When I first found out I was pregnant, I experienced an overwhelming variety of emotions, from the highs of pure joy to the lows of fear and panic. Reflecting back on my pregnancy and projecting forward to after the baby is born, most of my anxieties come from a gap of knowledge that exists when a life moment you realize you know nothing about is happening all of a sudden. After all, for the first-time mom like me, this is uncharted territory. At the onset, I knew my body would go through changes I couldn’t begin to fully predict or know what to expect. Over the last nine months, I’ve acquired a handful of items that have made my life easier or more comfortable during this beautiful, but challenging major life event. Today, I want to share those items in case you’re expecting yourself, know someone that might be, or just happen to pick up some of these items that aren’t maternity-exclusive!
Thomas bought these cute compression socks by Comrad for me just after we found out I was pregnant, and put a packet of them in my stocking for Christmas. He knew we would be traveling a lot and taking many flights for work, and foresaw that they would be a great and useful gift for me. After some research, I found out that compression socks offer great benefits for pregnant women, aside from when flying. They work by improving your blood recirculation, reduce swelling (especially in the feet, ankles, and legs), and can prevent varicose veins and deep vein thrombosis. The increased circulation can bring more oxygen to your whole body and give you a boost of energy. Comrad has a post about the benefits during pregnancy. Recently, I’ve also been having some vertigo issues when standing up after sitting for a long period of time and my doctor recommended using my compression socks to help with it.
A stability ball was recommended to me by both my chiropractor and birth coach in the same week, so I immediately went to go pick one up. I specifically got one for sitting on and bouncing and rotating my hips. I was encouraged to use it to help open up my hips, which frees up room for the baby to descend into the pelvis. It’s also a comfortable alternative to a chair for sitting on after a long day. I’ve also used it to try and shift the baby if I find her to be in an uncomfortable position.
I don’t need to go on and on about the benefits of drinking more water, but sometimes, all it takes to motivate us to drink more water is a cute water bottle. This LARQ bottle is different because it has a built-in UV light, which keeps the bottle and the water inside nearly 100% germ-free. This might not seem like a big deal, but when you are using the same reusable water bottle every day, how often are you washing and scrubbing it? Probably not enough. With this bottle, the only time I ever clean it out is after I put a different liquid besides water in it, such as a hydration powder, like this one I love. My only complaint is it’s not the biggest water bottle, so expect to fill it up a few times per day.
Staying active during my pregnancy has been really important to me—it changes my mood, gives me energy, and makes me feel strong. It also feels good just to move! I take it really easy and don’t push myself, but even a long walk, stretch, or yoga class make a huge difference for me. These Lululemon joggers have been my absolute favorite non-maternity workout pants to wear. The waistband is thick, soft, and super stretchy, so they’re still comfortable, even at nine months pregnant (I’m wearing them above).
This has been my favorite workout top for years, and it has proven to be great for pregnancy, too. I find that the top runs extra long, so I haven’t had to worry about them creeping up or not covering my belly. It’s form-fitting and has a built-in sports bra, making it easy and quick to get ready.
Mark pregnancy pillow on the list of items I assumed I’d be okay going without during pregnancy. A few months in, though, my normal heavy sleeping had been disrupted by a constant discomfort. You don’t necessarily need a pregnancy pillow per se, but I often find myself using various sized pillows to stuff into different areas to relieve pressure and discomfort. I have the Smilo Monarch Pregnancy and Nursing Pillow, which I have nothing but good things to say about. What’s great about it is it’s flexible and foldable with a series of buttons and holes that you can use to customize the pillow into 30 different shapes. I mostly use it in between my knees during sleep which helps keep my back and hips aligned and happy. Even Thomas loves it…maybe a little too much because I often find him having stolen it during the middle of the night.
The advice to take a prenatal during pregnancy is pretty unanimous. I had Thomas, the more science-minded of the two of us, help me research the right one for me. We settled on the Ritual Prenatal vitamin back in December. We liked how their website provides extra information on why each vitamin included is important and where they source it from. It’s also vegan and gluten-free. The capsule is lemon-flavored, which helped make taking it a little easier during my first-trimester nausea streak. With the level of information shared on the Ritual website, it appears they do everything with the intent to make the best multivitamin they can.
During my pregnancy, I’ve experienced a lot of tailbone pain, which is thankfully getting a little better now that I’m seeing a chiropractor. When I’m sitting for long periods of time, like on flights or in the office in NYC (I have an ergonomic chair at our office in Charleston), this gel-cushioned seat pad has come in handy. I opted for their travel version, which is thinner and foldable, so it can be packed in my carry-on more easily.
I’m usually wearing either a cute pair of flats or sandals all summer long, but if I’m running out to go on a walk or just need to quickly slip on a pair of shoes and head out the door, I reach for these super comfy Allbirds shoes, which we keep in the shoe basket right by our front door. Thomas has a matching pair of the Tree Skippers. Some days (especially during my first trimester), all I felt like doing all day was staying in bed. Occasionally, though, I’d get a sudden rush of motivation to get up and go out for a walk. Not surprisingly, the days I was able to do this, I felt a lot better, which has encouraged me to keep moving as much as possible throughout my pregnancy.
I bought this tummy rub body butter by Mama Mio early on in my pregnancy. I’ve been fairly consistent about applying it, especially in my third trimester, as I can feel the skin around my stomach getting really dry and tight. It also provided a lot of relief when my boobs got really itchy early on–they were the first thing to grow rapidly and the skin was constantly so dry.
When you’re pregnant, gravity is not exactly your friend. By the end of the day, my body is pretty beat up, so if I’m going to be on my feet for awhile, I like to use either of these Belly Bands for extra support. About halfway through my pregnancy, my back and tailbone were really starting to bother me so Thomas did some research and bought me two different belly band options. One is more similar to shapewear that provides some extra support; it’s thinner and available in a nude color, so I can slip it on and wear it even in professional or fashionable settings. The other band is more like something you’d see furniture movers wearing and it provides a lot more lift and support. I use that one the most when I’m on my feet a lot, like walking around NYC or at the airport.
So far, this has been a wonderful companion app during my pregnancy. At its core, The Bump app is a progress tracking app that allows you to follow along with your growing baby. It includes fun and interesting information about the week by week changes of the baby and your body. It feeds you articles of important things to read that are perfectly timed with the progress you’re making. It includes everything from reminders of things to follow up with, such as calling to register with the hospital, to details on something you might be wondering, but not even know what questions to ask, such as “Recommended Questions To Ask During A Pediatrician Interview.”