Sometimes planning a pregnancy is a simple as saying when you feel broody, let’s have a baby and then having loads of extra special sex over the weekend and two weeks later two lines on a pregnancy test that you knew you would see because from a few days after your weekend of fun you’ve just felt different and 10 days later you felt a little bit of discomfort and had a couple of spots of blood in your pants that didn’t turn into anything and since then your boobs have been aching like nothing before and your nipples are so sensitive you’re not sure you can wear a bra anymore or ever let your partner near you again.
It’s not always that simple and any month that you’re trying to get pregnant and you don’t will be full of ups and downs. You will analyse every feeling you have in your body and every drop of anything you find in your pants. Every time you feel emotional or tired you will wonder is this normal pre-menstrual stress of is this pregnancy hormones starting, every time you fancy something to eat you don’t always eat you’ll wonder if it’s cravings. It’s really easy to become obsessed with so much that is completely out of your control.
How do you find the joy in this time? Find a community of friends who are going through the same thing. There are many facebook groups and forums where women get together and share the ups and downs of TTC (acronyms will be your friend) and there’s a community of vloggers on you tube trying to conceive which is one way to keep yourself busy and your mind off your own symptoms in the two week wait.
Realise that you’re about to enter a time when you will be expecting your body to do an amazing thing and it will change in more ways than you’re expecting. Now is a good time to start taking good care your yourself. Start as soon as you think trying for a baby might be possible at all in your life to take folic acid supplements. Look at your life style and see if you can find ways to fit in looking after yourself, cooking healthy food, doing exercise like Pilates or yoga talking nice calming walks in the countryside. Look after your mind and your mental health too, learn relaxation techniques or try mindfulness. Learn what you love to do and learn to make time for it, when baby arrives you will need a collection of simple self-care things you and do to fill your own cup as you will need to be giving out so much of yourself.
Get to know your own menstrual cycle. Learn to stop the signs of your body ovulating and signs that menstruation is about to happen. Try fertility friend or a similar app and learn to chart your temperature. Don’t get obsessed with it all just learn more about yourself.
Keep sex fun and work on your relationship. When your baby comes, you will need to have a strong relationship to work as a team raising that person and the first year (at least) will be really hard work. Learn to talk to each other about your feelings your hopes and your values and your expectations for life with a baby and a child. Remember that your relationship now is more important than trying to conceive and your relationship being positive is important to your finding joy as parents.
If getting pregnant takes some time for you try not to worry, most people will conceive within a year. If you don’t there is so much available now to help people become parents. Don’t stress about infertility when it’s not happening wait and if it is then you will find a way through. At the time you will have things you can do before the time it’s just worry about something far out of your control that may not even happen to you.
Sometimes pregnancy happens by surprise. You’re not trying to get pregnant but you know you’ve not used contraception or not used it full according to instructions and you think it will probably be ok it’s been fine when this has happened before but surprise this time positive pregnancy test. Or maybe you even thought you were using fool proof contraception and this is a total shock for you.
You might have a really hard decision to make whether or not to go ahead with this pregnancy. If you want someone to talk things through with who will listen without agenda, then please feel free to give me a call or a message.
You might know instantly what your decision is but you may still want to talk it through, I’m still available to talk.
Even if you know you want to keep this baby, if you’re instantly in love or you would never consider ending a pregnancy under any circumstances surprise pregnancy can be full of emotions and worries and fears. Talking through these with your partner or with a professional will help you to let them go and to reduce the stress which is important for you to find your joy in the pregnancy and important for your baby’s development.
From my point of view as an experienced doula here are 10 tips to help you be the kind of birth partner who makes a birthing woman glad you are there with her.
I’m just going to take all the drugs, why go through pain you don’t have to?
If you make a fully informed decision to choose any of the medication available as pain relief in labour then that’s the right decision for you. But how do you know you’re making a fully informed decision?
Why do you think labour will be so awful and painful you’ll want ‘all the drugs’? If it’s because you’ve seen births on television documentaries and you’re really afraid of the pain then you might be making a decision without all the facts. If you start reading positive birth stories you might get more of a full range of possibilities of how you labour may feel and how you may react, when you talk to women who’ve been there and not been scared then you might find that you want to go into labour with more of an open mind about what you may or may not want to choose on the day.
Even if you read all the facts and are still sure you want to have an epidural there will be a period of your labour before you’re able to get an epidural where you will need to work with your contractions so you’re still going to need to have a plan of what self-help measures you’re going to use up until the point where an epidural becomes available to you. You may surprise yourself and find that your chosen coping methods are so effective you’re past the point where you need an epidural before you even realise or you may still find that you make the choice as soon as it’s available to you on the day. This is then a positive choice, not one made out of fear and you can own your choice and feel confident.
The pain relief options available are injected opiates such as morphine / diamorphine / pethidine. Gas and air (nitrous-oxide) and spinal anaesthetic epidural or spinal block.
Opiate pain relief can cross your placenta and may affect your baby’s breathing if they are born while it’s still in your system. This means it’s usually not recommended to women who are in active labour as even if it seems like there will be a long time before the baby arrives things can change rapidly anytime. These injections can also make you feel woozy and disorientated and some women don’t like them for that reason. When women are experiencing a very long and tiring early labour an opiate injection can sometimes help them to get some sleep and to relax enough to go into active labour so it’s not all bad news.
Gas and Air
Gas and air or laughing gas as it’s sometimes called is only in your system for as long as you continue breathing it in, this makes it a popular choice for many women because they can have control over how much they use and start or stop when they feel the need. This is often used by women in conjunction with other ways of working with contractions such as relaxation, movement and water.
Epidural or Spinal Block
Spinal anaesthetics have to be administered by an anaesthetist and are a significant enough intervention that women are asked to sign to show they have understood and given permission for them to be used. If you are at the point in labour when you are wanting this sort of total anesthetising of all the feeling you’re probably not going to be feeling like reading and thinking through the risks and benefits so it’s a good idea to have a read during your pregnancy so you can be sure you’re making an informed decision http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/epidural-anaesthesia/Pages/Introduction.aspx
If you decide to have an epidural you can still make sure that you give yourself as good a chance as you can of having an easy birth by making sure that your birth support team help you to lie on your side or to use a peanut ball to help keep your pelvis in a good position for baby to come through. You might want to consider letting the epidural wear off a little once you’re ready to start pushing so you can feel some of the pressure of your body telling you to push. Your midwife will help you to know how and where to push most effectively.
The second trimester merges slowly into the third it’s sometimes difficult to tell where one ends and the other begins but you will start to ‘feel more and more pregnant’ your bump will grow and your hormones will let you know you’re in a special time of life. You’re likely to feel more open and more vulnerable and more loving all at the same time. Your baby will feel gradually heavier until you reach the point you’re ready to give birth.
This is probably the time where if you haven’t thought about it much before you will become aware that you have to give birth to this baby. Good news is that thinking about it now and having thought through your options can take the fear and worry out of this time. If you’ve not already been now is definitely time to get along to a positive birth movement meeting and start looking up information about the different things that are available to help you through the birth.
You may well naturally start to feel like slowing down and taking more care of yourself but even if you’re still happy working full time and planning to get back to it as soon as possible treating yourself to relaxing baths or getting your partner to learn some basic massage techniques for example will help you enjoy this time and feel more healthy and ready for the birth and new-born days.
During these weeks if you haven’t already done so you’ll become aware that you need to do some baby shopping. You may well enjoy this and have lots of fun especially buying clothes as it helps you to imagine the little person who will soon take over your world. But you might also suddenly feel the pressure that’s out there to make sure your baby has all the material possessions possible or you might not be good enough as a parent. Recognise this as the marketing rubbish that it is and remember your baby only needs to be safe, fed, warm and dry. That’s all. Babies only use things for a very short period of time (they grow pretty fast) so you might want to consider certain things second hand (not car seats or cot mattresses for safety reasons) cute little blankets and small clothes for example seem enticing but will get only a small amount of use.
List of essentials for a baby:
Nothing on this website is to be considered advice. There are ideas and information but your choices are all your own. I have no medical training and you should always contact your own healthcare provider with any questions or concerns.
Finding the Joy in Pregnancy and birth.