When you’re about to experience something as life-changing as having a baby, no one can tell you better about what to expect than a mum who’s been there. That’s why it’s fantastic that so many new mums came through for us – and you – to share their personal thoughts and stories.
Be prepared to feel a little unprepared
Most first-timers try to find out all they can about pregnancy. So it’s not surprising that the majority of the new mums (65.3%) who took part in our survey agreed that they were able to get all the info they needed from books, articles and family and friends. What’s surprising is that only a little over half (55.9%) said that they felt they knew enough about pregnancy. This seems to show that although you can find out tons of useful information, when it comes down to it, you should always be prepared to feel a little unprepared!
What mums wish they’d known
When we asked mums what they wish they'd known at the start of pregnancy, there were several things that kept coming up…
- Pregnancy aches and pains: Few mums sail through pregnancy without some kind of discomfort. Constipation, haemorrhoids, pelvic floor pain (SPD), and round ligament pain were some of the conditions mums wished they’d been more prepared for.
- What happens to your body after pregnancy: Pregnancy and giving birth can affect your body in many ways, so things may not be quite the same once your little one comes into the world. Eating well and exercising safely are a couple of things you can do to help your body cope.
- Tiredness during the first few weeks: Although the demands of round-the-clock feeding straight after a tiring labour can make the first few weeks as a mum exhausting, all those cuddles, snuffles and wide-eyed stares make it worthwhile.
- Getting enough help and support: When it comes to being a new mum, don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s great to be able to call on family and friends, as well as lean on a partner. But other new mums can also be an invaluable source of support. Joining an NCT group or taking up pregnancy-related classes are just some ways you can meet other mums at your stage.
First-hand pregnancy advice
In our survey, mums were also asked what advice they’d give to mums-to-be. Getting more sleep, trying to stay relaxed and asking for help were just some of the tips mentioned. Here are some other great bits of advice our mums had to share:
- “Don’t buy expensive clothes, as they outgrow them so quickly, it’s just not worth it.”
- “Cook and freeze meals – the first few weeks are a tiring blur!”
- “Always keep fit and active and don’t succumb to the myth of eating for two!”
- “Enjoy the pregnancy, they’re only completely yours during those months. You feel every move, hiccup, tumble and that is amazing. On the flip side, it is okay to not be 110% in love with your baby when they’re first born.”
- “You know best – follow your gut and trust your instincts, this will come naturally!”
- “You have very little control over how birth will go, don’t stress too much about that, just do some reading and move on to reading about parenting instead.”
- “Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Your entire body (and life) is changing; it’s normal to want to know about every little thing that is going on.”
- “Be always in the moment. There is no big sign or announcement to tell you the last time your baby will do something as they age so enjoy every cuddle and kiss. Before you know it they won't need you as much and you don't want to think back on these days as time spent cleaning or stressing.”
Weird pregnancy myths
As a mum-to-be or mum, you’ve probably heard your fair share of pregnancy myths – many of them about predicting the sex of an unborn baby. But what’s the weirdest pregnancy myth you’ve ever heard? This is a question we put to our survey mums and we weren’t disappointed with their replies!
- “If the baby’s heartbeat sounds like a train during the ultrasound, it’s a girl, but if it sounds like a galloping horse, it’s a boy.”
- “Craving sweet things means the baby’s a girl, while craving savoury foods, such as cheese, means it’s a boy.”
- “Attach a wedding ring to a piece of hair or string and dangle it over your bump – the direction of the swing indicates whether the baby’s a boy or a girl.”
- “Having heartburn during pregnancy means that your baby will be hairy.”
- “If you wee onto baking soda and it fizzes, the baby’s a boy.”
- “A girl steals her mother’s beauty”, in other words, if you look healthy and glowing, it's a boy; if you’re tired-looking, it’s a girl.
Wish you could know more?
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading the results of our survey and picked up a few tips along the way. Don’t forget, if you have any questions about your pregnancy or baby, our own mums and experts are always here to help. Call us, 24/7, on 0800 977 8880
or chat to us online, Monday to Friday, 8am–8pm.