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I’m sure you are tired of hearing how every pregnancy is different for every woman and even each pregnancy for each woman, but it is true! The reality is that what is a “must-have” for one woman isn’t even a nice-to-have for another woman, but entirely useless. Keep that in mind as you continue to read “Pregnancy Must-Have” posts, including this one. That’s right. I don’t claim to have the definitive answer on what EVERY WOMAN EVER TO BE PREGNANT needs for her pregnancy. All I am here to do is provide you with some solutions to some issues that I experienced during my pregnancies. Hopefully, they will be useful to you.
How to use this post: Read it, save it to Pinterest, and refer back to it as these issues crop up during your pregnancy as well or use the advice if you are currently experiencing these issues as well.
How not to use this post: Read it, panic buy everything I recommend (and every other post like this you read), and then hate me when you don’t end up needing half of it.
Got it? This is a subjective list. I hope it is helpful to you, but I don’t claim to be an expert on your pregnancy. That’s you, mama. You’ve got this. Trust your instincts.
All that being said.
Here are the things that I found incredibly useful during my two pregnancies:
Before I got pregnant, I wouldn’t have believed that a pregnancy pillow was necessary, much less a must-have. I wouldn’t even have bought one at all if I hadn’t had a coupon and found it on sale. I am not above admitting I was wrong. I was wrong. A pregnancy pillow is a must-have, for me. Sleep is a big struggle for me in general, but particularly during pregnancy.
When I was about 7 months pregnant with my son we had to do some traveling. Since we were flying, I thought I could manage without my pillow. Our hotel room happened to have two queen beds and even with every single pillow off of both beds (except the one my husband was using), I was still unable to get comfortable and sleep well. By the end of the trip, my husband vowed we would never travel pregnant again without it.
My husband calls my pregnancy pillow “The Great Wall of China”. He wasn’t thrilled at first when I brought it home. Then one night, I came to bed after brushing my teeth to find him using it. He has seen how much better I sleep with it and has accepted it as beneficial for all.
*Pro Tip* Instead of having the long side go along your back, flip it around so the long side goes down your front to the outside of the bed. This will allow your husband to snuggle with you like normal.
Benefits of the Pregnancy Pillow
1. It allows you to sleep any way you want while providing the support you need to stay off your belly and keep from decreasing circulation.
It is well known that the optimal position for sleeping during pregnancy is on your left side. While that is always my goal, it doesn’t always happen. With my pregnancy pillow, I can sleep on my back, stomach (sort of), propped up for heartburn (with a regular pillow added under my head/shoulders, and either side.
2. Reduced visits to the chiropractor.
My chiropractor spent over a year telling me that my neck was going to keep needing adjusting as long as I kept sleeping on my stomach. Getting pregnant, making an effort to sleep on my left side, and using my pregnancy pillow to get the proper support allowed me to go much longer in-between visits to the chiropractor. I pretty much quit going due to back/hip/neck pain and only resumed during the third trimester when I started going in preparation for labor (highly recommended).
3. Most importantly: Better Sleep
Sleep during pregnancy is not easy. Even when you do sleep, you have crazy dreams! I get a lot more sleep using my pregnancy pillow than when I don’t.
There are many options out there, this is the one I have* and it’s great. The only downside is that it is quite a challenge to get the cover back on. Usually gets a good laugh out of me whenever I fight that battle.
It is important to drink enough water during pregnancy and I find that I am much thirstier when pregnant. I pretty much have water with me 24/7. Any cup or bottle will do. Whatever makes you happy. You probably already having something at home you can use.
I find that I drink more water when it is really cold. So, I love my Yeti Rambler*. The poor thing is about 5 years old and served me well in the years before pregnancy and is still going strong through my second pregnancy (over halfway now!). I was quite the reluctant Yeti convert. Mine was given to me and it definitely won me over. We now have several different varieties of Yeti Drinkware*.
However, the best bottle/cup out there is whatever is easy for you to haul around everywhere and whatever facilitates you drinking the most water. Some people prefer room temperature water and some people find they drink more through a straw. There is no one right answer here. Just drink water!
Of course, you already know you need to be taking a prenatal vitamin. This is about which ones to take. Different prenatal vitamins will have different effects on you, so don’t be afraid to try different ones, especially during the first trimester if the one you are taking is causing morning sickness or making digestive issues worse.
I used Mama Natural’s and Wellness Mama’s blog posts on choosing a prenatal to choose which prenatal vitamins to take during my first pregnancy. I ended up taking New Chapter Perfect Prenatal* and Nordic Naturals Prenatal DHA*. I took them at night and they were great.
The only downside was that it required me to take 5 pills every night. After almost two years (yes, you are supposed to take prenatal vitamins before you get pregnant and throughout your time breastfeeding), taking 5 pills a night was getting old. I started researching other options.
I ended up switching to Ritual Vitamins*. They suspend the dry ingredients in the oily ingredients in a nested capsule format that means I only need to take two pills every night, instead of 5. I also like the lemon-scented tab in the bottle (removable if you don’t like it). It makes the pills more palatable than most vitamins. The only downside is they don’t contain a probiotic like New Chapter Perfect Prenatal. I picked up some gummy probiotics* and take those during the day when I remember.
Overall, swallowing 2 pills each day and having my order auto shipped each month won out. Ritual* also provides a printable handout to take to your doctor with the ingredients and amounts, so you can feel confident you and your baby are getting the right amount of nutrients.
Pro Tip: If you struggle to remember to take your prenatal vitamins, try putting them on your nightstand with a bottle of water and taking them before bed each night. This is especially helpful during morning sickness. This is the only way I remember to take mine each day.
Must have may be a stretch… how about lots of fun! For my first pregnancy, I used the BabyCenter free app and BabyList (registry) sent me weekly emails about the progress of my pregnancy. They were fun. BabyCenter gives you a fruit or veggie size comparison and BabyList chose mostly none food items for comparison. Both included information relevant to that week/stage of pregnancy. They were both fine.
However, when I got pregnant this time, I decided to see what else was out there in the world of pregnancy tracking and found Ovia Pregnancy (free app). Ovia has many customizations and shows you not only a size comparison (in four different categories), but shows you the size of the hands and feet each week as compared to baby’s hands and feet at 40 weeks gestation. It’s pretty adorable.
Ovia also provides a lot of useful information and allows you to track a ton of useful data. Right now, I take my blood pressure every night and enter the reading into a graph in Ovia. This will allow me to easily catch if my blood pressure starts creeping up again (you can read my preeclampsia birth story here).
Another usual feature is a built-in calendar. You can add doctor’s appointments and track milestones, but to me, the handiest part is being able to check and see easily at a glance how pregnant you are going to be on a certain date. For instance, I hit 37 weeks on July 4th. Your weeks are written in on the calendar.
Like I said, not a pregnancy must-have, but a lot of fun and potentially useful if you’re like me and need to track data in between doctor’s appointments.
Honestly, I haven’t picked up my pregnancy book this pregnancy. My son is only 17 months old and it’s still pretty fresh. However, I thoroughly enjoyed my pregnancy book during my first pregnancy. It was very helpful as I navigated all the options new mothers have presented to them. It is also full of helpful tips and tricks for getting through pregnancy. There are so many pregnancy books out there and I am sure just about any of them would be just fine. I tend to lean on the crunchy side just a bit, so I went with Mama Natural’s Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth. She presents all options fairly with the pros and cons. She also maintains a healthy respect for the healthcare system and knows that there is a point when medical intervention is the right answer.
Obviously, at some point, that is different for each woman and each pregnancy, you are going to outgrow your current wardrobe. I am fortunate enough to live in a community where there is a shared store of maternity clothes that we all pass around as needed. This means I have purchased very few maternity clothes myself. The downside to this awesome situation is that not everything is my style or size, so I want to purchase a few pieces of my own.
I have found some decent pieces at the resale store Clothes Mentor. But, this pregnancy I also tried something different. My friend sent me a referral link (that included a credit) to Stitch Fix* ($25 Credit). I decided to give it a try for maternity clothes. I was VERY surprised at how happy I was with the choices my stylist made for me. I ended up with a great dress, a super comfy pair of nice skinny jeans, and a pair of capris (and I’ve never worn capris in my life).
I also have two support tank tops from Blanqi* ($20 credit). They are great, but I wish they had them available in petite. I have a very short torso and they are so long. I usually fold them up about 4-6 inches to hid them under whatever shirt I am wearing. Their leggings look pretty great too, but I haven’t tried them yet.
Cotton nursing bras* are huge must-haves (for me) at night/at home for when your breasts get sore in pregnancy and then for when you are breastfeeding. I may or may not be wearing one of these exact ones right at this moment.
Maybe I should just write a full post on maternity clothes… Interested?
Well, there you have it. My completely subjective Pregnancy Must-Haves. I hope my list helps you in some way as you navigate your pregnancy.
Have you found a great pregnancy product? Leave me a comment below!
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