Lucy Mangan's 10 top pregnancy tipsLucy

When your friend announces she's pregnant, what's the best advice you can give her? Lucy offers a ten-point plan

My friend is pregnant! This is great. For her, sure, but even more so for me. Partly because I get to have a baby around again without actually having to have a baby, but mostly because at last I will get to offer advice to someone.

I’m a late starter with everything, you see, from riding a bike (15), to having sex (don’t ask) to having babies (37), so can act as a trailblazer for virtually no one. But at last I get to distil my wisdom and hand it down to a neophyte from on high. Here is the list I have been waiting to gift someone.

1. Buy Topshop maternity jeans. They will still look good when you’re wearing them to take the child to nursery because you haven’t had time to shop since your waters broke. Don’t buy Marks & Spencer jeans. You’re a mum. You’re not your mum. Or indeed her mum.

2. The baby is planning to come out of your vagina. This is exactly as appalling as it sounds, and often worse. If you wish to make alternative arrangements, you will need to start uttering loud noises of distress and anxiety in front of all the medical personnel you come across NOW. Don’t wait until you go into labour. It’s too late then.

3. If you can face doing perineal massage for the next six months, go for it. You’re a better woman than I.

4. Take five minutes every day to sit back and think to yourself, ‘Look at me, going about my life, doing my work, seeing my friends, altogether takin’ care of business – and all the while KNITTING AN ENTIRE NEW PERSON TOGETHER INSIDE MYSELF. I am impossibly amazing. I congratulate myself.’ Stock up on this feeling. Draw on it during the late-night feeds to come when you feel you are not amazing at all. Because you were, are and – especially to the newly-knitted child – always will be.

5. Stock up also on adjectives. You will need them when describing to your partner/mother/GP the variety of discharges you will experience over the coming months.

6. Write a detailed birth plan. Imagine God laughing. Tear it up.

7. For the first three months, when you go out always wear a shoulder bag instead of carrying a handbag. You never know when you are suddenly going to get so tired you have to collapse in the nearest pub with your head on the table for a 20-minute nap. Double yourself over the bag so you don’t wake up without one.

8. Always do a spare wee before you leave anywhere. Always. Because that child is constantly growing and by the time you get home you will have even less space in your bladder than you did when you set off.

9. Men can freak out when you show them the baby moving under your skin. Try not to despise them for it. It’s one of those things that is more unsettling to see when it’s not happening to you.

10. I will answer any questions about your vulva that I can. But I will not look at anything.

Good luck, my friend, good luck.

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