When I was younger I had absolutely no idea about the ins and outs of pregnancy and having a baby. I remember without a care in the world, walking past the maternity shops snickering at the roundness and beige-ness of it all. Maternity wear signalled maturity wear and the end of style and colour and a land I could not see myself ever visiting.
Fast forward about 8 years, 10 kilos heavier, basketball size growth under my top….I had arrived at maternity wear world. Funnily enough everything you loathe about maternity wear when you aren’t pregnant is everything you adore when you are pregnant, especially maternity bras! You crave comfort, ease and plain colours because all your time and energy is now given to this beautiful and very demanding little person!
My breasts had grown into large beings all on their own and they were tender to touch. Being an already larger breasted gal I knew that I needed to find the perfect maternity bra for before and after the baby was born. I can say hand on heart right now that the New Beginnings Maternity Bra range were the best I tried and here is why:
SUPPORT: As there is no underwire in maternity bras I needed a bra that still provided lift for my breasts (the type I could wear outside the house).
EASY TO USE: New Beginnings bras have a very easy to use clip that latches to the top strap of the bra. When your baby is screaming for a feed it’s a no brainer to clip off and on.
STYLE: I still managed to feel feminine in these bras even though I was feeling very much like a dairy cow.
GREAT PRICE: We all know that having babies is expensive so your bras have to be a price that is reasonable and appropriate.
NO HASSLES: New Beginnings has some great online deals happening all the time and they are so easy to deal with when it comes to customer support and returns.
A selection of great maternity bras is an investment not only in the practical side of motherhood but an investment in your peace of mind. A comfortable, stylish and reliable maternity bra means you don’t have to worry about anything else but navigating motherhood and bonding with your beautiful new baby.
Life is such a freeing experience until a young girl hits puberty and is confronted with her first bra. Some girls cannot wait to join the club of young women and wear those new supports with such pride; I was not one of those girls. Being somewhat of a tomboy I found it very confronting to make that leap into womanhood, all because my body clock said so. But as time passed I embraced my new found feminine side, I became friends with my breasts and then realised how fun bras can be with expressing who you are and becoming a confident woman.
As soon as you fall pregnant you are once again confronted by a change in your breasts as they start to transform and prepare themselves for being your baby’s lifeline. Some women love the way their breasts enlarge and find themselves quickly queuing up at the shops with arms full of larger bras. The sudden influx in cup size can become every girls dream but as quickly as that joy comes, so too does the discomfort. As your pregnancy continues, the annoying underwire in traditional bras can be very constricting and is not recommended for the later stages of pregnancy as it constricts your milk ducts. So then it’s back to the shops again or we scan online for maternity bras; perhaps the first practical purchase for mums to be.
Looks V’s Personality
We then have challenges of weighing up practicality over aesthetics. I found the experience to be easy and quick as there is a large array of equally pretty and purposeful maternity bras. Being a woman with larger breasts there were definitely a few keys things on my list when it came to purchasing:
I remember sitting with my partner and trying on about 5 different types and styles of maternity bras and some were hideous enough that I made my partner turn the other way. Some offered no support for my larger cup size, some made my breasts bulge out in all the wrong places. Some were more like sports bras with a few layers of material sown together, some pushed me out in all the wrong ways with uncomfortable designs and some had very silly designs and colours.
It’s important to find a company or a brand that is making maternity bras who know women. Brands that have done their research including talking to real women about how they feel when they are in the bra itself. A great maternity bra can be such a boost, not just in breast support but in the confidence felt whilst the wearing it. I settled on 2x sport style bras whilst being pregnant which offered the most support for me as I continued to work and exercise. I then purchased 2x bras styles (one black and tan) and 2x sports bra style maternity bras to wear after the baby was born. I found in finding the right style and fit made me more inclined to stay with a brand and a style that suited me. I still know of women that continue to wear their maternity bras (like a good pair of maternity jeans) long after they have stopped breastfeeding because they are so comfortable and convenient. It is so important to invest in the breast and feel confident and supported as new mums enter into a world of breastfeeding with their maternity bras.
I never really considered myself to be much of a feminist until I started breastfeeding. Then it became apparent that there are a lot of people who dislike public breastfeeding and are quite vocal about it. The simple act of breastfeeding your child outside has become a real opinion poll and you’d be surprised at the looks or rather the glares you get of distaste and disdain when you try to do what seems very natural, to breastfeed your child.
You realise soon enough after giving birth that the ownership of your breasts rest solely with your newborn. You have no idea when that permit will expire and much to the frustration of your partner, you both agreed to sign those rights over 9 months ago. Now I’m all for privacy and being subtle when it comes to sharing flesh in public but honestly when a baby needs to feed, should I feel persecuted for it? Motherhood is already a very isolating experience and now it seems as though we have the unimpressed eyes of those who want us to be shunned to a corner, our car’s or back to our houses.
I’ve Been There:
I remember having lunch at a nice café in quite an affluent area and my newborn on arrival decided that he wanted to make himself heard and cry without pause for the entire get together. He didn’t want to be passed around, he didn’t want to sit quietly and play with his toys and he certainly didn’t intend for me to enjoy my lunch with friends. There was an older couple, retirement age sitting next to us and I could feel the looks of annoyance burning a hole in the back of my skull. They made subtle glances at me and I could hear hushed comments being made, all while I tried to remain calm. I could have easy whipped out the milk soothers then and there but I felt so self-conscious and flustered from it all that I ended up walking out and feeding my son in the car down the road.
Share The Love:
As far as I’m concerned, breastfeeding is like all those other human reflexes-blowing your nose, or burping or farting…it needs to be done and there are subtle ways to go about it! I don’t advocate a field of breasts out in the sunshine when I head to a café for my Sunday coffee but I do understand the importance of a new mum getting out and about. There is no need to stand up and declare that you are about to unhinge your maternity bra and feed your ravenous child, just a subtle sling of the shawl over your shoulder and continue like it’s nothing at all.
What about giving those mothers a smile, a virtual pat on the back for leaving the house today? How about a high five for being outside and risking a toddler tantrum, or a newborn blowout, or a poo explosion in a public place? What about a ‘good on you’ for doing the toughest of jobs with very little recognition whilst trying to find some normalcy in this new world? Mums need support and I support mums who support their kids with breastfeeding so look away haters and free the nipple I say.
Author: Elise Bradfield @elise_bradfield
While good nutrition is important at any time, during pregnancy it becomes particularly so. While you require extra nutrients for yourself and your growing baby during this time, you don’t actually need to eat a great deal more in the way of kilojoules. The important thing during pregnancy is to eat food that is very nutrient-dense.
What is nutrient-dense food?
Nutrient-dense food contains a high proportion of nutrients in relation to its energy (kilojoule) count. You could say that nutrient-dense food is the opposite of empty-calorie food, such as confectionary and some other snack-type foods.
What are the general daily guidelines for eating?
- Eat most of – nutrient-dense foods such as wholegrain breads and cereals, vegetables, legumes and fruits.
- Eat moderately – calcium foods such as dairy or substitutes, and protein foods such as cooked meat, poultry, fish (low mercury), or eggs. Nuts and seeds are also good, and seaweed products for iodine.
- Smallest amounts of – foods high in sugar, fat and salt.
- Don’t forget to keep well hydrated at all times as well.
What extra nutrients are required in pregnancy?
- A folate (folic acid) dietary intake of 600mcg per day is especially important to prevent certain birth defects. The best sources are fortified breads and cereals, green vegetables, legumes, oranges, vegemite, strawberries, salmon and nuts. Authorities also recommend a supplement during pregnancy of 400mcg per day for the first month before pregnancy and throughout the first trimester.
- Iron needs increase in pregnancy to 27mg per day. Best sources are lean meats and fish, fortified cereals and breads, eggs, legumes and green vegetables. Animal sources such as meat and eggs are absorbed more efficiently than vegetable ones. Vitamin C helps with the absorption of iron, so a glass of orange juice with your morning eggs can be a good combination.
- Iodine becomes particularly important in pregnancy. Iodine is found in seafood, seaweed products, meat, eggs, dairy and iodised table salt.
Do I need supplements?
It’s important to speak to your doctor about your nutrition during pregnancy, including what supplements you should take.
Is there anything to avoid?
Definitely, especially since immunity is usually lower during pregnancy.
- Raw eggs, raw legumes or alfalfa sprouts, undercooked meats – these present a salmonella and toxoplasmosis risk.
- Soft cheeses, soft-serve ice cream, pate, raw fish, and cold deli meats – these present a risk of listeria.
- Excess seafood – high mercury risk. Salmon or tuna two to three times per week is fine, but caution should be used with billfish, deep-sea perch and catfish.
- Excess caffeine – this may reduce iron absorption.
- Too much vitamin A – which is toxic at high doses.
- Alcohol – ideally this should be avoided altogether.
In addition, it’s important to be particularly scrupulous about hygiene during this time. This includes washing hands, always washing fruits and vegetables, cooking foods thoroughly, and minimising contacts with household cats as they carry the parasite toxoplasmosis – harmful for your developing baby.
You may also find your tastes changing during pregnancy, which is quite common. There is no need for alarm, but if you do feel that this might be compromising your nutrition, consult your health care practitioner and/or a professional dietician.
Benefits of Relaxation for Pregnant Mums
We all know how good it feels to relax, and this can be especially important during pregnancy. Pregnancy can be a time fraught with anxious thoughts and stress for some women, particularly first-time mums. In this post we look at the importance of relaxation during pregnancy, and provide some tips on how to go about it.
During pregnancy you may find yourself having anxious thoughts about the future. You may be wondering whether you will make a good parent, how you will cope with the labour and with a new baby, and whether you can manage on a reduced income.
While these can be very real issues, worrying about them doesn’t change them and nor does it do anything for your happiness. So you may as well relax a little. In addition, it’s hard to solve problems when you are wound up, and relaxation techniques and methods can very often lead to an increase in creative thinking and problem solving.
Benefits of relaxation
Relaxation has benefits for both mother and baby. Relaxation is good for reducing your blood pressure, enhancing your wellbeing and enjoyment of life, reducing pain and worry, and improving overall health. As for the baby, they are more likely to be relaxed if mum is!
Some relaxation methods and tools
- Meditation helps reduce mood swings, improve sleep, reduce anxiety, and even improve digestion and boost immunity. Types include passive practices such as mindfulness and mantra meditation, or active / dynamic practices like QiGong or Tai Chi. Consider joining a local class or making use of some of the free or low-cost online programs.
- Regular exercise. Exercise is known to improve wellbeing and reduce stress. Safe options during pregnancy include Hatha yoga, walking, swimming and other water exercises, bike riding, and Pilates.
- EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) Tapping. This is a practical tool which involves thinking or talking about troubling issues while tapping on certain points on your body. Many people find EFT a wonderful method for reducing stress and anxiety and also for altering their perception of problems and issues.
- Plenty of rest! At this time, you really need to listen to your body and rest when you need to. And don’t fall into the guilt trap – if people around you want you to put your feet up and wait on you sometimes, lap it up and enjoy!
- Lots of laughter. Laughter helps reduce stress so make time to watch your favourite comedies and to hang out with happy people at least some of the time!
- A ‘babymoon’. Go on a pre-birth babymoon with your partner or a friend, or even on your own if you are so inclined.
Other ideas for relaxation include massage, aromatherapy, and beauty treatments for a self-esteem boost. Good nutrition can also help you to cope with the stresses in your life – so as well as employing some of the above techniques, make the effort eat really well and to always keep yourself well hydrated.
Essential oils can provide a great pick-me-up during pregnancy,
howeveryou do need to be careful about the oils you choose, and their application. Here are some tips to safely enjoy aromatherapy throughout your pregnancy.
The benefits of essential oils
hasbeen used for thousands of years. For many expectant mothers, it’s a natural and effective way to enhance mood, encourage relaxation, or even increase energy and vitality. It can also help you to better deal with the effects of pregnancy discomforts like nausea, or aching feet.
The thing to keep in mind is that these powerful plant extracts can have a considerable impact on the body. There are hundreds of different oils to choose from, each with their own benefits and potency, and there are some that are better to use during pregnancy than others, so it’s important to select your oil carefully and clear it with your practitioner. Used correctly, the right oil can assist in providing relief for many of those pregnancy aches and pains. And the best part? It’s all natural!
How to use oils during pregnancy
If you’re just thinking of adding a couple of drops of oil to the bath, a foot soak, or a
vaporiser, this use of essential oils is considered to be very safe, plus it’s a terrific way to unwind and relax. The US National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) states that inhalation presents a very low risk since the concentration of oil is minimal.
However, when it comes to applying essential oils directly to your skin, the jury’s still out. With no conclusive research, experts remain unclear on the effect of some oils during pregnancy.
The main concern is whether oil constituents might cross over into the placenta, particularly during that all-important first trimester, and what effect that might have on the developing baby. So talk to your doctor or midwife before using any type of essential oil directly on your skin, and if you get the go-ahead, always start with just a drop at a time in a base oil.
Oils that are generally safe to use
According to the NAHA, the following essential oils are considered to be safe for use during pregnancy:
- German and Roman chamomile
Oils to avoid
The NAHA recommends avoiding the following oils throughout pregnancy, labour and while
breastfeeding: Aniseed Basil Birch Camphor Hyssop Mugwort
Parsleyseed or leaf
Experts also recommend avoiding nutmeg, rosemary, jasmine and clary sage, juniper berry, laurel, angelica, thyme, cumin, aniseed, citronella and cinnamon leaf.
A word of caution
Make sure you consult your doctor or midwife before trying essential oils. Aromatherapy can be a wonderful way to relieve some of the discomforts of pregnancy, however it is suggested that those with the following conditions steer clear of essential oils
Vaginalbleeding or any complications during pregnancy
- History of miscarriage
- Heart problems
- Blood clotting problems
Top tips for using essential oils
If you’d like to give aromatherapy
a goduring your pregnancy, here are a few tips:
- Wait until the second trimester.
- Use only
- Dilute your oils. If applying to your skin or using in the bath, just use one drop at a time and mix it with a base oil such as grapeseed or sweet almond oil.
- Try not to leave a
vaporiseron for too long. 10-15 minutes will give you all the benefits, without becoming overpowering.
- Choose your essential oils with care and avoid using anything you haven’t tried before.
- Don’t use oils internally, and be sure to keep them away from your eyes.
- Use oils conservatively. It’s best to keep them as a special treat to use now and then as opposed to a daily indulgence.
For tips and information on a range of pregnancy issues, have a browse through our library of blog articles.
bellybelly.com.au - Essential Oils In Pregnancy – Which Essential Oils Are Safe To Use?
Babycentre - Is it safe to use essential oils while I'm pregnant?
National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy - Exploring Aromatherapy - Safety Information