So, You’re Pregnant. Now What?
In her first column for MyDomaine Australia, marketing director Kelly Barriball shares with us her insights into pregnancy and becoming a new mum. Originally hailing from a small town in New Zealand, Barriball has now lived beachside in Bondi for four years. With dreams of being a writer when she grew up, Kelly’s career path took a sideward step and has seen her spend the past decade working in strategic PR and marketing, digital and strategic communications. Currently the Marketing Director at Stylerunner (currently on maternity leave), this sea and sunshine aficionado is also a new mum to Sunny Marlow. She still wants to be a writer when she grows up.
In the midst of planning our impending nuptials, my fiancé and I decided that post wedding we were ready to try for a baby. You can imagine our surprise (and sheer delight of course) when I took a pregnancy test “just in case” and found that our baby had other ideas and I was already five weeks pregnant.
After you both realise you’re actually going to be first time parents, the only logical question is “now what?” This is where Google comes in very handy, but can also be very dangerous. Mums and dads to be, there is a lot of information on the interwebs. So, here you will find a few handy hints to help you along your way.
Confirm your pregnancy with a GP, then decide on your health care
The internet says most doctors won’t see you until you’re eight to nine weeks along, however, I convinced my GP to see me at five weeks because I was just so excited, not to mention overwhelmed. She talked me through a few different options for health care and that became my next google search. Public, private, homebirth, doula? Turns out, there are a lot of options when it comes to childbirth, but the most important thing to remember is that it’s your choice. The best advice that I was given was to remember that I wasn’t “sick” so less is more and that absolutely worked for me.
Accept that not everything will go to plan
If you accept that things will inevitably change, or not go the way you concocted in that beautiful brain of yours, it’s totally okay. In fact, it’s all working out exactly how it’s meant to be. To help me get into this headspace, I downloaded the wonderful pregnancy meditation app, Mind the Bump—it takes you through guided meditations of acceptance, change, connection, and pain and it helped me to remain present and keep a level head through my pregnancy.
Switch out your beauty products
If you suffer from rosacea, eczema or dry skin like me, it’s best to lay off the drugs for your entire pregnancy and while you’re breastfeeding. As well, there are a few ingredients designed to make your skin look fab that aren’t great whilst growing your baby so make sure you run your current regime and ingredient list past your GP or midwife. I made the switch to organic coconut oil for my face and body and also enlisted the help of Go To Skincare. Properly Clean and Face Hero, while they didn’t completely get rid of my red, itchy rosacea, they definitely dulled it, soothed it and felt darn good on my skin. You might also want to consider a lighter makeup regime—because my skin was playing up a bit, I opted for an illuminating tinted moisturiser instead of foundation to let my skin breathe.
For the body, I started using an oil from day dot. I literally poured Rosehip by essano Body Oil over my tummy, back, butt, and boobs for the entire duration of my pregnancy.
Plus, locking in eyebrows, waxing and hair maintenance in advance made me feel all the more human. Once the baby arrives, your needs take somewhat of a back seat so keeping up with your regular regime while pregnant is almost like a little treat to yourself before things get busy! Plus, it’s the perfect excuse to book in for that massage and facial you’ve been putting off.
Keep up your regular exercise regime
If you can manage it, try to continue with your regular exercise. I know you’re tired (7pm was my bedtime in the first trimester), but a little exercise each day will keep your energy levels up, I promise. I continued with F45 three days a week and also walked for an hour at least once a week. It helped me to keep sane, strong, and level-headed on those days where exhaustion and irritability were at an all time high. I also downloaded an incredible stretching e-book for pregnancy and post-partum, Active with D.
Pay attention to your health
We know a healthy lifestyle is always important, but when you start growing another human, it’s even more vital. There are a lot of “must-dos and should nots” according to Google, but my advice is simply to listen to your body (and your medical practitioner of course)—you will know what works for you. I chose not to take any supplements, instead upping my leafy green vegetables, I continued to exercise, and ensured I got plenty of sleep. When I became exhausted in the third trimester, I learnt that my iron levels and iron stores were extremely low and then of course, started dosing up on iron tablets. I also chose to regularly see my kinesiologist and osteopath to ensure my health, body, and mind were all in sync and in tiptop condition.
The next nine months will be spent scheduling in doctor’s appointments, midwife appointments, scans, blood tests, and more so you’re going to need to be organised. I suggest picking up a day-per-page diary and a to-do list notebook, which you should carry with you at all times. It makes it super easy to keep track of where you need to be and when, because let me tell you, baby brain is a very real thing! I also bought a chalkboard for my kitchen and listed all of my weekly appointments so they were easily visible. It also helped the hubby to be know where I was and when (and whether he needed to be there too!).
You’ve just found out you’re making a human so why not treat yourself to a little something special?! I knew I was having a girl from the very beginning and had also picked out her name so I bought a teeny tiny ‘S’ earring as a keepsake and beautiful reminder of what was to come. Next I stocked up on a few pairs of comfy (but stylish) sneakers. Perfect for wearing with anything and everything and essential for the later part of your pregnancy.
I also indulged a little on a great baby bag. But don’t be fooled, you don’t need to head to the closest baby store, think outside the box. I invested in an adidas by Stella McCartney oversized gym bag—because it looks great and fits everything I need! Plus, Stella McCartney! It may not have all of the compartments baby bags do but it absolutely does the trick!
A beach towel come throw is also a great gift to self—perfect to use for picnics in the park, as a sun cover for bub, beach towel, blanket, or baby play mat.
It was also a great time to invest in the floor lamp I’d had my eye on—a stylish lamp for the bedroom is a must for those night feeds!
Are you a parent? What are your tips for first-time mums and dads? Share with us your advice in the comments below!