Every mother-to-be hears words of wisdom from the experienced ones.
Out of everything I’ve heard, the words “Get ready for sleepless nights and quick baths.” stuck the most. I looove sleeping, and so does my husband. So you can imagine the sacrifice we’ll have to make when I pop (but I am so sure it’s going to be worth it!)
Sure, some parents sleep regularly on the third or fourth month, but I’ll never know how it’ll work for me until my baby arrives, most especially because we’ve decided to make demand feeding (as opposed to scheduled feeding) the primary form of feeding as much as possible. I have read up on both and I feel that demand feeding is more beneficial for my baby, even if it could entail sleepless nights.
I realized that also means there are things I do every so often that I may not be able to do for a while, hence, this PAMPER ME BEFORE I POP list. There’s no Science to this list, or any book telling me this is what’s right. This is just a list I made to suit my own needs before I pop. They may not matter to you, because they’re not, after all, primary needs, but if you can relate, go ahead and feel free to do the same!:)
ALL THROUGHOUT PREGNANCY:
1. Travel – My husband and I share a love for traveling! Traveling was a big part of our life before and after we tied the knot. We made sure to still travel even when I was pregnant.
On my 6th week, we went on a scheduled family trip to Palawan (Puerto Princesa and El Nido) because my brother was visiting from the US. On my 3rd month, we flew to the US to visit my dad in Alaska (and watch the Northern Lights!) and the rest of my family in California. We also stopped by Seattle for a day! On my 4th month, we hiked Masungi Georeserve. On my 5th month, we did volunteer work in Romblon and also joined our friends’ trip in Tali, Batangas. On my 6th month, we had a “babymoon” in Coron, Palawan. For the third trimester, short daytrips here and there occurred, and then we did our Maternity/Paternity shoot in Baguio on my 8th month. And on my 36th week, we did a daytrip to Subic to walk a short trail and do some birdwatching.
2. Mani-Pedi-Foot Scrub – This is my usual pamper-me ritual, so I’ve done this all throughout my pregnancy. My go-to salon is POSH NAILS (faves: Tomas Morato branch, or SM Megamall). The only downside of getting a foot scrub is that is comes with a foot massage, and since hard foot massage is generally avoided when pregnant (they say massaging some pressure points could trigger labor), I have to deal with very light strokes, hehe. Oh, and another thing, if you’re approaching your due date, make sure your nails don’t have polish! They (the hospital staff) will take it off when you give birth because they need to check on your nails (and pretty much your whole body) to make sure everything is normal.
3. Pilates / Yoga – These are really my saviors throughout this pregnancy! I’ll tell you more about it next time, but for now, let me just say I crave these exercises more than I do a massage (and this is coming from someone who’s addicted to massages!). I feel like I’d have a miserable pregnancy if not for Pilates (and Yoga). For Pilates, I go to ONE LIFE STUDIO (I train under Teacher Che!), and for Yoga, I work with Monica Eleazar-Manzano (she can do e-sessions if you live faraway!) but mostly just practice at home. Yes, it’s a bit costly, but if that means higher chances of not having a Cesarean birth (which is equally expensive), being mobile throughout pregnancy (no major pains, having good balance even on the third trimester, etc), and not feeling so bloated and miserable, I honestly believe it’s worth it! Once a week is all our budget can take, so that’s mostly the setup, and once a week, believe it or not, really makes a big difference!
A MONTH BEFORE MY ESTIMATED DUE DATE:
Haircut – I had long hair, and since long baths will turn into very quick baths, I’d rather cut my hair than spend so much time washing it. I ended up with shoulder length because it’s short enough for a quick bath, but long enough that I can still tie it when I’m breastfeeding. I usually get my once or twice a year haircut from Henri Calayag. I love how my hair grows when he’s the one who cuts it, but he’s currently traveling somewhere and his staff never got to confirm my appointment (huhu), so I had mine done at a nearby salon instead. Maybe I’ll ask him to fix it in a few months. :/
Eyebrow Threading – Another pamper-me ritual of mine. I love having my brows fixed (because I’m not confident in fixing them myself), and my go-to for this is BROWHAUS (SM Megamall or The Fort). I’ve tried other salons generally because they’re cheaper, but BROWHAUS really has the best therapists. The threading procedure is painless, and they really know which styles suit your face. The one who did mine on my 36th week was Rona of SM Megamall. I liked her work and her communication style. Try her when you go to Mega.
Brazilian Wax – I once tried this when I was in college — it was such a painful, traumatic experience that I walked out, did not finish the treatment, left my money with the therapists, and never had it done again…until my 36th week of pregnancy! I’ve read that many hospitals shave you (I asked my OB and she told me the same thing), and that it can really get itchy and uncomfortable when the hair is starting to grow back. I have also read that your skin is more sensitive when you’re pregnant so some women don’t advise you to actually get a wax if you’re not used to it. But I have read so many good reviews about STRIP MANILA, a sister company of Browhaus, both originating from Singapore, and decided to give it a try. Almost everyone says it’s painless or (almost) painless! I figured I could always walk out if the pain was intolerable. Fast forward to my 36th week, and their STRIP MAMA package did not disappoint. Strip Mama is a Brazilian Wax package made especially for pregnant women. I won’t say it’s painless, but the pain was very tolerable! I was expecting the worst, but it never came! For first timers, I would recommend you get a Senior Therapist like I did. I went to SM Megamall and it was Ms. Christina who waxed me. I asked them why their waxing is almost painless (it is actually painless when you’re used to it, I was told) – and according to them, it’s really because they use different kinds of wax depending on your hair type and which part of the body will be waxed. Also, their therapists are well-trained so they know the strokes well and how to work with your body. Amazing. The trauma was real, but now I know better (the secret it is the salon!), and I’m so ready to have this done again! PS: They strictly follow a NO DOUBLE-DIPPING RULE! I mentioned this because someone asked me about it on Instagram!
Facial & Body Peel – I don’t do these on a regular basis, but these would definitely be on my pamper-me before I pop list. For these treatments, I went to LUMINISCE Holistic Skin Innovations. I love that clinic because they have a lot of holistic/ organic treatments and products. Dra. Kaycee Reyes, the head and owner of Luminisce (a London-trained dermatologist and wellness advocate) recommended the Full Radiance Facial & Coquille Body Peel for my session.
Full Radiance Facial thoroughly cleanses, improves and brightens the skin with a program that unclogs pores, lightens dark spots, and improves skin discoloration and the appearance of fine lines. With the infusion of rare minerals, vitamins and enzymes deep into the skin, this treatment immediately restores the skin’s healthy state.
Coquille Body Peel uses Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA’s) derived from natural fruit and food extracts, and they effectively normalize the skin’s natural exfoliating and hydrating properties by shedding the rough skin and restoring the skin’s moisture levels. What I loved about the treatment was that it was not messy. I brought extra underwear because I thought I was gonna need it, but the treatment consisted of cotton and an alcohol-like mixture, so it was not messy at all. The best thing is that it has a lightening side-effect, and I really noticed that my underarm got lighter after the treatment. You see, my underarms got darker because of this pregnancy, and though I was not really keen on doing anything about it until after I gave birth, the side-effect of the peel is very much welcome! It’s still not back to its original color, but the lightening effect has given me hope, heehee!
HOME PAMPERING YOU CAN DO AS OFTEN AS YOU LIKE:
If you’re too lazy to head out, or you’re required to stay home as much as possible, there’s still a lot of pampering you can do..here are some of them!
- Long Baths – Honestly, I take a bath really fast, but beginning my 5ht or 6th month, I felt that my short baths would even be shorter, so I started to take longer time in the bathroom – just really enjoying my baths! I would scrub while singing to my baby, or sometimes even do squats in between!
- Facial Wash with a Cleansing Brush – I bought THIS brush from The Body Shop and would use it almost everyday to wash my face. I love how I feel like my skin is much cleaner and softer after!
- Reading Time – I know I won’t have much of it especially on the first year or so after I pop, so I’m taking this time to read books on childbirth preparation. I never knew pregnancy could feel so short. No wonder we have at least 9 months of pregnancy – really, there’s a lot to prepare for!
- Relaxation Time – A small area at home can be dedicated for this. THIS is how mine looks like. I use it to listen to music, read, and basically do quiet time.
- Foot Soak – If you feel like your feet are bloated, you can do foot soaks using Epsom Salt (I got Epsom Salt from Healthy Options)! Make sure the water is just warm, not hot. My foot soak mix is a combination of the following: Epsom Salt + Baking Soda + Peppermint Tea Leaves. Soak your feet for about 15-20 minutes.
- Massage – Home massage is pretty popular in this country, and at really affordable rates! Like mentioned earlier, my body looks for Pilates/ Yoga more, but I would get massages from time to time. Many of my friends who did not work out when they were pregnant say this is one of the best pamper-me gifts they gave themselves during their pregnancy! Another thing I really love using is a FOAM ROLLER. You can buy this in sports stores. It’s actually really meant for massaging. Once you know how to use it, I swear, it’s one of the best self-massage tools available out there! Try to get the long, hard ones. To see a sample of how it’s used, watch THIS. The upside: With the sample I showed, it strengthens your core, too, which you really need to work on if you want an easy pregnancy.
- Sleep – You can skip everything you’ve read and just.do.THIS! Seriously. I’m taking all the naps and sleep I can now. I won’t have much of it for months, after all! For a really good sleep, I highly recommend the SNUG-A-HUG pillow. On my first trimester (since I couldn’t workout yet – workout is recommended starting the 4th month to let the most sensitive part of pregnancy pass), I had a little back pain and this pillow helped me! Since I worked out, there had been no major pains, so the pillow did not work in the aspect anymore, but worked for something else! See, I’m used to lying on my back for sleeping! This position is NOT ideal especially on the latter part of pregnancy (read HERE), and the snug-a-hug pillow helps keep my body in side-lying position through the night. Sure, I still wake up lying on my back sometimes, but this pillow has greatly reduced it!
Last but not the least, take as many DATES as you can with your husband/ partner! This is your last chance to be together without thinking of anybody else. I’m sure dates with the little one will be fun, but it will be different! So make time for this and savor all your alone time together until the day your little one arrives!