Pregnancy: Getting the best support possible

Image @ Pinterest

Pregnancy can be an uncertain time. Like me, this might be your first time experience, you might not have been around other pregnant people before and feel a little bit overwhelmed with everything going on leading up to your birth. There are a lot of hospital appointments to attend with various scans, blood tests, and never ending urine samples. All of the glamourous situations! There are also a lot of things to consider along the way such as planning your birth and getting everything organised before your little bundle arrives.

Today’s blog post is a review about ‘Bump to Beyond your birthwhich is an amazing antenatal and postnatal support service for mums to be, and I’m really excited to share this with you all!

Image @pinterest

My pregnancy support journey

During the last 9 months, I was not prepared for the lack of information or support that we were given along the way. Covid is possibly one of the main reasons for this but as this is my first pregnancy I don’t really have anything else to compare it to. I thought that I would have been assigned a dedicated midwife that I would meet with regularly who would be on hand to go over everything we might need to know but this really wasn’t the case at all. 

As someone who has barely even held a baby before, never mind fed, changed, bathed or given birth to one, I had a lot of questions buzzing around my head. So we joined an online NCT group which unfortunately we really didn’t enjoy very much and didn’t get on with at all. I found it to be quite a judgmental space and more geared towards women that only wanted to breastfeed which can be a very touchy subject. The group was made up of around 6 other couples and I found it a little intimidating to ask questions in this sort of group setting with others that were not open to other people’s preferences. So we didn’t really get what we actually needed from this type of course.

Discovering a new kind of support Network

This got me wondering what other options there were out there for us and then I thankfully discovered Bridie from ‘Bump to Beyond your Birth’. She has a wealth of experience, having been a midwife for over 10 years and is also a mum herself to 2 children. Bridie offers birth preparation courses on a one-to-one basis which takes place over a Zoom call. So you can sit in the comfort of your own home with a nice cup of tea and talk with her openly in total confidence. You can arrange to have a birth preparation course (Antenatal) which will cover the whole labour process and she also has a baby preparation course which will help you with making sure you are all ready and informed in time for bringing your new baby home with you.

Feeling informed and prepared

I was personally really interested in finding out more about the whole Caesarean process as well as bottle feeding. As the courses are on a one-to-one basis it’s so much easier to tailor these to your specific questions and needs rather than being in a group setting. We scheduled in a Zoom call together and from the outset I felt relaxed and comfortable as we went over the following:

Signs of Labour we discussed the signs to look out for that will mean you have gone into labour. This will be slightly different for me as I have a planned caesarean booked. However her Antenatal course will cover this topic for you as well as what the stages of a natural labour are, of the different pain relief options that you will have available, your partners role in the whole experience and what to expect after the first 24 hours of birth.

The caesarean operation process – we went over the whole procedure for me, covering everyone that will be in the room during the operation and what each person’s job is. This was a great comfort to me as I wouldn’t have thought to have asked about this and would have been wondering who everyone was in the room which could be a little scary. We then covered what happens during the actual procedure, through to the recovery process afterwards. This was so informative and has really put my mind at rest about the whole thing.

Preparing to go into hospital from what to pack in my hospital bag (I will write a separate blog post on what I have packed in my bag) and what to plan for when I come home and go into the recovery process.

Bottle Feeding As I plan to bottle feed, we discussed about doing this whilst being in the hospital, following onto when we are back home. 

How to book a course

I was so impressed with the professionalism and information that I received from our Zoom call. I felt that I was able to ask as many questions as I needed – there was no such thing as a silly question and there was zero judgment whatsoever. I really recommend booking a course with ‘Bump to Beyond your Birth’ as it’s the perfect way to go over everything you need and to feel prepared and empowered in time for your birth. 

There are a few courses that you can choose from which I will list below, but just to let you know that you can have a 15 minute Zoom call free of charge with Bridie to meet each other and for her to explain in more detail what your course will cover ready for your scheduled call which is great.

  • Booking an Antenatal course with ‘Bump to Beyond your Birth’ is recommended from around 28 weeks of pregnancy. The 4 hour course can be split into 2 sessions and is priced at £170. As mentioned above, this course will go over in detail what the stages of a natural labour are, the different pain relief options that you will have available, your partners role in the whole experience and what to expect after the first 24 hours of birth.
  • Booking a practical preparation for baby course is also recommended from around 28 weeks of pregnancy and is an excellent follow on from the above courses. This is a 3 hour session priced at £135 and will cover everything you could possibly need from how to hold your baby, nappy changing, taking the baby out, dressing, bathing, feeding and all other general care. An essential for anyone feeling nervous like I was, having little experience with babies before.
  • Booking a preparing for your labour, birth and baby course is recommended from 32 weeks pregnancy onwards. It’s a 2 hour session priced at £90 which will cover your choices for birth, putting together a birth plan for you, packing your hospital bag and preparing your home for the new baby.

You can email the following address to arrange a course booking or to ask any questions:  info@bumptobeyondyourbirth.co.uk

I know you will enjoy these courses as much as I have and so I am really happy to blog about my experience with this. I would love to hear how you get on too and what course you decide to go for!

Also, if you missed my recent pregnancy blog posts I will leave the link to them HERE. and HERE

My top 4 websites for affordable and fashionable maternity wear

Legoe Heritage maternitywear

Finding fashionable maternity wear and dressing your growing bump during pregnancy can be a challenge, especially when you hit the third trimester. I have 2 weeks left to go of my pregnancy and have reached the stage now where it’s literally a struggle to fit into anything easily!

Throughout my pregnancy I’ve tried and tested clothes from a variety of different brands and websites. No one wants to wear something that makes you feel like you are wearing a sack and for me, still keeping fashionable but comfortable were important factors for my maternity wardrobe. So, for today’s blog post, I have narrowed it down to my top 4 places where to buy maternity clothing to help anyone currently pregnant with shopping and styling their changing body shapes. 

Asos

ASOS is a great place for being able to look through a wide selection of different brands and their maternity collection definitely doesn’t disappoint. If you have a special occasion like a wedding to attend to, then ASOS is a great place to find dressier pieces catered for baby bumps. Although there do not seem to be many fun events happening at the moment thanks to Covid… But if you have a small baby shower or home gathering and want to wear a pretty outfit then this is the best place to look. Their own brand ASOS design has some really beautiful dresses which are definitely worth checking out.

You will also find a decent selection of basics on ASOS such as maternity leggings, vests, plain t-shirts etc.

You can shop the ASOS maternity range HERE

Boohoo

For me personally, I didn’t plan on investing a lot of money into maternity clothing but I still wanted to wear fashion forward pieces. Boohoo has been a perfect place for this and they have a really fun and affordable selection of fashionable maternity wear. My pregnancy has mainly been over the hot Summer season and so I picked up outfits such as biker short/t-shirt co-ords, pretty dresses, a cute polka dot pinafore dress, smock dresses, and some loungewear bits. Now we are moving into the Autumn/Winter season, they have started to introduce more shirts, jumpers and coats into their range which is great.

You can shop the Boohoo maternity range HERE

Legoe Heritage

Legoe Heritage is an Australian premium maternity wear brand. Their range is made up of contemporary, effortless and simple styles, in quality fabrics. They very kindly reached out to me back in the Summer and sent me a selection of pieces to try out and I was really impressed. I particularly love their ‘Falling for You’ striped top which I have worn over and over again as the fabric is just so soft and comfortable. The design of this top can also be used for breastfeeding which is an extra feature of this item. Every time I have worn their pieces I have always felt smart but relaxed which is just what you want during pregnancy!

You can shop the full Legoe Heritage range HERE. and you can use my discount code HANNAHxLEGOE for 10% off.

Here are a couple of pieces from the brand that I have also loved wearing:

Legoe Heritage maternitywear

Legoe Heritage maternitywear

Missguided

Similar to Boohoo, Missguided has been another affordable fashion go-to that I have been wearing maternity pieces from. I really like their jersey basics, loungewear sets and oversized sweatshirts for those days when you just want to chill out at home and lets face it, 2020 has definitely been the year of staying at home! The clothing quality of these fast fashion e-tailers is not always the best but I only planned to wear these items during pregnancy to manage my growing baby bump, so I was able to compromise on the quality more than I usually would.

You can shop from the Missguided maternity range HERE

For more pregnancy style tips, check out my previous blog post HERE where I share some of the favourite styles I have been wearing.

Gorgeous gift ideas for baby showers and new mums to be.

Baby Shower

There are a lot of baby showers happening at the moment and if you are looking for that perfect gift idea, then hopefully today’s blog post will help you with what to buy! Usually at baby showers, people tend to gift items for the baby, but I think it’s also a nice idea to think about the mum to be and get a little something for her instead. As a baby shower guest, you might not know what the parents to be have already bought or you might not know exactly the sort of things they plan to use for their baby so a little treat for the mamma growing the new little person is a lovely alternative.

Here are some of my top gift ideas for baby showers and for new mums to be:

The personalised touch

I always think that you can never go wrong with a gift that has a personalised touch. It’s often something the receiver will cherish and will keep forever – especially if it relates to a new baby. My favourite places to find personalised gifts are at Notonthehighstreet.com and EtsyUK What I also love about these sites is that it’s a great way to support small and UK based businesses, which is extremely important especially at the moment. Personalised gifts for new babies could include a blanket or an outfit with their name on, a handmade toybox, a personalised hamper or a framed print for example.

A little sweet treat

For the most fabulous, boujee biscuits you have ever seen, you need to head over to Baked by Steph  Steph is the queen of iced biscuits and I am such a huge fan of her brand and business. They make the most gorgeous sweet treats which are just perfect for gifting – not just for baby showers, but for all kinds of occasions. I was very kindly sent some from the team recently and they arrived beautifully packaged and I have to say, opening them up really made my day. So I know that any new mum to be would absolutely LOVE these as a baby shower gift. 

I have a 10% discount code to share with you if you would like to purchase anything from Baked by Steph which is HANNAHLU10

BAKED BY STEPH BABY SHOWER BISCUITS

BAKED BY STEPH BABY SHOWER BISCUITS

BAKED BY STEPH BABY SHOWER BISCUITS

Vouchers

Now, some people might think this is a bit of a safe or boring option, but I personally love receiving a gift voucher. It means you can go and choose something that is exactly to your own taste and style. As a baby shower guest, you might have a slightly different idea of what is cute for a newborn than the mum to be, so vouchers are a perfect gift option. All of the high street retailers offer vouchers now. Some of my top picks for baby shower voucher options are from here:

You could even get a voucher for the new mum to be to have a lovely pregnancy massage, or an afternoon tea experience, before the baby is born while she still has the chance to go out!

Pampering essentials

Pregnancy is such a massive change for the body and it can be a really tough time for women. So a lovely gift idea for a new mum or pregnant friend would be items that they can use for a little pampering session. When their baby arrives they might not have as much time for themselves so why not put together a little hamper of bubble baths, face masks or their favourite beauty products so they can spend some time relaxing and feeling great about themselves. 

I recently discovered The Natural Birthing Company and I’m so impressed with their product range for during pregnancy and after birth. The brand was developed by midwives who know exactly the sort of things we are going to need. I’ve been using their ‘nourish and relieve’ stretch mark oil which is really nice and their ‘Midwive in a box’ set would be the perfect gift for someone you know who’s expecting a baby at the moment.

Inside the kit are the following essentials:
* A cooling body spritz
* Perineal massage oil to help reduce tearing
* A soothing Postnatal compress solution
* Organic flannels
* 3 Breastfeeding oils

Natural Birthing Co

Natural Birthing Co

A little bit of luxury

If budget is not an option, there are some fabulous places to pick up luxury items for new babies. A lot of the designer brands now have gifts that are perfect for baby showers from Gucci, Baby Dior, Hermes and Tiffany & Co to name a few. Here are some of my favourite designer items for really special newborn gift ideas:

Tiffany & Co

Tiffany Baby items

Gucci

Gucci Baby items

Hermes

Hermes Baby items

Baby Dior

I hope you enjoyed some of my picks in today’s blog post. I have some more pregnancy fashion related posts coming up so be sure to subscribe so you receive notifications whenever new posts go live. 

If you would like to read about my pregnancy journey so far you might like this post HERE

Disclaimer- this blog post contains gifted items, however all thoughts and opinions are my own and unbiased.

Pregnancy Fashion – how to style a growing bump

 

It’s week 27 of my pregnancy and I have really been enjoying styling my growing baby bump. Up until around week 20 there wasn’t much of a bump there and I was dressing as I usually would, but now it seems to be getting bigger by the day and I’m looking at how to dress in my usual style but just including this little extra addition!

Bumps out and proud!

Gone are the days where people hide their baby bumps and women today are much more confident to dress with their bump being on show and I am personally here for this! We are seeing more and more fashion retailers starting to incorporate maternity wear into their product categories too which is great. We have a much wider choice available out there and we can still be wearing fashionable pieces throughout our pregnancies these days.

As my bump has been getting bigger, and trousers have become tighter, I have really not liked the feeling of waist bands against my stomach. This is a personal choice as I know some women like to wear trousers over their bumps but for me, I really don’t like the feeling of it at all. So how have I been getting around this? Well luckily we have had some warmer weather lately and I have been loving wearing dresses and all in one jumpsuits which are so much more comfortable.

2nd trimester styling

Here are some of my favourite outfits that I have been wearing during my 2nd trimester.

If you would like to read about my pregnancy journey so far I will link my previous blog post HERE and keep posted for my next blog post which will be my top maternity picks from the likes of Asos, Booohoo and more!

All in one – unitard

Strictly speaking this is not a maternity wear item as this is an existing piece in my wardrobe but it has been perfect to wear during my 2nd trimester! It has a lovely stretch to it and is seamless so there are no annoying waist bands getting in the way. I’ve been wearing this with a little cardigan as pictured here, with an open denim shirt over the top, with a tied shirt over the top of the bump and also with denim jackets.

You can pick up a similar unitard style from Boohoo HERE.

Pregnancy fashion

Cardigan – NastyGal & Trainers Pink Nike Air Force One

Pregnancy fashion

Jacket ASOS & Trainers Adidas Originals

Pregnancy fashion

White Shirt Boohoo & Sliders Primark

Broderie Anglais 

I wrote a blog post last Summer HERE about Broderie Anglais and it’s just as popular this year! I love this material and it’s really easy to style. You can pair a Broderie Anglais dress with cute summer straw bags and sandals, or you can even toughen up the look by adding a leather jacket with biker boots.

Pregnancy fashion

Dress from Asos

Drop hem dresses

A dropped hem dress is perfect for a growing baby bump as they have a bit more give to them. They are not clingy and are lovely in cool, loose, cotton like materials for hot weather. Recently we have had temperatures high into 30 degrees and this style of dress has been a saviour for me!

Pregnancy fashion

Dress from Boohoo

Pregnancy fashion

Dress from DLSB

Pregnancy fashion

Dress from Boohoo

Smocks

Smock style dresses are not just for pregnancy. I really love a smock style dress personally as think they are really flattering and easy to wear. They often come in a variety of designs too from polka dots, sailor stripes, leopard prints and more so there is always a great selection available.  Asos, Boohoo, Missguided – all of the usual online retailers are my go to places for these every year. Zara and H&M also usually do a good selection of these on the high street. 

Here are some of my favourite smock dresses that I have been wearing during my 2nd trimester.

Pregnancy fashion

Dress from Boohoo

Pregnancy fashion

Dress from NastyGal & Topshop sandals

Pregnancy fashion

Dress from Boohoo

Pretty floral dresses

It’s the perfect time of year for wearing pretty floral print pieces and I like to style these with Summer sandals or slides, finished with cute hair accessories to tie the look together. I love dresses with ruffles at the best of times but they are also great for those days when you don’t want your bump out on show quite as much.

Pregnancy fashion

Dress from NastyGal & Topshop sandals

Pregnancy fashion

Dress from Pink Blush Maternity

Pregnancy fashion

Dress from Wednesday’s Girl & Jimmy Choo Heels

Long length dresses

Again, a longer length dress is perfect for keeping cool in the Summer, but I also love a more body con, tighter style which I plan to wear in the transitional period when we start to move into Autumn, with boots and a blazer or leather jacket over the top.

Pregnancy fashion

Dress from Boohoo

Pregnancy fashion

Dress from DLSB

Pregnancy fashion

Dress from Pink Blush Maternity

So that’s my round up of the sort of styles that I have been wearing the last few months during the 2nd trimester as my bump has been getting bigger.

What is your favourite look from this selection?

A little pregnancy life update!

I’ve been a little quiet on here recently but this is all because I have a little pregnancy life update to share with you all! I am 22 weeks pregnant and expecting my first baby. It has been a little secret for a while now but if you follow me over on Instagram (@hannahluloves if you want to find me over there) you will already know the news.

I’m looking forward to working on some pregnancy related content, from beauty products that I have been using, how I have been styling my growing bump, baby shower ideas, nursery decorating and more, so keep posted for all of my upcoming blog posts. Here’s a little bit about how the journey has been so far….

A lovely little surprise

We found out that I was pregnant back in February, just as the Covid pandemic was really starting to heat up. I was still going into work until around the 2nd week of March when we decided to start working at home. Well, this couldn’t have come at a better possible time for me! It meant I didn’t have to do a 3 hour commute back and forth into London each day and meant I could relax at home which was really handy, especially during the first few months..

Pregnancy First Trimester

If you don’t know (and I definitely didn’t!), pregnancy is split into 3 chapters or what they call trimesters, which are 3 months each. The first trimester can be one of the toughest to deal with as your body is going through a load of hormonal changes as well as it being the time when you grow a completely new organ from scratch – the placenta – which is vital for looking after your developing baby.

During the first trimester a lot of women have morning sickness and can feel really unwell. I luckily had it pretty easy with no sickness at all. I would feel really tired around 4pm each day, but being at home meant I was able to take it easy. It was kind of like a drained tiredness sort of feeling, like when you don’t feel 100% well or when you are a bit hungover. Women also get food cravings during this time but I didn’t seem to have any. No strange urges to eat the sofa or any lumps of coal for me! The only other thing that I experienced during this time was that I felt freezing cold all of the time. I had layers and layers of clothing with hot water bottle to help warm me up but this stage didn’t last too long.

Scans and checks

Around the 12 week point we went for our first scan. This is what they call a dating scan where they estimate your babies due date and our baby is due to arrive around 1st November. Due to the whole Covid nightmare it meant that anyone pregnant had to go into scans alone, without their partner which was really disappointing. It was quite strange seeing that there was a teeny little person inside me for that first scan and I know my boyfriend would have loved to have been part of that.

Around the 20 week point, we went for our 2nd scan which is where they do all of the checks to see that everything is growing and developing properly. They can also tell you the gender at this point. We were convinced the whole time that it would be a boy and the sonographer was able to confirm this in the 2nd scan – we guessed correctly! He was being a little bit naughty that day though and was in awkward positions, covering his face so it made it tricky for her to do the checks she needed so I had to go for a 15 minute walk to move him about a bit! We played some music to my belly as we walked around outside and it seemed to do the job.

We decided to go for a private scan after this so that my boyfriend could come into the room and be able to see the baby moving around for himself. Its a shame that hospitals are not allowing partners into the scans even if they wear a mask or protection – especially for first time pregnancies. The private scan was a much nicer experience than the hospital and we were both able to hear the heart beat together which was lovely as well as being able to see his little face in 3D which they don’t offer at the hospital.

Pregnancy Second Trimester

I’m now into my 2nd trimester which is when you are meant to get a “pregnancy glow” and when the sickness from the 1st trimester has passed. I’m not sure that I have a glow but my nails have grown really long and strong which has been handy as all nail salons have been closed during lockdown so I haven’t been able to get any nail extensions done since around February! I didn’t have much of a bump until around week 20 when it really started to pop out of nowhere and quickly! I had to take out my belly button piercing which I have had since I was about 15 as my stomach started to stretch and it couldn’t stay in there any longer.

The other thing which has been exciting is I have started to feel him moving around in my belly the last 2 weeks or so. I wasn’t sure what to expect and it was difficult to tell if it was the baby moving or something else but I can definitely tell now and it’s a funny little wriggly sensation that will soon get stronger as he continues to grow.

So this is everything that has been going on with me and now the news is out I hope you enjoy the rest of the journey!

How were your 1st and 2nd trimesters? 

Did you have any funny cravings?

Leave me a comment below!

If you enjoyed this lifestyle related post you might also like this HERE

Follow on Instagram