Staying fit whilst pregnant

Staying fit whilst pregnant

When it comes to pregnancy and training there are usually two main questions that we as trainers are asked. One, can I continue training whilst pregnant? And two, can it be beneficial to start some form of training or exercise? The short answers would be yes you absolutely can continue training, maybe not at the velocity and intensity that you originally were training at but you most definitely will benefit from keeping an active routine, secondly for those who aren’t regularly active it would be a great idea to prepare your bodies for the changes that your body is going to be doing over the next few months. Experts agree when you’re expecting, it’s important to keep moving: Pregnant women who exercise have less back pain, more energy, a better body image and, post-delivery a faster return to their pre-pregnancy shape.

Benefits of staying in shape during pregnancy:  

  • maintain physical fitness
  • reduce lower back pain (hello, growing tummy!)
  • manage symptoms of depression and anxiety
  • reduce stress
  • improve postpartum recovery

As stated by the NHS,

The more active and fit you are during pregnancy, the easier it will be for you to adapt to your changing shape and weight gain. It will also help you to cope with labour and get back into shape after the birth.”

Exercise is not dangerous for your baby. There is some evidence that active women are less likely to experience problems in later pregnancy and labour.

I have put together some exercises that will help you along the way of each trimester, 3 days a week as a minimum will help prepare your to body cope with the extra strain throughout each trimester.

Be sure to warm up and cool down for at least 5 minutes before and after every exercise as well as frequent stretching.

Safety tips for exercising whilst pregnant

  • Get clearance from your doctor if you’re new to exercise or you have any health conditions that may contraindicate exercise. 
  • Drink plenty of water before, during, and after exercise.
  • Wear supportive clothing such as a supportive sports bra or belly band.
  • Don’t become overheated, especially during the first trimester.
  • Avoid lying flat on your back for too long, especially during the third trimester.
  • Avoid contact sports and hot yoga.

Exercises to focus on in the first trimester of pregnancy

The first three months of pregnancy can be a wild ride of emotions. From elation and pure joy to concern, worry, and even fear as you begin to realise that you’re responsible for nourishing, growing, and keeping this tiny soon-to-be human being safe and healthy.

As long as you’re not considered a high-risk pregnancy, a well-rounded prenatal fitness routine that includes at least 150 minutes of cardiovascular activity each week and 2 to 3 days of strength training exercises that target the major muscle groups is a healthy regime.

Focus on specific exercises to help make pregnancy easier and prepare you for labour and childbirth. (although it seems an age away it is key to start preparing the body for the extra strain!) 

One key area to focus on is body awareness, preparing for changes in your posture. Exercises like pelvic tilt will help with the mobility in the spinal area and help strengthen the abdominal area


Squats strengthen all the muscles in your lower body — including the quads, glutes, and hamstrings —having strong leg muscles is a great way to protect your back, so you use your legs instead of your back when lifting.

  1. Stand in front of a couch, with your back facing. Begin with feet just wider than hip-width apart. Use the couch as a guide to ensure proper form. 
  2. Squat down like you’re about to sit down on the couch, but come back up just as your thighs start to touch it. 
  3. Make sure you take 5 seconds to go down 3 seconds to come back up. 
  4. Exhale as you squat; inhale as you stand. 
  5. Do 2 sets of 15 to 20 reps.

Pelvic tilt 

  1. Stand with your shoulders and bottom against a wall.
  2. Keep your knees relaxed.
  3. Pull your tummy button towards your spine, so that your back flattens against the wall: hold for 4 seconds then release.
  4. Repeat up to 10 times.

Pelvic tilt exercises can also be performed laying on the floor flat on your back.

Kneeling push-ups

This move targets core and upper body strengthening together.

  1. Place your knees and hands onto the ground, once you are ready to start you should engage the core and have knees, hips and shoulders all in a straight line maintaining good posture in this exercise, push up onto your hands and knees, keeping your knees behind your hips.
  2. Pull in your abs (the pelvic brace), and then slowly lower your chest toward the floor as you inhale. 
  3. Exhale as you press back up. 
  4. Start with 6 to 10 and gradually work up to 20 to 24 reps.

Bicep curls 

This simple, yet effective move is another excellent exercise to perform throughout pregnancy. Bicep curls are a key move to add to your workouts since you need to prep your arms for lifting and holding your baby. 

  1. Grab 5 to 10 pound dumbbells and stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips and your knees slightly bent.
  2. Exhale as you slowly bend your elbows, bringing the dumbbells toward your shoulders. 
  3. Inhale and slowly lower the weights back down. 
  4. Take 3 seconds to lift the dumbbells and 5 seconds to lower. 
  5. Do 2 sets of 10 to 15 repetitions.

Exercises to do in the second trimester of pregnancy

Once the reality sets in that you’re in this for the long haul, you may notice a feeling of calmness and even an increase in energy over the next several weeks. Many women say this is the trimester where they feel their best, which is why it’s an excellent time to focus on your fitness routine. On the other hand since the uterus is getting bigger, you do need to be a bit more careful with physical activity.

During the second trimester, you want to avoid any activities that involve high impact exercise that involves jumping, running, balance, or exhaustion. You also want to avoid any exercise that has you lying on your back for extended periods of time so exercise like pelvic tilts may have to be amended a little or mixing between standing and laying.

In addition to the exercises in the first trimester, consider adding some variations to your squat such as narrow squats and wide stance squats. Triceps and shoulders during this trimester. 

Incline pushups

  1. Stand facing a ledge or railing and place your hands shoulder-width apart on the surface. 
  2. Step your body back into a standing plank position with your back in a straight line. 
  3. Bend your arms and slowly lower your chest toward the railing or ledge. 
  4. Straighten your arms to return to the starting position.

Hip flexor and quadriceps stretch

Due to postural changes, the second trimester is the ideal time to develop a stretching routine that focuses on the hip flexors, quadriceps, low back, glutes, and calves.

Because of your changing centre of gravity, the belly tends to fall forward, creating shortened hip flexor muscles. This exercise allows you to safely stretch during pregnancy. 

  1. Go into a half-kneeling position on the floor. Place your right knee on the floor and your left foot in front of you, left foot flat on the floor. 
  2. Keeping your posture nice and tall, lunge toward your left foot until you feel a stretch in the front of your right hip and thigh. 
  3. Hold for 30 seconds, ease off, and then repeat 2 more times. 
  4. Switch sides and repeat.

Exercises to do in the third trimester of pregnancy

  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Prenatal yoga
  • Pilates
  • Pelvic floor exercises
  • Bodyweight moves

These help to keep your upper and lower body muscles strong.

It is important to avoid any exercise that places you at a risk for falls. Your centre of gravity is now going to be constantly changing, it’s smart to avoid exercises that could lead to a loss of balance, resulting in a fall.

Excersizes to target during the third trimester include:

  • Bodyweight squats or sumo squats with a wider stance for an increased base of support (only if you’re not experiencing pelvic pain)
  • Bicep curls with light weights
  • Push ups against a wall
  • Tricep kickbacks with light weight 
  • Standing shoulder press with light weights

Staying physically active during pregnancy is beneficial for both mum and baby. 

Including some form of exercise most days of the week will maintain a strong core always as improving it, keeping your muscles, and your cardiovascular system in good shape. Plus it can do wonders for your mental health.

Please listen to your body and stop if you feel any discomfort or pain. You should always talk with your doctor if you have any concerns or questions regarding wanting to try new things in your workout or about how your body is responding to an exercise.

Credit – James Comley – Personal trainer & Sport coach

Sex after children: The truth of the matter

Sex after children: The truth of the matter

Sex after children, the truths and realities from both sides of the fence and how to get that spark back in your relationship.

More marriages breakdown in the first 18 months after a child is born, than at any other time. It’s safe to say that sex after children or the lack of it puts extreme pressure on even the strongest of relationships. This causes relationship stress for both mums and dads!

The problem often occurs before the baby is born, during pregnancy! Couples experience a kind of euphoria and extreme closeness as they pick out nursery colours and baby names. As a couple, you fall into the belief that you’ll parent as equals and are going on this journey together. How wrong could we have been?

Birth and beyond- sex after children

The stress and chaos of birth have subsided. Both parties are on very different paths. Women are embracing being a mother. We feel that our sole purpose on this earth is to love and protect that tiny bundle that we birthed. Men are expected to provide financial and emotional support. Now, this may be harder than our men think. Fathers are the caring birth partners during antenatal. But they are unprepared for their postnatal role.

In their new role, many men are in unfamiliar territory. With huge concern about where they fit into this new family dynamic. Concerns about their partners’ lack of interest in them not only sexually but emotionally arise and this is when relationships start to break down.

Postnatal Blur…

In this postnatal blur of changing nappies, 3 hourly feeds (if you’re lucky) and sleep or the extreme lack of it, as you can imagine sex is something that for us women can take a backseat. But for a man who is no longer the center of his lovers’ life, it’s a harsh reality check!

As women, we put our children not only first but second and third and the men in our lives come a poor fourth. This is not a reflection on our wonderful long-suffering partners but more to do with a change in priorities. We mums get everything that we need from our new baby and this heightens our disinterest in sex and quickly becomes a metaphor for our disinterest in him.

How we see ourselves

Sex is complicated after children. Apart from the sheer exhaustion that we feel as new mothers, the fact our bodies no longer look or feel like they belong to us, those few extra pounds make us really self-conscious and this makes us feel anything but sexy!

All of this coupled with our overwhelming need to be the perfect mother. Never asking for help, as we see this as a weakness and pure exhaustion. Sex drive plummets to all-time lows!!

Protecting our sex lives!

Our little ones can easily suck the life out of our sex lives. It’s quite ironic when that exact act is what got them here. As parents, we need to protect our sex lives and that intimate couple time we long for.

Before their birth sex was spontaneous, exciting and plentiful. Now, it’s like booking an appointment to get your car serviced. Like that, it only happens once a year! Do not despair this is not how it has to be!

Sex after children

In order to protect this most sacred couple time, we must put some simple things in place. Ask for help, schedule a baby sitter even if it’s only once a month. Talk about anything but your children when it is just the two of you. Remember you used to talk about the news, work, friends, etc!

This is not just about sex but reconnecting with your partner, we need to stay tuned in to them so that we can take the opportunity to be intimate when it arises! But most of all we must remember that we love each other and this is the reason we want to have sex in the first place!

Finding It Difficult To Conceive? This May Help You

Finding It Difficult To Conceive? This May Help You

A survivor’s guide to how to get pregnant faster, cope with disappointment and five of the best fertility aids

It occurred to me, as I lay with my legs against the wall and pelvis lifted to better encourage fertilization; ovulation testers scattered liberally over my dressing table; that there had to be an easier way. There is nothing more unappealing than waiting for the ovulation window to be open before having soulless and unsatisfying sex as many times as possible before the window shuts again. Sex became a means to an end, a chore that had to be done to produce an end result.  Finding it difficult to conceive can lead to many frustrations for all those involved to say the least.

Reasons You Might Be Finding It Difficult to Conceive And What Could Help

Problems conceiving can take us to a very dark place indeed and according to the NHS Website affect up to 1 in 7 couples. The main problems include:-

  • A blockage in the fallopian tubes
  • Low sperm count/ sperm not moving
  • Not producing eggs
  • endometriosis (womb lining growing outside of the womb)
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease and PCOS

I was suffering with “Secondary infertility”. Having conceived easily once my ovaries had become a barren wasteland. Almost half of infertility cases fall into this category, a huge 4 million people. Every month I would convince myself that my breasts had swollen, that I tasted metal and that my period was late, so I would rush out to get a pregnancy test only to find that, yet again, I wasn’t pregnant.

So, how do you overcome problems with conceiving and move on? Practically, you can eat a healthy diet, drink less alcohol, stop smoking and exercise more. The NHS offers some great advice and a wide range of fertility treatments to help increase your sperm count, clean the lining of the womb and encourage ovulation as well as the better known IUI and IVF. 

7 Easy tips to help overcome mental blocks

The tendency to ask “Why is this happening to me?” is all consuming when we try to conceive and fail. The temptation is to fall down the rabbit hole of self pity, loss and despair. And yet, baby and toddler groups are full of women who once were told that they could not have children until their little miracle came along. I tried every fertility aid in my ever more desperate attempts to get pregnant. Here are some tips to stop you cracking up in the meantime:-

  • Be grateful for the good that you have in your life, and use the loving energy you would give to your newborn to other parts or people in your life. Helping others helps put our own problems into perspective.
  • Visualise your child with you, talk to them, reassure them and send loving thoughts to them.
  • Step away from social media if seeing endless posts of new mother’s happiness or other people’s babies is too much for you to bear.
  • Do all of the things you will not be able to do once the baby arrives – travel, play sports, volunteer, go to the theatre.
  • Do seek help, it’s better to know what you are facing than to just blindly hope for the best.
  • Consider other options such as IVF, surrogacy, fostering or even adoption.
  • Invest in and protect your relationship, you are both in it together.

Fertility Aids If You Are Finding It Difficult To Conceive

The market is saturated with products that promise to improve your chances of conception and improve fertility. Here are some of the most popular:-

  • Fertility supplements – vitamins to improve sperm flow, improve the health of your reproductive organs and more
  • Ovulation Kits – Tell you when you are at your most fertile and most likely to conceive.
  • Fertility Calendars – Help to track your most fertile times and explain when you would get a positive pregnancy test.
  • Lubricants – Can help sperm move faster and better and match your internal PH balance.
  • Old wives tales – Rosemary under the bed, honey and cinnamon, raising your legs and pelvis after ejaculation and holding a newborn.

I was lucky, I was blessed with several more children. However, I will never forget the feeling of despair and loss while I was trying to conceive. Unfortunately, some people never manage to give birth to a healthy child. Although there are alternatives, such as surrogacy, adoption and fostering; coming to terms with not being a natural mother can take years. There is help and counselling available for anyone struggling with infertility.

Pregnant In My Forties. I Couldnt Believe It.

Pregnant In My Forties. I Couldnt Believe It.

Pregnancy after forty can sometimes be difficult, complicated and frowned upon but more often than not it is a joyful and beautiful experience.

Pregnant In My Forties, And I Was Smiling Again?

Positive. Unbelievable. It couldn’t be right. I did another test and, yes, still positive. I was pregnant. It’s stupid to think “how could this happen?” because we all know how it happens, but that was my prevailing thought. I could not believe it, without trying, I was pregnant in my forties. I already had a 14 and 12-year-old at home, and I had no plans whatsoever to have any more children. It never occurred to me to consider abortion. Not once. Weirdly, at that moment and all alone, I found myself smiling. Who knows why? It was going to be chaos and throw all our lives into total disarray, but I was surprisingly happy. I focused on how I would tell my hubby (who also had two adult kids of his own). He was 47 at the time, and I knew this news would be a huge shock. I was right! He took it well and never raised the question of abortion either, although upon hearing the news, he blanched more than a little.

The Three Musketeers Always Had A Fourth Musketeer 

Telling my kids was considerably harder. They both cried. Understandable when you think that life had just been the three of us until fairly recently and suddenly everything was changing. We had always called ourselves ‘The Three Musketeers’ and adding a new baby into the mix (on top of a new hubby) threw forth feelings of jealousy, hurt and a genuine disgust that their mother was pregnant in her forties.

From Life-Changing Job to Simply Life Changing

I had always loved being pregnant, and this pregnancy was just as beautiful.  Feeling healthy, glowing and contented was something I looked forward to during this period.  However, I did have to undergo more tests than I did in my twenties and I admit to feeling a little weird hanging out in the maternity department, as I was conscious of my older age, but apart from that my experience of pregnancy was just the same as it had been all those years before. I was excited at the prospect of being a mum to a newborn again, even if it had meant turning down the fabulous new, life-changing job I had just landed.

I Thought Being Pregnant In My Forties Was The Issue

At 32 weeks pregnant, however, my waters broke and so began the tough part. I gave birth to a beautiful (and very tiny) baby boy at 33 weeks, and we proceeded to spend the next month in the Special Care Baby Unit. He was fine, just too small. It transpired that the premature birth had nothing to do with me being pregnant in my forties, but everything to do with having contracted Group Strep B, a bacterial infection (that luckily had not carried over to the baby).

Pregnant In My Forties Has Helped Bring The Family Closer

Having a baby born too soon is tough, and it was incredibly hard to manage that first month in the hospital with two other children at home. However, the big kids adjusted superbly and fell in love with this beautiful new addition to our family, going on to become extremely capable, helpful and caring older siblings. The love they all share is immense. Hubby and I adored being new parents again, and our lives were full of happiness.

Perhaps There Should Have Been Five Musketeers Anyways

Positive. It couldn’t be right. I did another test and, yes, still positive. I was pregnant in my forties…again! Within six months of giving birth, I was expecting another. I was now 42. My mother was horrified, the kids were aghast, and our friends were shocked. Hubby and I were delighted. We wanted a sibling for our baby boy, and given my age, we decided to crack on quickly. This pregnancy was much tougher as I was totally exhausted and still healing from an emergency c-section. The sheer happiness at creating this new, little family carried me through the tough moments, and this time, the pregnancy went to full-term. We met our son (not so tiny!) after a planned C-section, and he was perfect. I was 43, and his daddy was 49. It felt crazy and beautiful all at the same time.

I’m Not Going to Sugar Coat It, Being Pregnant In My Forties Was Tough

Fast forward to 2019, and our boys are almost 4 and 5-years-old. My daughter is 19 and has flown the nest and that 12-year-old boy has grown into a 6-foot 5-inch 17-year-old. Being pregnant in my forties was not the hardest part; the difference came afterwards. I did not bounce back from the births as quickly, and I did not manage the tiredness of having babies and toddlers as easily. Juggling teenagers at the same time added to the overwhelming fatigue and much of the last five years has been a roller-coaster of joy and physical exhaustion!

Wouldnt Change It For The World

At the age of 46, I consider myself supremely lucky to have had this opportunity. I never planned for it, but I am immensely grateful that life gave us these beautiful boys despite the challenges of being pregnant in my forties. Our lives are very much richer for it. However, if life surprised us one more time, I know my body could not cope and I would never want to be mistaken for the child’s grandmother! There comes a time when we have to graciously hang up our hat. I have accepted that some experiences are no longer ours to have, and instead look forward to new ones. Hubby’s kids will soon be bringing us babies of their own, and so the circle of life continues…but without the sleepless nights!

C-Section from a Father’s Perspective

C-Section from a Father’s Perspective

It is believed one in four babies in the UK are delivered by caesarean section, according to reports. But what is a c-section and what is it like from the father’s perspective when he sees his partner on the operating table right in front of his eyes? What can he expect? What are the after effects? And how can he support his partner before, during and after this major operation?

Mother’s Have a Tough Ride And Its Not Easy From A Father’s Perspective Either

When it comes to pregnancy, mothers have a tough ride – even more so when they are faced with having a major operation such as a caesarean section, or c-section.

A mother who experiences a c-section will not be taking the ‘easy way out’ from a natural birth. It is not an easy ride, take it from my perspective – a father who has seen his wife in theatre on two separate occasions to enable our two daughter’s a safe arrival into this life.

Our two girl’s both entered this world in a stressful and abrupt manor by way of a caesarean section. One was planned and one was a category 2 emergency. Both were very different experiences for us as parents to deal with.

A Planned vs Emergency C-section Are Two Very Different Scenarios

Our first was a planned c-section due to the baby being in a breech position. This is deemed the safest method of delivery under these circumstances. Having never spent any real time in a hospital environment I (and my wife), didn’t truly know what to expect. We were given an arrival slot to arrive within and were shown to a ward where she would be cared for. For us, we were the first operation of the day. I won’t bore or gore you with all the details, but the operating theatre is so quiet it almost feels dream-like. I sat beside my wife — who was clearly apprehensive, and within a matter of minutes, our fully-grown baby arrived safely in the grasp of the magicians on the operating table.

With our second, we were hoping for a natural birth, but due to having previously had a c-section, my partner was deemed high risk. A natural birth was still possible, but more monitoring was required. She became overdue and was induced. Still nothing. She was in labour for around 4 hours, but the baby’s heart rate dropped significantly, and the alarms were raised.

It Was Terrifying And I Was Paralysed With Fear

The following few minutes were the most terrified I had ever been in my life. I froze. Paralysed with fear whilst they figured out what was the best course of action. An emergency was declared, and preparations were made to whisk my wife and daughter into theatre. I was also allowed in.

Having been present for the first c-section I knew what to expect, but that was planned.  And from my perspective, both my wife and I were alot more relaxed. This was an emergency however. I could barely speak.  All I could offer was a hand to my wife. She was also petrified. Once again, the team of professionals delivered the baby safely.

A C-Section Requires A Father To Step Up

On both occasions I was given the honour of seeing our daughter first from above the protective screen. In a selfish kind of way, it was amazing to have seen them both first.

The baby is encouraged to have a skin-to-skin cuddle with the mother and you sit beside them a tad emotional at suddenly becoming responsible for a human. Things are a little blurry. In a good way.

Once the initial joy of meeting your daughter sinks in, it’s time to step up as a father because the mother is in too much pain and discomfort. Expect your partner to be extremely sleepy and in a lot of pain for the following few hours, days and weeks.

Post-Op And Emotions Running High

After both operations my wife was unable to do every-day baby-related things for around 3 weeks. Bonding was tough because she was unable to pick her up. She could not change a nappy due to the pain. This made her feel incredibly guilty and upset at not being able to. Expect to provide your partner with intense emotional support as well as well as the physical support. Expect to do absolutely everything for your baby, your partner and the house until she is back on her feet and you can begin working as a team.

Both caesarean experiences for my wife and myself were not something we both recommend. A c-section from a father’s and mother’s perspective can be seen as a birth is quick and direct. You see your baby pop-up from nowhere amongst the team of surgeons; it’s the after-effects which grab hold of the mother. The pain, the trapped wind, the peppermint capsules, mint tea, strong pain relief, inability to walk, to breathe, to sleep – utterly horrendous. She felt useless, from a husband/partner and father’s perspective you can also feel helpless.

But you do not complain because you are now a father and the rest of your life has just begun.

My Premature Baby and the SCBU – Part Two

My Premature Baby and the SCBU – Part Two

My baby was born at 33 weeks, and for the next month, home was the Special Care Baby Unit

Beeps Still Remind Me Of My Premature Baby Experience

The Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) is, indeed, a special place. When your baby is born too soon, and you need to check-in and stay a-while, you must learn to live in what can only be described as a bubble. The outside world seems so far away, behind the double swing doors, security cameras and buzzers and, of course, the bleep, bleep bleeping of machines that are monitoring your tiny, precious babies 24/7. It’s a strangely quiet place, apart from the beeps, running water (everyone is constantly hand-washing), and the whispering voices of nurses, doctors and families going about doing everything they can for these tiny, helpless babies.

He Was Just So Tiny

Our baby checked in 6 minutes after being born, which is quicker than any top hotel can get you a bed. When I first saw him, I was shocked by just how minuscule and fragile he was. I had been under general anaesthetic during the birth, so seeing him all wired up and in a sealed incubator, save the hand holes, was tough. The machines were, indeed, beeping, and he was in a room all alone. No other babies – just him. He sported only a nappy that looked ridiculously too big, and I worried that he might be cold. It’s mad what runs through your mind in the middle of a family crisis.

My Premature Baby Needed To Be Resuscitated Three Times

I learnt that this room was a holding room – the place where the babies came straight after delivery. It was here that the tests were taking place, assessments being done, and decisions being made. It was here where my panic set in. Would he be ok? Had he suffered any lasting damage? Would he even survive? He had already been resuscitated three times. I felt clueless, helpless and terrified. I was at the mercy of the SCBU nurses and hubby and I were powerless. We couldn’t even hold our son as it deprives the baby of much-needed energy. We could touch him through the holes. That was it.

All That Mattered Was My Premature Baby

Those first 36 hours were simply awful. No real news of how things were going to pan out, just lots of touching through holes and worrying. We did get to hold him after 24 hours for a brief skin-to-skin session, which was the most wonderful feeling. The emotion of that moment was overwhelming. I was still hooked up to a drip, could hardly walk and felt physically battered but when you have a child who is very vulnerable and whom you need to fight for, it’s incredible how you can muster up a ton of resilience.

I Found My Inner Super Hero 

We were powerless in terms of decision making, but I was very much in demand. The baby needed milk, and I was the only one who had it! So, I discovered the joys of expressing with hospital-grade electric machines while hooked up to a mobile drip (I can’t even remember what that was for) and being injected by midwives every few hours with something or another that I needed. It was a tough job, but I put on my virtual super-hero cape and got down to business. I cried a lot while doing it and I felt like a cow but wanted to be by my son’s side – not in this little room all by myself.

I Needed To Take A Break For My Premature Baby

After what seemed like hours in there on the third day, I snapped. The drip was gone, but the jabs were still happening, and I couldn’t cope any more.  Hubby packed up my room on the labour ward, and I checked out of Hotel Hospital. I went home (I hadn’t been there in a week) and spent an hour with my other two children. I showered, put proper clothes on and some make-up. By this point, I’d so overdone the walking around that I couldn’t walk anymore. We went back to the hospital, and a wheelchair was required. Those corridors are very long!

I Was Ready To Switch Gears

From this moment on, I was back to being strong and calm. I did what I had to do over the next month. Life also became a little easier when our boy had been moved to the baby room with other little survivors. I became the queen of double-pumping, and with the help of my mum, hubby, a brilliant local taxi-driver and some good mates I was able to juggle two kids at home and a baby in SCBU.

My Premature Baby Couldnt Feed

He wasn’t going to die and there was no lasting damage. He just needed to grow. At 33 weeks, babies do not have the sucking reflex and so he was fed via gastric tube. We learnt how to feed him this way, how to take care of all his needs and how to bathe him. The nurses were incredible, and we owe them everything.

The SCBU Did Not Let Me Leave

If you want to check out of a hotel, you can just go. Checking out of SCBU is harder. The baby needs to feed on the breast or bottle and be a certain weight. If you don’t tick these boxes, you don’t get to leave. My boy would not breast-feed. I tried and tried – so I was doomed to months ahead of expressing like a cow, almost hourly at first. It was not easy, but it was all worth it. Over the years, he grew into a super big boy with no health worries at all. We feel very blessed.

One month, minus one day, after his traumatic entry into the world, the three of us left the hospital.

It was one of the best days of my life.


  • My Premature Baby – Part One Here.
  • The Realities of a C-Section from a Father’s Eye Here.

My Premature Baby at 41 years young – Part One

My Premature Baby at 41 years young – Part One

Being pregnant at 41 was enough of a shock let alone giving birth prematurely to the tiniest human I had ever seen.

Having A Premature Baby At 32 Weeks

Being pregnant at 41 was enough of a shock let alone giving birth prematurely to the tiniest human I had ever seen.

When my waters hit the kitchen floor it was just gone midnight. It wasn’t really so much of a ‘hit’ but, rather, a bit of an unexciting trickle. Ordinarily I’d have been happy at the sign that my baby’s arrival was imminent, but not this time. I was 32 weeks pregnant and my heart sank as I was about to give birth to a premature baby.

Time For A Cup Of Tea

I stood alone for a while and then made a cup of tea. I knew life was about to get crazy and I needed that quiet time to build my inner strength. It took me 20 minutes to get my head ready for what was about to happen.

Until this point, my third pregnancy had been uneventful except for the fact that it was 12 years since I’d last given birth and this baby was totally unplanned. I was now considered a ‘geriatric mother” (a delightful term for anyone over the age of 35). At 32 weeks pregnant, I still had the ‘glow’, shiny hair and lovely skin and I hadn’t even thought about nesting. There was shopping left to do and I was not in the slightest bit ready or organised to give birth.

Not being ready was merely an inconvenience. It didn’t really matter. What mattered was 32 weeks was way too early. At 32 weeks pregnant your baby is simply not ‘cooked’ enough and this midnight event, in the kitchen, was not good news.

Time To Get This Premature Baby Delivered?

I woke up hubby and the two kids who were, sensibly, fast asleep. We dressed and went straight to hospital. I walked into that hospital a radiant, confident and strong woman and walked out, a week later, a little bit broken.

The hospital staff took great care of me, very quickly, upon our arrival. I had steroid jabs in each thigh quicker than you could utter the words ‘premature baby lungs’, and everything was tinged with urgency. The delivery room was busy with people in white coats and I didn’t really know what was going on. As it transpired, nothing was going on. No labour. No baby.

It stayed that way for the next 4 nights. The policy was to do everything possible to keep the baby in. When the baby’s heartbeat started running way too fast for much too long and my temperature rocketed, that policy soon changed from ‘keep the baby in’ to ‘get the baby out’ and…quickly.

My Premature Baby Had To Be Resuscitated Three Times

The panic started, the room filled up and then we were on the move. Almost immediately, the noise stopped, and the bright lights went out.

I can tell you that I had an anaphylactic shock from one of the intravenous antibiotics used to reduce my temperature. An emergency c-section, under general anaesthetic, ensued in order to save my baby. He was born ‘flat’ and resuscitated three times before being admitted into SCBU (Special Care Baby Unit). I was out of it and missed the whole thing.

I Felt Detached 

When I woke up from the anaesthetic, hubby told me we had a beautiful boy and that he was in an incubator just next door. It took me 6 hours to go and see him. I have no idea why, as I felt all over the place.  The pain was incredible and I was also exhausted. I drank lots of tea, my very British answer to all personal trauma which also included having to express colostrum for a baby I hadn’t yet met…I felt detached. Also, as a side-note, it’s really hard to express colostrum. You have to do it with your fingers, and it takes ages. No one tells you any of this. It was the first of many new experiences to come my way.

Those feelings of detachment went away quickly but I still didn’t feel that same instant rush of love I did when I delivered (awake and naturally) my other two babies. When I saw him for the first time, I was only allowed to wiggle my fingers through the incubator holes. He was so tiny, and he was wired up to machines. I knew he was mine (because he was really dark, like hubby) but I didn’t feel like he was mine.

Every Premature Baby Deserves A Cape

But then came the moment that changed everything.

Skin-to-skin. A joyous moment of holding and feeling your baby (held like a kangaroo in a pouch) for the first time. It was then that I felt like his mummy, like fighting for him and was overcome with total and immense love. 24 hours after giving birth, I held my premature baby for the first time.

Welcome to the world my tiny, super-survivor baby. You already deserve a cape.  Read part two of my story here.