My second trimester had its own quirks, but all in all was pretty bearable. Now, well into my third trimester, I have developed some coping strategies and collected a few simple tools that I’ve found handy when facing this new frontier.
This list of 13 budget-friendly things are helping me get through the weird changes to my body and helping me prepare for the baby, but I’m not there yet! With three weeks to go until my due date, please let me know in the comments if there is anything that you did or used to get you through those final weeks and ready for the new arrival.
I was expecting to be big and uncomfortable by now, but there were a few things I did not anticipate. These items have gotten me through.
- A piece of card
From two weeks into my third trimester I was plagued with intense, all-consuming hot flushes. At home I can crank up the air conditioning and peel off some layers, despite my husband’s protestations that the room is already ‘freezing’. At work though, or anywhere where the environment is less under my control, I keep a tatty piece of card in my bag wherever I go, and waft away as necessary. Simple, but the best relief I can find.
- Primperan and soda water
NO-ONE TOLD ME THE NAUSEA WOULD COME BACK. Sorry to shout, but this was another surprise for me. As I emerged from the first trimester I was ready for a myriad of new symptoms to hit me, but I thought my nausea days could now be confined to memory. About the same time as I got the hot flushes, the nausea made an unwelcome return too.
My obstetrician suggested Primperan (6AED for 22 tablets), which does go some way to help during the worst spots, speak to your doctor if you are suffering. For a quick fix, I find cold soda water seems to help for some reason, so I keep a stash at work and home.
Despite all the healthy choices I’ve made in terms of staying active throughout my pregnancy, I haven’t always made the best choices when it comes to eating. I have become obsessed with sweet foods, regularly choosing them over what’s good despite my guilty conscience.
Getting a blender has been the single best thing I’ve done in terms of actively contributing to my nutrition throughout pregnancy. Even when I can’t be perfect, I can at least ensure I’m having something fresh and nutritious to take with me to work each day.
All the advice is to keep active, and the bigger I get the more challenging it becomes. The easiest way I’ve found is to simply keep moving – and my Fitbit helped me benchmark how much I was doing that. It helped me track against my friends and aim for a healthy average of 10,000 steps per day. It also has a handy silent alarm, good to set a subtle reminder to do those all important PF excercises.
Sorting a Maternity Wardrobe
I tried to wedge myself into my old clothes as long as I could, but bit by bit, I was forced to accept that there was very little of my old wardrobe that would support me comfortably all the way to term.
- Work out gear
If you read my last blog, you will know that exercise has been a big part of my pregnancy , helping feeling a little bit more in control. Instead of buying expensive maternity kit, I opted for some yoga tops and pants from Matalan which are extra-long and body hugging but with extra give along the stomach area – perfect for a growing belly. Velcro shoes have been great to avoid uncomfortable lace tying, I picked some up from the supermarket for just 70AED.
- Bra back extenders
I hit Marks and Spencer around the 22 week mark to get fitted and purchase some wireless bras. Thought I was kitted out for the rest of my term, but to my horror I found that my ribs started to spread and whilst the cups still fitted, the back became tight very quickly.
Back to ‘Markses’ I went, expecting to spend another small fortune to get new bras, when I remembered they sold these nifty little gadgets, costing 40AED for a pack of three, allowing my existing collection be modified to fit my broader back.
- Payless shoes
Speaking of expanding anatomy, the next surprise was the growth in my feet. I’m not just taking about the swelling here. They’ve actually grown length ways too! After another long period of denial, I finally got myself down to the mall and hit Payless, which seems to have an eternal sale on, where all items are always 75AED.
I read that the spreading of the bones, caused by the hormone relaxin, may mean that my feet could potentially always be that little bit bigger. However, ever the optimist, I just got myself a bigger size my nude and black basic flats. These will see me through work and play until this all blows over and see if I can squeeze back into my old collection.
- Day to day wear
I find my shape hard to buy for at the best of times so have always regarded online clothes shopping with an air of distrust and suspicion. However unless I wanted to pay Destination Maternity prices I was left with little choice, so I found a dress that looked like it would suit even the most oddly shaped potato for the equivalent of about 50 AED, and ordered it in four colours. These were all plain, block colours that could be accessorised in many ways. eBay doesn’t usually deliver to the UAE, but when I have friends visiting from other countries I tend to get it delivered to their home and ask them to bring my orders with them.
I added a stretchy black pencil skirt and a few work tops from BabyShop, and a couple of other more dress shapes with patterns from there and from the Mothercare sale, which all in all formed a decent capsule wardrobe.
Preparing the House
For us, things got real when the doctor switched the ultrasound to 3d at the 33 week mark, and we saw our baby’s face for the first time. Not long after that we were both spurred into action, preparing and acquiring things.
The greatest resource, for many reasons, but not least because if your friends are as nice as mine they might help you out with discounted or even free hand-me-downs. We picked up a Bugaboo pram that had dutifully carried our friends’ two children and was being retired for a good price, and we were lucky to have been given a few bits of clothes, blankets and even a Moses basket and a baby monitor.
My girlfriends were also kind enough to gift us with cash during my baby shower in lieu of gifts, which really helped us afford all the bits and pieces we need. Also, advice from people who were parents already saved us a fortune, telling us what we should invest in and what we shouldn’t even bother with.
Everything not mentioned above, we got second-hand through other channels. We got a wardrobe, cot, changing table, Graco Swing chair, MaxiCosi baby carrier and bath all pre-loved; either from Dubizzle or one of the numerous selling groups on Facebook such as Abu Dhabi Market Place and Abu Dhabi Flea Market.
Getting Mentally Prepared
No surprises in me telling you that Google is an expectant parent’s best friend. As long as you’re using reliable sources (hello, NHS Online) and not scaring yourself to death reading forums and other unsubstantiated websites, every question that pops into your head can be answered as quickly as you thought it.
- Hypnobirthing eBook
In lieu of hypnobirthing classes (which I found to be in the four figure region, dirhams wise), I downloaded the Katherine Graves book from Kindle for about 30AED. Perhaps the classes would have been a little more persuasive, as the jury is still out on the techniques in my mind, but for a saving of well over a thousand dirhams, the few tips and reassurances I did get out of it were better than nothing.
- Facebook community groups
As well as shopping groups, I also found some great groups and mothers’ networks on Facebook, such as Informed Pregnancy and Birth UAE, and Bumps and Babes Abu Dhabi, that allowed me to ask questions about facilities and processes specific to this region, where information can sometimes be less available.
This led to someone suggesting me to check out the Hala Baby program at Brightpoint. There’s no information I could find online, but a quick call helped me find out about these free one-on-one education sessions with a nurse, which meant I could save hundreds of dirhams on ante-natal classes. Make sure you check out your own delivering hospital to see if they offer similar programs, I believe many of them do.
Expecting, or been through this before? Let me know your top tips in the comments below. I look forward to hearing from you.