Best Maternity Summer Shorts

Best Maternity Summer Shorts

With such glorious weather that is set to last and with the high street shops still closed, here are the best maternity summer shorts to buy online and are available now! However, make sure you take it easy in this heat. During pregnancy, your skin may be more sensitive and you may burn more easily. Use plenty of sunscreen and try and stay out of the sun in the middle of the day when at its hottest.

1. Light Weight Denim Maternity Shorts

£29 – JoJomamanbebe

Everyone, needs a pair of denim shorts in their summer wardrobe. These maternity summer shorts from Jojomamanbebe are just perfect. Made with stretch jersey, these shorts are a great staple in your wardrobe and  look good teamed with a nice white T-shirt. The wide jersey waistband can be worn under or over your bump for ultimate comfort.

2. Maternity Black Aztec Print Loose Shorts

£12.99 – New Look

These loose fitted fun print shorts are perfect for a warm day. They have an elasticated high waist to fit your bump. Team with a nice T-shirt and sandals for a effort-less summer look. A great pair of maternity summer shorts.

3. Linen Maternity Shorts

£21 – Vertbaudet

These stretch jersey linen shorts are super comfy. Made with a cool linen and cotton, they are perfect for a warm day. These maternity summer shorts will look great whatever the occasion. Available in Navy and Black.

4. Lounge Super Soft Shorts

£16 – Asos

Everyone loves a lounge short. Like joggers, somedays, you just want to throw on a nice comfortable pair of shorts, so these are just perfect.

These shorts are all about comfort. Made from a super soft knit, they have a stretch waistband to fit your bump. A matching top is available.

5. Navy Tailored Maternity Shorts

£39 – Seraphine

These chic navy maternity shorts, are designed to fit and flatter your style. Made from a soft stretch cotton with high quality Tencel, they have an over the bump band which allows plenty of room to grow. A style that can be dressed up or worn casually on a summer’s day.

All these shorts are available online now, so make sure you get a pair whilst this gorgeous weather is set to last for at least another week. If you have any other brands that you would recommend, please do let me know and I will add them to this lost.

Enjoy the sunshine!!

10 best pregnancy books for expectant parents

10 best pregnancy books for expectant parents

It’s the most amazing feeling in the world to discover your pregnant.

Such exciting news, however, at times you may feel overwhelmed and slighting daunted.

If you are anything like me when I found out I was pregnant, I had so many questions I wanted answering. Everything from the birth to being a new parent. Now days, there is so much information out there for expectant parents. Not only are there fantastic antenatal classes on offer, loads of information on the internet, there are some fantastic informative but entertaining books for mums-to-be. So, looking at the top reviews, here are my suggestions for the best books to buy.

TOP 10 PREGNANCY BOOKS FOR EXPECTANT PARENTS

1. How to Grow a Baby (and Push it Out)’ by Clemmie Hooper, published by Vermilion: £4.99 Kindle or £14.99 Paperback, Amazon

pregnancy book for expectant parents

Everything you wanted to know but were too embarrassed to ask – a guide to pregnancy and birth straight from the midwife’s mouth“.

Clemmie Hooper the author, not only is a mum to 4 girls, but, a trained midwife and a very successful blogger of the blog, Gas and Air. I would definitely recommend following her on instagram, where she has 72.2k followers.

Her book is broken up into chapters which correspond with trimesters and antenatal appointments, and covers essential topics such as what to wear and eat during pregnancy, plus how to navigate labour calmly and confidently. It’s well-designed, with full-colour photos and illustrations throughout and has a good dose of fun and wit. Great for any expectant parents.

2. The Freelance Mum’ by Annie Ridout, published by HarperCollins: Amazon, £2.74

Expectant parents pregnancy books

In the last decade, 70% more mums have chosen to go freelance. Annie Ridout was one of them. And in her enlightening new book, she shares the tips and tricks that helped her build a better working life around her family. 

If your wondering how you are ever going to balance your career and children, this is the book for you. From choosing a career and launching a website, to getting your name out there and perfecting your brand, to the nitty gritty of childcare options and daily routines, The Freelance Mum is a comprehensive guide to setting out on your own path.

3. Your Baby, Your Birth: Hypnobirthing Skills for Every Birth’ by Hollie de Cruz, published by Vermilion: £12.99, Amazon

great book for expectant parents


Endorsed by the likes of Fearne Cotton and Giovanna Fletcher, Your Baby, Your Birth is a no-nonsense guide to hypnobirthing from renowned hypnobirthing coach Hollie de Cruz. This book helps your prepare for a positive birth experience and approach motherhood with confidence in yourself and your instincts. 

Your Baby, Your Birth will teach you:

  • That birth is safe – listen to your body, embrace the changes, prepare your mind and relax during pregnancy.
  • Exercises and breathing techniques for labour and birth for you and your birth partner, along with guided meditations to keep you calm and engaged.
  • How to trust your instincts, understand your body and baby and make informed decisions throughout your pregnancy and beyond.

With 70k followers on instagram, she is definitely someone worth following if expecting. I love reading her positive affirmations.

4. ‘The Little Book of Self-Care for New Mums’, by Beccy Hands and Alexis Stickland, published by Vermilion: £12.99, Amazon

book for pregnant women

So much emphasis when pregnant is the preparation for the birth and so often new mums forget to look after themselves. This book, is a handy survival guide to managing the emotional and physical rollercoaster of becoming a new mum. Doula Beccy Hands and midwife Alexis Stickland together have 25 years’ experience of caring for women through the postnatal period and have jotted down their advice, support and words of encouragement in this full-colour illustrated title.

5. ‘Nobody Told Me: Poetry and Parenthood’ by Hollie McNish, published by Little, Brown: £6.63, Amazon

book for pregnancy

A lyrical take on pregnancy and parenthood. Nobody Told Me is a collection of poems and stories; This beautifully written book includes a series of poems and stories, lifted from Hollie’s personal diaries on becoming a parent, and documents her journey from pregnancy to taking her child to pre-school for the first time.

6. ‘Parenting the Sh*t Out of Life: For People Who Happen to be Parents (or Might Be Soon)’ by Mother Pukka and Papa Pukka, published by Hodder & Stoughton: £15.19, Amazon

fun book to help understand pregnancy

A funny and entertaining book. This Sunday Times best seller, is a laugh-out-loud, heartwarming and realistic depiction of what it really means to be a parent. With its male and female dual perspectives, it’s a great read for expectant parents, and is teeming with practical advice, from what to pack in your hospital bag to flexible working.

A great fun read for any expectant parent. Would make a good gift if you know anyone expecting a baby!

7. The Best Friends’ Guide to Pregnancy: £14.99, Amazon

guide to pregnancy

Feeling swamped by medical and practical facts and stats? Try Vicki Iodine’s book – it hilariously gives the lowdown on the minutiae of daily life throughout the pregnancy months. From the realities of morning sickness to the top 10 reasons why you’ll definitely do it all again, Vicki takes a lighter look at pregnancy and birth.

8. Pregnancy for Men: £9.00, Amazon

pregnancy for men

With most pregnancy books for women, its lovely to have a a book for expectant fathers, covering what men need to know – from how the baby is developing month by month to how to support their partner throughout pregnancy.

9. The Positive Birth Book: 14.99, Amazon

birth book

The Positive Birth Book shows you how to have the best possible birth, regardless of whether you plan to have your baby in hospital, in the birth centre, at home or by elective caesarean. Find out how the environment you give birth in, your mindset and your expectations can influence the kind of birth you have, and be inspired by the voices of real women, who tell you the truth about what giving birth really feels like.

10. The Day By Day Pregnancy Guide: £20, Amazon

pregnancy overview

The Day-by-day Pregnancy Book provides a comprehensive look at every week of pregnancy. From early foetal development to how your hormones prepare you for birth, & Q&As with experts. An insightful guide for expectant parents.

There you have my top ten suggestions. Something for everyone. With all this time we currently have, go and order some of those books today, and relax with a nice read whilst you have the time.

Alternatively, there are some fantastic podcasts to listen to if you prefer this to reading. Check out here for the best podcasts for mums.

Whilst pregnant, don’t forget to document this special time with a maternity photo shoot. Details of which can be found here.

Tips for getting through your pregnancy during the Coronavirus lockdown

Tips for getting through your pregnancy during the Coronavirus lockdown

Being pregnant during the Coronavirus has its challenges. Over the last few weeks, there has been a spike to the National Childcare Trust’s helpline, as many mums-to-be, are more anxious and worried about having a baby during this difficult time.

As we move into the fourth week of the UK lockdown, it can be difficult to keep calm and relaxed, as there is so much uncertainty at the moment.  But, here are some tips and advice to help you get through your pregnancy during this time.

Virtual Antenatal Classes

Being pregnant during the Coronavirus lockdown, does not mean you have to miss out. Many Antenatal classes are now being run online.  Dealing with the unknown can cause anxiety, so these classes are perfect.  Everything about the birth, preparation, breathing techniques etc are covered in these courses, so its definitely worth a look.  Through education, you can take back control .

Birth-ed offer virtual classes and also have a podcast you can subscribe too, that covers pregnancy topics and has guest speakers including midwifes and doulas. Check out the details here




Distract yourself with reading, listening to music & watching films

With us all having so much time on our hands, it’s a good time to relax and take care of yourself.  Spend time reading a great book or watch that box set on Netflix that you have always wanted to watch, but never had the time.  Why not pamper yourself whilst watching that new film!

One thing we can all take from the virus, is that it has made us slow down.  Try and keep positive and think about all the things that you can do now that you have the time.  Why not try a new hobby or start a new project, like creating a photobook with all those photos you have lying around. Time is no longer an excuse.

What about baking or cooking.  Now’s a great time to make freezable meals, which you will be grateful for, once the baby arrives. 

pregnant lady exercising - maternity photographer surrey

Stay active throughout your pregnancy.

It’s still important, even in lockdown, to keep fit.  Many antenatal fitness classes are running virtually, so, you do still have access to a variety of workouts.  Or alternatively, with the nice weather, get out for a walk.  Choose a time and a place to avoid lots of people, and go and get some fresh air.  Being outside does wonders for your mental health and wellbeing.

Susan from Susan’s World of Yoga offer online classes. Check out here details here

Do some nesting

Now’s the best time to get organised for the arrival of your baby.  Creating order in your life can reduce anxiety.  So make a list and work on all those things you needed to do. What better time than now? Prepare your new baby’s bedroom. Organise yourself.

Learn Relaxation and Breathing techniques

Not only do they help anxiety, but, they will be useful techniques to use throughout labour.  You can get some fantastic apps, for example, Calm, which includes short meditation sessions.

Look after yourself

Being pregnant during the Coronavirus, especially in lockdown, its so easy to comfort eat and binge on bad food out of boredom or frustration.  However, it’s more important to keep healthy during pregnancy. Check out my article on healthy eating here

Turn off the news

Don’t watch too much news

During this time, we all want to stay informed of the situation, however, hearing too mich about the number of deaths each day, can be a cause for increased anxiety, and pregnant women do not need any additional stress.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists publish up to date information for pregnant women and are a reliable source of information.  However, its worth mentioning that although pregnant women are in the at at-risk category it’s purely precautionary and there’s no evidence they’ll suffer worse symptoms if they get the virus. 

Connect with others

With the lockdown, you can have moments where you feel isolated and lonely. However, use Facetime, Zoom, Skype or other platforms to speak to your friends and family. Just seeing their faces can brighten your mood! Have a good old chat and keep the virus off the topic of conversation!

Alternatively, there are numerous support groups out there for pregnant women. Why not sign up to one of the facebook groups and start chatting with women in the same situation.

Here is a group that has been set up for women expecting during the virus. Sign up here

So, in this difficult time, I hope this has given you some ideas of ways to focus your time during your pregnancy. I would love to hear from anyone who is expecting during this time or has recently had a baby, as, I do believe by chatting and sharing thoughts and advice, we can all help each other out. Please do leave a comment with your thoughts.

Coronavirus lockdown – Helpful information for mums-to-be, including maternity ward advice, support groups and more.

Coronavirus lockdown – Helpful information for mums-to-be, including maternity ward advice, support groups and more.

Life seems very different at the moment with the Coronavirus lockdown. Understandably, many mums-to-be may be feeling anxious about the current situation, especially with the government announcing that pregnant women are in the vulnerable group for the Coronavirus. Hence, I thought I would collate all the information I can find for help and support during this time in Surrey. This information is current as of Friday 27th March, but it may change, so, it is worth checking individual facebook pages for further information.

HOSPITALS – The maternity wards

During the current coronavirus lockdown phase, the local Surrey hospitals have issues the following advice.

Royal Surrey Hospital

Effective immediately:
– No partners are to accompany women to Antenatal Clinic or for Ultrasound Scans. Free pictures will be provided but you will not be able to face time or record the scan

– Please disregard any automated texts you may have received stating your SCANS are telephone only. Please continue to attend for booked ultrasound scans as normal. Obstetric and midwifery clinics where possible will be moved to telephone appointments.

– They have created a ‘drive-thru’ outside St Lukes where essential checks for blood pressure and bloods can be done quickly without bringing you into the hospital if you are otherwise well and have had a telephone appointment.

– All attendees to clinic appointments will be questioned regarding their health & wellbeing on arrival and be asked to have their temperature checked. Raised temperature or refusal to have a temperature check will result in you being asked to return home and reschedule your appointment.

– All attendees to the Maternity Unit are asked to come alone unless in labour or for induction of labour. This includes Planned Assessment appointments, triage and postnatal ward attendance. Partners can accompany you to the door if you need assistance but should then be asked to wait in the car/outside.

– One birth partner only can attend in labour and for induction of labour. They must be well and not displaying any symptoms of cough and/or fever – if they are, they will be asked to leave. This partner cannot swap or go in & out during your labour and will receive a wristband identifying them as your partner.

– No partners will be allowed to stay overnight

– There will continue to be no visiting for siblings and we ask that partners only visit once per day to reduce the amount of people in the Maternity Department.

– They will be implementing a system for rapid discharge home after birth for well mums and baby’s.

Amy Stubbs the Head of Midwifery will do a live update at 5pm tonight, 27th March to answer any further questions and offer reassurance.

Please visit their facebook page for further information

St Peters Hospital & The Abbey Birthing Centre

Anyone worried about symptoms and are experiencing pain, bleeding, or in labour, your waters have broken, you are worried about your babies movements or any other pregnancy / postnatal concern please call their pregnancy advice line on 0300 123 5473.

If you have an outpatient appointment and are symptomatic please contact them to discuss before attending the maternity unit.

Additional information

• You will not be able to bring anyone with you to any of your face to face appointments, scans or check ups
• You can have one birth partner for your labour and immediate postnatal period only. They will be unable to accompany you to Joan Booker ward or stay with you following the birth of your baby on Abbey Birth Centre or Labour Ward.
• There will be no visiting at all on Joan Booker ward including children / siblings

Please visit their facebook page for further information

Frimley Park Hospital

If women attend for a labour or triage assessment, birth partners will need to drop women at the hospital and wait off site. If women are found to be in labour and ready for admission to Labour Ward, birth partners can be called to attend then.

Birth partners are permitted to stay a short time after the birth, to spend some time as a family, and to undertake some skin to skin contact if wanted and appropriate, so please be reassured by this.

Women who come in for an induction of labour to the Antenatal Ward, will be able to call their birth partners in once they are transferred to the Labour Ward.

Birth partners are permitted to attend with women for their elective caesareans. Birth partners will transport women to the hospital for their electives and then will be asked to wait off site. Women will then contact their birth partners to attend prior to the operation. Unfortunately there are no facilities for waiting on site.

Mothers are able to visit their babies in the Neonatal Unit. This has been restricted to only mothers in order to reduce the number of people entering this ward.

If you require additional supplies whilst you are in hospital with us, birth partners can drop these supplies at the door and staff will help you pick these up. When you are ready to be discharged, staff can help you pack your belongings and help transport you, your bags and your baby to be picked up outside the ward.

If women and babies are well and without complications following birth, we will aim to discharge them when clinically safe and appropriate. Please be patient whilst we work hard to do this as safely as we can.

All of our new regulations have been put in place in line with national guidance and to keep you, your babies and NHS staff safe.

The midwives will continue to be there to support and care for you and your baby throughout your stay.

Please visit their facebook page for further information.

Antenatal Groups

Many of the antenatal groups are still running during the Coronavirus lockdown, although by virtual means. Check out the following companies offering online services.

Mummas and Beans Woking – Facebook page here

Online Hypnobirthing & Antenatal Course. by Birth-ed https://birth-ed.co.uk/online-course-2

Support groups for pregnant woman during the Coronavirus

The Luna Hive have set up a support group for all pregnant women during this difficult time, with the current Coronavirus lockdown. Register at the following link

Podcast. The birth-ed podcast opens up conversations about all aspects of pregnancy, birth and parenthood, with the UKs leading women’s health experts- from Midwives to Obstetricians, Doulas to Activists. The birth-ed podcasts sets out to leave you feeling fully informed, confident and positive about what this journey might entail. Register and Listen to the podcast here

Virtual Exercise classes for pregnant women in Surrey

Although, we are currently in Coronavirus lockdown, exercise is certainly still important for mind and body during this time. Why not consider doing a streamed fitness or yoga class.

Virtual antenatal classes with Busy Lizzy can be found here

Pregnancy yoga classes by my little bubble can be found here

Fitness classes by Maternally fit can be found here

Baby or Nursery Equipment

If you still need to buy any items for your nursery, or hospital bag, please take a look at The Baby Service who are still delivering to their customers. There website to order can be found here

What pain relief options are there during labour?

What pain relief options are there during labour?

I have photographed a lot of newborn babies, and during the session, I’m always chatting away to the mum about the birth and how she is doing. Most often or not, we talk about the birth and the experience for her. All births are certainly different, and labour can be painful, so, with such a range of pain relief available during labour, I thought I would run through the options for any pregnant mum, who is in the process of thinking about.

It’s definitely a good idea to have a talk with your midwife or doctor to discuss your options so you can decide what’s best for you.

Write down your wishes in your birth plan, but remember you need to keep an open mind. You may find you want more pain relief than you’d planned, or your doctor or midwife may suggest more effective pain relief to help the delivery.

Gas and air (Entonox) for labour

This is something I used during my second labor. It’s a mixture of oxygen and nitrous oxide gas. Gas and air won’t remove all the pain, but it can help reduce it and make it more bearable. It can also make you feel light-headed & giggly. Many women like it because it’s easy to use and they control it themselves. Around 80% of women use gas and air during labour, so its the most popular choice. It can also be used when labouring in a birthing pool or when having your baby at home.

You breathe in the gas and air through a mask or mouthpiece, which you hold yourself. The gas takes about 15-20 seconds to work, so you breathe it in just as a contraction begins. It works best if you take slow, deep breaths.

Side effects

  • there are no harmful side effects for you or the baby
  • it can make you feel light-headed
  • some women find that it makes them feel sick, sleepy or unable to concentrate – if this happens, you can stop using it
  • It can dry your mouth out

If gas and air doesn’t give you enough pain relief, you can ask for a painkilling injection as well.

Pethidine injections in labour

This is an injection of the drug pethidine into your thigh or buttock to relieve pain. It can also help you to relax. Sometimes, less commonly, a drug called diamorphine is used. It takes about 20 minutes to work after the injection. It blocks the pain receptors to your brain. so tends to be used in the first part of labour, as it can last up to 4 hours.

Side effects

There are some side effects to be aware of:

  • it can make some women feel woozy, sick and forgetful
  • if pethidine or diamorphine are given too close to the time of delivery, they may affect the baby’s breathing – if this happens, another drug to reverse the effect will be given
  • the drugs can interfere with the baby’s first feed

Epidural

An epidural is a special type of local anaesthetic. It numbs the nerves that carry the pain impulses from the birth canal to the brain. It shouldn’t make you sick or drowsy.

Your anaesthetist injects the drugs around the nerves that carry pain signals from your womb (uterus) and cervix to your brain during labour. An epidural numbs your belly and usually gives very effective pain relief.

An epidural and a similar painkilling treatment called a spinal must be given by an anaesthetist. About 30 per cent of women have an epidural or spinal during labour or after the birth. Due to having to be administered by an anaesthetist, it is only available if giving birth at hospital.

A low-dose epidural should allow you to retain some sensation in your legs and feet. You should have enough strength in your legs to move around in bed and change position when you want.

An epidural can provide very good pain relief, but it’s not always 100% effective in labour. The Obstetric Anaesthetists Association estimates that 1 in 8 women who have an epidural during labour need to use other methods of pain relief.

How does an epidural work?

To have an epidural:

  • a drip will run fluid through a needle into a vein in your arm
  • while you lie on your side or sit up in a curled position, an anaesthetist will clean your back with antiseptic, numb a small area with some local anaesthetic, and then introduce a needle into your back
  • a very thin tube will be passed through the needle into your back near the nerves that carry pain impulses from the uterus. Drugs (usually a mixture of local anaesthetic and opioid) are administered through this tube. It takes about 10 minutes to set up the epidural, and another 10-15 minutes for it to work. It doesn’t always work perfectly at first and may need adjusting
  • the epidural can be topped up by your midwife, or you may be able to top up the epidural yourself through a machine
  • your contractions and the baby’s heart rate will need to be continuously monitored. This means having a belt around your abdomen and possibly a clip attached to the baby’s head

Side effects of epidurals in labour

There are some side effects to be aware of:

An epidural may make your legs feel heavy, depending on the local anaesthetic used.

Your blood pressure can drop (hypotension), but this is rare because the fluid given through the drip in your arm helps to maintain good blood pressure.

Epidurals can prolong the second stage of labour. If you can no longer feel your contractions, the midwife will have to tell you when to push. This means that forceps or a ventouse may be needed to help deliver the baby’s head. When you have an epidural, your midwife or doctor will wait longer for the baby’s head to come down (before you start pushing), as long as the baby is showing no signs of distress. This reduces the chance you’ll need an instrumental delivery. Sometimes less anaesthetic is given towards the end, so the effect wears off and you can feel to push the baby out naturally.

You may find it difficult to pee as a result of the epidural. If so, a small tube called a catheter may be put into your bladder to help you.

About 1 in 100 women gets a headache after an epidural. If this happens, it can be treated.

Your back might be a bit sore for a day or two, but epidurals don’t cause long-term backache.

About 1 in 2,000 women feels tingles or pins and needles down one leg after having a baby. This is more likely to be the result of childbirth itself rather than the epidural. You’ll be advised by the doctor or midwife when you can get out of bed.

Using water in labour (water birth)

Being in water can help you relax and make the contractions seem less painful, so water births are becoming more popular. However, you can only choose this option if you have had a low risk pregnancy. The water will be kept at a comfortable temperature, but not above 37.5C, and your temperature will be monitored.

You may not be able to have a water birth if:

TENS machines

This stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. Some hospitals have TENS machines. If not, you can hire your own machine.

TENS has not been shown to be effective during the active phase of labour, when contractions get longer, stronger and more frequent. It’s probably most effective during the early stages, when many women experience lower back pain.

TENS may also be useful while you’re at home in the early stages of labour or if you plan to give birth at home. If you’re interested in TENS, learn how to use it in the later months of your pregnancy. Ask your midwife to show you how it works.

How TENS machines work

Electrodes are taped on to your back and connected by wires to a small battery-powered stimulator. Holding this, you give yourself small, safe amounts of current through the electrodes. You can move around while you use TENS.  

TENS is believed to work by stimulating the body to produce more of its own natural painkillers, called endorphins. It also reduces the number of pain signals sent to the brain by the spinal cord.

Side effects of TENS machines

There are no known side effects for either you or the baby.

Alternative methods of labour pain relief

Some women may choose alternative treatments such as acupuncture, aromatherapy, homeopathy, hypnosis, massage and reflexology. Most of these techniques aren’t proven to provide effective pain relief.

If you’d like to use any of these methods, it’s important to discuss them with your midwife or doctor and let the hospital know beforehand. Most hospitals don’t offer them for pain relief during labour.

So, hopefully, this has given you a good overview of what methods of pain relief are available during labour. Keep in mind that things may change during your labour.

Once your little one has arrived, why not cherish this special time with some newborn photos. You can view details of what a newborn session entails by visiting here

Tianna Williams, a friend who is a newborn baby photographer in Birmingham, has written a great blog post about a recent session, so definitely worth a look.

How will I know I’m in Labour?

How will I know I’m in Labour?

Top Questions asked by pregnant women in the UK.

New research from Start4Life highlights that mothers-to-be are looking for answers by revealing their top 20 questions. One of these is How will I know I’m in Labour? What are the signs of Labour?

Pregnancy Advice: What are the signs of Labour?

I know when I was expecting my first baby, I was slightly apprehensive about going into labour and what it was going to be like. I did go to Antenatal classes, and yes I spent many an evening learning about labour and giving birth, but talking about it and actually experiencing it, are totally different.

I know we are all different, but I have read or heard about women who don’t even know their in labour until they give birth. (Wouldn’t that be great!) So what are the signs to look for.

There are several signs that labour might be starting, including:

  • contractions or tightenings
  • a “show”, when the plug of mucus from your cervix (entrance to your womb, or uterus) comes away
  • a backache
  • an urge to go to the toilet, which is caused by your baby’s head pressing on your bowel
  • your waters breaking (rupture of membranes)

Contractions

When you have a contraction, your womb tightens and then relaxes. For some people, contractions may feel like extreme period pains. 

Sometimes, at the end of your pregnancy, you may have had contractions. These tightenings are called Braxton Hicks contractions and are usually painless.

As labour gets going, your contractions tend to become longer, stronger and more frequent. During a contraction, the muscles tighten and the pain increases. Your abdomen will get harder and then when the muscles relax, the pain fades and you will feel the hardness ease.

The contractions are pushing your baby down and opening the entrance to your womb (the cervix), ready for your baby to go through.

Until your contractions are regular and frequent you will probably be advised to stay at home.

Call your midwife for guidance when your contractions are in a regular pattern and:

  • last at least 60 seconds
  • come every 5 minutes

If you’re planning to have your baby in a maternity ward, phone the hospital.

Backache

Often backache comes on during pregnancy. Or you may have a heavy, aching feeling that some women experience during their period.

Urge to go to the toilet

As your baby moves further down and the head presses on your bowel, you may have the urge to go to the toilet.

A ‘Show’

During pregnancy, there’s a plug of mucus in your cervix. This plug comes away just before labour starts, or when in early labour, and you may pass it out of your vagina. This small amount of sticky, jelly-like pink mucus is called a show.

A show indicates that the cervix is starting to open. Labour may quickly follow or may take a few days. However, some women don’t have a show.

It may come away in one blob or in several pieces. It’s pink in colour because it’s bloodstained. It’s normal to lose a small amount of blood mixed with the mucus. If you are bleeding heavily, it is advised to call your midwife or hospital immediately.

Your water’s breaking

Most women’s waters break during labour, but it can also happen before labour starts. This happened to me. My waters broke a day before my labour started. Luckily, in both my pregnancies, my waters broke whilst sleeping. If this happens to you and your waters break before labour starts, call your midwife. Use a sanitary pad (not a tampon) so your midwife can check the colour of the waters. Most women go into labour within 24 hours of their waters breaking. You’ll be offered an induction if you don’t because, without amniotic fluid, there’s an increased risk of infection for your baby.

Your unborn baby develops and grows inside a bag of fluid called the amniotic sac. When it’s time for your baby to be born, the sac usually breaks and the amniotic fluid drains out through your vagina. This is your waters breaking.

If your waters break naturally, you may feel a slow trickle or a sudden gush of water you can’t control. To prepare for this, you could keep a sanitary towel (but not a tampon) handy if you’re going out, and put a protective sheet on your bed.

Amniotic fluid is clear and a pale straw colour. Sometimes it’s difficult to tell amniotic fluid from urine. When your waters break, the water may be a little bloodstained to begin with.

Tell your midwife immediately if:

  • the waters are smelly or coloured
  • you’re losing blood

In some cases, your waters don’t break naturally in labour, so your midwife or doctor may have to break them for you.

These are the top signs to look for when pregnant to indicate you are going into labour. Although, you maybe nervous, its an exciting time, as it’s not long before you get to meet your little one. Trust me, this is the most amazing experience and feeling in the world.

Once your newborn has arrived and you are back home, why not document the journey of this new life and your new life as a parent with a newborn photography session. This newborn experience is a great way to document the love and journey of your new family and create a legacy of this special moment. For further information, please request here

Check out fellow photographer, Joanne, who is definitely the best studio photographer in Hertford. She has written a great article about the Cake Smashes she offers.