Conceiving a child for the very first time is a feeling that’s almost impossible to translate into words. People always told me that once I have a child of my own, I would change – I did not understand the depth of this statement.  As it is Pregnancy Awareness Week 12-16 February 2018, I thought that it would be apt to share my 7 Pregnancy Tips every First Time Mom needs to know, based on my own personal experience, without sounding as if I am here to Lecture you…which I am not.

I recall the time that I found out I was pregnant – although we had planned this; only when that pregnancy test was positive, did the reality suddenly hit! We were supposed to be ready and prepared for this…but in all honesty, we were scared. It’s natural to feel this way. As first time parents, you don’t exactly know right from wrong, you’re also surrounded by conflicting opinions from various sources.

If you’re an expecting mom or plan to be soon, here are 7 Pregnancy Tips from me to you, in no particular order:

1.  Every pregnancy is different and every woman is different

Do not compare yourself or your pregnancy to other women.  Your body is different, your state of health, mentally and physically is different. Just because something worked for someone else, doesn’t guarantee that it is going to work for you. Trust your instincts and of course the professional advice from your Doctor. E.g. not every woman experiences morning sickness – I personally and fortunately didn’t experience this

2.  Choose a Doctor that you are comfortable with and check your benefits beforehand

If you are planning to become pregnant, I would suggest doing some research before you do become pregnant. I cannot stress how important it is to feel comfortable with your Doctor.  Also ensure that you check your medical aid benefits, different Doctors charge different rates – these vary for the type of delivery, regardless if it is out of your in-hospital fees.

The monthly gynae checks can also become very expensive and if you’re seeing a Doctor that doesn’t charge medical rates, you could end up having to pay a lot much extra. Some Doctors charge the fee upfront, so ensure you have cash if you are unable to wait to claim from Medial Aid. The last thing that you want to be stressed about during your pregnancy, is finances.

3.  Book your hospital bed early (pre-authorisation)

I suggest that you book your hospital bed in advance, once you are aware of your expected date of delivery. Contact your medical aid and find out the procedure to do so. Your gynae will also be able to assist you with providing the correct code to you. When you book your hospital bed, you are provided with a list of things you require. Get the things on the list whilst you’re still able to walk around, without cankles, just in case you do get them. I think I must have experienced this 2-3 times during my pregnancy. It was hilarious, each time I looked at my ankles, I just wanted to laugh and I did and then you should know what that caused…!

4.  Pack your hospital bag EARLY

Don’t leave this until the last minute (coming from the one who indeed left it to the very last day).  You may just go into labour before you expect it. In that instance, you want to make sure that your bag is packed with all the necessities and luxuries during your stay.

5.  Contact a Lactation Consultant

Not all hospitals have in-house Lactation Consultants. If you plan on breastfeeding your baby, trust me when I say it is not as simple as it looks, well not for everyone. Your baby will need to learn how to latch on correctly – if this is not the case, it will be painful for you and your baby may not get the right amount of milk – making you feel like giving up too soon. A Lactation Consultant will help you with all the knowledge you need to have and more. I suggest meeting with one in your last trimester and before your baby is born.

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6.  Maternity Wear

I was surprised to find that there was such a shortage of maternity wear available. If you plan well, you don’t need to get maternity wear but instead clothes that can be worn later, e.g. flowy dresses, leggings and long tops. Depending on your body and how comfortable you’re in it – it’s your personal choice, so wear what you feel comfortable in, the key is “comfort”.

I personally liked shopping at Maternity Way, they have a good range of formal and casual maternity clothing and was reasonably priced too. I loved the Nursing bras from H&M and also those from Woolies. I was heavily pregnant in winter, so I enjoyed wearing leggings and long boots with long tops/jerseys and jackets. For the earlier months, I wore some long summer dresses

Be sure to get yourself nursing bras before you give birth if you plan to breastfeed, because once baby arrives, you’re not going to find yourself shopping any time soon.

7.  Maternity Shoot

If there was anything I could change about my pregnancy, it would be that I should have had a maternity shoot done. I didn’t and I regret it. So if you don’t want to have any regrets and you love photos, then don’t have any regrets like I do…book that photo-shoot, you’ll one day love and enjoy looking at the time you were first pregnant.

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If you’re an expecting mom, or soon to be, I wish you all the best in your pregnancy journey. The time flies, so embrace every special moment.

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