1 Prescriptions are free
No more annoying fees, because from the moment your pregnancy is confirmed by a doctor or midwife you’re entitled to free NHS prescriptions. Ask your midwife for an FW8 application form and you’ll be sent a Maternity Exemption Certificate, which lasts until your baby is a year old.
2 You can jump the queue
Forget waiting in public toilets – just mention you’re pregnant and you’ll be first in line to wee!
3 You’re the centre of attention
Extra foot rubs from your man, your neighbours offering to help you out, workmates being ultra considerate… enjoy all the extra love while it lasts.
4 You look gorgeous
Bye-bye dull and dry hair, hello luscious locks. “Increased blood flow and raised levels of oestrogen and progesterone in pregnancy lead to many changes in your body,” says midwife Anne Richley. “Your nails grow well and hair growth increases, with less being shed, so it looks thicker.”
5 Healthy food tastes good
No alcohol, loads more fruit and veg and a careful scrutinising of all the ingredient labels: being pregnant is a perfect kick-start to eating healthily. “Eat little and often, and make sure every meal feeds both you and the placenta by combining carbs for energy, lean proteins for building and repair, essential fats for cell health and micronutrients for protection,” says Fiona Kirk, author and nutritionist. Make cereal tastier by adding chopped fruit, and have a supply of frozen veg so if you’re too tired for peeling and chopping, you can steam them for your evening meal.
6 You make people smile
People simply look at your stomach and it brings a grin to their face. That’s just pregnancy, it has that effect on people. Revel in your powers as a pusher of happiness!
7 You have an excuse to take naps
They’re good for you and your growing baby. What better reason to curl up on the sofa and doze off, as many times as you like?
8 You get out of chores
Heavy lifting is a no-no now you’re pregnant, so no more putting the bins out, carrying the shopping and moving furniture. Rope in your partner and enjoy the time off!
9 You have boobs to die for
“Breasts get bigger in pregnancy due to hormonal changes, which are preparing the glands to store milk whether or not you intend to breastfeed,” says Anne. “Some women don’t experience changes, however,” she adds. If that’s you, at least you’re not having to pay out for extra bras.
10 Your bump looks cool
There’s a weird stage in early pregnancy where you’re putting on weight but haven’t got the ‘pregnant’ look yet. People may think you’ve been gorging on chocolate, but you can’t tell them otherwise as you’re not at that 12-week mark yet. But that lovely round belly will come, and when it does, take advantage of your new shape.
“I love a fitted look during pregnancy,” says Vanessa Knox-Brien, co-founder of chic maternity-wear company Isabella Oliver. “There are designs that always work, such as a wrap dress you can tie under your bust for a flattering fit.”
11 You get a seat on a packed bus or train
OK, you should get a seat – it’s just not everyone is as courteous or observant as you’d like. If you want to make sure someone stands up for you, get your bump out in full view, rub it a few times with the occasional sighing noise, and you’ll get a whole load of passengers jumping to their feet.
12 You can see the dentist for free
You may not be entitled to a full Hollywood smile, but NHS dental treatment is free during pregnancy and for 12 months after you’ve given birth. To claim for dental treatment, tick a box on a form provided by the dentist or show your Exemption Certificate.
13 Your man changes (for the better)
Remember that geeky bloke who nervously asked you if you fancied a drink all those years ago? Look at him now! You get to watch your partner turning into a father, whether he’s reading to your bump or kissing your belly good night. How fabulous is that?
14 You can eat more (a bit anyway)
Sadly, the whole idea of eating for two is a myth. “You don’t need any more than the recommended calories for your weight and height until the final trimester, when you should take in an extra 200kcals per day,” says Fiona Kirk. “But if your hunger gets the better of you occasionally, don’t beat yourself up. If you get it right 80 per cent of the time, there has to be a 20 per cent window for treats – so eat it, enjoy it, forget it and move on!” Check out the yummy snacks with under 200 calories opposite.
15 You get £190 to help out
The Government has introduced a one-off pregnancy grant of £190 to help
you with the costs in the run up to your baby’s birth. You can also get an application form from your midwife or doctor. This is on top of your general 39-week Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) allowance, which most mums get. SMP is a weekly payment from your employer. For the first six weeks you’ll get at least 90 per cent of your weekly pay, and for the remaining
33 weeks you’ll get at least £123.06, or 90 per cent of your average gross earnings
if it’s less than this.