Your pregnancy social life sorted

Having a bump doesn’t have to mean you have to stay home every Friday night. Here’s how you can catch up on some giggles with the girls and still look after yourself...

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Avoid junk food in your pregnancy

Clubbing the night away is probably not on your must-do list now you’re expecting, but did you plan to be home alone? We bet not! Still, it’s likely the symptoms of pregnancy, from exhaustion to backache, to name but a few, have led you to seek alternative choices of entertainment other than shots for last orders on a Saturday night.

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“Socialising doesn’t have to mean staying out all night in a bar. Sharing a gentle walk in the park or having a girlie lunch with friends is a great way to enjoy yourself,” says maternity nurse Margarita Atieh (wwwmargaritaatieh.com).Finding different ways to have an enjoyable night out with your partner, friends or family needn’t be as difficult as you think. Here’s how to cope when you’re craving company…

 A night down the pub   

Watching people getting drunk when you’re sober can be dull. And standing at a packed bar doesn’t do those swollen ankles any favours either.

If you want the atmosphere of your favourite watering hole, then change the timetable. Pubs are open all day, so you could go for lunch. Or try a special club like the Mummy Me Time club run by Renaissance Pubs in London (www.renaissancepubs.co.uk), where you can enjoy drinks and lunch, along with talks on subjects like DIY, or how to be a mumpreneur. Check to see if your local pub has a babies and bumps coffee morning. Celebrity DJ and dad to Noah, 2, Chris Evans, runs them in his Surrey pub, The Mulberry Inn (www.evanspubs.com).

Coffee mornings may become your new night out, but if you do want to head out in the evening, try to find somewhere where you know you’ll get a table, to save you having to stand all night. Better still; find a bar with table service. 

A good boogie

Dancing can be a little uncomfortable in the latter stages of pregnancy, but don’t let that stop you before then. Ok, so all-night raves may be out, but you can still go to a club. Just be aware of how you’re feeling and the crowd size.

“Dancing during pregnancy can be a safe way to exercise and have fun,” says Margarita. “Many women dance throughout their first trimester. Cut down in the last 3 months of pregnancy though, especially the more energetic moves. If you fall do get checked by your GP.”

Driving to the venue can save a struggle at the end of the evening. “As I’m not drinking, I drive everywhere, so if my feet hurt from dancing I can just jump in the car and get home,” says Ciara Pouncett from North London, who’s 33 weeks pregnant. If you can’t face dancing when you’re pregnant why not go and watch other people? You could take in a burlesque show from the comfort of a theatre chair. To find out more go to www.burlesquewomensinstitute.com.

A girly chat

Gossip doesn’t stop just because you’ve got a bump. Your condition may alter how many girly nights out you can have, but not how much fun they can be… it just takes a bit of compromise.

Do you love a quiz as much as you love food? Mix the two with good company at a Giraffe family restaurant. The popular restaurant chain holds quiz events throughout the UK. Go to www.giraffe.net for details. Another option for a mum-to-be is a trip to the cinema, and then out for a bite to eat afterwards. But if you’re not feeling up to a night out, try a pampering night in– at home or at a friend’s house. A make-up party with www.vieathome.co.uk could be a fun way to relax with your friends.

A meal out

Eating out can be tricky when you’re pregnant – you have to be more aware of what you can and can’t eat. Make life easier for yourself by keeping a note on your mobile of what food you should avoid, and don’t let your modified menu curtail your love of fine dining.

Dining out earlier can help with pregnancy tiredness. Check out your local restaurants as this’ll cut down on journey time, especially if you’re the designated driver. Also, make sure you tell the waiter how you want your food cooked.

If you’re more comfy eating in try a dinner party exchange over a few nights on a set budget à la Come Dine With Me? Check out some quick recipes at www.bbcgoodfood.com.

What’s going on inside your bump when…

You’re dancing

“A good boogie, provided you’re feeling comfortable, is good for you and your baby. If you’re dancing, you’re probably enjoying yourself. The baby can be affected by the release of fright or flight hormone cortisol, so it’s fair to assume that whatever happy hormones you’re enjoying, the baby will be to,” says clinical hypnotherapist and doula Lucy Symons, (www.lucysymons.squarespace.com). Watch out for rock concerts, though, “Studies show that constant loud noise, e.g. going to rock concerts regularly when pregnant, may affect your baby’s hearing,” says fertility and pregnancy expert Zita West. (www.zitawest.com)

You’re eating

“Junk food should be eaten in moderation. Be aware that you and your baby need certain key nutrients that won’t be found in most junk food. It’s vital that women don’t try to diet in pregnancy. The outcome for babies of mums who follow severe calorie restriction is poor and can affect their health for life,” says Pampers Village Parenting fitness and nutrition expert, Laura Williams.

Mums’ stories

“Having the right kind of friends helps, especially if they embrace your condition. This makes a night out easier in the pub,”

Laura Haughey, 37, from Belfast, 28 weeks pregnant

“One restaurant was very sensitive about what I could eat, but I had to send some pork back once. Don’t be afraid to, it’s you paying!”

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Nicola Fanthorpe-Clancy, 33, from Tring, 35 weeks pregnant

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