As a first-time mom, I had no clue what to expect during my pregnancy. As it turns out, I’ve quickly discovered that carrying around a bunch of extra weight in your belly throws off your entire center of gravity and makes you feel like an obese chihuahua after just a single bite of food at nearly every meal. Needless to say, comfort (and the health of my baby) has become my #1 priority!
I am a fairly budget-conscious shopper, too, as I typically feel guilty spending lots of extra money on anything I’d consider “non-essential”. So the following list of items contains only those things that I feel I absolutely could NOT survive without during my pregnancy.
These are products that I get the most regular (often daily) use out of, and so I would highly recommend them to every new mama-to-be out there!
Sleeping can be a major challenge, especially once your baby bump starts to grow and you’re forced to sleep on your side. To make matters worse, I started to experience hip pain for the first time in my life, likely from the combination of loosening joints and the extra weight from side-sleeping. So I tried using a regular pillow between my knees for a while, per some suggestions I’d read online. This, too, was a hassle. In order to roll over to my other side, I’d have to reach down to grab the pillow and physically move it, then readjust the comforter because it would inevitably get all twisted in the process, and then I would almost always be super alert afterward from the physical exertion… which totally defeated the purpose of trying to get better sleep in the first place. Simple solution? Enter the pregnancy pillow! I bought a Leachco Back n Belly Contoured Pillow for all the extra support it offers, and I absolutely love it! Now all I have to do is roll over like a normal person whenever I want to switch sides. Another bonus is that it prevents me from accidentally rolling onto my back in my sleep, which I sometimes did whenever I was only using the pillow-between-the-knees trick. My nights of sleep have greatly improved ever since, and this is still the case, even at 30 weeks pregnant!
It’s a guarantee that the skin on your stomach WILL get itchy as the baby grows and everything starts stretching out. To combat this problem – and also in the hopes of warding off stretch marks – I’ve been slathering on Burt’s Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter every night after getting out of the shower, right before bed. It’s super thick and moisturizing, has a very light scent, isn’t greasy at all, and is completely natural (so you don’t have to worry about baby being exposed to anything toxic). And a little goes a long way… one tub of it lasted me for the first 6 months of my pregnancy.
This is by far one of the best investments I’ve made thus far. There are a bunch of brands on the market, but my favorite by far has been the line offered by Pink Blush Maternity. They are warm and fleecy inside, but not too thick, and they’re so incredibly comfortable that I wear them almost every day! After I bought a basic pair in black, I decided to get a few more in several different colors (they have 12 to choose from) so that I could vary my outfits. They come in one-size-fits-all, which made me nervous when I first purchased them, but they do truly fit most body types because they’re stretchy. (If you are still worried about it, though, they also offer a plus size line of all their products.) I also happen to love the over-the-belly style, so there’s no uncomfortable pressure under my bump along my waistline and I don’t have to worry about any part of my belly hanging out below my shirt by accident. I just pair them with a longer tunic-type shirt, or a cami and a cardigan, and I’m good to go!
Every woman needs a reliable pair of jeans in her closet, pregnant or not. For a while, I was able to get away with wearing my regular jeans with the button undone and a Bellaband holding them up (see next item below)… but eventually it felt like my jeans had taken on a life of their own because they would always find a way of slipping down throughout the day and I was constantly hiking them back up. Maternity jeans tend to be very expensive at some of the specialty “motherhood” stores, so I decided to see what Target had to offer first. Luckily, I found a really cute and comfy pair of Liz Lange Over the Belly Maternity Jeans for much cheaper, and now they’re my go-to choice whenever I want to dress for a casual outing with the hubby.
Before I needed maternity jeans, I still wore my regular jeans and work pants for a while. Once my bump started poking out a little, enough to make buttoning my pants an uncomfortable experience, I decided to buy an Ingrid & Isabel Bellaband. This thing is a genius invention! It’s tight but stretchy and comfortable, and can be worn folded over when your bump is small or full-panel when your bump gets bigger. It has a thin, silicone-feeling, rubbery strip along the bottom of the inside hem that sticks to your jeans and helps to hold them up, even if your button and fly are completely undone. And when you wear it, it just looks like you’ve layered a cami underneath your regular shirt. I was worried at first that the little rubbery strip would not be effective at holding up my jeans after several uses and runs through the washing machine, but that has NOT been the case whatsoever. It’s still as “sticky” as the day I opened the box! Totally worth the price.
I always thought pregnancy would be a great excuse to not have to purchase feminine products for 9 months. Boy, was I wrong. Pregnancy creates all kinds of… annoying… womanly issues that I never expected. Thank you, hormones! Of course, it would not be fun to wear a thick pad every single day (diapers are for babies, right?). But you’ve got to have something to help you feel more comfortable throughout the day, especially if you’re working and can’t dash off to the bathroom whenever you need to. I personally prefer these Always Thin Dailies Pantiliners. They’re widely available at most stores, and they do what they need to do. ‘Nuff said.
A BIG Water Bottle
Not only is it healthy for baby – and you! – to be super hydrated during pregnancy, but here’s a surprising little bit of info… you get REALLY thirsty when you’re pregnant! I feel like I’m always hankering for an ice cold sip of water! So I don’t go anywhere without my trusty 40 oz vacuum-insulated water bottle, which helps to keep my water ice cold throughout the day. I just fill it up in the morning before work, and I’m ready to tackle whatever is on the agenda for the day. There’s also a good reason to get such a large size; you’re supposed to be drinking in the ballpark of 64 oz (or 8 glasses) of water throughout the day every day. To ensure I’m meeting my quota, I just make sure to finish the bottle by the end of my work day. Then I supplement the remaining amount of water I’m supposed to be drinking through the several glasses of water that I have with breakfast, dinner, and in the evening before bed.
If there’s one thing that you absolutely MUST do every day, it’s taking a prenatal vitamin. I used to take one of the “one-a-day” kinds, but after what happened during my first experience getting pregnant, I decided to switch to the best prenatal vitamin I could find on the market. I did some research and it seems that the general consensus is that whole-food based vitamins are the best option. So I’ve been taking Garden of Life’s Vitamin Code Raw Prenatal Whole Food Vitamin and I’ve had a great experience with them. They tend to be easier on the stomach for most people, and the vitamins they contain are much easier for your body to absorb and utilize than the typical synthetic kind. The only downside is that they tend to be more expensive, but this is one area that I consciously decided I would be willing to spend extra money. To me, nothing is more important than guaranteeing my baby has the best chance for a healthy start in life!
This one is only a must-have if your prenatal vitamin doesn’t already contain it. DHA is essential for baby’s healthy brain development during pregnancy and also during breastfeeding, so it is definitely not something you want to be missing from your daily diet! Because some brands of DHA supplements are created using a synthetic, highly concentrated fish oil that’s harder for your body to process, it’s important to make sure you’re getting a high-quality brand that uses a natural formula designed for better absorption in the body. After doing much research, I settled on Nordic Naturals Prenatal DHA and have been highly satisfied with them.
Maxi Dresses (or skirts)
There are some days where the idea of wearing pants or leggings just sounds terrible to me… I want to slip into something sleek and light, and have nothing squishing my baby bump (not even leggings!). When this happens, I usually feel like a maxi dress (or a fold over maxi skirt) provides the relief, comfort, and simplicity that I’m yearning for. Not to mention, these types of dresses tend to accentuate your cute belly in just the right way, so you can pull off a super-stylish look with minimal effort. Win-win!
Comfy House Slippers
I’ve never really been much of a slipper kind of girl. I mean, I do own a pair (ONE pair), but they have been worn very rarely…. until now. Since becoming pregnant, I have been LIVING in my slippers! As soon as I wake up, the slippers go on. As soon as I come home from work, the slippers go on. Most days, I sincerely wish I could wear them to work. One time, I even had a serious pregnancy-brain moment and almost left the house to go to a prenatal yoga class with my slippers still on (oops)! There is just something about being as comfy as possible that is constantly on my mind these days… perhaps it’s the aching back… or the tired feet… or the utter fatigue. Whatever it is, having slippers on my feet always seems to make me feel a liiiiiiittle bit better. So do yourself a favor and get a pair of some snuggly, soft ones! You won’t regret it!
Okay, so this one might sound a little weird at first. But hear me out. Pillows, especially the small square ones intended for use on the couch, are one of the top items on my must-have list now that my belly is growing bigger. Why? Back pain, people! Having a big ol’ belly just shifts things around in your body, and I’ve found that I can no longer just sit on the couch anymore in my usual position without some amount of achiness in some part of my upper (and sometimes lower) back. So I shove a pillow behind my lower back, take a semi-reclined position, and voila! No more aching back! My hubby has finally succumbed to the fact that I will commandeer at least two of our couch pillows for this express purpose every evening whenever we’re relaxing on the couch together after a long day. I will also often drag a pillow upstairs for use in my office chair, too! You might be able to get away with a regular bed pillow, but I feel like the littler throw pillows are perfect because they’re small enough that they fit right into the small of your back (which is where you want them). They also tend to be firmer than bed pillows, which really helps to offer a bit of extra lumbar support. I’m probably going to own a gazillion throw pillows for every room of the house by the time this baby is born, haha!
What things could YOU not have survived your pregnancy without? Share your experiences in the comments section below!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are completely my own, and I would only recommend products to you that I personally love! Thank you for supporting my family and this blog!