Clemmie hooper headshot

What to expect when you’re expecting

Midwife, author and Instagram star Clemmie Hooper on everything you need to know about pregnancy

What to expect when you’re expecting

Having helped to deliver more than 500 babies in her 10 years as a midwife, mum of four Clemmie Hooper, 33, knows a thing or two about pregnancy and labour.

"I’ve seen it all," explains Clemmie. "From home and water births to births in the back of a taxi! I’ve delivered twins (including my own) and seen triplets being born."

Clemmie shares her "girl gang" – Anya, 10, Marnie, seven, and identical two-year-old twins Ottilie and Delilah – with husband, Simon, 35.

In 2011 she set up a website to share her experience with expectant mums and to lift the lid on the taboo subjects surrounding pregnancy and birth.

Her no-nonsense blog was a hit and she has now racked up almost 420,000 followers on Instagram.

In honour of International Day of the Midwife, Clemmie talks about overcoming morning sickness, ditching your due date and why you should invest in TENA Lady

Clemmie's plus points of being pregnant

  • No drinking means a good liver detox…
  • It also means no hangovers. Yippee!
  • An excuse to buy new clothes
  • No periods – literally the best!
  • Better skin (if you’re one of the lucky ones)
  • Not worrying about trying to hold my tummy in
  • And finally… just feeling a bit special


Morning sickness

'The term ‘morning’ is misleading – it can strike at any time of day. How did I get through it? You just have to eat! I used to eat before I got out of bed. I would have snacks in my bedside table, like a digestive biscuit, an apple or an orange. I ate what my body wanted.'

Sleepless nights

Babies have a kind of sixth sense – as soon as you are lying down, it’s their cue to throw a party on your bladder. I’d suggest a warm bath before bed as it can make such a difference. Add some lavender oil to the water, light a few candles and zone out. The warmth of the water will help to ease your aching back, plus you may get some big movements and it’s a lovely way to connect with your baby.

Don’t focus on your due date

It’s thought that only 2-5% of babies are born on their actual due date. So I don’t call it a ‘due date’ because it’s not – it’s an estimated delivery date!


Questions to ask your midwife

If you’re worried about anything, always ask. I’d suggest considering: What does the local hospital offer? Is there a pool? Do they offer epidurals? How many birth partners can you have with you in hospital? Do you have to use the closest hospital or can you choose another one?

Packing your hospital bag

Think about the three Ws: What’s it for? Who’s it for? When’s it for? Here’s my list for a kick-ass birthing bag

  • A wide headband – it helped me get my hair off my face when I felt hot
  • Earphones – make sure you load your favourite playlists onto your phone
  • A really good lip balm. All that breathing and gas and air can make your lips super-dry. I should know
  • You definitely need big pants. I rate TENA Lady pants because you can just chuck it all away in one go
  • I would also recommend taking a pillow and a hot water bottle or wheat bag – these were fantastic for me in early labour
  • Snacks of some description
  • Water’s another essential, ideally in a sports bottle

Are you in labour? Possible signs

As with anything to do with pregnancy and birth, everyone is different. So, just because your sister had a show and went into labour that day, it doesn’t mean the same will happen to you. Here’s my checklist…

  • Your waters might go – sometimes this can be a slow trickle
  • Diarrhoea and/or feeling nauseous
  • Dull lower backache that may require paracetamol to ‘take the edge off’
  • Achy tops of the thighs
  • A sensation of not quite feeling right

The most important advice I can give you is to speak up. Don’t ever feel like you are being a nuisance if you go into hospital due to something that’s worrying you. Anything you are worried about, you must always speak up. Midwives and doctors – that’s why we’re all here.

Make sure you stock up on everything you need at Asda or pop into your local store