Being pregnant in London

June 2015

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I found out that I was expecting our third child on the 9th of February. Admittedly, we were surprised. Pleasantly surprised of course. I messaged the above picture to E and he was ecstatic! We always thought we would have 3 or 4 children but we did not expect to have me being pregnant in London at all. I mean, it was obviously somewhat tougher given the circumstances. Still, the fact that I would be able to have 3 kids before I turn 31 is just awesome! Supposedly, I would be more energetic for these three little ones!

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The Initial Stage:

After the positive test on the pregnancy test kit, I went to the local NHS clinic to see a GP who then referred me to a hospital in my borough. I decided to go for another state hospital because I have friends who have used their maternity services before and they have mentioned that it was great. E and I decided to go for the state hospital because everything would be free. (Well, taxes are high in London and the free health care in UK is one of the benefits that everyone enjoys.) In the hospital that I am using, there are only 3 ultra scans done- one at the 12th week, the second detailed scan done at the 20th week and the final one at 36th week. The midwife will also meet up with me every 4-6 weeks just for the routine checkups. I suppose this is very basic in comparison to what we have in Singapore. Considering how it is free, I suppose it is okay. I have friends who have delivered babies safely through this system. Just like what the saying goes when in Rome, do as the Romans do.

Just like in Singapore, there is the option of going private as well. However, private maternity services in London is very costlyย in comparison to Singapore. I have checked with one of my friend who went for the private option, she has mentioned that pregnant mothers get to see the gynecologist(instead of the midwife) every month. Towards the end of the pregnancy, the frequency of the consultation increases to once every two weeks. This is very similar to the private maternity healthcare in Singapore as well.

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How am I taking care of myself:

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I am currently taking Pregnacare multivitamins. While there are some schools of thought that a balanced diet is sufficient, everyone who knows me know that I don’t have a balanced diet. If I had my way, I would have chocolate, Milo, strawberry jam with brioche jam, tiramisu for every meal. I have a real sweet tooth…either that or I am actually stressed and am constantly craving for desserts or sweet drinks.

Back in Singapore, there would be my mother who always ensured my vegetables and fish intake. When I was pregnant, I often had tonics, bird’s nest dessert and whatnot. That is the good thing of staying near my parents; there is always nutritious meals that I do not need to prepare. Heehee. Now that I am a SAHM, I mainly ensure the kids have a proper diet but am much less strict with myself. Perhaps there is a logical explanation of me falling ill pretty often in London. Hmm…Anyways, my mother and my mother-in-law will be coming over to help me during the confinement month. So, I will be very well taken care then.

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The Birth Plan:

Like what I have mentioned above, delivery of the baby is free in UK. According to my midwife, I have a choice of delivering it in the Operation Theatre(OT) or opting for a very gentle/non-intrusive way known as water-birth. Water birth is apparently a common and popular choice among mothers here. From my observations of the workings of NHS(National Health Service) and the general feel of how mothers/parents are like in the UK, it appears that most would be inclined towards anything that is ‘natural’. For example, when any one of us gets ill in London, we hardly get any medication. In fact, I don’t think the kids have been given sort of antibiotics(or any medication to address symptoms of cold/cough) since we got here in 2012. The doctors that we see in London always advise that the fever/cough/flu will eventually go off after 5-7 days. This is a marked difference from when we were in Singapore where medication almost included antibiotics most of the time. I don’t think there is a right or even wrong way of doing such things, especially since I am not medically trained in any way.

In this light of what I was trying to share earlier is that my midwife was advising me to go for water-birth which I am still considering. I would very much prefer to be in the OT with epidural. Hmm…, it is still early and I will update on my birth plan before the birth. Another aspect that worries me slightly would be that I would only be allowed to be admitted into hospital when I am 4cm dilated. OMG…. that thought itself just feels painful already….

(-_-)”’

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