Now that I am very close to my due date, I figured it would be fun to share a list of things that I’ve found essential during my pregnancy. There are so many resources and items available out there, it’s hard to decide what to buy and what to leave at the store.
This post started getting fairly long so I will post about general items today and do a separate post dedicated entirely to maternity clothing (and where in the world you can find some cute clothes that won’t empty your bank account!) later this week. If you have any specific questions, I’m happy to answer! I know I always appreciated feedback and advice from other moms and moms-to-be when I was newly pregnant.
- Body pillow or S pillow. Everyone tells you that you need one of these and I didn’t know if I really would, but it does help you to get more comfortable. Find what works for you whether it’s building a whole fort around yourself with pillows or investing in a comfy pregnancy pillow. I have just been using a regular body pillow and it’s been great for me, although it does make getting up to go to the bathroom (which I promise you will be doing a ton when you are pregnant) slightly more annoying at times. I think I’ve finally mastered the art of crawling underneath it.
- Heating Pad/Rice Bag that you can put in the microwave. Fortunately, I haven’t had too many aches and pains and have been lucky enough to keep back pain mostly at bay, but there were a few days/nights where I was achy or had sore hips/lower back pain. I didn’t want to take any pain killers at all (even though you are technically allowed to take Tylenol if pregnant) so I would actually just heat up the areas that were achy and it helped me to fall asleep. Hot showers or a bath can do the trick too.
- Prenatal massages. Although massages can be pricey, I think it’s well worth it to have a few prenatal massages during your pregnancy. I was lucky because my husband bought me 4 massages for my birthday which was around the time I was halfway through my pregnancy. I spread them out to last through the second half of my pregnancy and found that it was a really nice way to treat myself after a long week of work or when I was feeling a bit sore. Hint: You can get some great deals on Groupon or BuyWithMe or Living Social on massages and other spa services.
- A foam roller. I love foam rollers (pregnant or not!), but it was another great tool to help ease aches and pains. I try to roll out before and/or after workouts and also at night if I am sore.
- Oils and Creams. I used Bio Oil and/or Palmer’s Cocoa Butter every time I got out of the shower during my pregnancy. I don’t really know that it does anything to keep stretch marks away (I think stretch marks are probably mostly genetic and related to how much your skin actually stretches), but regardless, these items keep you moisturized and help with the itchiness you might experience as your skin stretches.
- Pedicures. I didn’t get pedicures this winter, but over the last few months I got a few. Cutting my own toe nails was just not going to happen, never mind painting them! Oddly enough the husband wasn’t interested in doing this job for me. Plus the massage chairs and downtime at a nail salon did me a little good anyway.
Vitamins and Food
- Prenatal Vitamins. Loved the Vitafusion Prenatal Gummy Vitamins. I tried regular prenatal vitamins and felt so sick after taking them. These worked well for me because I could take one with breakfast and one with lunch (serving size is 2).
- Saltines or dry cereal. Saltines really do work in the beginning if you’re nauseas. I kept these in my desk for the days where I just didn’t feel good. Having a few crackers throughout the day did help although I really hated the after taste of these guys. Maybe it was just me. Dry cereal kind of did the same trick. I think it’s just keeping a bit of food in your flip floppy belly.
- Hard Candy. I sucked on hard candy (like Jolly Ranchers) when I was feeling ill at work. This also helped with the metallic taste I had in my mouth for a few weeks that nothing could get rid of.
- Bland foods. I only craved bland foods like bagels, PB&J and macaroni and cheese in the beginning of my pregnancy and I think it’s really important to eat what you are craving and can stomach at that point. I never forced myself to eat salads during the time when the mere thought of veggies would make me nauseas. I just trusted my body and kept faith that my love for veggies would return (and it did).
- Quality Protein Powder. Before I was pregnant I would use lactose-free whey protein, but once I got pregnant I decided I needed to eliminate or at least cut way back on artificial sweeteners. I switched to Sunwarrior Protein Powder which is a vegan brown rice protein and is sweetened with stevia. I tried for awhile to nix protein shakes altogether, but since I don’t eat much meat (only chicken and occasionally turkey) and I hated chicken for awhile during my pregnancy, I was really worried that I wasn’t eating nearly enough protein. Once I got my hands on some Sun Warrior and started having my shakes again I felt a lot better and had significantly more energy.
- What to Expect When You’re Expecting, 4th Edition – This book was great to read about the basics and also helped me feel better when I read about certain symptoms and what should be happening each week. It’s a great reference to keep handy…I looked a ton of things up over the last 10 months! Note: there are a million weekly update emails that you can subscribe to at thebump.com, fitpregnancy.com and more!
- The Girlfriends’ Guide to Pregnancy – Funny book that tells it like it is, just like the conversations you’d have with your best girlfriends.
- Belly Laughs: The Naked Truth about Pregnancy and Childbirth – Cute book by Jenny McCarthy and easy/quick read that will make you laugh.
- On Becoming Baby Wise: Giving Your Infant the Gift of Nighttime Sleep – I actually need to re-read some parts of this book, but it came highly recommended to me. We’ll see if it works…praying for a good little sleeper.
- Childbirth Class. We took a one-day childbirth class at the hospital where I will be delivering. You can read my review of the birthing class, but overall I though it was worth it. More than half of the cost was actually covered by my insurance company so if you do decide to take one make sure that you check if you can get reimbursed.
- Breastfeeding Class. We also took a 2-hour breastfeeding class. I thought this was good because, although the information was nothing earth-shattering, it was good to focus on the topic for a few hours and have the option to ask some questions ahead of time. I’m sure I have a lot to learn, but everyone says that the lactation consultants at the hospital are awesome and super helpful.
Support System and Attitude
- A great support system. You need to be able to talk to people about your fears and all of the new experiences you are going through. Pregnancy is such an interesting journey and not one that should be traveled alone. I’ve been blessed with an amazing husband and I’m lucky because I feel comfortable taking to him about everything…even though I’m sure he doesn’t really want to hear ALL of it. My parents have been here for me every step of the way…they are an incredible support system and have been so helpful and understanding. My friends have been the best…whether it’s friends who have recently had babies offering advice or friends that are curious to hear what’s going on, it’s such an exciting time and yet another opportunity to grow your friendships.
- A good attitude. If you feel like complaining when you’re pregnant, think about all the of the people in the world trying to get pregnant who aren’t physically able to for one reason or another. They would kill to be in your position right now. Yes, even if you’re puking in the bathroom or getting up to pee 15 times at night.
- Patience. Sometimes it feels like being pregnant went by SO fast and other times it seems like I have been pregnant for half of my life. Most people have been telling me that the end is going to drag, but I’m actually finding the days are flying by. I think having distractions helps a lot. I am still working (trying to work right up until my due date) and we had my best friend from college, her hubby and their new baby visiting this past weekend so that was a wonderful distraction and gave us something different to look forward to/focus on before the baby’s arrival.
I’m sure I’m forgetting things here. Moms and moms-to-be? What else did you find essential during your pregnancy?