On getting pregnant
- The most important thing I've learnt is that getting pregnant usually happens when you are distracted by something else. I've been pregnant twice and both times it happened when I was stressed – once when we were selling our house and the second time my Grandmother died. I'm not suggesting that stress helps you conceive but being preoccupied by something else worked for me and it's certainly not worth getting stressed about being too stressed!
- I found the predicting ovulation strips really useful. They worked both times for me. I have a regular 28-day cycle and I think if you are pretty sure of your cycle they are great. However, if you are irregular I would imagine that they could be a nightmare and work out to be very expensive!
- Don't be too hard on your partner. I fell into the trap of focusing on my 'peak' days and getting really cranky with him if he wasn't in the mood! It just caused a lot of friction and resentment on his part. Once I relaxed a bit more and took the pressure off him, it happened. (Easier said than done I know!)
On being pregnant
- I've been pregnant twice and have 2 lovely children but if there is one thing I've learnt it's that no two pregnancies are the same! For my first I had sore breasts and lots of cramps early on, the pregnancy was lovely and easy but he came early and was tiny! For my second I had terrible morning sickness, had a very uncomfortable pregnancy and she came late and was huge! Go figure! I guess what I'm trying to say is that if my pregnancies were so different then yours will be very different from someone else’s, so don't panic if you don't get morning sickness or if you have cramps etc. Chances are it's perfectly normal
- Bleeding - it's not always the end of the world. I bled heavily during the 6th week of both of my pregnancies (in this respect they were similar!) and went on to have healthy pregnancies. In both cases there was no explanation, the bleeding seemed too heavy to be implantation bleeding, it just happens sometimes apparently. But do call your doctor or midwife, she will probably arrange an early scan for you to check everything is OK
- Midwives - make sure you ask about everything! Mine mentioned that my baby was a posterior presentation but I had no idea that it would mean a difficult labor. She never said and I never asked! I wish I had. It turns out that there are exercises you can do to help turn the baby. At least I could have prepared myself for the possibility of a caesarean - it never even occurred to me!
- Finally - your hospital bag. Pack for a long stay. Chances are you won't need to but don't be caught short like I was! Pack at least 2 nighties - one for labor and another for the ward. Take ordinary pants as well as disposables. If you do have a caesarean then the disposables are too uncomfortable on your wound. Take at least 2 packs of maternity pads - you'll need them. Oh and pack slippers, they won't let you walk around the wards in bare feet and it's a real hassle putting shoes on each time you get out of bed!