Maternity wear – quick fixes

Image via Pinterest

Image via Pinterest

Yesterday, I wore a grey top and black leggings to yoga. In the summer of 2010, I wore the ‘top’ as a dress, bare legged. How times (and the area of my arse) have changed.

This wardrobe ‘adaptation’ (or desperate search for something to cover my bum) got me thinking about the little things that can be done to switch up your standard wardrobe to something more suitable for maternity, without having to shell out for a new set of maternity clothes. Pretty useful for early pregnancy in particular, where you haven’t got a clue what the hell your body is doing and whether you’ll still be the same size next week (let alone tomorrow).

I’ve been thinking about doing a couple of posts on the epic topic that is maternity wear – having found it very tricky to find decent quality, decent value things that don’t make me feel 15 years older than I am. However, this seems like a more sensible place to start. And somewhere I really should have begun, rather than diving head first into the ASOS summer maternity sale, at around 10 weeks pregnant.

So, some useful little things that I’ve personally found have helped to eke out my standard clothes a little longer…

Bra extenders – truly, a work of God. Love these ugly but functional strips of elastic. I got three for less than £3.00 delivered from ebay. I knew these existed before, but didn’t think to get any.

The extenders just clip onto your bra fasteners, thus giving you a few delicious additional CM of give in the band area. I could have saved a depressing half hour and £20 spent in M&S in a desperate search for a comfortable bra in my first trimester if I’d have got some of these earlier. Not to mention many sore red marks around my rib cage. Apparently your rib cage expands during the second and third trimesters (not to mention additional boob growth) – so I’ll probably get some use out of these even after having bought a few more maternity bras.

Longline vest top – again, I only got a decent long vest top a couple of weeks ago and really should have got one sooner. Mine was £3.49 from New Look and has washed really well so far. I only have the one in black, but even this has meant that I can wear tops that I previously wouldn’t have gone near due to trouser overspill-baring danger.

I’ll definitely get some more of these to last me the next few months – they also do a three pack for £9.99.

Maternity tights – these were one of the first maternity items I bought and I’m really glad I got them early on as they’re so damn comfy. I don’t think I can go back to standard tights: why would you not want a nice tummy panel to pull things in and avoid waist overspill? Maternity tights meant that I was still happy wearing most of the dresses in my wardrobe up until a few weeks ago – they are comfy while being supportive, so ideal for concealing first trimester bloat. And cheaper than buying a new dress or trousers, too.

I have a few pairs now and the best are these £8 pair from ASOS and this pair from Boots – also £8 – but half price if you’ve joined the Boots Parenting Club, as they send you a voucher. The ASOS pair are soft and opaque while not being too thick. They also have a gummy band to the top which holds them up well. I’ve seen that ASOS now have more opaque options in stock for winter, so I might be back to try some other options (I’m a sucker for a high denier). The Boots pair are a similar fit and slightly more opaque – probably better for the colder weather.

Sizing up – yes, obvious but true. I bought a few autumn jumpers from H&M when they first got their new season stock in – all a size or two above what I normally wear. Partly as I know H&M stuff has a tendency to shrink after washing, but partly to give me a little extra room for growing. So glad I did this, as over the past couple of months these jumpers have been a little bit of interesting in my old and rapidly shrinking wardrobe. So, if you’re thinking of buying a few bits even very early on in your pregnancy, sizing up will give you a load more wear – plus, again, covering that first trimester bloat way before a bump is on the agenda.

I didn’t get on with the idea of bump bands, so can’t comment on their usefulness. Also,  the elastic band around the button thing for trousers just didn’t work for me due to aforementioned bloat and the fear of it pinging off in work (seriously, is this not a worry for most people?)

Are there any other quick and easy tips and tricks for making clothes pregnancy-friendly? Please drop me a comment below. Anything that stops me buying the fortune currently lingering in my ASOS saved items basket would be great.

Pregnancy insomnia

It makes sense really, once two months of excruciatingly, to-the-core-of-my-bone-marrow-tiredness is over, that pregnancy insomnia sets in.

(Picture my sarcastic face).

It’s just past 4.00am on a Sunday morning and I couldn’t be more wide awake. Just a shame the sun hasn’t caught up with my brain.

Never having been someone who has trouble getting to – or staying – asleep, this is still admittedly a little bit novel. I do quite like being up in the middle of the night with the TV to myself and an excellent excuse for drinking hot chocolate.

Fine on a weekend morning – but not so much fun when you have a full work day ahead of you on less than five hours’ sleep – especially for someone who panics if less than eight hours is on the agenda (yes parents, feel free to laugh at me and the sheer knackeredness that awaits once the baby is here).

Apparently suffering from insomnia during pregnancy is A Thing. But there don’t seem to be many useful explanations for exactly what causes it. Not being able to get to sleep because you’re uncomfortable in bed; have heartburn; or if you’re worrying about the baby’s imminent arrival: yes. But suddenly waking up in the middle of the night like it’s 9.00am: nope.

Guidance online helpfully suggests napping during the day (yep, sure that would go down totally well in my office at 10.00am), reducing caffeine content (already pretty nonexistent) or not eating dinner too late (definitely not a problem in this greedy household).

A couple of suggestions which might actually be useful:

  • eating more vitamin B – not sure exactly why, but can’t do any harm
  • getting adequate exercise during the day – definitely something that’s been lacking from my routine lately
  • ensuring that you’re comfortable in bed – coincidentally, we have a new mattress on order which is a million times better than our current old, sagging Ikea one.

Do you have any ideas about what causes pregnancy insomnia – or any solutions? Please let me know!

Getting over the first trimester

People say that you don’t know how awful the first trimester can be until you’re pregnant, but I don’t think that’s necessarily true.

Think back to your last pretty horrible hangover. Waking up to a stomach bubbling with acid; waves of nausea as you roll out of bed and stand up straight. Thoughts that you need to eat something to absorb the acidity: but not being able to contemplate anything that could make it past your lips and stay there for more than a few seconds. The overwhelming heavy tiredness that creeps up by 10am and slams you over the head, so you’re actually pinching your face to stay awake at your desk. Then again at around 5pm once the rigmarole of playing ‘normal’ all day at work is over.

Repeat every single day for approximately six weeks.

I won’t go on – and of course it’s different for everyone. Some b*astard women don’t get sickness at all. I’ll take that option next time, thanks.

Thankfully I’m past that stage now. Pretty much as soon as it crept up on me, the dark shadow that was the first trimester faded into the second…bar a couple of days of incessant vomiting at weeks 16 and 17: a fitting swansong to this utterly miserable couple of months. 

Happily, I shrugged off the sickness off finally and the second trimester has been treating me well so far. 

However, having got to used to continuous exhaustion and sickness, normal life has been chucked to the wayside. My twice or thrice-weekly spinning and bodypump classes and occasional weekend run are a distant, endorphin-tinted memory. Even the halfhearted swimming sessions that I started after discovering I was pregnant are looking like a good effort. In short, I’ve turned into a right lardyarse and my lack of energy isn’t being helped by the lethargy that no exercise brings.

I really could do with getting out there and back to the gym, but I’ve completely lost the motivation and a bit of confidence. It’s not all me (I tell myself) – advice around exercise is pretty patchy and who knows what’s really ok to do while pregnant. The generic advice seems to be ‘ask your midwife’. When I asked my midwife, she gave some generic advice along the lines of ‘whatever feels ok; don’t overdo it’.

Now that I can contemplate anything more than a walk from my car to the office, I’m starting to think a gentle run (who am I kidding: probably a run-walk-run-walk) might be possible and even enjoyable.

To nip my exercise apathy in the bud and to get some solid ideas about what I can and can’t do, I’ve booked a personal trainer. Might seem extravagant, but for less than the price of a massage, I get a session going through ideas for workouts at home, outside and in the gym and then no obligation follow up sessions if needed.

I’m raring to get going with it… But not quite enough to tear me away from the TV and back to the swimming pool in the evenings. With my training session a couple of weeks away, I really need to pick up the exercise in the meantime – if only for my sanity. I’m one of those people who gets grouchy, impatient and generally unhappy if I haven’t been exercised in a while. I’m thinking a short, slow run might be in order tonight – then we’ll see if I can brave the swimming pool tomorrow.

In the meantime, any tips to get my increasingly chubby butt moving again during pregnancy would be much appreciated. Just don’t tell me to stop eating chocolate.

140 days and counting

In late June 2013 I took a pregnancy test that appeared to have two faint lines.

The next flimsy stick developed the same, very light blue strips.

After nearly two years of waiting; hoping; waiting again, this had to be a mistake.

So predictably, off we went to Boots, another couple eagerly lining the pockets of Clearblue Ltd with a ‘proper’ test that would tell us definitively whether the dull bathroom light was playing tricks on my hopeful eyes or not.

Fast forward 16 weeks to late October and here I am, a bona fide pregnant lady. 21 weeks gone and just starting to get an undeniable bump. It’s all really weird.

I’ve always liked to write, but for a while have struggled to find the push to do it outside of work. Pregnancy so far has been a complete tumble of joy and despair; clarity and utter confusion: so this seems like a good time to start blogging – to make some sense of it all.

I’ve gone through the sickness and shatteredness (tiredness does not do it justice) and now it’s only laziness that’s stopping me from documenting this pregnancy – so I’ll do my best to catch up over the coming months. No plans or themes, just a record of the second half of growing this new little person.

Pregnancy test