Have a friend who's pregnant this Christmas? It can be hard to know what to buy expectant mothers - practical things are often the best, but sometimes pregnant women want frivolous sparkly things as much as anyone else. Tis the season, after all.
Pregnancy is nine months of ups and downs, but hopefully, these perfect gifts will make their Christmas a little bit brighter.
A spa day
Pregnancy is lovely and all, but it also brings a hell of a lot of discomfort, aches and pains. A spa day is a much-appreciated gift for anyone, but for those going through pregnancy, a day of massages, facials and treatments is a Godsend. Many Irish spas offer specialised packages for pregnant women, with the Shelbourne in Dublin (offering the 'Cocoon' massage to relieve back tension and swelling in your extremities) and the Square Spa in the Meyrick Hotel in Galway (offering full body massages and even a tummy facial) being particularly good.
Pamper products for baby
Depending on how far along your mother-to-be is in her pregnancy, they may be looking for gifts for the baby rather than themselves. Steer clear of clutter or toys that make noise (you'll never be invited around again) and go for some of the beautiful gift sets for baby soft skin. Burt's Bees is always a safe bet, and this Getting Started kit has everything you need.
Pamper products for mam
But while pamper products for baby are all well and good, we all know the real hero here is mam. As we said, new mother's bodies take a beating during pregnancy, and pampering is of paramount importance. This gift set from Sanctuary is particularly good, with moisturising lotion and oil specially formulated for stretch marks, and designed with relaxing scents and textures in mind.
Not just any pillows, mind. Nursing can be incredibly difficult for some new mothers, and discomfort and awkward positions make things worse. This nursing pillow is designed to be comfortable for both mammy and baby, and if you want to be practical, this is the best gift to give.
Pregnancy = water retention + extra weight = very sore feet and ankles. Slippers might seem like a dud present (and they most likely are for anyone else), but for an expectant mother, these get top marks.
Books are often our favourite gift to give at Christmas, because they're a sure way to be personal and show someone you really know them. If you want to go the traditional route of a baby record book, this one based on the classic children's book Guess How Much I Love You has beautiful illustrations for mammy and baby to enjoy together, and spaces for all the exciting new developments.
Bathtime — a lovely bonding experience or pure terror? Well, this gift set might make things a bit easier. If your pregnant friend is expecting a girl (or even if they're not), this Roald Dahl gift set about Matilda (one of the best children's literary role models, in our opinion) will have her looking forward to all the future possibilities for her new arrival.
And finally, sometimes mams just need a good laugh too. Based on the iconic children's book Where the Wild Things Are, Where The Wild Mums Are is a tale that all new mothers will relate to. Sometimes you just have to escape and have a dance with your mates to appreciate the comforting chaos going on at home.
Sometimes pregnancy can leave a woman feeling not quite herself. With your body changing and hormones raging, it's normal to feel a little out of sorts with your appearance during pregnancy. But it's just like we always say: a slick of lipstick can solve a lot of ills.
A Stork Box for the hospital
Heading to the hospital soon? This gift box from Stork Box has absolutely everything a woman needs for the all-important hospital stay (except, you know, the drugs and bed and nurses and doctors). Magazines and toothpaste though? Lifesavers.