Seven things you should do NOW before giving birth – from booking a babymoon to packing your hospital bag | The Sun

IT'S one of the most exciting times in life. But it can also be one of the most daunting. 

You've found out you're pregnant, and now you've got just a few months to adjust to welcoming a tiny human into the world.

So, where to start?

From telling your employer to prepping the nursery and packing the all-important hospital bag, there's plenty to think about.

Here's seven key things to do before you give birth and embark on your new life as a mum…

GET SOME SLEEP (WHILE YOU CAN!)

You'll no doubt be feeling tired, particularly if you're in the first or third trimester, and may be battling nausea or morning sickness. So getting rest is vital. 

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One of the key items you'll want to buy is a pregnancy pillow for when your hips start aching in the night.

The NHS warns: "During pregnancy, the support for your pelvic joints and spine in particular will be affected due to the hormonal changes in your ligaments and muscles which surround your pelvis, lower spine and weight bearing joints such as your hips and knees.

"Pregnant women can safely sleep or rest in any position in the early weeks of pregnancy but after 19 weeks should limit lying on your back for only short periods of time.

"Use pillows between your legs, underneath the lower knee, behind your back or through the gap in your waist to keep you well supported and straight."

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Bbhugme pregnancy pillow is expensive but is well worth the investment. Buy it early so you can get the maximum amount of use out of it.

For a cheaper alternative, the Hippychick Pillow can double up as a breastfeeding support after you've given birth.

Tight on budget? Prop a normal pillow between your knees and lay on your side. It will elevate your hips and help ease any aches. While it's not quite as comfy as a specially-designed pregnancy pillow, it will still do the trick. 

Another thing to buy early is comfier clothes to help with the expanding waistline. While you may not want to throw money at a new maternity wardrobe – there are some pieces you'll want to invest in. 

Loungewear is a must.

Make like Lucy Mecklenburgh, who has been spotted on her Instagram sporting chic sets from affordable brand Chelsea Peers. From bright zebra prints to cool co-ords, there's something to suit all tastes – and the button-up pj sets are perfect for nursing and breastfeeding once your little one arrives.

You'll also want a decent pair of stretchy leggings. Mums rave about Natal Active Maternity Leggings which have a built-in bump panel, to provide support to your bump, back and hips as your baby grows.


TELL YOUR EMPLOYER

Telling your employer you are pregnant may leave you feeling nervous and anxious, but it's important to remember there are systems in place to support you.

The latest you must tell your employer you are pregnant is 15 weeks before the beginning of the week of the due date.

You are entitled to take up to 52 weeks maternity leave – but you do not have to take it all if you do not wish. Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) is paid for up to 39 weeks. 

To work out when to tell your employer, you can use the Government's handy calculator: https://www.gov.uk/maternity-paternity-pay-leave

You are also entitled to paid time off to attend antenatal appointments. We've compiled a handy guide to hospital tests and scans so you know what to expect.

VISIT THE DENTIST

One of the more little known aspects of pregnancy is how it affects your teeth.

Some women can suffer from Pregnancy Gingivitis as hormonal changes make your gums more vulnerable to plaque. You may find you suffer with more inflammation and bleeding and over time this can lead to receding gums.

To try and minimise this, Dr Mervyn Druian, of the London Centre for Cosmetic Dentistry, suggests regular visits to your dentist and hygienist (try for every 3 to 6 months).

You should also try to avoid sugar cravings and use a mouth rinse and fluoride toothpaste. Dr Druian also recommends using an electric toothbrush with a sensitivity warning, like the Oral B Pro3 (from Boots or Amazon) which boasts 5 smart modes including 'sensitive' and 'gum care' and uses a smart pressure sensor which flashes red if you brush too hard.

If you are suffering from morning sickness, the NHS advises you don’t brush your teeth until an hour after vomiting. Instead, rinse your mouth with plain water after you are sick to help prevent the acid damaging your teeth.

Teeth whitening and treatments involving X-Rays are not advised while you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

The good news is that dental care is free during pregnancy and for one year after your due date.

You can speak to your midwife about this and will receive a Maternity Exemption form.

PAMPER YOURSELF

Now is the time for some serious 'me time'.

Book that beauty treatment, buy the luxury toiletries – you should be looking out for you and your precious cargo. 

Love Island star Olivia Bowen treated herself to a 'Mum On The Glow' Pregnancy Facial while pregnant with her little boy Abel.

Meanwhile, there's a host of seriously decent mum-to-be products on the market which will help take away some of the stress. 

Mama Mio tummy butter is super thick and absorbent for that expanding tum, while Kit & Kin stretch mark oil smells divine and uses a blend of 15 oils to keep skin supple.

Mum&You restorative bust cream will help keep your boobs bouncy before and after birth, while Science of Skin Stretch Mark Defence is an easy aerosol application to keep lines at bay.

If you're having a baby shower, you might want to pop an Oh Mumma subscription to your wishlist – the 'Mumma-to-be Box' contains little luxuries to pep you up including rosehip facial oil and a self-heating eye mask.

Want to seriously luxe out? Book a babymoon for you and your partner to have some quality time before bubba arrives.

You could even combine it with a spa package, like Down Hall Spa in Essex where you can stay overnight and indulge in a relaxing pregnancy massage delivered by professionally-trained therapists to ease your specific aches and pains.


PACK YOUR HOSPITAL BAG

It's all feeling quite real now isn't it?

Packing the hospital bag can seem overwhelming to begin with – but experts say it's all about breaking it down into sections.

A bag for you and a bag for baby. 

A big, roomy holdall like the Jem and Bea Eco Edie holdall is a decent size and has a multitude of pockets – perfect for stashing all the bits and bobs you'll want to hand. Or if you prefer a rucksack-style, the Babymel George Bag is big enough for essentials – and can be used as an on-the-go changing bag once baby is here.

Finnson make some gorgeous and sustainable pouch bags – pop your hair ties, jewellery and valuables in one and to keep them safe inside your hospital bag.

For essential toiletries, My Expert Midwife's pre-packed Hospital Bag Set is a handy starting point – the Spritz for Bits was shortlisted in the Mother & Baby Awards 2022 and provides instant relief after birth.


Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads, Nipple Cream and the Cold & Warm Post-Birth Relief Pad will also provide relief in the hours after labour. 

You'll also want some comfy pjs, a nursing nightie, dressing gown and slippers.

The Happiest Baby loungeset is made from super soft, stretchy fabric so is comfortable and can be worn while pregnant, during birth and afterwards too. 

Lesley Gilchrist, registered midwife and co-founder of My Expert Midwife, says: “Have your hospital bag packed and ready from 36 weeks. 

"Knowing what to pack may seem overwhelming but breaking it down into different sections might help ensure you’ve thought of everything.

"Most women pack what they will need for a 24-hour stay in hospital but it can be useful and reassuring to keep a separate bag with extra clothing, underwear and items like pads and nappies ready in case you have an extended hospital stay.

"In baby's bag, you'll need to pack their first outfit – a sleepsuit plus a hat and cardigan. Plus bring extra bodysuits and babygrows for the coming hours."

Also be sure to take newborn nappies and water wipes – Pampers, Hello Bello and Rascal + Friends are among many of the leading brands – as well as a couple of muslins and a baby blanket to wrap your little bundle in.

And Ms Gilchrist adds: "Don’t forget your baby’s car seat as you’ll need it when you all go home!”

FEEDING YOUR LITTLE ONE

Feeling prepared will help take the stress out of some of the bleary-eyed early newborn days.

Depending on whether you plan to breast or bottle feed – or combine the two – there's plenty you can do in advance to make life easier for those first few weeks.

If you want to breastfeed, invest in a decent pump like the Elvie 'smart' breast pump which is ultra-quiet and can slip in your bra. If you prefer a handheld pump, Nuby and Tommee Tippee both offer a good range with plenty of accessories to make your life easier.

You'll also want to invest in an electric steriliser and, if you can stretch the budget, a Perfect Prep Machine will pay dividends during those night feeds. 


PREP FOR NEWBORN LIFE

You've packed your hospital bag, you've decorated the nursery, now you are in full 'nesting' mode and are counting down the days until your new arrival. But what other last minute preparations can you do to make life that little bit easier when your new bundle of joy arrives?

One top tip is to prepare some 'baskets' full of nappies and essentials to leave them dotted in key rooms around the house.

The Ickle Bubba organisation bundle is nifty and full of storage compartments – allowing you to fill it with muslins, creams, bottles and feeding essentials so you don't have to leave the sofa when little one needs you.

Mums also suggest batch booking meals and popping them in the freezer so you have some ready-made dinners on hand for those busy first few weeks when cooking will be the last thing on your mind.

And don't forget to stock up on some essentials for yourself for post-birth. The Rock Me Momma Signature Birth Recovery Box has everything you'll need to help you recover from labour – from ice packs and cooling mist to maternity pads and reusable breast pads.

Meanwhile the Mama Hug Arrival Survival hamper is a real-life hug in a box – from luxury bath soak to 'Bottoms Up Spray' and flapjack snacks, it will bring a little bit of pure joy when you're sore and tired.

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