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Skye Ross: Third Trimester and Glowing!

When I found out I was pregnant, my mind raced, and it wasn’t long before I was thinking about Skye. Having announced her pregnancy just a month before I found discovered mine, I calmed myself in knowing I had a friend in this journey.

I couldn’t wait to tell Skye, and surprised her with my news over peanut butter and chocolate smoothies. I was only 6 weeks pregnant, so being able to compare notes and ask questions was invaluable. If it wasn’t for Skye, I probably wouldn’t have got onto finding a midwife so quickly, and thankfully found one that I love.

I hope that you will also love comparing notes with Skye. Due in February, Skye’s maternity fashion is already getting me excited to dress the little bump, make sure to follow her at @skye_ross_ (her baby bump is JUST perfection!

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A post shared by Skye Marree Ross (@skye_ross_) on

Skye, you look more and more divine every time I see you, how are you feeling now?

You’re too kind! I feel great, thank you.

I had morning sickness from 8 weeks until 16 (spewing every morning, such fun!) but since then I’ve felt wonderful and have loved being pregnant.

I had amazing energy through the second trimester which I embraced as much as possible and I’m hoping will continue throughout the third!

I can’t tell you how grateful I am that you are pregnant too, just a few months ahead of me. Had you and Mark been trying long before conceiving, and did you both find this journey quite straight-forward?

I’m so excited that we’re on this journey together, girl! You’re going to be the most wonderful mum.

Mark and I decided that I would go off the pill around September last year and thought “we’ll see what happens”.

So, our little babe was planned but was also a beautiful surprise when we found out we were pregnant eight months later. We like to say we were trying-but-not-trying if that makes sense ha ha. If we didn’t get pregnant we would have started properly ‘trying’ at the end of this year. We feel so incredibly grateful for a straightforward journey to pregnancy.

 

Where and how did you find out, and how far along were you?

It was a couple of days before Queen’s Birthday weekend and my period was late so I took a pregnancy test – without Mark knowing – but it was negative.

Then we went away for the weekend and I took another test on the Monday as my period still hadn’t come. Again, negative.

I don’t know why but I just had a feeling that I was pregnant so I waited another couple of days and took another test first thing in the morning on the Wednesday.

Lo and behold, there was TWO lines! I was so excited and according to my LMP (last menstrual period) I should have been five weeks but it turns out I’d ovulated late so was actually between 3-4 weeks which was determined by my HCG levels through the doctor.

 

How did you tell Mark, and when did you start telling others?

As soon as I saw those two lines on the stick I knew exactly how I wanted to tell Mark, especially as he had no idea I was even taking tests! I went out and bought a pair of Retro Jordan 3 basketball shoes in baby size which are the same as the ones he’d purchased a couple of weeks prior! I surprised him that night with the shoes and the positive test.

We spent a few days just enjoying the news ourselves and then told our mums and sisters. We wanted to wait until we had the all clear at the 12 week scan to tell wider family and friends. It was hard keeping it a secret but it made for very exciting announcements!

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It’s happening! Our darling Baby Bambi, we can’t wait to meet you in Feb ♥️

A post shared by Skye Marree Ross (@skye_ross_) on

 

What has been the hardest thing about being pregnant so far? 

Morning sickness was pretty testing! I vomited every morning for two months which exhausted me on top of the normal pregnancy exhaustion but it’s so much more manageable being sick when you’re growing a baby – I just persevered and didn’t really complain because I was unwell for such good cause and I also know that so many women have it much worse than I did!

In terms of food and drinks, I’m following the “rules” but I’m pretty relaxed so there isn’t anything that comes to mind really – not even alcohol (but I might feel different come Christmas/NYE time ha ha). I’ve been having sushi (I just ask them to make it fresh and with no cold meat or seafood) and pasteurised cheeses.

Each to their own though, I’m a firm believer in doing what’s right for you when you’re pregnant.

I feel like you one day you just ‘popped’, when did you start noticing a bump, or having to change your jeans (mine are already so tight!)

I totally did! I stopped wearing high waisted jeans at around 20 weeks as I looked like I had a fat vagina ha ha but I really ‘popped’ at around six months.

 

You’ve chosen to have a midwife as your lead maternity carer. Were you ever leaning towards an obstetrician, or have you questioned your decision at all? What was your experience in finding a midwife?

I was totally conflicted at first, I had no idea what was the right option for us!

Mark suggested that I’d probably like midwife care more as I tend to lean towards the holistic/natural/spiritual side of life over the medical and I agreed with him. As we had only told close family, I didn’t have any friends to ask for a recommendation – especially not ones who had gone with a midwife on the shore – so I read profile after profile on findyourmidwife.org, a directory run by the New Zealand College of Midwives.

My thinking was that I would go with an ob if I couldn’t find a midwife that I liked and felt comfortable with but luckily I found the most amazing woman to support us on our journey. She has been a midwife for 13 years and we have the same philosophy regarding birth which I think is crucial when choosing a LMC.

I set up meetings with a couple of midwives (it was almost like an interview process) when I began my search but I knew when I met her that she was the one I wanted to go with.

Word of advice to anyone who’s looking for a midwife or is thinking about midwife care for when they do conceive: get in quick! There’s a shortage of midwives and they get booked up super quickly so I recommend making appointments asap!

Feel free to DM me on Instagram if you’d like the name of my midwife.

Have you decided to find out the gender?

No, we’re having a surprise and I’m really excited for the moment when someone announces whether it’s a boy or girl.

Extra pushing motivation I reckon!

 

Has anything surprised you about being pregnant?

Girl, heck yes!

There are so many things people don’t talk about regarding pregnancy that I never knew about until I experienced them. Insert the leaking boobs I’ve been experiencing since 22 weeks here. I’m a rare case I’m told but I’m already wearing breast pads!

 

Are you feeling anxious about anything?

I’m not anxious about birth but I have what I hope is a healthy level of anxiety about raising a child.

I know life’s about to change hugely and it’s a serious commitment but I’m excited for this new chapter in our lives.

 

Have you been flooded with advice already? What would you pass on?

Every. Day.

I try to take on board the advice that feels right and let go of everything else though.

What’s worked for me is the following:

  • Try enjoy every beautiful moment of being pregnant the first time – you’ll be running around after another kiddie should you go for round two and won’t have time to embrace it as much!
  • I’m of the understanding that stretch marks come down to genetics but that doesn’t mean you should forego moisturiser or beautiful body oils. Lather up for the self-love factor if nothing else. I’ve found my new body care ritual to be quite cathartic as my body grows and changes. It’s a beautiful time if you tell yourself it is.
  • Make the most of couple time. Prioritise your relationship with your partner while it’s just the two of you for a few more months. Go out to dinner. And go to the movies – people who’ve walked this journey before say it’s a looong time before you’ll go on a movie date again so live it up while you can!
  • I’m self-confessed control freak but when it comes to pregnancy and birth it’s really out of your control. Baby’s going to come how and when they want to! I’m going to have ‘birth ideals’ opposed to a ‘birth plan’ with the hope that the calmer and happier I am about the process, baby hopefully will be too.
  • Pregnancy pilates is incredible for your pelvic floor. Highly recommend. Fingers crossed when I laugh/cough/sneeze post-birth that peeing is minimised as a result. Real talk. I’ll let you know afterwards though.

 

If you could say anything to your baby right now, what would it be?

It is such a privilege to be pregnant with you.

Thank you for choosing me to be your mum. We love you and we can’t wait to hold you in our arms.

Pregnancy Emotions: Hormones, Mood Swings, and Why am I crying?

Until I realised that the emotional rollercoaster I was on was probably something to do with pregnancy, I actually started to think I’d gone mad.

I can honestly say, until the onset of pregnancy hormones, I have never in my life:

  • cried in the car when a song reminds me of a sad movie
  • felt personally distraught when a character is killed off on a tv show
  • become overly emotional about a 30 second commercial (or a movie preview…)
  • got seriously angry at being unable to find the remote control, and having to stand up to turn the tv off
  • cried for absolutely no reason while walking the dogs
  • been so tired I didn’t want to leave the house all day, and then later got upset that I didn’t achieve anything all day
  • felt just moments away from tears, at any given moment, day or night

Yet, in the last month especially (my 3rd) I have felt so incredibly emotional, having mood-swings, days where I feel completely depressed, and just generally hormonal. I had to find out what was going on.

What’s happening to our emotions and hormones when pregnant?

The science of pregnancy emotions

During pregnancy, three hormones rise significantly: oestrogen, progesterone, and human chorionic gonadotropin, (hCG). Changes in these hormones also cause changes in your neurotransmitters, the chemicals tell your brain how to regulate your moods.

How changes in pregnancy hormones make us feel

The changes to hormone levels, and subsequent effect on neurotransmitters will vary hugely between each person, but a few emotional side-effects are the most common. The most frequent are mood swings, which can come in the form of depression and anxiety, or just an intensity of emotion. Oestrogen and progesterone are the two pregnancy hormones known to cause moodiness and sensitivity to crying. For most mums-to-be, these changes begin at around the 6 to 10 week mark in the first trimester, possibly cooling off during the second, and returning in the last couple of months of pregnancy.

What we can do to combat the side-effects and emotional rollercoaster of pregnancy hormones

The hardest thing about dealing with pregnancy emotions is probably to accept that you are not in control. Your mood swings are completely unrelated to what’s actually going on in your life, and fighting your uncontrollable emotions is more exhausting than simply accepting and embracing them. However, there are a few things you can do to alleviate your mood-swings.

  1. Exercise. As you probably know, exercise encourages your brain to release endorphins, the naturally occurring painkiller deployed whenever you are subjected to pain or stress. Even light exercise like a walk or gentle yoga can help with your mood – both simultaneously helping to clear your brain too.
  2. Snack. Your blood sugar levels will also have an effect on your mood, so you definitely don’t want to get hungry during this emotional time. Of course, healthy, nutritious food is best for both the baby and your mood regulation – filling up on sugarry treats will only put your body under more strain, as it tries to regulate sugar highs and lows, on top of everything else.
  3. Rest up. Think about how children get emotional and stressed when they’re over-tired. When you’re lacking sleep, everything is a little harder to deal with, including dealing with your emotions. Get as much sleep as you can each night, and don’t be afraid to nap during the day too.
  4. Let it out. While you might feel like a complete nutter letting tears roll down your face in the car, in front of the tv, or even out for a walk, chances are nobody else will even notice, and having a good cry can actually help you. If you do happen to break down in public, two simple words “I’m pregnant” will completely explain.

Finally, if I can give you one further piece of advice, from experience, it’s not to put yourself in a position when you’re more likely to become especially emotional. For me, that was going to the movies to see A Star is Born. Granted, I didn’t know it was going to be the world’s saddest movie, but I probably could have found out prior to going. Suffice to say, this incredibly emotional movie didn’t do me, or my pregnancy hormones any favours.

Skincare while Pregnant? Botox, Peels, Retinol and more…

I was counting on the radiant pregnancy glow… I was even prepared for the stretch marks, but it turns out that pregnancy changes much much more about your skin (and skincare) than I’d ever considered.

Thankfully, the day I found out I was pregnant, I was actually booked for a facial, so my pregnancy skincare education came quickly. I was getting cosy between the sheets and asked what we were doing with my skin that day… to which she replied “chemical peel”. It dawned on me that perhaps chemical peels weren’t that suitable for pregnant women… so before I’d even told my husband (!) I was sharing the news with my facialist.

My instinct was right, chemical peels were off the table for pregnancy, but that wasn’t to be all. First, though, what’s going on with your skin during pregnancy?

As your body drastically changes on the inside, it’s unsurprising that some of these changes show on the outside too (besides just your baby bump).

The cause for most of these is your hormones (aren’t they responsible for everything in life…) as well as your circulation and immune system taking a hit.

I hope you find this article useful – Please have a look at made with love – pregnancy journal before you go xx

How does your skin change during pregnancy?

During pregnancy, it’s common to experience increased skin pigmentation (discolouration) aka ‘Pregnancy Mask’ Chloasma, spots or acne, and super sensitive, possibly dry and itchy skin. It’s even common for tiny blood vessels (capillaries) to break, as the extra blood circulating in your body puts pressure on them.

Stretch marks are common during pregnancy. Stretch marks usually appear on your stomach, upper thighs or breasts as your bump grows. The first sign might be itchiness in the area where skin becomes thin and pink, and then the colour may deepen into darker lines. Genetics seem to determine whether stretch marks form in the first place, and over time, your skin will shrink and the marks will fade into white-coloured scars.

Effects of pregnancy on your hair

Like your skin, pregnancy hormones can also effect your hair growth, possibly hair loss, and even a total change in your hair. Dry hair can turn oily, curls have been known to straighten, and you may find even your colour changes.

While some women are blessed with thick and lustrous hair during pregnancy, others will be disappointed with hair that turns limp and thin. If so, the best thing you can do to promote luscious, healthy locks is eat a nutritious diet (which is good for baby too). Whole-grains, nuts and seeds, fresh fruits and veggies and cold pressed oils are great for hair and skin.

Does “Pregnancy Glow” Exist?

Yes, absolutely! Your skin does actually retain more moisture during your pregnancy, plumping it up and smoothing out any fine lines and wrinkles.

This, combined with the extra blood circulation can give you a beautiful radiant glow. This can also make your skin feel warmer and possibly flushed.

How to take care of your skin during pregnancy?

Most skin concerns will clear up on their own when your baby is born, but skin damage and pigmentation is hard to reverse, so it’s also very important to take care of your skin during pregnancy. Pregnancy pigmentation, known as Chloasma or ‘Pregnancy Mask’ is caused by your body producing more melanin when the skin is exposed to the sun. I work with Dermalogica as an ambassador and stand behind all of their incredible products, but the Power Bright range is incredible for use during pregnancy for this reason – you can use ‘meg10’ for a discount onilne.

The best protection is to keep your face out of the sun entirely, think wide hats and sunglasses, but as that’s pretty impossible to maintain 24/7, the next best thing you can do is wear a broad spectrum sunscreen all day, every day. Keep a sun-hat or cap in your car for when you’re driving, as the glare through the driver’s side window can also leave you with pigmentation predominantly on just one side.

Honestly, with almost every skincare and make-up product being available with an SPF, there’s no excuse not to lather up – and ensure you reapply your sunscreen throughout the day.

Those spots that you’ve noticed are ‘popping up’ more often, you can blame hormones for them.  Hormones encourage the production of sebum, which can cause pores to become blocked, resulting in greasy skin and spots. The best thing you can do is cleanse properly and often (try a silicone cleanser for effective and gentle cleansing), and wear minimal make-up. Talk to your doctor, and read the below, about any skincare to avoid.

There’s less you can do about your broken capillaries, but thankfully, these will fade within a few months after giving birth.

When it comes to stretch marks, research differs as to whether any topical creams or oils help at all, but can aid the dryness often associated with your skin stretching. It can be a lovely ritual to massage your bump each night anyway, and the oils certainly won’t hurt.

What Skincare can’t you use during Pregnancy?

I thought I’d save this for after the paragraph on your pregnancy glow, but there are a few pregnancy no-no’s when it comes to your skincare. As you’ll know from my experience above, you can’t have a chemical peel during pregnancy, and there’s a couple of other treatments to avoid.

Skincare with Retinol/Vitamin A

While most commonly used products are completely safe, there are a handful of ingredients experts say it’s best to avoid.  Retinoids are a type of vitamin A that speeds up cell division, improving skin’s renewal and reducing the loss of collagen. Unfortunately, they’re also a skincare ingredient that experts recommend pregnant women stay away from, as some studies have shown that taking high doses of Vitamin A during pregnancy can be harmful to an unborn child. Don’t panic and worry about the ingredients in all of your skincare, retinol is an expensive ingredient – you’ll probably know if it’s in your skincare, especially if it’s a high potency.

Hydroxy Acids (AHA, BHA)

Hydroxy acids such as beta hydroxy acid (BHA) and alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) are found in various skincare products to reduce the signs of ageing. Salicylic acid is the most common one, and has been studied in pregnancy. High doses of BHA should be avoided orally (including in Aspirin) as they have been known to cause birth defects. While topical BHA creams are much less absorbed by the body, experts recommend using too much of them for the same rationale. However, the small amounts of salicylic acid in an over-the-counter toner used twice a day, are thought to be absolutely fine.

If you do use BHA skincare, always use it with an SPF too, as it can cause sensitivity to sunlight.

The big one… Botox!

Despite little research to determine what (or any) effect Botox or Dysport could have on pregnant women, doctors and cosmetic surgeons overwhelmingly warn against the treatments. Likewise, it is unclear how cosmetic fillers impact unborn babies and nursing infants.

Why is there so little research? To find out the effects of cosmetic procedures such as muscle relaxers or fillers during pregnancy, doctors would have to actually perform the procedures on pregnant women – which isn’t a risk anyone is willing to take.

For now, you’ll have to suffice with good skincare, the occasional facial if you’re lucky, and lots and lots of sleep – which it doesn’t sound like many of us will be having with a new baby!

If you haven’t already (and you’re not already too disappointed) make sure to read foods to avoid when pregnant too.

I hope you found this useful – Please have a look at made with love – pregnancy journal before you go xx

Bad Beauty Habits to Break Before your Big Day

We all have bad habits. Whether it’s biting your nails when we’re stressed or snacking on sweets at 3pm, you’re only human, and bad habits can be really hard to break. However, when it comes to your wedding, there are a few bad beauty habits that need to be kicked to the curb, and there’s nothing a little bit of incentive to kick you off. Don’t wait for the New Year for these resolutions.

Bad Beauty Habits to Break Before your Big Day

Sleeping in your Makeup

I get it… some nights, washing your face just doesn’t even cross your mind. You’re tired, forgetful, you have had a long day and you just want to get some shut-eye (and you really can’t be bothered). We can all admit to being guilty of falling asleep in our makeup at one time or another. Of all the bad beauty habits to break though, this one is top of the list. Makeup clogs pores, which can contribute to numerous skin concerns preventing you getting the best skin for your wedding. Of course, if you’re skipping the most important step of washing your face, you’re also skipping all the benefits of your skincare.To break this bad, bad, bad beauty habit, make cleaning your face part of your daily routine, get organised, and find ways to really enjoy it. Start by getting ready for bed a little earlier, so that you aren’t too tired to remove your makeup, or do your skincare regime as soon as you get home, or after dinner, rather than right before you go to bed. Next, invest in products that make you look forward to having a skincare routine, something you really enjoy using – perhaps a massaging tool or silicone cleansing brush, which will not only improve your cleansing and exfoliating, but also give you all the benefits of facial massage. Even if you haven’t worn makeup that day, your skin picks up dirt and secretes oil during the day, so don’t skip your night-time routine. Finally, and as a last resort only, for a night out, perhaps, keep some makeup wipes and a moisturiser next to your bed.

Sleeping on a Dirty Pillowcase

Slipping into clean sheets at the end of a long day not only feels great, but it also has some huge skincare benefits too. However, changing your sheets is something that can easily be ignored, mainly because you can’t see (or smell) the dirt and bacteria building up on your pillowcase and sheets. Just like going to sleep without washing your face, a build up of dirt on your pillow has negative effects on your skin, possibly leading to clogged pores, skin irritation and breakouts. Break this bad beauty habit by changing your pillowcase and sheets on a weekly basis, as part of your house cleaning routine. Set an alarm on your phone for Sunday morning (not too early!) to remind you. While you’re at it, why not invest in a silk pillowcase. Silk pillowcases can improve skin and hair hydration, prevent fine lines and wrinkles, and result in smoother, frizz-free hair every morning

Squeezing, Picking or Attacking your Spots

Smooth, poreless skin is the ultimate skin goal. We all want that airbrushed glow that models, celebrities, and that one friend (who claims to use no skincare) seems to have.
So, when pimples, zits, blackheads and other skincare foes emerge, it’s understandable that you want them gone, and quickly. However, squeezing blackheads, popping pimples and picking zits is up there with the worst beauty habits to be broken. While sometimes providing short-term satisfaction, it can result in infections, inflammation and even scarring. It can actually cause the pimple itself to become 10x worse and last longer, as you’re contributing to the bacteria build up by stimulating the area.
So, what can you do, besides exercise self-restraint. If you truly have a spot that is ready to go, have a shower or steam your face, apply a warm cotton wool compress, and then very, very gently apply a little pressure between two Q tips. If the spot doesn’t ‘break’ then it’s not ready (don’t just push harder). Never use your fingernails, a needle, or other instrument, and if you’re really concerned, see your facialist for help.
To avoid spots forming in the first place, your best bet is to have a consistent skincare regime with effective cleansing and exfoliating. Remember, neither is a 10 second job, you should be spending around one minute each time.

Overplucking your Eyebrows

Even with full brows on trend, the best of us can get carried away with the tweezers. Overplucking is a hard beauty habit to break, and while your brows will grow back even after the occasional over-pluck, you don’t want to be waiting too long for that, as your wedding day approaches.
Personally, I’d leave it to the professionals for your shaping, and use tweezers only to maintain the shape between times. If you really have overdone it, grab some Revitalash brow to help nourish the hair follicles and work towards a fuller-looking, more defined brow.

Not Wearing Sunscreen

Don’t even get me started on SPF. While not specific to the count-down to your big day, the worst thing you can do for your skin, especially in New Zealand, is to expose it to UV rays unprotected. I’m a huge fan of Dermalogica (you can use meg10 to save on your investment) and can’t go past their products.
Putting on high SPF moisturiser or makeup before leaving the house is as important as your morning coffee (so… pretty crucial!) SPF is vital to protect your skin from the damage that UV rays cause – resulting in premature ageing, sun spots, wrinkles and skin cancer.
Honestly, there’s no excuse for skipping this step – it’s so easy with the availability of moisturisers, BB creams and foundations with SPF. I love the Dermalogica suncare range – the SPF solar defense booster can be added to anything. Constantly touching your face. You can use ‘meg10’ to save on the entire range at Dermalogica.co.nz
This is one of my bad habits too… I constantly run my hands over my forehead and temples, rest my face on my hands when I’m tired, and stroke my chin when I think. If your hands are clean, well great – go ahead and give your skin that facial massage it craves… but if you are at work, touching keyboards, phones and other things that are covered in germs, keep them away from your face.
The first step to breaking this bad beauty habit is to be aware that you’re doing it – put a mirror at your desk if you need to. While you train yourself out of the habit, at least make sure you’re practising good hygiene – wash your hands properly, and wash your face as soon as you get home.

Not Even Having a Skincare Routine

Only a very lucky few can use makeup wipes to remove all their makeup and wake up with their skin looking like Olivia Wilde, but I promise that won’t last forever.
For most of us, a 10 second face-wash (or worse still, no face wash) won’t be doing you any favours. Especially in the lead up to a special event like your wedding, having a skincare routine can make a big difference to your complexion, the way make-up sits, and the way your skin ages for the rest of your life.
This habit is simple to break but it can be costly to begin. Do some research, see a facialist if you can afford to do so, and start incorporating products into your morning and nightly routine. I have recently revamped my skincare routine and I wholeheartedly recommend products from the Savar and Dermalogica range (use MEG10 to save).

Using Dirty Makeup Brushes

Tools are essential for perfect makeup application, but once that makeup is on your face, tools are quickly tossed to the side and the task of cleaning them is a job often neglected. How often do you wash your makeup brushes and sponges? Most people would answer “probably not enough” and this is another bad beauty habit to break, for all the reasons discussed above.
Stop procrastinating and get the job done. In reality, it takes less than ten minutes to get your brushes washed, and you can leave them to dry in the sun or on the bathroom counter. I recommend using a brush cleaner like Sard Soap to cut through the build-up quickly.

Using Old and Expired Makeup

Maybe you are fond of your first MAC lipstick or have just re-located an expensive mascara (that you lost for three months) and you can’t bear to part with it now. While I am guilty of these, and others, it is really important to kick old makeup to the curb. Keep an eye on the ‘use within’ symbols on your make-up, which will indicate how long you should use it in. If it is expired, has changed colour, smells or looks different from when you first bought it, bin it. The last thing you want is an eye infection or allergic reaction the week before your big day.
With all of these bad beauty habits, the first step to breaking them is to recognise that you’re doing them – so just by reading this article, you’ve taken the first step. While it can be costly to replace products, or annoying to properly wash your face, brushes and pillowcase, honestly your skin, and your make-up artist, will thank you for it on the big day.

See also the Ultimate Pre Wedding Skincare Guide

Christina Dellar: 39 weeks with Baby #2 and Hyperemesis Gravidarum

Mamas to be, the incredible Christina Dellar will soon be a mother of two who has battled severe Hyperemesis Gravidarum throughout both her pregnancies. Her pregnancy stories are inspiring, and her first birth story helped me realise just how little control we have over our births – you really do have to just trust and ‘go with’ your body.
As this article was published, literally within two minutes, Christina gave birth to a beautiful baby boy.
Christina is a beautiful person inside and out already, but I know that post-baby, she’s not only going to continue sharing her parenting journey, but also the journey to get back in shape after babies. I know that you’ll all hugely benefit from following Christina, which you can do at @christinadellar

You’re just about to welcome another boy into your household of gorgeous men, how are you feeling?

To be honest, I wish I was feeling a little stronger.
Since I have experienced birth and those crazy newborn early days, I know how important it is to be as strong as you can be, but I am sitting here just days from giving birth, I still have nausea and now I have the flu too. However, mental strength is super important too so I have been doing lots of meditation and beautiful birth visualisation to prepare me for what’s coming.
I seriously can’t wait to have my little man in my arms and for our family to be complete!
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Speaking of gorgeous men, how is Tyge?

Tyge is amazing! He has been my rock through this pregnancy. I can tell he totally doesn’t quite get that a new little baby is coming though. Often men don’t fully realise until you actually hand them a baby. That’s why they often are a little more emotional than women at the time of birth, because it hits them all at once.

Honestly he is the best dad with our son Valor and I can’t wait to see him holding a newborn again!!!

With only a couple of years between Valor and this baby, did you and Tyge always find it easy to conceive?

To be honest, yes, thankfully fertility challenges haven’t been part of our journey. For both of our pregnancies, we fell pregnant within 6 weeks.

We planned a 3 year gap between them, and their birthdays with be just over a week apart. I always say that everyone has their own journeys to walk.

I know so many close friends that have had huge mountains to climb when it comes to conceiving and I always try my best to support and understand them and what they are going through.

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You’ve suffered Hyperemesis Gravidarum throughout both of your pregnancies, an illness many people won’t know a lot about, aside from perhaps knowing that Kate Middleton was hospitalised with the same. Can you describe the illness, and how it has affected your pregnancies?

Yes I love talking about Hyperemesis Gravidarum because like you said, not many people know about it. Pretty much it’s just a really high level of a certain hormone and it just makes you super sick. More women than you would think suffer from it and it is a really hard thing to go through.

With my firstborn I was vomiting and close to bedridden for 18 weeks.

I would throw up everything and I would be sick at least 10-15 times a day. If I got sick over that amount of time I would have to go to the hospital and get bags and bags of fluids. I started to get better around 25 weeks. However, with my current pregnancy it’s been different because after 20-ish weeks I got a little better, but it hasn’t gone away. I have good days, and I have really bad days. On a good day I just feel totally nauseous but I can plaster on a smile and try to make the most of the day. On a bad day it is constant vomiting – it’s just terrible.

Through sharing my journey on instagram I have had so many women reach out who also suffer from HG and the main advice I give is to try to stay mentally strong. It can be very easy to get to a dark place when you feel you can’t escape feeling sick and you start to feel you are losing your old self. Find things that make you feel good or happy and do those things as often as you can.

My advice for anyone who knows someone who is sick with Hyperemesis Gravidarum is simple… this is NOT “morning sickness”. This is not something that crackers and ginger can fix. I was offered medication usually meant for chemotherapy patients.

When you are this sick and you tell someone and they say “Oh yeah, I had really bad morning sickness too…have you tried dry crackers?” it makes you feel absolutely furious and also totally alone, cause people just don’t get it. Those close to me did their research and learned quickly that this is a real, serious illness, and that I need real support – that’s what got me through.

What has been different about this pregnancy to your first, or have you felt different?

It is totally different!

Firstly, I remember all these moms with more than one kid telling me “Oh, you will pop so much sooner with the second” and I was like “Okay sure….” but BAM I sure did! Like so much faster! I couldn’t hid my bump at all even in the early days!

Now, I’m very much more aware the second time when it comes to labour because they say “You forget” but I sure haven’t. I totally remember it all, so half of me gets scared cause I know what it’s like and the other half can’t wait, because I remember how beautiful that moment is when you hold your baby for the first time. Having a toddler and being pregnant is just a joke hahaha like so full on but you just do what ever other mom out there does…you just handle it!

Moms are actual superwomen!

You have been incredibly generous about sharing your journey with your followers. We have known how sick you’ve been and how you have dealt with nausea (coke and ice blended!) – have you got any other tips?

Yeah, I have just shared little things that have helped me along.

Frozen cokes (I know not healthy but damn if it helps, I will chug it down) have been amazing. I found that having something next to my bed helped.

If I got up in the night, the nausea would hit immediately sometimes, so eating something simple would help. For me, it was more about avoiding foods that hurt coming back up and rather having foods that were much better coming back up. It’s not a pretty thought to have, but if you know you are going to get sick, you have to think about it.

I also worked out a way to actually hold down at least half my dinner, by dividing it in two before I started. I would eat half and wait, because most of the time I would get sick straight away, and then eat the other half, which I could often hold down. It just about doing or eating whatever you can to feel better.

Your followers (and I) live in awe of your relationship, you guys really seem to have marriage nailed, and seem so genuinely obsessed with each other after almost 8 years, how important has it been to have a strong and solid relationship for you to be good parents together, and to help you through pregnancy?

Aww thank you. Yes I am very proud of my marriage because we have worked really hard on it over the years.

Marriage for me wasn’t something I just leave if it wasn’t working for me. Our early years were super tough and we totally could have split – but we just kept working on it and it has been so worth it. I don’t think a relationship can stay the same after kids, because so much changes, but that’s not a bad thing. For us, we found that we really had to come together even more as a team to be parents.

I think parenting is super hard if you feel like you are doing it alone all the time. We set little rules though, like whatever is said between the hours of 1-5am don’t count hahaha, because when you are totally exhausted and trying to comfort a sick or teething baby you just can’t be held accountable for your words! I think having a strong relationship is so important, and I can see even now our son lights up when he sees us cuddling or laughing together – it is well worth the fight to have a strong and loving relationship.

About choosing your lead maternity carer, you told me that the most important thing is the way you feel with them, that you are comfortable, and know that they are going to be your best support on the day. Can you tell me about your experience in finding a midwife?

When we feel pregnant, we were actually living in Tauranga. I had a meeting with a midwife and I had that initial apportionment where she talked a little about herself and honestly the whole time I was thinking Omg I can hardly hear what she is saying, she is so softly spoken and tad new-agey vibes and I just knew that wasn’t what I wanted during my birth.

Personally I didn’t want someone in the corner talking quietly, rubbing oils on me… I wanted someone to take control and tell me when to shut up and push. When we ended up moving to Auckland I was recommend by a friend my midwife and she is amazing. She was exactly what I needed during a very intense birth, and I am grateful I found her.

When finding a midwife, you need to think about what you need from her. Some women shut down if someone is a tad forceful, whereas others need that. It is important to find someone that matches your personal vibe.

Can you talk about your first birthing experience?

Yes so my birth story… ahaha. Oh man, so like I said above I had my amazing midwife and we did all the classes so my husband and I felt pretty prepared.

My birth plan was to have a baby… really I just wanted it to be as natural as possible, but just whatever needed to be done to get baby out safely was my plan. During all the classes they tell you that the average first labour is like 15-20 hours and you labour at home most of the time, so we had that in the back of our minds. I was 5 days overdue (the worst) and I just got SO over it I took castor oil (best thing) and around 7pmish I got what felt like some period cramps. The cramps stage last for a while usually, but mine instantly turned into proper contractions. You aren’t meant to even take any action until they are around 1 minute long and 5 minutes apart, but mine started at 30-60 second long, 30 seconds apart!

It was wild!

My husband kept telling me to relax, as he thought it was just starting, but I just kept telling him to call my midwife. He finally called her and as he was talking to her on the phone,  she heard me having a contraction in the background. I sounded like a cow giving birth. She immediately said go to the hospital, so we rushed out. My silly husband still didn’t think this was what we needed to do, because it had only been an hour or so. He took his time driving and parking all while I was telling him the baby was coming.

We arrived, I ran in, and hopped on the bed as fast as I could. The midwife checked me, I was 10cm dilated and she could feel the head. Safe to say, my husband changed his tune really quickly. I pushed for maybe 30 minutes and my son was born. No drugs or anything, because I had no time and he was actually born in the sac – which is super rare. All up, my labour was 3 hours 40 minutes, and all the pain disappeared the second he landed on my chest.

Nothing will ever beat that moment! My main advice for any pregnant woman is to forget everything else and just listen to your body!!

You also told me about the importance of very large knickers, and possibly nappies, as well as maternity pads, for after the birth. What can you tell me about the days or weeks after birth?

Life after baby is a bit of a mess. You are healing and bleeding, sore, and also having to now look after a very needy baby. Maternity pads are a muuuuust, but for sleeping I actually used those really sexy adult nappy things. They are best for night-time as they hold in place and are secure feeling. After labour you won’t really care about your dignity… it will come back – but not yet.

I know some woman wet their pads and apply aloe and freeze the pad so it’s like a lovely vagina popsicle hahaha.

Nipple cream is a must, and just wear super loose comfortable clothing. My personal advice is give yourself the first 5-6 weeks with zero pressure on heading out or looking glam or anything. If you want to, that’s great, but the last thing you need is pressure when it is totally normal to feel emotional about your body, the baby and just being really tired! My best advice however, is accept help! Newborn life is hard, so if someone says they want to make you dinner or watch the baby so you can shower and sleep…do it! It makes you a better mom for it! X

Starting a pregnancy journal! Ideas, Prompts & Best Pregnancy Diaries

When I found out I was pregnant, it was honestly  only a matter of hours until I was starting a pregnancy journal! To put that in perspective a little, I had to wait two whole days for my husband to come home from overseas before I could even tell him, so I was avoiding my flatmates and friends (and the temptation of talking about it), and was completely overwhelmed with emotion – I had to get those thoughts out of my head.

I should also disclose, I’m pretty passionate about journalling, I already had my own wedding journal business, and I’ve kept a diary since I was a child, so the momentous occasion of finding out I was pregnant was definitely something I had to record.

However, journalling during pregnancy is something I strongly believe ALL mums-to-be should do, even if you’ve never kept a diary before in your life, and I have a few good reasons why:

The act of journalling actually helps your brain to process information

A well-studied benefit of journalling is that the process of writing something down actually  assists your brain’s understanding and clarity. A brain imaging study by UCLA psychologists revealed that expressing feelings,  in verbal or written words, reduces activity in the amygdala, the brain’s emotional centre, and engages the thinking brain. This can help with decision making such as life and career choices, but also just enables our brains, and bodies, to cope with an overload of information.

Pregnancy, and especially early pregnancy, is a time when you are very likely to feel overwhelmed, both with the news, and the information you start to consume almost immediately.

 

When you’re keeping your pregnancy a secret, journalling can really help

The first trimester is often one fraught with emotion, and sometimes anxiety, as pregnancy hormones cause an emotional rollercoaster within your body. One reason for this is that many mums-to-be are keeping their pregnancy a secret at this time. If you usually deal with stressful or emotional experiences by talking to a friend, you may end up feeling alone. Putting feelings into words — whether that is talking with a friend, parent or your partner – or writing them down — helps you feel better.

So, when you’re not yet talking to others about your news, a pregnancy journal is an invaluable tool to regulate your emotions. Similarly, throughout your pregnancy, when you don’t feel like talking to anyone, perhaps for fear of being given unsolicited advice, writing can be your voice, helping to explore and express emotions.

 

Journalling offers real physical and psychological benefits

Expressive writing has been linked with many physical psychological benefits, such as improved mood, greater well-being, lower stress levels and fewer depressive symptoms, all of which are incredibly beneficial during pregnancy. One study found that simply writing about feelings before a stressful task helped chronic worriers’ brains perform more efficiently.

Lower blood pressure, improved lung and liver functioning, and decreased time spent in the hospital are among the physical benefits, while another study found that journalling about feelings after a traumatic event can actually make physical wounds heal faster.

 

Keeping a journal will help you to actually remember your pregnancy

Sure, there are some parts of pregnancy we’d probably rather forget (morning sickness, anyone?) but for the most part, it is a beautiful and hugely special journey, and there are so many incredible moments to remember. The act of using a pen or pencil (sorry, typing doesn’t count) to put thoughts on paper can help you retain the information you are writing. Writing a pregnancy journal by hand forces the brain to process information promoting comprehension and retention.

Of course, you’ve probably heard the term ‘baby brain’ already. From forgetfulness to poor decision-making and a lack of concentration, pregnant women have long complained of the total mind-blanks caused by pregnancy. A recent Deakin University study published in the MJA tested the theory, asking women to memorise numbers in a line. Of 709 pregnant women and 521 non-pregnant women, expectant mothers performed worse on tasks measuring attention, decision-making, planning and memory.

As well as jogging your memory along the way, a pregnancy journal means you don’t need to recall each little bit of information – it’s all written down for you to reflect on later. How did you feel when you first found out you were pregnant? What was your first reaction when you saw the ultrasound image of your baby? How would you describe your symptoms.

During your next pregnancy (if you choose to have another baby!) you’ll be able to look back and compare your journey along the way.

 

How to begin a pregnancy journal

Once you decide to keep a pregnancy journal (and you’re definitely going to, right?) you’ll need to decide whether to start from scratch, or use a custom designed pregnancy journal. Each have their benefits – a custom journal like made with love comes full of journal prompts, checklists and pregnancy journal guides, so all the thinking is done for you, you just have to record your thoughts.  However, if you choose to use a plain journal, you’ll have total flexibility about what, when and where to write, and you can write 20 pages about the day you discover your pregnancy, should you wish to!

 

My Pregnancy Journal: First Trimester Fears

First Trimester Fears: Pregnancy Anxiety

 

I’m not really a ‘worry about the future’ kinda person.

That old saying ‘failing to plan is planning to fail’ is the complete antithesis to my conviction – this baffles and infuriates my sister to no end. I think it’s probably because nothing in my life has ever actually gone according to plan, no matter how good the plan, so somewhere along the line I gave up on it. So far, it’s working out fine. I have, however, discovered that I am not immune to the anxiety and that often associates pregnancy, particularly first trimester fears and reservations. For once, I’m starting to wonder if I might have to actually have a plan… Is it time to worry about the future?

Through trawling Facebook groups and online forums, I’ve discovered that my pregnancy fears and anxiety are totally normal. Maybe you’ll resonate with some of them too, otherwise I’d love to hear what’s keeping you up at night too (besides cravings and insomnia, of course).

I don’t believe I’m pregnant. I can’t believe I’m going to have a baby… this isn’t real.

 

Yes, truly. I found out I was pregnant at just 4 weeks, a discovery made completely by accident after I gave myself concussion. Besides the complete exhaustion, which was as much to do with the concussion as the pregnancy, I had absolutely no symptoms. Still, at almost 12 weeks, I have barely a symptom to speak of, no sign of a bump, no particular cravings, aversions, or heightened sense of smell… I do now have a pregnancy test, HCG hormone results, and two scans to confirm that I am actually going to have a baby.

It wasn’t really until the second scan at 8 weeks, or perhaps when we finally found our midwife and she let us listen to the baby’s heartbeat at 10 weeks, that I began to accept that this was real. Prior to this, I discovered that other people find it quite strange when you tell them you’re pregnant but you don’t actually believe you are… I must have sounded like a Princess Diana conspiracy theorist.

 

My symptoms have disappeared. The baby must have stopped growing. The baby’s heart has stopped.

 

Though my symptoms have been almost null and void the entire time, that week that I found out I was pregnant, I was at least exhausted. The following weeks (5-6) I think I had slightly sore boobs, and felt like peanut butter more than usual (or was I imagining it) but since then, nothing.

I know how lucky I am, how unwell some poor mums-to-be get with morning sickness, and have even seen first-hand the completely debilitating effects of Hyperemesis Gravidarum, the severe sickness Kate Middleton had during both her pregnancies. I’m absolutely not complaining about the lack of symptoms or sickness. Sometimes, I’d just like a little confirmation that the baby is in fact still growing and still alive.

Of course, the one day I did have a tiny cramp, I was certain that was the end of everything… which leads me to:

I’m scared I’m going to have a miscarriage.

 

It’s been a long time since I’ve taken any interest in statistics (if ever) but after finding out I was pregnant so early, I have to admit I’ve been analysing the likelihood of miscarriage week by week, factoring in my age (under 30) and weight (healthy range), and allocating myself a percentage.

A part of me thinks I did this to prepare myself for the worst, so that I wouldn’t be in complete shock and despair if I did have a miscarriage. I’m not sure that statistics and percentages would ever actually alleviate any of the inevitable shock and despair if I did actually miscarry, but something about narrowing my chances down to a one digit number reassured me, in some way.

By the way, is it just me, or does reading that 15–25% of recognized pregnancies will end in a miscarriage, and 80% of these miscarriages occur in the first trimester make you feel absolutely paralysed with anxiety?

 

My body is never going to be the same.

 

The trouble with this pregnancy fear in particular, is that you know it’s not irrational or unfounded. After pregnancy, your body is never going to be the same. While there’s inspiration to be found in the insta-Mums who share the tiger stripes they earned, or wear their baby belly as a badge of honour of motherhood, I can’t help but think how unfair it is that my husband gets to become a parent and keep his body – especially as he’d care a lot less about post-partum pooch than I might.

It’s vain, I know, I admit that I’m being shallow, and the blessing that I have been given is worth more than any version of my body I’ve ever had, but it’s also the truth. As someone who overcame an eating disorder and put on almost 10 kg just to be able to conceive, I really need to get over this last remaining pretension and work on accepting my body in whatever shape it is in after this journey.

Oh… and while we’re talking about body, what on earth is going to happen down there? Had you heard of a stage four tear, or ‘perinieal laceration’ prior to getting pregnant? Neither. I’m not even sure I know how to comment on this fear, other than that I’m quite happy with things the way they are.

How are we going to afford a baby?

 

While I’m quite comfortable with our financial position, along with everything else changing next year, our budget is going to have to as well. We own our own home, but we have a house full of flatmates. We’re both working, but I work for myself, running one business that absorbs up 90% of my time, and another smaller business that soaks up the rest.

I absolutely love my work, and I’m so fortunate to have the ability to work from home, and keep flexible working hours, but unless my baby actually sleeps through the night from the day we get home, and sleeps quietly all day, waking for the occasional easy and peaceful feed, I can’t see how I’m going to keep up with everything.

Did I mention that babies are expensive? A cot, pram and car-seat are only the beginning, and even if we’re given enough baby clothes to get through the first few months, we’re in for a life-time of expenses. This was almost enough to make me want to run out and buy a a new handbag for myself, one last impractical purchase, but when I found myself browsing the shelves, I kept wondering which would be the most suitable nappy bag… backpack or neverfull.

First world problems I know – we will be okay. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say this didn’t cross my mind every time I swipe my Visa frivolously… am I spending the dollars that would otherwise give my baby the best start in life?

However.

I do have a choice.

 

While nothing will alleviate my pregnancy fears, and I will always manage to find something to be anxious about, what I have realised, is that this is only the start, and I do have a choice.

Parents don’t stop worrying about their babies when they leave the womb: about whether they’re still breathing; whether they’re being given the best education and opportunities; if they’re safe at school or walking to the bus-stop; or whether they’re driving carefully; or choosing the right boyfriends (or girlfriends). I don’t have the mental energy to paralyse myself with worry for the next 18, 30, or 50 years, so I’m putting a stop to it now.

As someone who knows that life is impractical to plan, I also know it’s impossible to safeguard. I won’t ever know if this baby is 100% safe inside me, just as there is no point in worrying about when/if or how my body (or my bank balance) will recover. All we can do is our best, and positively hope for the best too.

All I’m thinking about now is bringing my baby into the world with my mind calm and my resolve positive. I hope you might be able to do the same.

Que será será, whatever will be will be.

What foods should you eat when pregnant?

What foods should you eat when pregnant?

Pregnancy is a time of rapid growth – your baby will be growing from a sesame seed to an avocado, and even melon, in a matter of months! As a result, pregnant women need increased amounts of many essential nutrients, including protein, folate and iron.

A diet full of key nutrients is best for the baby’s development.  The best thing you can do is eat a colourful, balanced diet, but what, specifically should you put on the menu, now that you’re expecting?

Protein

The amino acids that make up protein are the building blocks of your body’s cells – and of your baby’s body as well. Beef, lamb and pork are excellent sources of protein and are rich in iron, choline and other B vitamins — all of which are important during pregnancy (pregnant women need more iron to compensate for the increase in blood volume.

Not a fan of meat (or less so now that you’re pregnant)? Eggs are your next best choice. Eggs contain a little of almost every nutrient you need, including choline and healthy fats.

Legumes are also a great plant-based source of fiber, protein, iron, folate and calcium, so make lentils, peas, beans, chickpeas, soybeans and peanuts your friend (peanut butter smoothies, anyone).

Dairy

Speaking of smoothies, dairy is an amazing pregnancy food. Dairy products contain both casein and whey proteins, calcium, phosphorus, B vitamins, magnesium and zinc. Yoghurt, especially Greek yoghurt, is particularly beneficial for pregnant women, so stir it into curries, have it with fruit for breakfast or dessert, or dollop it into your smoothies.

My favourite pregnancy smoothie recipe is from Kohi Cafe, and packs 15 grams of protein:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup yoghurt
  • 1 1/2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2-3 T creamy peanut butter (or cashew or almond butter)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 medium banana, chopped and preferably frozen

chocolate peanut butter smoothie pregnant foods

You could also add ricotta or cottage cheese to meals, parmesan or pasteurised buffalo mozzarella cheese in salads or pizza, or snack on cheese and crackers.

Kumara/Sweet Potatoes

Kumara (aka sweet potatoes) are rich in beta-carotene which your body converts into Vitamin A. Vitamin A is important for the growth and differentiation of cells in your growing fetus. Put simply, kumara are one of your best carbohydrate sources, also containing vitamin B6, potassium, vitamin C and iron, as well as fiber which helps to reduce blood sugar spikes and improve digestive health and mobility. Substitute rice or potatoes for delicious mashed, roast or kumara fries.

Salmon

While there are unfortunately some fish and shellfish to avoid eating when you’re pregnant, most are amazing pregnancy foods, and salmon is one of the best. Salmon is rich in omega 3 essential oil, low in mercury and one of very few natural sources of vitamin D. Studies have shown that pregnant women who eat 2–3 meals of fatty fish weekly achieve the recommended intake of omega-3 and increase their blood levels of EPA and DHA, so ask for cooked salmon instead of bacon with your weekend brunch, and have a couple of servings in lunch or dinner too.

Orange Juice

You’re already taking folic acid supplements (right?), but getting folate from foods is even better. Folate is a nutrient necessary for preventing certain birth defects early on, and for ensuring a healthy pregnancy thereafter, so try to hit 400 micrograms a day. A glass of pasteurised OJ will fill you up on folate, potassium for muscle function and overall health, and vitamin C of course, for fighting colds, and aiding iron absorption. Bonus, opt for Vitamin D fortified OJ.

5 + Fruit & Vege

You can also get your vitamin C and folate from leafy greens like broccoli, kale and spinach, also boasting vitamin K, vitamin A, calcium, iron, potassium and fibre… basically everything you need! Berries, capsicums and tomatoes, citrus fruits – when it comes to fruit and vege, it’s hard to go wrong, but you can’t go better than avocados. Because of their high content of healthy fats, potassium, fiber, B vitamins (especially folate), vitamin K, copper, vitamin E and vitamin C avocados are the best choice for pregnant women, helping with leg cramps and restless leg syndrome too. Rewash salad ingredients and vegetables before serving, and be aware of pre-prepared salads and coleslaws that have been left out a long time (see foods to avoid when pregnant).

Whole grains

Whole grains too are great for fibre, protein and vitamin B6, and you can even look for varieties fortified with iron and folic acid. Wholegrains are complex carbohydrates which will give you consistent energy, ideal if morning sickness is leaving you drained, and fibre will keep you regular (especially if pregnancy constipation is causing issues). Oats or bran are a perfect way to start the day, and swapping white bread for whole-grain will up your intake easily.

Water

When pregnant, your blood volume increases by up to 1.5 litres, as your body also needs water to form amniotic fluid, help digestion and flush out wastes and toxins. Aim to drink at least 2 litres of water each day, more if possible, especially if it’s hot or you’ve been exercising. Herbal teas, smoothies, juices and soup all count, and generally if your urine is light yellow or colourless, you’re probably well hydrated.

Once you’ve filled your diet with these nutritious and delicious foods, you won’t even miss the foods you should avoid when pregnant – leave your favourite craving-beating healthy foods or recipes below.

 

How to find a midwife in New Zealand

After sharing Our Struggle to Find a Midwife, I have put together a guide on how to find a midwife in New Zealand. This guide has some information specific to NZ, but much of it will be applicable wherever you live, and the questions to ask your midwife are universal.

When you find out you are pregnant you should choose an LMC (lead maternity carer) as soon as possible (see also What to do when you find out you’re pregnant). This is very important for your health and for your baby. Most women choose a midwife but you may wish to choose an obstetrician. Using an obstetrician costs approximately $5-7,000, whereas pregnancy care by Midwives in New Zealand is free. If your midwife discovers any complications during your pregnancy, you will be referred to an obstetrician and the remainder of your care with them will be free of charge.

The quickest way to find a Midwife in New Zealand visit Find Your Midwife which is an online search tool. You could also talk to your doctor or nurse about finding a midwife in your area, or visit the maternity part of your hospital and be taken care by hospital/community midwives during your pregnancy.

Your midwife or obstetrician is there to support you during your pregnancy until around 6 weeks post-partum. The frequency with which you see them increases as the pregnancy develops, so it is important that you choose someone you feel comfortable with.

How to Find a Midwife in New Zealand using Find Your Midwife online search tool:

  • Enter your area you live in and your approximate due date (if you know it).
    This will create a list of midwives in the area holding a current annual practicing certificate and are members of the New Zealand College of Midwives. Select a midwife close to where you live, as your midwife will visit you at home after your baby is born.
  • You can use additional filters to narrow the search: Where you plan to have your baby, language requirements and whether you prefer a Maori or Pasifika midwife.
  • The calendar lets you know which midwives are available the month you are due. 
  • Read more about your midwife on their profile and choose the midwife that feels like a good match for you. You can contact the midwife by phone or using the contact form.

How to find a Midwife in New Zealand: A list of questions

You may be referred to a midwife or specialist doctor by a friend or whānau, in which case you could also ask them about their experience and advice. If you have a ‘made with love’ pregnancy journal you will see these questions and more.

You can change your LMC (the person who is looking after you) at any time during your pregnancy. However, in most cases many couples want to have the same LMC throughout pregnancy, birth and after their baby is born.

Your first question will of course be whether the midwife or LMC has capacity to take you on.

  • Will you be my only carer? (Some midwives work in teams. If your LMC is a doctor you will see midwives as well during labour and birth, and probably see them exclusively after birth). If you can’t be there on the day, who will give backup care for me, and should I meet them earlier?
  • When and how can I contact you?
  • What do you offer for where I give birth (eg, which hospitals, maternity units, birthing unit (i.e. Birthcare), home birth, or water birth)? Some midwives will not offer water births, some will only work at certain hospitals, and home births will always require the presence of a second midwife.
  • Where will I see you for my pregnancy check-up visits? Will you come to my home?
  • How many visits will I have for each trimester? Will you come to me at home during early labour?
  • Between each visit, are you available for me to text or call you for advice?
  • What is your stance around childbirth and medications?
  • How many women have you booked around the same time as me?

Further questions if you considering choosing an Obstetrician Doctor to provide your care

  • How much will I have to pay and when?
  • What do you offer for where I give birth (eg, which hospitals, maternity units, birthing unit, home birth, or water birth)? Doctors may not offer all birth options, some will only work at certain hospitals.
  • Who will be my midwife during labour?
  • Can I meet the midwife who will care for me during labour?
  • Who will visit me at home when I go home from hospital – will it be the same midwife as during the birth?

I hope this guide helps you Find a midwife in New Zealand, but don’t be afraid to get in touch if you’re having trouble.

Wanaka Woolshed Wedding & Winter Style Inspiration

I couldn’t think of a more breathtaking place than the Wanaka hills (or rather mountains) to hold this beautiful woolshed wedding! Gorgeous couple Will + Jess got their creative on with some well thought out DIY (see save + splurge), but treated their guests to a rustic luxe party in what can only be described as a seriously kick ass woolshed! This unique love story will certainly warm the hearts of all winter lovebirds (and would give your guests a great excuse to take a mid winter ski break!). Enjoy xox

Who Will & Jess Dickinson
Where Wanaka
Guests 60

Our love story began…

Where all good things start – with a chance encounter in an Irish bar in Auckland. This was followed by a handwritten letter, 18 months long distance between Auckland and Christchurch before I finally made the move down South.

Our wedding style inspiration was…

A rustic, alpine winter wedding with a touch of glam (and a few trucks thrown into the mix). We also wanted to have our family involved as much as possible. Will’s dad was one of his groomsmen, both our Mum’s were our witnesses, my dad was a very patient Father of the Bride and my brother was our fantastic (and hilarious) MC.

We saved by… 

Doing the decorations, styling and venue set-up ourselves. We are both pretty creative and tried to make or source as many items as we could with the help of our family and friends. I did all the stationery while Will made steel decorations and carefully spray painted our matchbox truck place settings gold. We had a wonderful florist who did our bouquets, head table arrangement, buttonholes and corsages who then supplied us with cut flowers so we could decorate the guest tables and bar ourselves. We also spent a couple of days before the wedding cutting greenery, branches and berries from Will’s parents property to create the hanging foliage over the tables in the woolshed.

We splurged on…

The venue, catering and entertainment! We focused on the elements that were the most important to us and our guests and prioritised our budget around that. Making sure the food was top-notch, there were plenty of drinks flowing combined with a live band (who were amazing) helped to create the informal, fun atmosphere we were going for – basically a barn wedding party with our closest family and friends.

Our advice to engaged couples…

Focus on the things that are most important to you. Don’t follow the traditional route if that’s not your thing and don’t feel pressured to incorporate elements if they don’t suit your style or relationship.

Research your vendors and make sure you choose people who you click with, know that you can have a laugh with and get what you are wanting to achieve. We were so happy with everyone we dealt with and loved the end result.

Most importantly make sure you have fun and maintain a healthy sense of humour throughout!

CREDITS

Photography The Good Wedding Company
Flowers Bouquets, Head Table Arrangement & Cut Flowers Miss Feaver Florist
Venue Criffel Station Woolshed
Food Artisan Catering
Wine Straight 8 Estate
Hire Wanaka Party Hire + Inlight + Criffel Station Woolshed
Hair Sara Bollati of Absolutely Fabulous Hair
Makeup Vanessa Braghini of Sanctuary Day Spa
Cake Cheese Wheel Cake (organised by Artisan Catering) from Whitestone Cheese Co.
Celebrant Charlotte Winkel of Your Big Day
Brides Dress + Jacket Juliette Hogan
Brides Head Piece Anna Marguerite
Brides Shoes Beau Coops
Earrings + Rings Meadowlark
Bridesmaid Dresses ASOS
Grooms Suit + Accessories Barkers
Transport  Wedding Cars + Yello! (buses)+ Wanaka Helicopters
Music Freefall Band