, as I found out first hand. And every woman is different. Be it you’re the health nut or not, genetics play a huge part in determining our body shapes and the shapes we may become (pregnant or otherwise). I’ve spoken to moms who, during pregnancy, succumbed to their naughty cravings and highly condone indulging; and also those who walk, practice yoga, eat super well and who are determined to go back to their pre-pregnancy size ASAP. There certainly is no right or wrong. After all.. you can still do the latter and have stretch marks or a large baby. You can do the former and have a small baby and no stretch marks. We don’t all have a personal trainer or nutritionist and we can’t cherry pick our genes. But we all have power over our Pregnant Self – we can control the affects of our changing body during this precious time by maintaining it to the best it can possibly become. Chocolate fudge or not!

1. Beauty comes from the inside

This is often in the form of vitamins and healthy eating. Admittedly, I was not an uber fit single woman who lived at the gym and health food shops. I was more “Okay, I will train for this charity run but I will not refuse my midweek cocktails ritual with the girls (which often involved quite a bit of cocktail)!” However I do believe that eating well and taking vitamin supplements contribute to an overall wellbeing. This habit should bide well into to our Pregnant Self. Taking specialised pregnancy supplements in accordance with your doc is a must – your bub will be sucking a lot of energy and goodness out of you and both of you need the extra vitamins and minerals. Maintaining a healthy, balanced diet will also benefit both you and bub. Most doctors will give great advice on what to eat to get the most of what but it’s a lot of common sense anyway. It’s okay to have that second slice of mud cake that you’re craving, after all you are pregnant, but perhaps not on a daily basis. Bub does not need the sugar for a myriad of reasons, gestational diabetes being one of them. Healthy mum equals healthy bub (and hopefully grows up a healthy adult)!

2. Keep moving

Not an exercise type of gal? I hear you! Here’s a tip: overcome this mentality by thinking about what you don’t like about exercising and find an exercise that suit you. For me, I did not enjoy being hot and sweaty and detested the outdoors. So I tried yoga and pilates and.. loved it! Both are fabulous for the pregnant mind and body and can ready baby into the right delivery position. If these are not for you, try walking. Any kind of walking.. the mall, outside, around the house.. Basically anything is better than nothing and believe it or not, you will feel energised afterwards. Half an hour of pregnancy pilates 3-5 times a week helped me get back into my favourite pre-baby jeans in no time so I highly recommend it.

3. Pamper yourself

After all that exercise, it’s time to go to the day spa! Find a reputable day spa who specialise in pregnancy massage and go for it! Carrying extra weight around your belly adds pressure to your back. 30-60 minutes of gentle massage will soothe and encourage blood flow. Don’t forget to get a pedicure while you’re there!

It’s easy to look after your Pregnant Self at home too – light a candle, put on a face mask and soak in the tub for as long as you want! Once or twice a week, exfoliate your body with a good scrub or exfoliating gloves. Concentrate on your tummy, hips and thighs to encourage cell renewal around these areas that will stretch as your pregnancy progresses. Work in a circular motion and be gentle! After each shower, oil up with either Kora’s Rosehip Oil or Bio-Oil, both have been proven amazing for preventing stretch marks.

4. Relax

Try not to stress or dwell on things that you cannot control. My second pregnancy is proving to be a lot different to my first and it was easy to dwell on the pros of my first pregnancy. But I’ve found ways of enjoying the second pregnancy in different ways – for example, I’m allowing myself to have a cup of tea once a day.. it’s not a major faux pas and the doc gave me the OK. It’s fabulous what a short tea break can do!

Most of all, enjoy this moment – you’re creating a life inside of you. Nothing is more amazing than that. This may be an old wives’ tale but I strongly believe that the calmer you are, the more calm your baby is and will be. Go and light that candle!

Pregnancy Must-Haves



It’s My Pregnancy and I Will Bottle Feed if I Want to.

During my first pregnancy, I was overwhelmed by advice from family, friends, medical bodies, magazines and forums. Overwhelmed, I ended my subscription to the last two halfway along. But it was hard to turn a deaf ear to family and friends who meant well. The big surprise was the conflicting advice given to me from certain medical bodies (hospital brochures, my doctor, and some nurses) about everything from giving birth to breast feeding to what is and is not a good reason to put a newborn in the hospital nursery. Sure they all meant well, but surely I have some say in what and how I wanted to handle my pregnancy and baby?

Cherry picked info in hand, I decided to have an elective caesarean, and bottle feed. The reasons for these are personal, which all mums to be are entitled to have. One of them being that I was simply not maternal and cannot for the life of me imagine pushing a baby out! I couldn’t even watch the video of the woman giving birth naturally in our ante-natal class. Eek!

I ran my elective caesar plan with my OB who immediately tried to talk me out of it, much to my dismay. “Do you realise that a C-Section is major surgery? Major.” Okay.. I suppose OB knows best. Let’s make a birth plan that consisted of little plan and an early epidural. I thought I saw a glimpse of rolling of my OB’s eyes.

Another surprise was when I had a guided tour of the hospital and it was full of posters of pacifiers with a big red cross on them. I could almost hear the speakers chanting “Say no to dummies. Say no to dummies”. The reasons were obvious I guess, but this would become one of those decisions you would make when the time comes.

I was then given a “Why Breast is Best” brochure, along with one on mastitis and other nasty looking photos. Yipes..

At the hospital, 10 days late and waiting to be induced, my body seem to just know what my mind and my heart wanted all along. It seem like they were conspiring for me to go through this as easy as possible, as it had meant to be. I went through 0 hours of labour, which I was 0 hours of pain.. and ended up having an emergency caesar anyway!

Contrary to what I had read and heard from other women who have had a C-Sect, I recovered well, walking around the next day. Of course this is different for all women, but as I’m sure as long as you’re in a good hospital, you’ll be in good hands.

The nurses and midwives were lovely at the hospital. They did encourage breast feeding and we did try to feed colostrum to our baby. However after trying for 15-20 minutes with lots of wailing and screaming, I put my foot down and demanded we give her formula. Well… this certainly worked as she was sound asleep within 2 minutes! She was on formula until the end of stage 2 – she has never had health issues, skin issues, allergens, etc. She is the healthiest baby I know and is now growing at such a rapid pace!

This time round, I found myself seeing a more understanding and supportive OB. We are booked for a C-Sect next March and am looking forward to a newborn BOY!

My message to all mums-to-be : stick to what you are comfortable with. As I experienced, the professionals are not always right, even though they mean well. At the end of the day it’s your pregnancy, your baby and you should make your experience the way YOU want it. Being in 10 hours of labour will not make you a better or worse parent. Your baby will love you no matter what!


Pregnancy craving #3: Coconut

This is hands down the easiest and yummiest loaf you will ever make. EVER! If you have an easier loaf recipe, please share!

Sticky Pear and Coconut Loaf

1 ripe pear, peeled and sliced into chunks
1c desiccated coconut, plus extra for sprinkling
1c white sugar (I tend to take a little bit out when baking for my toddler)
1c self raising flour, sifted
1 1/2c milk

Preheat oven to 170C.

Grease and line a loaf pan with baking paper.

Mix coconut, sugar and flour in a large bowl.
Pour in the milk and stir until well combined.
Gently fold the pear into the mixture and transfer into prepared pan.
Sprinkle with extra coconut.
Give the pan a couple of taps on kitchen bench and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

Stand for 10 minutes before slicing.

This loaf is beautiful served as is with a cup of tea, or with a spread of butter for extra naughtiness.