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Wednesday 28 August 2019

The Mommyhood Series [iv] - The Accidental BabyMoon (Pregnancy Travel Guide)

After enjoying a good Pre-natal Massage and Pure Organic Facial, as mentioned in the last chapter of The Mommyhood Series (click here to read more), I headed for a trip to Taiwan with Hubby, my best friend and her hubby.

This trip was discussed and planned more than a year ago, and has somehow become my accidental babymoon now that I was expecting. I was 1.5 weeks shy of 7 months into my pregnancy when the trip commenced in April.

About 1 week before travelling, the gynaecologist examined me, and then issued a letter to certify that I was fit for travel. This letter is very essential especially if we are above 20 weeks pregnant, mainly for health reasons.

Take note that your travel insurance does NOT cover pregnancy and its related medical fees (hospitalization, surgery, GP consultations or purchase of medications). Your private MediShield plans do not cover pregnancy complications as well.

For pregnancy-related coverage, you'll need to get either:
  1. maternity insurance by a local insurer, such as AIA, AXA, Great Eastern, Prudential etc. The extend of coverage would be anything from $5000 to $20,000; or
  2. international health insurance with pregnancy coverage, such as MyHealth, Worldcare, Allianz, Bupa, Cigna, etc. These offer pregnancy coverage including your consultations, vaccinations, delivery and complications etc, up to millions of dollars, depending on the package you choose. The only 2 drawbacks are that premiums are exorbitant, and you need a waiting period of 9 months.

Speak to individual insurers to find out more (the above is just a guide).

Prepare pregnancy-friendly medicine for the trip, in the event we fall sick and there are no hospitals or clinics nearby. Simple ailments such as fever or tummy aches warrant for Panadol and Po Chai Pills, both safe for pregnancy (please double check with your gynae as each person's body is different).

The Do's

  • Book flights in advance and select a comfortable seat with good leg space. 
  • Pack shoes that are comfortable for walking.
  • Have your gynae's number on hand to call in case of abnormalities (i.e. blood in urine).
  • Avoid food that's too exotic or prepared in an environment that does not appear very hygienic.
  • Beware of slippery surfaces (outdoors during rain or snow;  bathroom floors, etc).
  • Bring antibacterial wipes or hand sanitizer (personal hygiene is very crucial).

The Don'ts

  • Excessive cold drinks.
  • Thrill rides (we visited a theme park with exciting rides)
  • Exertive sports
  • Over-buy infant clothes for 0-3 months old
  • (Babies outgrow clothes like crazy).
  • Be too stressed out during the trip (i.e. hectic schedule by package tours).
  • Carry heavy stuff (let the porters handle your luggage).
  • Visit very crowded places where you might get bumped into alot.
  • Go for full body massage or hot springs (the latter is an enjoyment in Taiwan where we went; I had to skip it).

For the next series, we shall take a look at the endless shopping list to prepare for, for the arrival of the little bundle of joy.


Wednesday 21 August 2019

The Mommyhood Series [iii] - Pre-Natal Massage & Organic Facial by Schöne Mama @ Takashimaya [Sponsored]

391 Orchard Road #05-20 Ngee Ann City Tower B, Singapore 238872
Tel: 6904 5448

In my last chapter of The Mommyhood Series, I shared about my pregnancy journey (click here to read). Today, I would like to share my experience at Schöne Mama for their Pre-natal Massage and Pure Organic Facial (worth SGD$275.00).

With a name like Schöne Mama, I was surprised that they originated from China, and it means "美丽妈妈" (beautiful mother). Schöne Mama started in 2005, specialising in post-birth recovery services, and it has more than 300 outlets worldwide today. The first Singapore outlet was opened in 2016, receiving raving reviews since. I was psyched to have the opportunity to try out their services.

The outlet at Ngee Ann City is located on level 5, done up in pristine white with dashes of blue and green. The consultants and therapists were all experienced and friendly, having many years of experience in their respective trades.

After a consultation session answering questions regarding my lifestyle and pregnancy so far, the Pre-natal Massage commenced. It was a one-hour full body massage starting from the feet to torso to head. My masseur was a bubbly Thai lady in her late 40s or early 50s.

The Pre-natal Massage was very comfortable, using only plant-based natural oils. It aims at helping to relieve body aches, improve skin elasticity, strengthen back muscles, promote relaxation, improve overall wellness and most importantly, reduce water retention.

Following that, I enjoyed a 30-minute Pure Organic Facial using products with natural ingredients such as Centella, French Musk Rose Oil, etc.

It was soothing and very enjoyable as well, resulting in a glowing complexion at the end of it.

My treatment concluded with a nutritious bowl of some grains with red dates, for nourishing the skin.

Overall, I had a wonderful time here, feeling pampered and beautiful as a mom-to-be. Their professionalism and friendly service was very heart-warming as well. Thank you Schöne Mama for the excellent treatment.


(i) The House-Hunting Series
(ii) The Honeymoon Series
(iii) The Nuptial Series
(iv) The Mommyhood Series (i) - Receiving The News
(v) The Mommyhood Series (ii) - My Pregnancy Journey

Sunday 11 August 2019

The Mommyhood Series [ii] - My Pregnancy Journey

In my last entry - the first chapter of The Mommyhood Series (read more here), I talked about how we discovered we were expecting a baby girl. 

My visit to the Gynaecologist's confirmed my pregnancy, and baby was 12 weeks' old by then. We were to have an Autumn baby; how exciting!

I saw Dr. Paul Tseng first, but later switched to Dr. W. H. Kee. During each visit, he would monitor my weight and blood pressure, do the necessary scans so we could see that Baby was healthy; and share stories as well as advice on what to expect during each stage. From 20th week onwards, I also had to do urine tests during each visit.

I could say I breezed by my first trimester since it was already over, and I didn't feel anything. Or rather, whatever uneasiness I felt were linked to my hectic schedule during the past 3 months (recap for those who didn't get to read my past entries- I was taking the property exams, shifting house and went Melbourne for 2 weeks back-to-back).

I didn't have much cravings for food; I think I had more cravings before pregnancy, Haha. I still enjoyed cakes and pastries a lot, just like pre-pregnancy days.

I also had to consume at least 8 to 10 glasses of fluids a day. Ideally, these fluids could be plain water; but if that's not possible - soups, caffeine free tea, juices, water-rich fruits etc all contribute to our liquids intake.

Tendency to feel more bloated was normal. I abstained from most carbonated drinks. Weight continued to increase by 1-2 kg a month (my own weight + baby's weight + water bag).

I was also advised to exercise at least 3 times a week - mainly walking and swimming. I could do Pre-natal Yoga but it seemed I could never find time for it.

Oh also, there's this saying about looking at photos of beautiful happy babies often, so that your baby would turn out this way, hopefully. Lol- so just toss genes out of then window and stare away at these pictures. They are cute to look at, anyway.

Talk to baby too! Educate it in its early stages by exposing it to nice music and your voice. You'll be surprised how it could actually understand, and absorb.

Second trimester was a little more challenging. I was adverse to a lot of smells, including skincare products that contain floral scents, chemicals, smell too creamy etc; I also grew adverse towards smells of my antibacterial hand-wash and washing detergents etc. Everything made me nauseous but the worst thing was that I couldn't throw up; they stayed inside me to haunt me, resulting in stuffiness around my chest area and headaches.

Also, I needed to look through the list of ingredients that went into the various skincare products, to ensure that they don't contain lead, butyl, propyl, paraben, sulfate, retinol, etc. I had to stop using anything that contained one of the supposedly-harmful ingredients.

I spent a bomb replacing skincare products - because I was adverse even to some of those organic / natural products. There was a lot of trial and error.  I even grew sick of my usual toothpaste!

And yes, I still used makeup during the course of my pregnancy because I believe there was no reason for me to become unattractive just because I was pregnant (light makeup is also considered a form of respect/ courtesy for clients in the business world).

I had to see the gynae on a monthly basis. On the 12th week, a series of tests were done on me - mainly health and blood tests. Mainly HIV and diabetic related. Remember that many women become diabetic during their pregnancy, or developed pre-clampsia (high blood pressure).

During the 20th week, we did the Chromosome Test to ascertain that Baby did not have any birth disorders or something like that. We also found out the gender by then - it was going to be a Baby Girl.

Body heat was another killer for me - I was constantly feeling so hot, I think it attributed to my headaches, need to defecate more than once a day, and even nausea. I needed the air-conditioner to sleep nightly too.

We started looking out for Baby Insurance, comparing quotes and coverage from different insurers. We settled on a certain established company that offered a comprehensive policy with competitive rates, covering an additional 22 baby illnesses, and has a beautiful facility for Mommy and baby to use for various activities. Insurance is very important- you  never know what happens in life.

Shopping for clothes was an adventure as the belly grew larger and larger and dresses  became shorter and tighter. I bought loose fitting clothes that I was confident of wearing even post-pregnancy.

By 26th week, the Baby's kicks should be more prominent and frequent. From here onwards, monitor their movements and ensure they are active. There are various methods to monitor and count their kicks - do some research on it.

They say this is this trimester where hormones run the wildest but I think I was fine. I felt that my temperament was worse during the first 2 trimesters, mainly due to the discomfort I felt.

Having insomniac nights or waking up in the middle of the nights was common. It upset me, but did not cause me very much discomfort in the daytime.

Diet-wise, I cut back on carbohydrates because by the end of the full term I gained 20 kilograms. My Gynae had wanted me to gain about a kilo a month so by his standard i was severely overweight. Other than that, I had a lot of fruit and proteins in my meals.

We should be attending some parental courses but never seemed to find time. Friends passed me some good books to read but I could not get started on them as well. Google became my best friend. I found myself constantly searching for "can pregnant women do / eat / drink xxxxx?"

Physically, the giddiness and adverse to scents lessened, but not completely.

My skin started to become more sensitive and itchy, especially the skin on my legs and ankles. I was fortunate that my face was fine - I didn't have super oily skin nor pimples popping all over.

My feet and legs became very swollen; shoes had to be expanded. I loved the 2 pairs of Ecco shoes I got as they were comfortable and looked good. Fortunately I did not have cramps which could be really painful. I did experience numbness in my hands and fingers frequently though.

I became heavier and clumsier. Certain chores that could be done in 5 minutes; I needed 10 minutes by now. I could not bend down or bend over. Getting out of bed required a lot of efforts. 

Despite my heavy weight and I was close to my Estimated Delivery Date ("EDD"), I was still actively going around appointments and events. 6 days before the actual EDD, I could still find a nice evening gown to wear for a gala event (see picture at top of post).

Gynae visits became a weekly affair by now.

By last few weeks we should start feeling contractions in the womb. The initial contractions would be so mild, we'd often confuse it with Baby's kicking. Then they get more intense. Doctor advised keeping in my bag a change of clothes, disposable underwear, maternity pads and a disposable sheet in case water bag burst while I was out.

We were also advised to pack the Hospital Bag and put it in the car, to prepare for Baby's arrival anytime. The bag should include supplies I would need for hospital stay, clothes for Baby, etc.

Emotionally, oh well, keeping busy is vital. It adds meaning to life and prevents us from over-thinking. I did have my moments of paranoia fearing that my hubby might have another hunny- so trust and communication are very important.

By now you would also realise that everyone around you is dishing out advice on what to do and what not to do during pregnancy. I dislike especially the superstitious advice that have no basis - I walked around a funeral parlour pretty often lol. It's all in the mind and heart. Everyone means well, but take all advice with a pinch of salt. Someone would tell you to take more bird's nest whereas another would ask you to abstain from it. Let's just say that each mother's body and baby's body are different; take everything in moderation.

Don't give yourself too much stress. The way we feel affects our babies greatly. Enjoy the pregnancy journey while it lasts.

My next chapter of The Mommyhood Series would focus on Prenatal Massage and Facial by SchoeMama @ Takashimaya. Keep a close lookout for it.


(i) The House-Hunting Series
(ii) The Honeymoon Series
(iii) The Nuptial Series
(iv) The Mommyhood Series (i) - Receiving The News