midwife pregnancy and birth questions

Q&A your pregnancy and birth questions – The Honest Midwife

  1. Can you please advise on sleep positions in pregnancy

During the first few weeks it is OK to sleep as normal, but when you have a bump it is best to sleep on your side.

Whilst research shows there are benefits to sleeping on your left side, sleeping on either side is OK. You can read more on sleep positions on the NHS website.

For comfort you can try a pillow or cushion between your legs or a pregnancy pillow which cushions your bump and back

2. How soon after the birth should I start breastfeeding?

As soon as possible really. The first milk (colostrum) is really good for your baby, as it contains so many nutrients. When baby is placed on you after the birth it may feel like the most natural thing in the world to bring them to the breast and let them feed. But don’t worry if your baby doesn’t latch straight away. All babies are different. Just ask those looking after you for a little help if needed to get baby feeding.

3. Do you advocate colostrum harvesting and how should it be stored?

Colostrum harvesting is basically the process of hand expressing the first milk. I am an advocate of this as it can be helpful to have in the early days when you return home after having baby.

My class on a Wednesday evening talks about colostrum harvesting and all things infant feeding click here to book a class

4. Do you have any tips for an expectant mum who has been told she is expecting a very large baby

Try not to worry, your hospital will keep an eye on things, but if they think baby is growing too quickly they may advise induction of labour. My best advice is to relax, not worry and trust your midwifery team. Follow a healthy diet and continue with light exercise. For more information on induction of labour sign up to a Complex Labour & Birth class here

5. My three week old has dry skin on her legs; any recommendations?

I would suggest the old fashioned way of putting a little olive oil on it. I would not recommend using products, especially this early, but if you do want to use a product on the market be sure to check the ingredients carefully and that it can be used safely on newborns.

7. What is the best way to stop breastfeeding?

Slowly. It does depend on how long have been breastfeeding as to how long this should take. Don’t just stop, as this could cause discomfort and in some cases mastitis. Try to do it slowly over 3 or 4 weeks, dropping a lunch time feed first, then others

9. What does it mean when baby is back-to-back?

When baby enters the pelvis ready for delivery, the ideal position is that their head enters the pelvis with the back of its head and back against mum’s tummy. Around 10 – 15% of babies enter the pelvis with the back of their head and their spine against mum’s spine. Most back-to-back babies will be delivered completely normally, but it may be more difficult and take longer.

In the latter weeks of pregnancy try avoiding slouching on the sofa to help prevent this.

10. Membrane sweeps – where are they done, when and are they safe?

Membrane sweeps are generally done from 40 – 41 weeks, depending on your surgery or health centre. Generally they are safe, but there may be a slight chance of bleeding, but not significant – it may be just where the cervix has been caught. Also, it is possible that your waters could break. It is entirely your choice whether you have a sweep.

11. Do you have any tips to ease leg cramps during the night?

You can try some gentle stretches before getting into bed and during the night if you wake up. One of the best tips is to drink plenty of water to keep hydrated. Join the lovely Carly at Let’s Talk Birth and Baby for a beautiful pregnancy yoga session which may help to settle those legs.

You can find answers to many commonly asked questions on the NHS website.

pregnancy in the pandemic

What to expect when you’re pregnant in a pandemic

The average pregnancy already feels as though it lasts for a lifetime. In reality, 40 weeks isn’t really a long time when you consider parenting as a whole timeframe. 

When you’re placed on lockdown and pregnant however, that’s a different story.

Since March 2020, women have been finding out that they’re pregnant, experiencing an entire pandemic pregnancy from start to finish, and are now finding themselves with a newborn in lockdown.

In theory this sounds great. Expectant mums may find themselves at home without having to commute, getting maximum rest before their new arrival. 

It’s turning out to be a whole new level of pregnancy stress for a lot of mums-to-be though. 

Pregnant women are being asked to attend scans alone, juggle home working with homeschooling, and even going into labour without their birthing partner.

We’ve asked a few mums who have become pandemic parents to share their experiences with us.

This is what you can really expect in a pandemic pregnancy

Keeping the pregnancy under wraps

Typically, mothers are cautious to tell people about their pregnancy within the first trimester. The initial 12 weeks of any pregnancy has the highest risk of complications. Therefore, most are kept quiet until the first scan. 

Gemma, who was expecting her second child, told us that the usual worries about hiding nausea, avoiding alcohol and generally wanting to keep the pregnancy secret disappeared during lockdown.

“It was much easier to keep pregnancy to ourselves for longer, which was kind of nice.”

She went on to explain that the pregnancy didn’t have the same level of excitement however, as she was only really able to share her news virtually. 

Attending scans alone

We all dream about the first time that we get to see our little ones on the big screen. In a perfect world, the first antenatal scan is full of love where both partners ‘meet’ their baby. 

For parents in a pandemic however, it’s a rather more terrifying time. 

Expectant mums are being asked to attend appointments alone, due to the risk of Covid-19. That means that partners are not able to see those first glimpses of the baby, missing out on the experience completely. What’s more, if the scan sadly ends with bad news, they are not there to support their partners. 

Katie from London, a first time mum, explained that she had to attend all routine scans without her husband, but also three further episodes of reduced movement. 

“Each appointment was horrible. I didn’t know what to expect or what they might find. The staff didn’t chat because of all of the PPE, and the room was silent. I was so scared that it was going to be bad news.”

No face-to-face antenatal

When it comes to preparing for baby, antenatal and NCT classes are what most couples look forward to. 

It’s the chance to learn all about what to expect during labour and birth, but also to make the group of baby friends that will hopefully form part of the support network during the early years.

For couples becoming parents in the pandemic, this is another thing that they miss out on. 

Antenatal provision is switching to online sessions, which just doesn’t give the interaction of meeting in-person. 

Amy from Milton Keynes, a first time mum-to-be, has found this particularly difficult.

“I am new to the area and I’d really hoped to meet my mum gang through NCT classes. It’s really hard to get a feel for people on Zoom, and I feel like we’ve not bonded the same way that we might have done if we could get to know each other at meetings. The positive however is that  I’m having more contact with friends in other parts of the country. I hope that in the summer, I can make more friends locally.”

Anxiety about planning for the baby

Another key milestone when preparing for a baby is choosing and buying all of the right equipment. With shops closed but also anxiety around Covid-19, parents-to-be are worried about physically shopping for baby equipment, and are risking online purchases.

To try to ease this worry, brands are adapting to offer virtual shopping services. 

Kerry from Cloud Nine Baby in Hitchin, Herts, is one retailer who has set up a personal online shopping service for this reason. 

“Pregnant women are worried about exposing themselves to more risk of catching Covid, but still want to be sure about their purchase decisions when planning for a new baby. A pushchair and the nursery furniture are expensive items to buy, and not being able to touch and try them first is leading to higher levels of stress. We know that mums are finding it particularly hard.”

Maternity leave at home

For a lot of women, the maternity break is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Unfortunately, pandemic mums are going from home working into maternity leave with no real change. 

Instagram Mum, Hannah described how she spent her lockdown maternity.

“I gave birth on 24th April 2020, so I have had a lockdown since. I’m a first time mum and my husband is a key worker. I’m back at work full time now, so all my maternity was on my own.”

Maternity leave goes quickly as it is. We only get those first few months with our new little people once, and it’s especially memorable for first babies.

Mums who are returning to work are therefore having to leave their baby who has never been held by anyone other than Mum or Dad. Or if they’ve been unable to even find or afford childcare, they are having to extend their leave, unpaid.

Midwife appointments on the telephone

In some cases, midwifery appointments are happening as normal, whereas they are being held over the phone in other areas.

Sophie, expecting her second child, told us of the difference between pregnant women in different post codes. 

“The strangest thing for me is not having any face-to-face midwife appointments yet. My first one is next week at 28 weeks. That meant not hearing the baby’s heartbeat around the 16 week usual midwife appointment as this was on the phone, but my friend just over the border has continued to have appointments with her midwife team.”

Baby groups

Socialising and introducing a baby to groups and activities is well documented to be beneficial to both mums and babies. 

Baby classes have become another casualty of Covid-19. 

And those who have been able to attend explained that they were actually more stressful than fun.

“You are allocated an area for your baby, and only allowed to use your own equipment. So there was no socialising with other families, and mums with older babies were finding it really hard to contain them to their space!”

Missed pregnancy

Charles, an expectant dad from London also gave us insight to what it’s like to be pregnant, seeing no family or friends. 

“I feel like we are hibernating away, forming some weird cocoon and won’t be seen until we are transformed outside the other end! It’s rubbish.”

Whole pregnancies are happening without anyone else even noticing. Likewise the early days of introducing babies to family members can’t happen either.

Alex from Cornwall told us that she’d still not met her nephew after 8 months.

Any positives?

Reading this, it’s obvious that having a baby in a pandemic has transformed the pregnancy journey for many.

There are however some positives to end on. 

Ordinarily, the partner may only be entitled to take one or two weeks of paternity leave. They may also be working long hours out of the home, or travelling for business. 

Lockdown and home working has given a lot of families this time back.

Abbey, a first time mum, did mention that as a big plus of lockdown.

“My partner has been at home a lot more than he ever would have been. So whilst I miss my family and friends, and all of the times we have missed out on, I am grateful for that. We’ve spent our time in a bubble of three, being able to share the load a bit as he’s not having to get up quite so early for work. It’s nice to have someone to have lunch with too.”

Katie mentioned that although she felt lonely and scared in the hospital after her cesarean, the other mums on the ward were really kind and helpful. 

Charles also told us that not having to commute has meant that his wife has been less stressed and tired, and he’s been there for her to support her. 

“We are also part of the lucky group who have kept our jobs and can work from home. It has meant that we have been able to save a lot of money that would have been spent on travel or going out, which we know will come in use as we prepare for the baby’s arrival.”

This is an unprecedented time, and sadly services are taking time to catch up. Therefore, the negatives are outweighing the positives at the moment. 

Hopefully this time is nearing an end now though so that pandemic parents can start to live a ‘normal’ experience very soon. 

Good luck, pandemic mamas. You’re the real superheroes.

best baby podcast

The best baby podcasts for all new parents

Why you shouldn’t miss out on parenting podcasts

The arrival of your new baby signals a farewell to the life you once knew.

It’s ‘goodbye’ to having a lie in whenever you want to. Say ‘adios’ to carefree days or nights with friends. Bid ‘au revoir’ to putting yourself first. 

Having time to read and research important topics is something that gets added to the list, and can feel overwhelming trying to squeeze in.

That said, parents still want advice and information about how their baby is developing, or about any worries that they may have.

There’s just not enough time in the day to sit and read the pile of baby books that have been optimistically piled up since maternity leave, however. 

Instead, pregnant women or new mums who have just had a baby often prefer to listen to a podcast.

Enter the podcast

Podcasts come in all shapes and sizes. There’s everything from comedy, sports, or current affairs, right through to a nostalgic look back to the 90s. The best news however is that there are loads of educational and informative topics for parents that they can play whilst carrying out other tasks.

Perhaps it’s maternal mental health or birth stories that new mums are looking for. Or maybe it’s a satirical look at parenthood to lighten the load a little. Whatever floats their boat, parents can listen along while folding the washing, or taking a walk to get the baby to nap. 

The Best Baby Podcasts 

Below we have listed several of the best baby podcasts to enjoy during the new journey of motherhood.

1) The Longest Shortest Time

Award winning podcaster and author, Hilary Frank set up this amazing motherhood podcast after a rough and anxious pregnancy. The Longest Shortest Time podcast says that it is ‘the parenting show for everyone’, with stories about the surprises and absurdities of raising other humans. Fit to cater for all, including non-parents, Hilary seeks to explore the most surprising and shocking things she has discovered involved with parenthood.

 2) One Bad Mother

One Bad Mother is a comedic podcast which explores the reality of parenting. It regularly highlights how parents aren’t perfect, and is one of the best parent podcasts to expose how parents are just regular people dealing with a sometimes unnatural parenthood. The podcast strives for less judgement, and more laughter.

 3) Happy Mum, Happy Baby by Giovanna Fletcher

Hosted by Queen of the Jungle, Giovanna Fletcher, the Happy Mum, Happy Baby podcast is one of the best mother podcasts to ever exist. For women having their first baby, it provides a strong support system, whilst sharing positive and inspiring stories of what it’s really like to be a new mother. Gi regularly interviews famous parents to get their take on motherhood, and has even had chats with Princess Catherine! 

 4) The Dadcast

From being thrown up on, to every other gross thing imaginable, The Dadcast explores the silly and funny mishaps and adventures that tend to come with parenthood. This podcast is for all parents who know all too well how parenting can be hilarious, annoying, brilliant, dangerous and soul destroying all in one! 

 6) Birthful

In this successful podcast, doula, sleep consultant and educator, Adriana Lozada discusses the birthing journey from pregnancy, right through to postpartum. Whether you are looking for a helpful podcast through your pregnancy, or just specifically a newborn podcast, Birthful explores every aspect of the process with insight from expert medical professionals.

 7) Dad’s Don’t Know

Hosted by 3 Australian dads, the Dad’s Don’t Know podcast is funny, real and authentic. This podcast is perfect for those looking for some light-hearted humour around what it’s like to experience parenthood as a father.

 8) Baby Talk

This is a great parent podcast for mums and dads who are pressed for time, which is probably every parent, ever. The Baby Talk podcast is a short and concise listen that also gives helpful advice to those who feel like they need more knowledge.

 9) Scummy Mummies

Hosted by two comedians, Scummy Mummies is perfect for women looking for some comedy regarding motherhood. The popular irreverent podcast discusses a light-hearted view about what having a baby is all about, and the realities of not always getting it right. Expect a fair bit of swearing and mentions of freezer food.

 10)  Birth Stories in Colour

Birth Stories in Color is a podcast for Black, Indigenous, Asian, Latino and Multiracial individuals to share their birthing experiences. It aims to tell the stories of real parents to discover the expected and unexpected parts of the journey to parenthood.

11) Here We Go Again

Hosted by Loose Women presenter, Stacey Solomon, Here We Go Again this is one of the best parenting podcasts for families who have had a slightly longer gap between having babies. The podcast looks at how attitudes and advice have changed, and what’s new to help. Expect topics to be covered in a similar way to Loose Women, but with parenthood at the centre.

12) Not Another Mummy Podcast

Not Another Mummy Podcast isn’t specifically for pregnancy or babies, but is a really useful listen for all mums. It is hosted by blogger and mum-of-three, Alison Perry, and each episode features chats from different guests about general parenting and family issues.

Happy podding!

gender reveal ideas

Baby gender reveal ideas

Is it a girl or a boy?  The best baby gender reveals

Hurray – you’re expecting a baby. You’ve made it through those exhausting first months of pregnancy and now you’ve had your scans.  You have probably already announced to the world you are having a baby. Everything’s going well and your sonographer has been able to share whether you’ve got a mini-me or a mini-he tucked away growing steadily inside you. You’re super excited and want to share your baby gender reveal news with your friends and family.

Living indoors under the cloud of coronavirus is making us ever-more determined to keep close to the people we love, and being at a distance is making us use technology in new ways. Revealing which sex your baby is to your loved ones is a great opportunity to bring some sunshine to these dark days, and planning how you’re going to do it can give you something positive to focus on.

Here we list some of the best baby gender reveal ideas we’ve seen which (if you’re revealing your baby’s gender soon) you might need to adapt and perhaps share over social media; but if you’ve got a bit of time, hopefully, everything will be back to normal and you can do face-to-face.

No matter what your views on whether bikes and pushchairs should be ‘girls’ or ‘boys’ colours, everyone uses pink for girls and blue for boys for gender reveals. It’s the simplest way to get your good news across.

1. The baby gender reveal cake

You can choose the flavour, but make sure the cake itself is baked with either pink or blue colouring, or fill between the layers with brightly coloured buttercream. Then ice it in a neutral colour (chocolate would work well, of course) and when you slice into it… ta-dahhh – your friends and family will know straight away.

2.  A pinata

You can buy these online for less than £20, and they’re a particularly lovely idea if you already have children. It can be much easier for your toddler to understand they’re getting a baby brother or sister than to understand they’re getting a baby. If you can’t go out, you might want to have one of these delivered and live stream or video your older child bashing it with a stick to share the good news.

3.  Balloon boxes

Picture this, a lovely big gift box bedecked with ribbons.  Three, two, one… the lid opens and up rises a helium filled balloon in blue or pink. Job done.

4.  Balloon pop

Balloon popping can also be fun if you have kids already, as well as very affordable. Just put lots of little bits of pink or blue tissue paper into a neutral-coloured balloon and inflate it. Pins at the ready…Pop! Tiny fluttering pieces of good news.

5.  Smoke bombs and party poppers

There’s a growing online market for gender reveal activities and you can order these easily. Get your friends and family together either in person or online, and bang! Everyone knows.

6.  Filled up football

For the football fans among us, this idea can be a good way of making sure the beautiful game is part of your baby’s life right from the very beginning. Although you could try to fill a ball with powdered paint, you can also buy them online ready to use. This is a particularly good option if your other half is a huge fan and you’re sharing the news with him. Take them into the garden, football at the ready, take a run-up and boom! – he’ll feel like he’s won the world cup, no matter what the paint colour.

All these options and more are open to you. Of course, you could keep the news to yourself, but where’s the fun in that?

To see more of our gender reveal ideas, you can look at our Pinterest board.  Why not share your ideas with us on our social pages too.

Pregnancy announcement awards

Our Best Pregnancy Announcement Awards!

Our Best Pregnancy Announcement Awards!

You have been itching to tell everyone for the past 3 months… If you haven’t spillt the beans yet, then the 12-week scan often marks the point that you want to tell the world your amazing news.

Many of us opt for the more conservative approach, but for others, they plan this moment like they would plan their wedding!

If you want to announce your pregnancy differently, but just don’t know where to start, read on for some of our favourite ideas from team Didofy.

pregnancy announcement dog

The award for the cutest animal announcement…

Our pets are part of the family too, right? So, why not get them involved right from the beginning? There are loads of ideas on cute and funny pet pics.  We love this gorgeous looking pooch from Cha de Bebe.  What an amazing big sister she will make!

The award for the best couple announcement…

We have two favourites here from Bright Star Kids.

For the family who enjoy a glass of wine in the evening (or used to anyway!), this classy approach shows two wine glasses, side by side, one full and the other with a do not refill until January note and picture of scan.  Subtle, we think.

Our other couple announcement award goes to 1 + 1 = 4 (or 3, or 5 depending!)

The best themed announcement…

We have been surprised at the number of themed ideas out there, but this award has to go to the Star Wars themed announcements.

We love this article from OurFamilyWorld, which details seven great pregnancy announcements which will make even non-Star Wars fans smile.  The one with the Say it With a Light Saber is our favourite simple one, but the award for extreme effort and creativity has to be the short film by Lucasfilms! Wow!

The award for the best sibling announcement…

Lots of people go for the classic big brother or sister t-shirts – even an older sibling eviction notice. There are lots of ways to involve your other children in making the announcement on Google.

We also really love some of these ideas on Mashable.

But our favourite and award for best sibling announcement doesn’t go to the actual announcement itself, but the reaction from this sister-to-be.  She definitely steals the show, that’s for sure – this is one of the funniest reactions we have seen!

Your overall favourite…

We asked our lovely Instagram followers to vote on your favourite announcement, and the hands down winner was one of those featured on Mashable.  Our followers choice goes to, drumroll please…

Little Callie from Morgans2day  – she has completely melted your hearts!

The internet is full of ideas, and Pinterest is a great place to start – we have created our own pregnancy announcement board so you can see all of our favourite ideas!

Don’t forget to share your ideas with us on social.

What fruit is my baby didofy

What fruit is my baby?

What fruit is my baby?

Hurray – you’re expecting a baby!

In the early days of your pregnancy, the changes you’ll see and feel will be about your body. Exhausted? That’s normal. Bleeding gums? Normal too. The dreaded morning sickness – also generally normal. Unless you’re due to have a scan, you can find yourself wondering what’s going on inside your body that is causing such dramatic changes to your body.

There’s a baby growing. It sounds obvious, but that’s astounding. In less than a year, you’ll be a parent and life will never be the same again. In a good and wonderful (OK, and maybe a little bit tiring!!) way. It’s the most challenging – and most wonderful – thing you’ll ever do.

But what is your baby like?

How-big-is-my-baby_-300x300

You can’t see it; you can’t feel it – what’s going on?

When you’re four weeks pregnant, your baby is about the size of a tiny kiwi seed – up to about a millimetre. This is the time when the cells divide to form organs. You baby has truly begun.

When you get to two months, you might still not have had a scan. Imagine your baby as the size of a cherry tomato, about one and a half centimetres. Their tiny hands and feet have started to develop, although it feels like a long time to wait until they’ll be gripping your finger.

At around 12 weeks, you can usually expect your first scan. This tiny life is about the size of a plum. You’ll marvel at how something so little can have a heartbeat and you can see him or her moving. This is when the magic starts to feel real. Your baby’s reproductive organs will have developed, their eyes and eyelids are formed and they will have started to grow hair and fingernails.

At four months, you can imagine them like the size of a pear; at 20 weeks, a mango. It’s around now you might start to feel a fluttering – like tiny butterfly wings. Our grandmothers called it ‘the quickening’, the first tiny movements that make you catch your breath and ask, “Did that really just happen?” Treasure them. If you haven’t already, you might also need to start loosening your waistbands and thinking about some maternity clothes. Although it’s still important to look good, comfort is everything from here on in.

When you’re 24 weeks pregnant and your baby is the size of a large grapefruit. People will be starting to give you that, ‘Is she expecting?’ look.  If you haven’t already, think about where your baby will sleep and what pram or travel system will suit you and your new family best. You might even, if it’s possible, want to think about one last holiday as a couple before you get bigger.

At 28 weeks, imagine your little one as roughly the size of an iceberg lettuce. Now would be a good time to start planning all those extra bits you will need.  You are getting close to your third trimester, so enjoy the blooming period!

At 32 weeks, they’ll be the size of an average pineapple – only much less spiky! This is a good time to start shopping and placing orders for important items – especially your car seat.

At 36 weeks, you’re nearly there and your little one will be about the length of a cucumber. You might be thinking about stopping work soon as some mums experience the aches and pains of later pregnancy. If you do, treasure that time on your own. Take a bath in the afternoon, have a snooze, read a book. You will be able to do all these things again one day, it just might be a little while away.

I carried a watermelon!

And finally, you’ll make it to 40 weeks. No-one can predict what your birth will be like, so avoid those women who want to tell you their birthing stories. Your baby will come in his or her own way, when he or she is ready and (with the support of your family and our wonderful NHS) you’ll be fine.  Life will quickly settle into a new kind of normal.

Remember, you’re amazing and you’ll soon be able to tell the world, “I had a baby! I carried a watermelon!”.

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