A lot of focus during pregnancy goes towards baby items, prepping for birth, and first trimester nausea. Almost all blog posts I’ve read about “essential items” were focused solely on combating the first trimester woe of nausea–however, pregnancy is a long haul and can have many discomforts that extend beyond preggie pops and seabands (personally, I parsed my normal 3 meals into 5-7 smaller meals, forced myself to eat, and that worked for me–no vomit! yay!).
While things like frequent small meals, naps, walking, and drinking tons of water are all important for keeping you comfortable while pregnant…sometimes there are things money can buy that offer a great deal of comfort during (and maybe after) pregnancy. Below are my top 5 must have items–what things worked for you?
This glorious little vitamin was recommended to me by my midwives to relieve leg cramps, constipation, insomnia, headaches, and well, basically whatever seemed to ail me! After doing some research, I went out bought the vitamin supplement and the benefits were noticeable after only a few days. Magnesium seems like such a wonder-supplement for the pregnant momma-to-be that I was shocked to discover it was non-existent in my prenatal vitamin (though my midwives say some do have it).
They suggested 250mg to 750mg of magnesium per day was fine. If you overdo magnesium it’ll let you know, because you’ll suffer from, uhhh, well…the opposite of constipation. 😉
I was content with one 250mg tablet each night during my pregnancy, primarily because I was getting magnesium from my diet as well. Ask your doctor, Google it, what have you–but it’s worth it! It’s available on Amazon or almost any grocery/pharmacy/health food store (for less).
U-Shaped Body Pillow
Apparently, some women are lucky and sleep comfortably until almost the third trimester. No dice. I was at week 15 and already jonesing for relief beyond stretching each morning. Aside from our midwives’ suggestion of magnesium supplements, another woman from my prenatal group suggested a u-shaped body pillow. I went home and read reviews on different body pillows, and settled on the Leachco Back ‘n Belly Pillow. Though the magnesium was starting to show its benefits, I waited impatiently for the pillow to arrive at my door.
It [finally] arrived. I read the instruction sheet, laid in it, fell asleep, woke up, and then wrote a poem for it. ❤
My biggest complaint is that it is cumbersome. I have to flip up one end in order to exit it, which can be challenging at 3AM in the later stages of pregnancy. The pillow’s model is shown sleeping with her arm under the top of the curve of the pillow. This is impossible. The seam of the pillow cuts into your shoulder so it ends up being more of a glorious pillow nest. On the plus side, I adjusted rather quickly to these negatives because the idea of not sleeping in my pillow nest was not feasible.
Side note: It doesn’t work well in full-size beds (I discovered this when traveling with it and my husband). So if you’re sharing a smaller bed with your partner it might be worth it to just get a standard body pillow. That back cushion is really, really nice though; so if you have the bed space, I’d spring for the u-shaped pillow.
Palmer’s Cocoa Butter
For dry, pregnancy skin! My skin was very dry in the second-half of pregnancy (despite all the water I drank!!) and I would smear this butter on it all whenever I felt the urge to itch it. Some sources suggest that itching the dry, stretched skin (specifically on the stomach) can entice stretch marks to appear. I bought this cream for the stretch marks after all, so when I read the suggestions of people using it on any itchy spot of dry skin, I did so eagerly with great results. It didn’t irritate my skin or make my face oily.
Anecdote 1: My grandmother told me about this product when I was 8 years old. Random, I know. I remember because I thought cocoa butter was really chocolate butter and I couldn’t imagine why she was suggesting covering oneself daily in chocolate and butter just because they were pregnant. It all sounded very interesting to me. She had four children and 0 stretch marks! Noted, grandma! 😉
Anecdote 2: I got rather chubby after leaving high school. And by “chubby” I mean so fat I gave myself nice red, pregnancy-quality stretch marks. When I lost the weight, I used this exact butter in a desperate hope I would save myself from my post-high school doughnut decisions. They faded enough that, while I can still find them, my husband insists I don’t have stretch marks (and he is rather blunt about these things). I’ll be using this lotion post-pregnancy too. You can buy it basically anywhere (cheaper in Target than amazon).
Maternity Pants (or Shorts)
At first, I resisted buying maternity anything. Completely against it. I felt it was an entirely unnecessary purchase and a marketing ploy to take a pregnant woman’s money. Instead I snagged a bella band and a bunch of maxi dresses. I was good.
And for the first part of pregnancy, I was good. Oh… but around week 24 those bands started to press my pant button into my stomach, ouch. And the zipper kept popping out of the very bottom, visible to all! Maxi dresses can be surprisingly stuffy…
While I was perusing the clearance racks at Target (for even more maxi dresses), I noticed some maternity shorts. I looked around and, finding myself sufficiently alone, I took the shorts off the rack. It was clearance after all… my size too…hmmm. Oh, only 8$? Well, I’ll try one pair on. I’m an open-minded person after all. *tosses in the cart*
They fit a little awkwardly. My belly wasn’t that big yet, so I had to fold the band back down over my stomach a bit. How comfortable! Shorts! What freedom! Who knew? I was motivated and stormed the clearance racks. 3 maternity shorts and 2 maternity jeans later (7.98$ each!) I no longer remembered why I fought so hard against maternity wear. Granted, this is more of a second-half-of-pregnancy kind of purchase (as they are probably not really useful until that point anyways) …but, when you get there…try a pair on. Just do it.
I think I’m going to keep my maternity jeans forever and just embroider a turkey on them.
Side question: Do you think this turkey patch will look good on my new Thanksgiving pants?
Sorry, pregnancy begins and ends “in your pants” so it’s no surprise that part of the journey keeps you there. I was shocked to discover that apparently people do not use pantiliners every day by default. I have used these daily since the 6th grade, and I refuse to imagine the state of people’s underwear without them. However, these become a near-necessity during pregnancy. Sneeze suddenly with a full bladder at 26 weeks+ pregnant and you’ll know what I mean! 😕
My personal choice is Kotex long, unscented pantiliners. The scented ones make me feel, well… unpleasant, but I suppose that’s a personal journey–so don’t let me stop you. Without getting graphic (and aside from sneezing) these make pregnancy in general a more comfortable and confident experience. I now carry a few in my purse no matter where I go. If you’re not using them currently, keep this product in the back of your mind if you are looking for a panty problem solution.
What about you?
Did you have a particular woe that only a product would resolve? Did you find the belly support bands helpful? My midwives poo-poo’d using Tums daily (due to the very high calcium content). I still ate them, but luckily my own experience with heartburn was infrequent.