When trying to get pregnant

I was glad that I put myself on a "get fit" program that included lots of yoga. This really helped me to stay flexible throughout my pregnancy so that I could still touch my toes when eight months pregnant and this of course meant I could still put my shoes and socks on myself!

I was also glad that I had decided to do a correspondence course in garden design while I was trying to get pregnant. Although this meant a lot of hard work it also gave me something else to think about rather than getting pregnant.

About 17 weeks pregnant

I wish I'd known that when your ligaments are stretching in your tummy this can actually be quite sharply painful - especially when you are walking. I walked a lot and about this time in my pregnancy I had to stop a lot in my walks, hold my tummy underneath to support it and allow extra time to get anywhere. It passed after a few weeks but it was quite alarming when it happened.

Early labor

I wish someone had mentioned beforehand that in the early stages of labor - before your contractions are regular enough to warrant the trip to hospital - you will find that taking paracetomol (normal dosages apply) and having warm baths really help. Make sure you stock up on paractemol beforehand and investing in something relaxing like lavender bath oil really helps.

Tens machine

I found a tens machine really useful for those hours when having contractions but before going to hospital. I think this is one part of labor that is really ignored - but it can go on for hours! I had 24 hours of irregular mild contractions before I was regular enough to go to hospital. Irregular and mild they might be - but they are still painful! The Tens machine took the edge off the pain. My tip is to buy some microporous tape for dressings as if you are taking baths; regular Tens pads can lose their stickiness. They can sometimes slip as well. A bit of tape helps to hold them in place.

Things to take to hospital

I wish I'd known how many maternity towels, etc. to take to hospital - having taken 1 packet which wasn't enough - I would recommend two. Also although the guides say take baby an outfit to come out of the hospital in - they make no mention of what baby is supposed to wear in hospital. I took my baby three changes of outfits and 7 vests (because they had days of the week on them!) and thought myself very extravagant - as baby Sam was on his third outfit before he left and about his fourth vest!

Snacks and drinks - take stuff that is high energy like Lucozade and Alpen snack bars.

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