Quite unbelievably, I suddenly find myself at 30 weeks pregnant today – I can’t believe how fast this pregnancy seems to have flown by, I know it’s largely because unlike when I was pregnant with Allegra, this time around I haven’t had much time to devote to thinking about being pregnant – what with working and having a toddler to preoccupy me – but still, it all seems to have gone incredibly fast and before I know it, baby number two will be joining our little family (exciting!) (scary!).
Despite not being overly cautious this time around about taking care of myself during pregnancy (again, blaming working and having a toddler to preoccupy me for not spending enough time devoted to me!), I have been careful to do the basics – take my folic acid and vitamins throughout, avoid alcohol (ok, apart from the odd rare treat of a small glass here and there), walk as much as possible, and eat healthily (although still room for improvement on this front!).
So while I certainly don’t hold myself up as a paragon of pregnancy virtue, far from it, I was still surprised (but in a non judgemental way obvs… ahem) to see the stats that paint a very different picture of some mums-to-be: apparently in England during 2010/11, 13.5% of mothers smoked throughout their pregnancy; in 2007, a national study showed that 41% of pregnant women were overweight or obese in England; and according to the Infant Feeding Survey 2005, 54% of mothers drank alcohol during pregnancy with 8% of mothers exceeded the recommended guidelines and drinking more than two units per week on average.
Quite scary stuff eh? And just some of the reasons why the Start4Life initiative exists: to provide the essential information to help new parents focus on the most important things they can do to improve their health and to get their baby off to the best start.
Earlier this year, to mark the launch of the Start4Life campaign, from the Department of Health, I was invited to attend a special screening of the new film What To Expect When You’re Expecting – based loosely on the parenting bible of the same name. What I hadn’t realised at the time was that I was actual pregnant myself, shocker! I loved the film and it made me giggle and cry in equal measure (pregnancy hormones… now all becomes clear!), it also reminded me of many of the highs and lows of pregnancy and over the last 30-weeks I have been living those ‘real time’. Things like…
- how tough the first 12-weeks are when you’re carrying around this big secret, questioning whether it’s even true or not, and hoping and praying that you’ll get past that early trimester successfully (cue checking the toilet paper every time you go to the loo!)
- oh yes, and trying to cope with the crippling tiredness, while not being able to explain to anyone why you look and feel like the lifeblood has been drained out of you
- your midwife asking you “how big was baby number one? 9lbs 10…” then informing you “well, second babies are rarely smaller than your first…” before laughing slightly maniacally (unnecessary)
- “wow, only 10 weeks to go?! you’re huge already!” comments – love those…
- Or, “wow, only 10 weeks to go?!” you’re tiny!” comments – usually given in the same day as the comments above, but infinitely more welcome than the first!
- the aches and random shooting pains in your back, hips, knees, and other assorted joints – ouch
- the frustration at not being able to put on your own tights/socks/shoes without a large amount of huffing and puffing
- And unique to the second time around pregnancy… the underlying fear of being able to cope with your new life of juggling a new-born baby and an active, running around toddler… eek!
Of course it’s not all bad, as much as I hate having to forego wine (wine, I miss you), it is wonderful to feel those first kicks of a new baby inside you and now I’m seeing the finish line in sight, to start thinking about welcoming a new little lady into our lives, a little sister for Allegra, it is all starting to feel incredibly real and really exciting.
What To Expect When You’re Expecting is now available on DVD and I have 3 copies to give away to some lucky Richmond Mummy readers 🙂 To enter the competition, post a comment telling me what you did or didn’t expect when you were expecting (or trying to conceive) and I’ll pick 3 winners at random. Deadline for entry is next Friday, 23rd November – after which, I’ll announce and get in touch with the winners and organise for you to receive your prize. It’s a great film, so I’d really encourage you to enter and I look forward to hearing about your expectations!
For more information on Start4Life visit www.nhs.uk/start4life