From bump sex to baggy knickers, there’s a lot you won’t learn in your antenatal classes…
A is for Adjustable Waistbands
Hot new autumn/winter trend? Afraid not. They are, however, a miracle of the maternity fashion world, despite being totally unsexy. They’re so comfy, you’re in danger of wearing them long after you’ve given birth. Consign them to the bin in the hospital car park, for the sake of your sanity, as well as your sex life.
B is for Bump (obvs)
Suddenly the whole world thinks it’s perfectly OK to stroke your stomach while commenting that it’s enormous/small/weird-looking (or the all-time classic ‘Are you sure it’s not twins?’). We suggest patting the offender’s belly and asking, ‘Large lunch, was it?’ That should shut them up.
C is for Crying
All the time. At everything. One Direction ballads – and yes, it’s OK to fancy them a bit – cheesy TV ads, even commemorative plates of Prince George (or was that just us?). And don’t even think about watching the 10 O’Clock News.
D is for Driving
At first, you’ll be super-cautious of strapping in your bump. Then you’ll become the designated non-drinking driver, grumpily turning down the radio at the end of another sober night out. Finally, your tummy will be so enormous, it’s easier to hand over the car keys and be chauffeured around.
E is for Experts
Yep, everyone is an expert when it comes to pregnancy. Gina Ford, your mother-in-law, the old lady in the queue at Tesco. They can, miraculously, tell you whether you’re having a boy or girl, early or late baby. They even seem to be able to predict exactly how you’ll feel once you’re a parent. And, no, they won’t hold back from telling you. Ignore.
F is for Father-To-Be
He’s trying to do and say all the right things (‘How do you look? Erm, pregnant?), but he really doesn’t always get it, does he? And come b-day, this will all be his fault, and you’ll vow never to let him near you again.
G is for Getting Creative
In the bedroom, that is. You might have tried handcuffs or chocolate body paint before, but sex with a bump is a whole new world. It takes a bit of imagination – and a lot more effort – than usual, and you’ll have to ignore the look on his face as your bump looms inches from his nose. But a surge of hormones can do funny things to a girl.
H is for Holiday
Take one. Now. Somewhere glamorous. Somewhere sexy. You’ll look back on it in disbelief one day, when you’re crammed into a small car with a travel cot and a skipload of food and nappies just to spend one night at a ‘family-friendly’ campsite.
I is for Impossible To Work Out
Nipple shields. Breast pumps. Car seats. Super-complex buggies. Baby slings. These things (and their manuals) are sent to try us. They’re also a perfect way to get your partner involved, while you lie on the sofa eating Wagon Wheels.
J is for Just Keep Snacking
Popcorn, Quavers or, if you’re lucky, something healthy like almonds – whatever your nibble of choice, don’t even consider going longer than an hour between top ups or nausea could descend. Your partner may complain that it’s like living with a hamster when he’s woken by the sound of you crunching Ginger Nuts in the early hours. At this point, you may remind him (again) that this is all his fault.
K is for Kicking
Your baby’s first kicks are a beautiful, emotional pregnancy milestone. By the time he/she has perfected an Irish jig at 2am, the novelty might have worn off a tiny bit.
L is for Listening
To your baby’s heartbeat. Pure magic.
M is for Mysterious Words
And pregnancy comes with more than a few. *Doula? *Ventouse? *Tripp Trapp? Anyone? And when you go online, get ready for DH, DS/DD (Darling Husband, Son/Daughter), POAS (Pee On A Stick, as in take a pregnancy test) or DTD (Doing The Deed. Yup, having sex). It’s enough to make you SUFID (Screw Up Your Face In Disgust) and CLAB (Cry Like A Baby).
N is for Names
This is the fun bit. Do you want a Zebedee or a Guinevere? If Bear Grylls can get away with Huckleberry and Marmaduke, why can’t we? Watch your mum’s face when you tell her you’re going to call her grandchild Tutankhamun Jr.
O is for Oil
Who knows if it really stops stretchmarks, but we’re slapping it on anyway, accepting the fate of our grease-stained bedsheets, and feeling a lot like David Walliams before his cross-channel swim. Many draw the line at oiling the perineum, but it is advised by experts. Sorry.
P is for Piles
See also swollen ankles, indigestion and nipples that could take an eye out. It’s the not-so-sexy side of pregnancy that nobody tells you about, until it’s too late and you’re sitting on a rubber ring while watching Corrie. Two words of comfort: they go.
Q is for Quintuplets
Yes, five babies at once. A litter. This actually happens. Makes carrying one feel much more manageable all of a sudden, doesn’t it?
R is for Really Massive Underwear
There will come a day, a dark day, when big beige knickers and shapeless bras without underwiring are not only permissible, but essential. Your secret is safe with us – just avoid communal changing rooms.
S is for Sober
You can pretend all you like that lime and soda is almost the same as drinking a vodka tonic, but we know the truth. Sober nights out suck. The good news is that one large glass of Cab Sav six weeks after the birth will be enough to get you completely hammered.
T is for Treasure This Time
You may be tired, uncomfortable and stressed, but give your bump a hug right now. One day, you’re going to finally meet this fabulous, amazing little person and you’ll look back on your pregnancy with pride. And a degree of nostalgia. Oh, the lie-ins, the long baths, the hours of ‘me’ time…
U is for Urgh
Mucus plugs, nipple discharge, pooing while you’re pushing... All these can make the whole miracle of birth thing feel like a gross-out movie. Funny thing is, you’ll be too ecstatic to care about (or even remember) that stuff when your baby arrives.
V is for VIPP
Make the most of your rights as a VIPP (Very Important Pregnant Person) – demand that seat on the bus, the best bed on holiday, a comfy chair in the bar and last brownie on the plate. There have to be some upsides to make up for U (Urgh).
W is for Waiting
For the blue line to appear on the pregnancy test. To tell everyone your news. For the first kick. For your first labour pain... Pregnancy is all about being patient and calm. And no, we’re no good at that, either.
X is for X-citing
What will your baby look like? How will it feel to hold him or her? It’s better than Christmas, birthdays and the pause-y bit when they announce the X Factor winner all rolled together.
Y is for Yoga
The exercise of choice for many mothers-to-be, but we all know it’s mainly about the ‘rest and breathe’ bit at the end, don’t we? Basically, it’s a bit of stretching followed by a snooze (followed by cake, obvs).
Z is for Zzzzzs
Grab ’em while you can. Seriously, why aren’t you in your PJs right now? The next six months are going to feel like one very long day. A good day, but a long one. Z is for Zzzzzs