Pregnancy and labour tips

Top tips to help you through your pregnancy and labour, brought to you by pregnant women and mums who've been there...

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Rest before birth

“You need to rest up before the due date if you can. The first few weeks with baby, plus recovering from the birth, can be trying” – Jojo, 36, mum to Jack, 2 weeks

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Sleep as much as you can

“Get enough sleep before your baby’s born. I remember being nine months pregnant with twins, running up and down with a hoover. As soon as the baby’s born you’ll wish you’d slept before” – Jenny, 37, mum to twins Oliver and Ben, 3

Read up, read up

“I wish I’d spent less time planning for the labour and more time thinking about how I was going to care for the baby after he arrived! So read up on things while you’re pregnant – you’ll be too tired to take anything in afterwards. And read a few different books to get a feel for different approaches and think about which might suit you – otherwise you’ll just get confused by all the conflicting advice!” – Catherine, 34, mum to Joe, 4 and Elsie, 2

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

“I thought it was normal to be exhausted when looking after a toddler while pregnant – getting through some days felt like wading through treacle. But when I was diagnosed with anaemia at my midwife appointment, I realised I might have been suffering unnecessarily. It’s always worth seeing a health carer if you feel like you can’t cope – there might be a simple solution” – Sara*

Remember why it’s all worth it

“Whatever symptoms you are suffering – be it morning sickness, backache, piles, hormonal rages, remember – it is temporary. Sometimes it’s hard to believe it will ever end, but you do need to get back to normal, physically and mentally! So just enjoy that special pregnancy feeling – it is indescribable and an amazing experience” – Georgina, 37, mum to Saskia, 10 months

Bond with your bump

“Take time out to bond with your bump each day. Rubbing massage oil over your tummy will really help you to feel closer to your unborn baby – she might even respond to your touch – and it keeps your skin in great condition, too” – Suzanne, 28, mum to Archie, 4 months

Priceless pillows

“If you are pregnant with twins, you cannot have enough pillows. I had to kick my husband John out of bed to make room for the mountain of pillows I needed to get comfortable at night! It’s definitely worth investing in a good pregnancy pillow that you can use for feeding after the birth too.” – Elana – Louche, 25, mum to Frankie , 2 and twins Lola and Zed, 4 months

“I’ve recently started having trouble sleeping as my back has been aching, making it too uncomfortable to lie on my side. The Summer Infant Ultimate Comfort Body Pillow (£39.99 from Argos) has made such a huge difference. It supports and keeps me on my left side, while the pillow between my knees is great for easing the pain. I can now get a good night’s sleep. Bliss!” – Amy, 24, from London, 25 weeks pregnant

Remember YOU

“Try to have lots of ‘me time’ during your pregnancy. Once your baby arrives, as delightful as this will be, you won’t get the chance to do things for yourself. So take this opportunity to focus on your own needs: read a book you’ve always wanted to read or go and visit a friend you haven’t seen for ages – just take time out for yourself” – Tess, 32, mum to Malachy, 5 months

Online buys for maternity wear

“Don’t buy brand new maternity clothes. They can cost a fortune and will only get worn for a very short time. Have a look online at eBay instead, where you’ll find some gorgeous maternity pieces at a fraction of the cost” – Evelyn, 38, mum to Isobel, 11 months

You’re not alone

“When I first found out I was pregnant I was excited, but I was also scared and wondered whether I’d made a big mistake. I worried that it meant I wasn’t going to be a good mum, but I now know that all women feel the same!” – Rachel, 30, mum to Emily, 8 months

Keep moving

“Try to do a bit of light exercise every day. It gave me much more energy and I felt sexy, in control of my body and more prepared for labour” – Catherine, 34, mum to Joe, 4 and Elsie, 2

Antenatal classes are there to help

“I really recommend going to NCT antenatal classes to get an understanding of exactly what happens during labour – great for expelling the fear of the unknown! Also, your antenatal group can be a great lifeline, as everyone is going through the same life-changing experience. Without their support I think I would have been a lot more worried. I still meet my group to discuss what our babies are up to!” – Ros, mum to Charlie, 7 months

Take it easy after a C-Sect

“If you’ve had a caesarean section, take your midwife’s advice and take things easy. I thought I was fine so went off to the shops two days later. I ended up sitting on a bench in pain. You may feel ok, but don’t forget you’ve just had surgery – it’s natural to give yourself time” – Kat, 26, mum to Pip, 3 and Sarah, 3 months

After birth recovery

“It’s easy to be so concerned about getting through labour that you don’t think past it. But I wish I’d read up on tips for recovery, and what’s normal in terms of what’s happened to your body. No-one tells you how it takes almost as much time to look after yourself in those first couple of weeks as it does to look after your new baby” – Sara*

Common constipation

“If you’ve had a caesarean section, drink Fybogel to aid your recovery. It really helps when you have your first bowel movement and stops you getting constipated, which is very common” – Elana, 25, mum to Frankie, 2 and Lola and Zed, 10 months

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