Bonding with your bump
When you’re pregnant, it can be hard to picture what your new baby will look like, but it's never too early to start bonding with your bump.
Have you felt your baby move yet? You might have noticed them kicking when you’re ready for sleep or they have a certain time of day that they’re more active. You may find that your baby is starting to have a routine of awake and sleep times. Sometimes when you gently push your bump, drink cold water or have a warm bath your baby will move.
Most women usually begin to feel their baby move between 16 and 24 weeks of pregnancy. A baby’s movements can be described as anything from a kick, flutter, swish or roll. The type of movement may change as your pregnancy progresses but the frequency should never reduce. From approximately 24 weeks, your baby will begin to move in more of a pattern or routine -maybe they wriggle most after dinner or when you get into bed? it will be different for each person.
If you think your baby’s movements have changed from what you’ve come to expect (this can be less or more movement ) contact the maternity unit immediately regardless of what day or time it is – it doesn’t take long to have you and the baby checked over.
Avoid using hand-held monitors, dopplers, or phone apps to check your baby’s heartbeat. Even if you think you’ve heard your baby’s heartbeat, this does not mean your baby is well.
So how can you build the bond with your baby?
It’s safe for you to gently massage your bump and this can be a great way to bond with your baby - it can also be a relaxing way to unwind. It’s a great opportunity for your partner to start bonding by getting them to gently massage your bump for you. Remember to wait until after the first trimester before using oils during massage – lavender can be a great scent to help you relax and unwind.
Throughout your pregnancy your baby’s senses are developing and from around week 23 they’ll be able to hear sounds from outside the womb. This is a great opportunity for you and your partner to sing and talk to your bump, to help your baby get used to the sound of your voices. It may feel a little strange to do at first but give it a go - singing a nursery rhyme or even singing along to the radio are great ways to let your baby hear your voices.
Although it’s always good to keep yourself active it’s not recommended you do anything too strenuous as your pregnancy progresses, so a gentle walk can be a great way to get out of the house and bond with your bump. If you’re new to exercise start with a shorter walk, before building up to a longer walk of 20 or so minutes at a pace you feel comfortable with, and remember to take your time.
If walking isn’t your thing, swimming could be a good way to build activity into your week, help to take the weight off your feet and give you some time to bond with your bump. If you don’t fancy swimming, but still want to get in the pool, an aqua natal class can be a great activity to combine bonding time with an opportunity to meet some other expectant mums.
Having a bath can be a great way to unwind and connect with your bump - make sure the bath water is warm and not too hot. A bath can be a great time to try out some bump massage or spend some time lying still and focusing on your baby’s movements and kicks.
Yoga has many benefits both for when you’re pregnant and once your baby has arrived. Antenatal yoga classes can help you to relax, focus on your body and allow you to spend some time thinking about and feeling closer to your growing baby. It’s recommended to start yoga by your second trimester, and if you haven’t done it before it’s easy to pick up and learn - An added bonus with yoga is the opportunity to learn breathing techniques which can be useful during labour.
Your local yoga sessions:
Westwood Primary School, Beresford Close, Hadleigh, SS7 2SU
The Yoga Factory
Lotus Mama Pregnancy Yoga
Unit 8, Victoria Business Park, Short Street
Southend-On-Sea SS2 5BY
Carrying a baby around for 9 months gives you ample opportunity to bond with your bump; but often a partner can miss out on the special moments of pregnancy, including feeling your baby move around inside. Your partner can be involved in most of the ideas above - you could ask them to massage your bump or talk to your bump so that the baby start to get used to their voice too. You might want to take your partner’s hand when you feel some movement, and have them experience the kicks for themselves!
Did you know that when you’re expecting, your body will naturally release hormones that help to build the bond between you and your baby? You can help build the bond even more by looking for opportunities for you and your partner to feel closer to your little one before they arrive.