38 Weeks Pregnant – Walking to Induce Labor

As you will already know – I’ve stayed REALLY active during my pregnancy. I’ve tried to go to the gym five to six times a week mixing resistance, stretching and cardio work. It’s definitely kept the weight gain under control and made me feel good inside and out. It really worries me seeing some pregnant women hardly able to walk with aches and pains all over their body. I know everyone is different and I am very lucky to not of suffered from any of this but I do think my exercise has helped this. Lots of people have questioned me in the gym saying ‘Are you sure you should be here?’ Of course I should. I know my limits and would never put myself or my baby in any danger. I think it would probably be more dangerous for me to stop training to be honest. I’ve been training for so long and my body physically and mentally relishes on it.

That said, since turning nine months pregnant, I know alternate my gym sessions with an hour walk – gym one day, walk the other. I can’t tell you how much I miss running so getting outdoors for a walk feels so good! I just stick my iPod on and go.

So what are the benefits of walking in late pregnancy?
Well apparently walking is a wonderful and natural way to induce labor at the end of pregnancy, infact the swaying motion of your hips may ease your baby’s head into your pelvis, giving you a leg up on labor.

Walking also utilises gravity to help  pull the baby down, which places gentle pressure on the cervix and encourages it to dilate. The rocking motion will also move the baby into the correct position for birth while helping to strengthen any contractions you may be having – and help them to become more regular.

Walking up and down the stairs can also be a great way to get some extra walking in, especially if you are worried about leaving the house. The action of lifting your lefts as you climb up can help the baby descent into the correct position for birth and put gentle pressure on the cervix in order to start the dilating process. Try walking on uneven surfaces, such as placing one foot on the curb and one foot on the street to. This can help rock the baby lower and encourage the cervix to dilate. Just be careful you don’t trip so hang on to your partner’s arm for safety,especially if you’ve noticed your balance has deteriorated since being pregnant. 

So make sure you keep active. I’m due for a walk tomorrow – it’s a 5km loop that takes me about an hour. Who’s with me? Just make sure you take your phone, some water, wear a sports bra and listen to your body. This isn’t the time to be breaking any records.

Have fun out there!

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A little Visit to see Vivien Kay at Simply Healing Detox Retreat – Juicing, Healing and Catching Up.

I can’t praise Vivien Kay and Simply Healing enough for all the support they’ve given me and my husband over the last year.

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It’s crazy to think that this time last year I had my first fertility appointment with a specialist, who told me I probably had PCOS. As you know from older posts it wasn’t that at all and I just needed to give me body a bit of TLC, eat more, cut down on the exercise and get more in tune with my body, which I did with the help and advice from lots of incredible experts.

I remember, this time last year I felt so incredibly helpless. My sister was pregnant, it was coming up to Xmas and I was waiting to hear from my doctor about my next plan of action. It’s crazy. I was down in the dumps big time. I’m now 38 weeks pregnant and counting down the days until my due date…was a difference a year makes!

So today I thought I would pay Auntie Viv a visit. Its hard at this stage of the pregnancy – you feel so close – yet so far. The due date is in sight but you feel tired and you are winding down so the days feel longer and you feel like you are just waiting. You also haven’t been scanned since week 20 (well most of haven’t unless you pay for a private scan or have had a problem) and you just want to know that you’re baby is ok and ready to come out. Re-assurance was defiantly needed.

As usual my healing session with Vivien started with a warm welcome as I walked in to her gorgeous Sussex home.
I then laid on the couch as she placed her hands on my bump. The first thing Viv said was that baby was very cozy and sleeping. She tends to sleep lots in the day and wake me up at 5am in the morning so this didn’t surprise me. After a few minutes, Viv expressed that she was slightly concerned about mine and the baby’s energy levels. I must admit, this rings true. My energy has been awful recently, and I just haven’t had an appetite – it’s a catch 22 as you obviously need to eat for energy. She said that she wants me to eat more (at least every three hours) because the baby needs energy to get into the prime position and get ready for birth. At this rate it looks like she might be late as she’s slightly lethargic – and not engaged.

So what’s my plan of action? I need to start setting my alarm for every three hours and even if I don’t fancy food, have a juice or something with plenty of nutrients in. Here is a link to some of Simply Healing’s famous juices. There are loads to choose from and they are all super easy to make!
I also need to make sure I have a snack before bed to stop me waking up so hungry and eat more good carbs like Rye Bread, Brown Rice, Sweet Potatoes and quinoa. Stuffed peppers with brown rice sounds nice!

Another funny thing that Viv said was that the bubba liked the colour lemon yellow – which made me laugh as her nursery is very pink! We may have to start buying some yellow bits….

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Pregnancy Countdown – 32 days to go. What does a pregnant lady wear at Christmas?

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When Christmas arrives – I will be 37 and a half weeks pregnant. Christmas is a time for socialising, dressing up and eating lots BUT I doubt I will be doing any of that.
I’ve warned my husband that I may be a kill joy. I do love my bump but sometimes a night in watching a film on my gym ball sounds far more appealing than being in a crowded pub with people bouncing off your bump!

So here is a breakdown of my pregnant Christmas….

Socialising – Yes. I will also be driver and probably falling asleep by 10pm. I’ll try 🙂

Dressing up – I didn’t think I would be – and joked to my husband that i will either be wearing my sports gear all Christmas or a black bin liner – until I discovered Tiffany Rose – a gorgeous maternity collection, that I came across when looking at pictures of pregnant Michelle Heaton online. Michelle is also pregnant but always looks so glowing  and graceful, and the dress she was wearing was absolutely gorgeous. It fitted in all the right places and showed her bump off beautifully!
I then found the website Tiffany Rose and spent hours looking through their collection and deciding what to order for the big day.
The range, inspired by icons of the 50s and 60s, includes timeless classics, with a touch of vintage or a modern twist. Some of the pieces are very dressy and if you had a wedding to go to or something would be ABSOLUTELY perfect. The truth is I only have four weeks of pregnancy left, with no big events like weddings coming up etc so I went for this gorgeous Grecian Top, that would look nice with skinny jeans or smart trousers and can be dressed up or down. It’s really floaty and elegant and something I would wear pregnant or not! I’m looking forward to wearing on Christmas day with a nice chunky cardigan, skinny jeans and some wedge boots.

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A few other favourite pieces were the DAISY GOWN, which is uber elegant and sophisticated…

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and the EDEN GOWN SHORT, which has a floaty skirt to hide any lower body sins and detachable Midnight Blue satin sash that will fit neatly around your bump should you wish it too – a bit like a bow around an extra special Xmas present.

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At last – I feel so much more positive about my maternity wear wardrobe. I have really struggled with what to wear during my pregnancy and will be recommending Tiffany Rose to all my friends !

So that leads me on to my last Xmas bullet point of;

Eating lots. Will I be eating lots? No probably not.
When you are pregnant your baby takes up LOADS of room inside your body – room that used to belong to your lungs and stomach and digestive system.
Check out this picture below. The left-hand image shows a woman’s body before she gets pregnant, and the right-hand image shows her body carrying a full-term fetus. See how squashed her stomach is? If you eat too much when pregnant you end up feeling totally bloated and can’t move so the best thing to do is eat little and often. I’ll be saving some of my Christmas dinner (and pudding!) for a few hours later that is for sure – doggy bag springs to mind!

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Pregnancy countdown – 42 days to go and I get….

…….Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD)

Ever heard of it? I hadn’t either until I did my pre-natal and post natal fitness course with Premier Training International – and it happened to me early this week.

It’s basically one of the most common causes of pain in pregnancy and caused when the ligaments and joints of the pelvis become relaxed due to the hormones of pregnancy (relaxin) and become inflamed by certain movements – in my case like lunges, one-legged exercises, until walking etc.

I feel the pain mainly when walking (particularly after I’ve been sitting down for ages), getting out of the car and standing for long periods and if I stand up for too long, so to help it, I’ve totally stopped any lunges or one-legged exercises in the gym, not taking long strides when walking to and from places until I’ve warmed up a bit, and wearing my supportive Gowri Wrap, which gentle supports my baby girl while supporting my lower back.

A few other things to avoid are:

  • Pulling yourself up when lying on your back. Instead you need to roll to your side and use your hands to push yourself up.
  • Getting up and down from a char with your knees together. When you get up, keep your knees together and use your hands to push yourself up.
  • Avoid soft chairs like sofas, as you won’t get adequate support and they are hard to get out of!
  • Avoid squatting, or sitting cross-legged and sit symmetrically in the chair.
  • Avoid balancing on one leg when putting on clothes, especially underwear and trousers and instead sit down to do this
  • Lean on one hip/leg when standing. Instead try putting your weight on both legs rather than on one.
  •  Twisting your body.
  • Lifting anything heavy.
  • Lots of walking or stair climbing. Take the stairs one step at a time.

Apparently the pain will eventually subside once the baby is delivered, but to make sure it doesn’t get worse I am going to have acupuncture now every week until I give birth. I swear by it and have missed my weekly sessions during my pregnancy.

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Three ways to stay stretch mark free during pregnancy

Research suggests that stretch marks, those small, depressed streaks in the skin that appear mainly around the stomach in the later stages of pregnancy have a lot to do with genetics: If your mother or sister got stretch marks during pregnancy, you’re more likely to get them, too. Other studies show that younger moms, particularly teens, are more prone to getting stretch marks.

The key to keeping them at bay is to make sure you don’t pile on the weight too quickly. The recommended amount of weight during pregnancy in most cases, is 25 to 35 pounds. Gaining it slowly may help reduce your chances of getting stretch marks, as will drinking lots of water, which helps keep your skin cells plump and supple.

Foods rich in Vitamin E (seeds and spinach), zinc (beef and lamb) and silica (celery), will also help to form collagen, while Vitamin C (oranges, peppers) in particular is an important antioxidant that helps protect tissue from damage, while helping it to form collagen.

There are also lots of fantastic creams on the market that are designed to be used day and night to keep the skin hydrated and smooth and help build tensile strength.

Here are three of my favourite that I have used everyday of my pregnancy. At 34 weeks, I can safely say that I’ve not got an inkling of a stretch mark – I must be doing something right…

1) Zita West Beautiful Belly Balm
This restorative moisturiser from fertility and pregnancy guru Zita West contains all natural plant extracts, designed to help keep the skin of your stomach in good condition throughout pregnancy.
It’s really rich, smells gorgeous – and is not greasy making it perfect to put on in the morning before you get dressed.
£18.95; www.zitawest.com

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 2) Mama Mio Tummy Rub Stretch Mark Butter
This is great for all over protection from stretch marks as a little goes a long way. It’s made with super-elasticising Omega 3, 6 and 9’s oils to help build your skin’s strength and has a rehydrating shea butter base, making it super thick, and really smooth to apply.
£23; www.mamamio.com

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3) Fushi Really Good Stretch Mark oil
Rubbing anything unnatural on my tummy is a no-no for me, which is why I love this stretch mark oil. It contains Holy Basil, known for its superb skin healing powers and renowned benefits for stretch marks, African Baobab oil, which holds the properties of omega 3, vitamin E and D, and is ideal for scars, blemishes and stretch marks. The oil is a little greasy but keeps my  skin hydrated for hours, which is why I like to put it on last thing at night.
£14.45; www.fushi.co.uk 

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32 weeks pregnant and counting…

I thought I would give you a quick update as to how I’m feeling.

I’m now 32 weeks and yes still working out five to six days a week but starting to wake up more tired and also feel the effects of working out with a little person inside of me. It’s not a case of sitting down on the mat for tricep dips and then just getting back up again. Everything is taking that little bit longer. I feel like a granny 🙂

Saying that – my energy during the day is still good and I’m setting my alarm on my phone to remind me to eat every three hours. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not having a slap up meal every time my alarm sounds but I will head to the kitchen and have a big glass of water and a healthy snack like some avocado on rye bread or hummus or veggie sticks.

Sleep – it’s ok. I have one of these amazing pregnancy pillows from Mothercare – which I recommend to EVERYONE! (I even got my husband one because it kept stealing mine!) Sleep is so important for recovery an growth and there is tons of research out there also that says it can help stablise your blood sugar levels and stop you reaching for sugary snacks. There is alot to be said for 8 hours a night – if you can get it!

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My pregnancy pillow from Mothercare is definitely my new best friend! http://www.mothercare.com

Top pregnancy supplements to help look after your bump

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Eating a healthy diet is always a good idea, especially during pregnancy, but since falling pregnant 32 weeks ago, I’ve taken a pregnancy supplement every day without fail to help cover any nutritional gaps in my diet.

Even with the most solid diet, it’s extremely difficult to make sure that you’re getting enough nutrients for both you and baby. While I don’t recommend going crazy with the supplements, there are a handful that have been shown to help with pregnancy and your baby’s health.

Here’s a round up of what I’ve found to be effective:

Solgar Prenatal Nutrients Tablets

Solgar is a brand I’ve always trusted and I took these for a good few months before I fell pregnant.

The NHS recommend you have 400 microgram of folic acid every day while you are trying to get pregnant and until you’re 12 weeks pregnant, which is why I like this supplement.

Each tablet has the perfect amount of vitamins/minerals, without exceeding 100% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA), except for iron (which is supposed to be higher for pregnant women anyway, to help fight fatigue).

It also had an adequate level of folic acid, which as I said before is extremely important prior to conception as the neural tube develops in the first 30 days of pregnancy (before most women know they are pregnant) and supplementing folic acid can prevent many cases of conditions like spina bifida.

Viridian Pregnancy Complex 

I like this brand because it has a healthy amount of DHA, which is vital for helping your baby’s brain develop. You can get DHA from eating fish such as salmon, sardines and herring but what with my morning and afternoon sickness, the last thing I wanted was fishy fish!

It also contains a healthy dose of vitamin D, which is good for regulating the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body, and is needed to keep bones and teeth healthy.

The NHS recommend you take a supplement of 10 micrograms of vitamin D each day when you are pregnant and if you breastfeed to provide your baby with enough vitamin D for the first few months of its life.

Zita West Vital Essence 3

I knew of Zita West, since I had read many of her books when planning to conceive, so it was a no brainer to try her  supplements, which are tailored to suit each trimester. You take one, three times a day with food and they will then provide you with everything you need to safeguard your everyday diet, including 400mg of folic acid plus lots of protective ingredients such as Beta Carotene (a safe way to help support your intake of vitamin A), copper, magnesium, manganese and zinc, all of which support normal cell division and help to protect DNA.

I also brought her Vital DHA, which you have twice a day and contains Omega 3 essential fatty acids (necessary for baby’s brain development, and to ward off inflammation), plus a small amount of zinc.

Please speak to your doctor or health adviser before taking any supplements. 

The Perfect Pregnancy Diet

Pregnancy is NOT the time to diet. It’s not the time to eat for three either. Eating for two is fine but your diet needs to be rich in whole foods rich in nutrients to create a healthy balanced plan to nourish you and your baby.

But what should you eat and how much? It’s easy to get it wrong, which is why I signed up for the Doll Curves Perfect Pregnancy Plan, especially as I hit my last trimester – the all important one, when my baby is growing bigger and getting ready to face the big wide world.

Founded by Celebrity Personal Trainers and Fitness Models, Sarah McLean and Lydia Rees, my Doll Curves plan gives me weekly nutrition advice to keep me healthy and well during my last trimester. It also reminds me that I only need to eat an extra 200 calories a day – the equivalent to a large banana!

Here is a round-up of what I’ve been eating over the last week and why it’s so good for me…

Breakfast

Banana Breakfast Smoothie
Blend ¼ gluten free oats, ½ cup of CO YO coconut yogurt, 1 banana, ½ cup Kara coconut milk, 2 teaspoons of honey, ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon.
The benefits; Bananas are great at reducing fluid retention and swollen ankles – a common side effect in pregnancy. ‘They are also rich in potassium and the perfect energy booster,’ says Sarah.

Snack
120g Unsweetened Greek yogurt with blueberries
The benefits; Yogurt is full of ‘good bacteria’, which helps balance the good/bad bacteria within the body. ‘Yogurt is also rich in protein and calcium, which is good for you and baby’s growing bones,’ says Sarah.

Lunch
Annabel Karmel’s Chicken Pitta Pockets 
Chicken, ½ avocado and watercress pitta pockets with chopped tomatoes and a side salad.
The benefits; Avocados are loaded with folic acid, vital for forming your baby’s brain and nervous system, potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin B6, which can help your baby’s tissue and brain grow. Watercress can also help aid digestion, while the protein in chicken will help every cell in your baby’s body to grow and develop.

Snack
Hummus on organic unsalted rice cakes with chopped vegetables and 20g unsalted almonds, brazil nuts or walnuts.
The benefits; Raw vegetables will keep your immune system strong and the unsalted rice cakes with hummus are a great source of slow release carbohydrates and protein.

Dinner
50g wild rice with ½ cup streamed green vegetable and Annabel Karmel Salmon with tomato salsa
The benefits; ‘Wild rice is rich in fibre and has an excellent effect on the gut wall,’ says Sarah. News has it that women who eat oily fish, like salmon during pregnancy are also more likely to have brainy and sociable children. Just make sure you don’t have it more than twice a week.

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Babyshower Gifts – part one

Baby shower gifts can be hard to buy. Do you go practical or cute?

To help you select the best gifts I searched high and low to help you find cute and practical.

Now I have to warn you, that they are mainly pink, BUT I am having a girl, so you can’t blame me for having my pink hat on!

WELEDA MINI CALENDULA BABY GIFT SET; £12.95
This cute little packet of baby products is 100% natural, providing your baby with gentle, caring ingredients including calendula to soothe your babies skin and antiseptic properties that prevent against infection to nurture your infant inside and out.
Inside there is Calendula Shampoo & Body Wash, Calendula Facial Cream , Calendula Baby Oil , Calendula Nappy Change Cream and Calendula Baby Lotion.
They all smell lovely but aren’t overpowering and come in a handy travel pack that fits nicely into a nappy bag or bathroom cabinet – although – I wouldn’t have them hidden away. It’s nice to have them on display and remind yourself how precious and special your baby is.

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The iconic Forever Friends Bear; £10
This soft little bear is the perfect accessory to a nursery. It’s not too big, not too small and has the cutest polka dot pattern on the feet and bow tie. I remember loving Forever Friends as a kid. Long live the legacy.

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Bonnie baby London Cashmere Playsuit ‘SNUGGLE ME CLOUD’; £74.75
I just fell in love with this Cashmere Babysuit as soon as I saw it. It’s so soft and the cloud pattern is really sweet. There’s nothing like a cozy baby dressed in the softest material around. I can imagine that baby would get a lot of use out of this, so yes it may seem expensive but quality is so much better than quantity when it comes to a baby’s comfort. Don’t you think?

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Graces Favours Poppy Felt Shoes; £25
Ok, so they’re not pink, but still so pretty all the same. I love that you can take the poppies off really easily and that they are so soft, which makes them ideal for a newborns feet. You don’t want anything too structured or rigid to start with. All the products on the website are handmade, which makes them extra special and they are a really reasonable price too.

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Have you booked your Babymoon yet?

I was recently lucky enough to go on my babymoon. At 26 weeks I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to get some sunshine and relaxation before the airlines ban me from flying. I find flying uncomfortable at the best of times, let alone with a bump and already swollen ankles.
Me and my hubby booked the seven-night Babymoon package  at the Kempinski Hotel in Barbaros Bay, Turkey. Knowing it was my babymoon, I was really expecting to be surrounded by other pregnant women, enjoying the same package as us. We wasn’t. I was the only pregnant lady there (I think) and we were truly looked after. 

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In between relaxing around the pool and paddling our feet in the turquoise Aegean Sea, I had a treatment every day, ranging from a 50-minute pregnancy massage to a 80-minute facial in their exclusive spa.

Daddy-to-be had a few massages thrown in too, to help relief his tired body, and give him some much-deserved TLC after looking after me for the last six months.

I also had a wonderful new treatment called Watsu. Now I’ve been to a few spas in my time, but never heard of this, which is a holistic therapy, that immerses the body in warm water and allows the water to gently stretch the joints. It’s hard to imagine, but you basically tie mini floats around your legs and let your therapist gently rock you and twist and turn you as the water supports your body, while stretching out your limbs.

The idea is that the warm water (about 92 to 94 degrees) relaxes your muscles whilst you floating in the water takes pressure off of the vertebrae and your joints and so they can be manipulated easily and any aches and pains can be soothed and relieved. It was a very relaxing treatment, although I did find it hard to let go at first and let my therapist swoosh me around in the water. It lasted 50 minutes and by the end I felt weightless and totally away with the fairies. I would most certainly like to try it again.

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So would I recommend that you go on a babymoon before your little one arrives? Absolutely! Apart from coming back with a renewed sense of energy, I have a glowing tan to match my glowing and growing bump, I feel totally prepared and excited to face my third trimester and I’ve had a chance to read a few books that have helped prepare me better for my pregnancy and labour (Like Effective Birth Preparation by Maggie Howell and Your Pregnancy Companion by Zita West, to name a few.)

Me and my husband have also totally reconnected and talked lots about what’s to come, whilst spending some quality time together without work and nursery decorating getting in the way.