The last thing moms think about is themselves, and if it’s starting while you are pregnant congratulations – you are already like, a really awesome mom. But man, there are just some things that we need that is guarded like a national security secret until it’s actually time, and then there is SO MUCH information and SO MANY ADS telling you what to buy to “enjoy your pregnancy.”
Also – if you’re like me, you have a lot of friends that give you advice, and you’re a Pinterest addict (heck, maybe you found this on Pinterest – holla!) to the point where I was researching so much it got overwhelming…thank goodness for Amazon Prime, the 2 day shipping AND the return policy, let’s just say we know our postman by name now.
My biggest concern with my pregnancy – am I being selfish? Then there’s obvious questions like: Is this money worth spending on me or saving up for a dock-a-tot? How long will this last? But then there’s the not so obvious as well: Am I still beautiful? Do I need another pair of pants? Thankfully, my husband has been more than understanding but these physical and emotional changes before baby has even arrived have been difficult – not to mention that buying maternity clothes online is kinda a nightmare (I promise – the maternity store isn’t really that bad) but these few things have been LIFESAVERS for me through almost the whole journey, and I’ve tried to note what I needed right away, and what has really helped for later.
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- A shirt saying you’re pregnant: You may laugh at this one, but I found it especially handy for travel to when you feel like you could use a little special treatment (like someone letting you go to the front of the line in the bathroom right after you get off a flight, extra time at security, preboarding, sudden bathroom breaks on the plane) it leaves no question to others that “yes, this woman is pregnant” but it also has elicited a lot of kindness from strangers like getting a seat on the metro or a barista confirming how much caffeine you want in your coffee.
- Quality leggings: This was one of the first products that was an “investment” even before pregnancy – the Lululemon Align Pant. I have 3 pair as my go-to leggings, wear them and wash them weekly and so far they have lasted over 2 years. Coming from the girl who used to hold her breath walking past Abercrombie in high school (gotta keep the “prep fumes” out) these leggings have been more than their worth. I wore them until I went into labor, and still wear them postpartum for a little extra support. They are WELL WORTH the investment..and I didn’t believe it until I bought some myself.
- Stretch Mark Prevention: This is key – your skin gets DRY during pregnancy because the baby needs not only your water for hydration but also your placenta and amniotic fluid is constantly recycling so your skin gets the shaft. I ran the gamut trying several creams and samples, and I preferred plain old coconut oil and Palmer’s Cocoa Butter massage lotion for the first two trimesters. Now, as my belly grows by the second, I’ve upgraded to this Body Boost The bonus is that my husband could help out with this one, and I didn’t get my sheets all oily. Put it on at night and right after you shower FROM THE BEGINNING so your skin can gain some elasticity. And since this is a pregnancy blog post and not a modesty blog post – I also put it, ahem, where the sun don’t shine to prevent tearing during birth once daily.
- Pregnancy Pillow: Most people start with this when they have a belly, but I thought it was really helpful to have it before to get comfortable sleeping with it. I love this particular one because the case is washable and the detachable section is great for travel, it fits into a carry-on.
- Ginger Drops: These are like cough drops, but for nausea. I didn’t have any morning sickness, but I have definitely had my fair share of nausea. I drink a glass of water and suck on one of these and my upset tummy feels much better. My husband has even taken some when he has felt queasy.
- A Meal Planning & Tracking System: This has been KEY for me having a holistic pregnancy, just a few weeks ago when I took the glucose test, I came up anemic, but having known what food I had eaten my doctor and I were to easily see the holes in my diet (I had developed an aversion to meat and was napping during a meal). I use a system with my clients that’s app-based and works well, or you can use something like MyFitnessPal. I prefer my system, though, because I don’t like tracking calories and pounds while pregnant, it’s tough mentally to see those alerts.
- A Water Bottle: Dehydration is a real problem with expecting mamas, so I’ve really liked having a cute water bottle to carry around and to remind me when to drink water. This one is really cool because it even blinks to remind you when to drink, so you don’t end up chugging and getting even more trips to the bathroom. To figure out your ounces needed for the day, follow this formula: take 1/2 your body weight, add 8oz per 30 mins of physical activity, and 24 oz extra for pregnancy, that’s your total! I’m right at around 100 oz per day, myself.
- Pregnancy Tops: These have been my favorite to get a few colors, and because there is not a lot of elastic in them (my skin is sooo sensitive lately). I began wearing these in the first trimester too as my chest grew rather than purchasing tops the next size up. I was able to wear my prepregnancy size (a small) until month 6 until my belly needed a bit more room and now the medium is plenty long. I particularly like the Isabel brand (sold at Target) for these as well not just for cost, but because the medium isn’t just wider, they really account for length.
- Ginger Tea: Again for the nausea, and having a hot drink in the morning this has been my favorite blend. I was steeping my own ginger and had tried other brands, but found the ginger taste was too overpowering. Combining it with peach has just been well, sweet like summertime.
- Heart Rate Monitor: I wear an Apple Watch, but a Fitbit is a great cheaper option as well. When you’re pregnant, you aren’t supposed to have your heart rate higher than 140 for long periods of time, so being aware of it has helped my high-strung self take a chill pill. What I like about the Apple Watch is when it detects a sudden change in your heart rate, it encourages you to literally “take a minute” and breathe, and guides you through it. It’s helped me catch several panic attacks in the making, and later on, knowing my resting and active heart rates actually prevented me from being induced due to suspected preeclampsia. It helps knowing what’s going on with your body!
- Mild Smelling Lip Balm: Your sense of smell changes almost right away with pregnancy, and with your skin drying out – your lips do too. Having something mild and on hand has made the world of difference for me. I love the lemon flavor from Bath & Body Works, and used this especially in the hospital for delivery.
- A Daily Multivitamin: For me, that’s Shakeology. I’ve been drinking it for almost 5 years as my multivitamin (cleared by multiple docs from GI to OBGYN) and it’s safe for pregnancy and breastfeeding. It’s also been a lifesaver for me when I was averse to vegetables during my first trimester – I could just hide some spinach and cauliflower in it to get extra veggies in, and it keeps my sweet cravings at bay. I also haven’t been able to swallow large pills, so having a liquid prenatal has worked really well for me. I am a Beachbody Coach, so if you’d like to know more about this – let’s chat. It’s been pretty lifechanging for me.
- Folic Acid/Folate: As soon as you start thinking you are going to try for a baby, “pull the goalie” so to speak, you need to be taking folic acid supplements for brain development – and continue to take it through breastfeeding. It’s not damaging to have it in your system and is something that is missing from most standard diets. It’s not in a lot of multivitamins or the dosage may not be what you need from what you are getting in your diet, and it’s such a small pill that I’ve just added it.
- Compression Socks: These are great if you are sitting at a desk or flying to prevent swelling. I wear them around the house too on lazy days and (so far) my feet have not swelled at all. I got the 3 pack and wash them weekly.
- A Hot/Cold Pad: With random aches and pains, this has been wonderful and also has traveled with me. I suggest getting a microwavable one, because (1) when you give birth most hospitals don’t allow plug-in heating pads, and (2) having heat or cold on your body for long periods of time during pregnancy is not good – as it gradually and naturally cools off it keeps your body temperature regulated rather than setting a timer for the plug-in type.
- A Bump Box: This is my monthly “splurge” on myself – if you can call it that – it’s $35 if you sign up for the subscription. It is like the subscription boxes you see online, but pampering products for pregnancy and a few baby items. It’s tailored to your pregnancy timeline and the season, so all of the items (4-6 per box) are super relevant and a nice little treat like bath bombs, moisturizer or face wash.
- Nursing Bras: I wanted so desperately to keep my cute little C cups after all my weight loss – but almost immediately my breasts grew back into “those boobs” and without milk, I was already at an H-cup. When my milk came in, I made it to an “i” – yes, that’s a thing. But, you don’t need to buy new regular bras, take your measurements and go ahead and purchase a nursing bra – even if breastfeeding doesn’t work out for you, they work fine as normal bras too and are made of softer material than Victoria’s Secret standard.
- Sports Bras – I went through so many brands and by far those from Senita Athletics have been the best (and most affordable), sizing is by the ribcage not cup size, with the “go with the flow” bra for bustier mamas, and the “perfect latch” bra for all mamas. Here’s a code for 10% off 😉 Their clothes have also been the bulk of my postpartum wear, its so soft, washable, comfy and affordable.
- Nursing Bras – My favorite brand for these is Lively, like the sports bras their sizing is super accurate and going on 6 months of weekly wear they still look brand new. Here’s a code for 10% off as well, and they run BOGO deals all the time!
- Pregnancy Pants: I purchased these early on as well (I was out of my pre-pregnancy pant size by Week 12) and really loved these from Target, and they go on sale ALL THE TIME. There are 2 varieties you can buy, the side elastic or the over the belly. The side elastic worked best for me until my belly became “heavy” (trust me, you’ll know) and then I purchased another pair that goes over my stomach.
- Maternity Underwear: Not something I would have ever thought I needed to buy – but right about when I hit the halfway mark my hips began to shift and my undies were too small, to the point that they were painful to wear. I specifically prefer the Jessica Simpson ones from Motherhood Maternity, they are so cute (and cute undies make us feel like we can conquer the world) and I transitioned into the same size I wore from Victoria’s Secret which was a solid mental victory too.
- Flonase: The 3rd-trimester sinus swelling hit me hard, and I have been very wary of any medication during my pregnancy, but my OBGYN recommended this to soothe the inflammation – and it’s worked. It also doesn’t absorb into your bloodstream as much as other decongestants and antihistamines and has been a lifesaver for making it through fall allergy season and avoiding illness. As always, check with your doc with meds – I’m so glad I did.
- Pregnancy Support Belt: I wear this sucker almost daily in the 3rd trimester, it helps so much with my posture and lower back pain. It’s meant to be worn when you are standing or walking, and I also wear it now when I am working out (unless its yoga). It’s machine washable too (yay!) and I wash it with my sheets.
- A pregnancy journal: I was given this devotional book at our gender reveal and I have absolutely loved following it throughout this journey. It has relevant information about pregnancy and is helping me think of scriptures in a whole new context – and it’s only a page a day, 5 days a week instead of 7 so I haven’t really ever felt “behind” if I forget to do it.
The main thing with pregnancy is to remember – your body is changing A TON and things are unfamiliar, tags can become itchy, your mood changes…it is ok to relax and take care of yourself. It is ok to get a few new pieces, because after all, you are going to wear these for the better part of a year. And the same goes for when the baby arrives – you gotta take care of you so you’re whole, mama!