Quick disclaimer: if you’re not interested in pregnancy stuff, not to worry! I plan to keep to my regular recipe posting schedule, with a baby-related post sprinkled in here and there (like once a month, max). Feel free to come back next week for some awesome plant-based food.
Being pregnant is kind of like getting married in that it feels like everyone is marketing lots and lots of products to you. From maternity clothes, to supplements, to lotions and pillows…it can be really overwhelming trying to decide what you actually need. I lean toward minimalism with my purchases because clutter makes me angsty, and I hate spending money on things that aren’t going to serve me in the long run. Case in point: I’m still wearing my pre-pregnancy stretchy leggings (and yes, they are the ONLY pants I own that fit right now!). That said, your body goes through massive changes growing a baby and staying comfortable does require making some purchases. Here are the products that have served me very well during my pregnancy…
Pregnancy Pillow. This was the first item I purchased and I still love it seven months later! It’s a full-body, c-shaped pillow that takes up half of our queen-sized bed (Aaron sometimes finds himself being pushed off the bed—oops!). It’s great for supporting my neck, shoulders, back, and belly. Basically, it’s like my own snuggly cocoon. Mid-pregnancy, you’re no longer supposed to sleep flat on your back, and a pregnancy pillow really helps to keep me on my side (I position it between my knees to keep my hips happy). I have some really unfortunate nerve pain that prevents me from sleeping on my left side, so I also use the pillow (on top of two “regular” pillows) to prop myself way up so that I can switch between sleeping on my right side and on my back.
Sweet Almond Oil + Body Lotion. Pregnancy has made my skin super dry, so I’ve rotated through a handful of belly butters and moisturizers. All have been pretty good, but I reached a point in my second trimester when I needed to slather so much product on my skin every evening that the costs were really adding up. Instead of spending $20 for 4 ounces of product, I bought a $15, 16-ounce bottle of organic sweet almond oil and some Honest Purely Simple Face and Body Lotion. I generously apply the oil, let it soak in for a few minutes, then follow with the lotion. It’s fragrance-free, baby-safe, and no more dry, itchy skin!
Squatty Potty. Yes, we’re going to talk about pooping for a quick second! When you get pregnant, your digestion completely changes. I’ve found that sometimes, even the best diet isn’t quite enough to keep things, um, moving. Constipation can happen, hemorroids can happen, and while I’ve found that drinking tons of water and eating fiber-rich foods is key, I’d also recommend a squatty potty. It’s like a little step stool for your feet that un-kinks your colon (i.e. no straining). Okay, moving on!
Compression Socks. I’ve not yet had issues with swelling (knock on wood!), but I am trying to keep varicose veins in check. And on days when I’m doing a photoshoot or a lot of recipe development and I’m on my feet for long stretches, compression socks definitely help keep my legs from feeling totally spent by the end of the day. I paid $28 for one pair of really nice compression socks early in pregnancy, then realized I could buy 8 decent pairs on Amazon for under $20.
Maternity Underwear. This is just one of those things that you don’t think you need but you do. Having underwear that sits below your bump is SO much more comfortable!
Bra Extenders. A few months in, I found myself having to take off my bra to eat dinner because the band was too tight (your stomach gets pushed up into your chest, your ribs expand, and your boobs grow amazingly fast). I bought a couple of pricy nursing bras, thinking I could wear them throughout pregnancy and postpartum. Unfortunately, I realized that they would likely be too small in a matter of months. Enter: bra extenders for under $3 each! I only wish I had known about these sooner.
Maternity Support Belt. Sciatic nerve pain is common during pregnancy (organs get pushed around, your belly pulls your spine forward), and while I don’t have sciatica, I do have a similar pinched femoral nerve on my left side that’s been acting up since my first trimester. If you’ve never had nerve pain, let me tell you—it is intense! I manage it through stretching, exercise, and keeping pressure off of my left side as much as possible, but there was one night where I fell asleep for two hours on my left side and I woke up to absolutely excruciating pain. It literally felt like my hip and thigh were on fire and I had to further pinch the nerve to get out of that position (AWFUL). Since then, I’ve tried three different support belts and the one I like best is this $25 belt.
Exercise Ball. Switching out my desk chair for an exercise ball was so key for helping with hip/back/nerve pain. I have the 65cm size exercise ball in white, and Aaron liked mine so much he now uses the 75cm one instead of an office chair. I’m told exercise balls are great for laboring as well, so fingers crossed it helps with that too!
Momma Strong. I’ve gone through phases with prenatal yoga and pilates, but currently my daily workout routine consists of a 45-minute walk with our dogs and a 15-minute HIIT workout through Momma Strong. If you’re pregnant or a mom (or even if you’re not), I can’t recommend this program highly enough. Firstly, it’s $5/month, which is amazing. It’s broken into 3 programs (Momma-to-Be, New Momma, and Momma) and each includes an extensive archive of workouts and a new daily video led by founder Courtney Wyckoff, who is a Certified Personal Trainer and Corrective Exercise Specialist, and the most engaging, funny, relatable, and wonderfully knowledgable instructor (she’s currently pregnant too!). There’s a supportive Facebook Group, options to be paired with a buddy or a “squad”, monthly challenges, resources for stretching, “Fix-Me” tutorials (glutes, anxiety, back pain, etc), and a special course for sciatica that’s been massively helpful for my nerve pain. 15-minutes is the perfect length too—enough to feel a good burn, and totally doable even if you’re busy and/or exhausted. Bonus: you don’t need any special equipment (think: soup cans for weights), although I did buy a resistance band for working thighs/glutes. Definitely watch the video to get a feel for the program!
I think that’s it for now! I’ll keep adding to this list if I end up purchasing other products that I’d consider must-haves. xo Amanda