LET’S GET RIGHT TO IT.
So many different things happen to our bodies (and minds) while we’re pregnant. Making a baby is no joke... It’s hard work and takes a major toll on us. There is no shame in needing things that help us along the way in this challenging journey! Here, I share with you 10 things that helped me at different times during my pregnancy — in hopes of helping you during yours!
1. MY LIFE-SAVING PREGNANCY PILLOW AND WEDGE.
This has to be my number one. I don’t know what pregnancy would feel like without it and tbh, I don’t want to know! This pillow has made my comfort reach a whole new level! During pregnancy, you’re going to get more uncomfortable in bed as weeks go on (sadly), but in my opinion, this pillow is a life-saver. It makes my body feel hugged and supported all night long! My husband makes fun of me for it and calls it my “boat” but frankly, I don’t care — I tell him I’m going to float away in my dreams and you’re just jealous! 😂 He’s actually taken naps in it a few times — he knows how amazing it is. But anyway... I invested in this pillow very early on in my pregnancy (literally at 8 weeks)! It’s not expensive at all — only $40 on Amazon (click here to view)! It helped me sleep well from the beginning, since you shouldn’t* sleep on your back while pregnant. I’m usually a big back and stomach sleeper, so I knew I needed something to help keep me comfortable and this did the trick! I would 100% recommend this pillow for your comfort at night while sleeping along with the pregnancy wedge pillow later on in pregnancy (click here to view)! Around week 30, sleeping on my side even started being uncomfortable! Since your belly gets heavier, it'll start to weigh down while on your side (due to gravity and all) and it's super uncomfortable and even painful, honestly. I definitely knew I needed to get the pregnancy wedge in order to sleep more comfortably in my last 10 weeks! It has made a huge difference and it's only $16! You’re going to want all the sleep you can get before the babe comes, so I highly recommend investing in these for your own personal needs!!!!
2. GINGER ALE & CRACKERS.
This is for the first trimester when I was experiencing morning sickness. It was the worst thing! I actually thought I wasn’t going to experience nausea because I heard people begin feeling nauseas around week 6... So I was like, “Okay, cool! I’m not even nauseous!! This is going to be easy!” Until week 8 hit... That is when it all began. Luckily for me, I was only nauseous from week 8 to week 11, but it was dreadful. I only vomited once, which was annoying, because I would’ve preferred to so I can feel better! If you’re just nauseous, you’re going to stay nauseous until it disappears. I would wake up in the morning nauseous and it wouldn’t go away until about 2 - 3 pm... However, I found two things that became my best friend during this time: Ginger Ale and crackers. Both really helped my upset stomach and nausea. The Ginger Ale mainly because it has that carbonic acid in it — it would help me burp, which would always relieve the pressure I felt in the pit of my stomach. Also keep in mind that when you’re nauseous, you should always try to eat something (like crackers), because being hungry will contribute to the nausea! So, if you’re nauseous, I would definitely recommend trying these two! Some hard candy and popsicles helped me, too!
3. SHEA BELLY BUTTER.
Okay, so we hear about how we should apply Shea butter, coconut oil, and all kinds of things to our belly during pregnancy to help prevent stretch marks all the time. In reality, or I should say scientifically, we cannot prevent stretch marks from making an appearances on our bellies. It’s unfortunate, but it’s true. Whether we get stretch marks during pregnancy or not is all based on our genes! So, the Shea butter may not help for that, but it does help with other things. For example, as your belly begins to grow, your skin will feel tighter and will feel itchy at times. You may even find your belly a little dry! Applying Shea butter always helped soothe my belly when it felt that way! Also, I guess I bought it once I got pregnant for peace of mind — I felt like I was actually doing something to maybe, possibly help prevent stretch marks! So, I guess it makes you feel better in general. I never used it religiously — maybe a couple times a week after a shower (I simply forgot most times... Blame the pregnancy brain). It feels amazing on my belly and makes my skin comfortable! And you’ll learn that comfort is a top priority during pregnancy! So I would recommend the Burt’s Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter for that stretching pregnant belly of yours! It was only $10 on Amazon (click here to view) and will last you your whole pregnancy! Keep in mind, a little goes a long way!
4. GETTING MASSAGES.
Starting as early as month two or three of pregnancy, I began asking my husband for massages! We get aches and pains everywhere! For me, it was mainly my back and calves. As time goes on, I become a little more uncomfortable and my body becomes more achy! So, massages are such a life-saver for me... They really do help, so take advantage of your partner and ask for them as much as possible! I also heard that there are prenatal massages you can get at basically any spa (ask to confirm) and I heard they are amazing! I definitely want to get at least one by the time my 9th month hits! I think it would be a much-needed and fun experience in the end of my pregnancy! Massages help relieve so much tension in our muscles and just really loosens up your body. Stretching can also help prevent aches! But definitely get massages frequently to help with your physical aches and pains.
5. GOING FOR WALKS.
Going for walks not only helps keep you healthy and active during pregnancy, it also helps you with some symptoms you're most likely experiencing. For example, it can help with mood swings (which are totally real), constipation, bloating, and gas! These are symptoms that will occur throughout pregnancy, regardless of what stage or trimester you are in. When it comes to mood swings, going for a walk will help relax your mind and make you feel that you are truly doing something that will benefit your post-pregnancy body. It will help boost your self-esteem and give you some extra energy that your body obviously needs! As for constipation, bloating, and gas (thanks to our lovely hormones), walking really helps our bodies get a move on with things in our digestive tracks. I've had lots of digestive issues throughout my pregnancy and every single time I went for a quick 30-minute walk, whatever I was feeling was relieved. So if you're ever feeling any of these symptoms, try going for a walk and see if that helps before turning to medication relief!
6. GAS X, STOOL SOFTENERS, MIRALAX, & TUMS.
As I just mentioned, some symptoms you will experience throughout pregnancy are bloating, constipation, and gas. In my opinion, those were the three most annoying symptoms I've experienced (and heartburn)! Sometimes, I felt like I would rather be a little nauseous than feel constipated all day or have trapped gas (it's seriously the worst)! Once I began feeling these symptoms, I asked my doctor what I could take as relief when needed. She said it is perfectly fine for me to take Gas X, stool softeners, and MiraLax as needed! I never took MiraLax, because I never really had any on hand, but I took Gas X several times and it brings relief very quickly (in about 20 minutes), so that's usually my go-to if I'm experiencing trapped gas (which can be quite painful and uncomfortable). As for stool softeners, I've taken them a few times but the thing is with stool softeners is that you really have to take them every single day for them to have an effect on your digestive track. I heard that you need to even take it for a month before it really regulates your bowel movements! I wouldn't say I have severe digestive problems, so I don't really do that. However, if you're experiencing it most of the week, I would suggest taking them (but talk to your doctor to discuss what kind is okay for you to take first). I will usually go for a nice walk if I feel constipated and that usually helps me move things along anyway! Towards the end of pregnancy, you also may find TUMS being your best friend! Heartburn can randomly crawl up on you and it seriously sucks. I just started getting heartburn in week 33/34, although I’ve had it once or twice before. TUMS seems to help!
7. A SMALL DOSE OF COFFEE.
Okay, so I'm a huge coffee drinker. Caffeine and I have been best friends for quite some time! It's not even that I necessarily need it - I just really love the taste of coffee and lattes are pretty and inspiring to start my morning! I was a huge Pepsi drinker as well (which has caffeine), so cutting back was quite difficult. For the entire first trimester, I did not drink a sip of coffee! First and foremost, I wasn't even in the mood for it (thanks to nausea), which you will probably find happening to yourself. In addition, I didn't want to drink any coffee the first trimester just because I know that's the most crucial time for baby's development and it would give me a peace of mind knowing I'm not drinking caffeine! But once my second trimester hit and the nausea was gone, I began getting horrible migraines. I literally got a migraine for an entire week straight! I thought coffee might help and it totally did. In week 13, I started drinking only 2oz of brewed coffee in the morning. This immediately stopped my daily migraines and finally gave me the energy I've been yearning for the entire first trimester! Every week or two that passed, I would increase my ounces to a max of 6oz of coffee (sometimes) in the morning. A 4oz cup of brewed coffee has 48mg caffeine and according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, it is safe for pregnant women to consume up to 200mg caffeine per day. You have to keep in mind that coffee is not the only thing that contains caffeine, though! Chocolate, tea, and sodas will have to be included in your daily intake. I also highly suggest you not to consume more than 100-150mg caffeine a day anyway, since all coffee is different and have different levels of caffeine (even different brands have different levels). So, it's very important to be consuming coffee and caffeine responsibly! Personally, I try to stay under 150mg caffeine per day. On average, I consume around 64mg - 130mg caffeine per day now. I started drinking a little more around week 25. If you're not a coffee drinker, awesome. If you are, I would highly recommend having just the tiniest bit at the very least to keep you sane, happy, and energized. Of course, discuss it with your doctor and ensure it is okay for you! Read more about caffeine on my blog here.
8. HEATING PADS & HOT SHOWERS (WITH CAUTION).
This one relates to physical symptoms that is common to feel during pregnancy, such as back and leg aches as well as tummy troubles. Keep in mind that if you do use a heating pad, you should only use it for a maximum of 15-minutes and should not have it on the highest setting as it can change your body temperature for baby. Same goes for hot baths - you shouldn't stay in them longer than 15 minutes either! I've used heating pads on multiple occasions for a limited time to relieve back pain as well as cramps in my calves. It truly helps loosen my muscles and makes me feel a lot better! As for hot showers, whenever I was having tummy troubles, hot showers always helped soothe my stomach. Even when I had aches all over my body or a headache! Hot, steamy showers truly helped. Just don't be in there for too long, you always want to be careful with everything you do, of course. But I highly recommend both of these if you use them wisely to help ease some of your physical symptoms!
9. FRIENDS WITH EXPERIENCE.
This is an important one, especially for your peace of mind! It's so good to have friends or family members that experienced pregnancy to turn to when you need them! You will have so many questions and concerns during your pregnancy as a first-timer - I know I had plenty! And let me tell you, Google is kind of like your best friend but enemy at the same time! Google can be a scary place and you can dig yourself in a deep, dark, anxiety-filled hole! I've done that to myself multiple times and it wasn't fun. As I got into my second trimester, I began relying on my friends, family, and doctors for questions I had. Friends can be such a good outlet! Take advantage of them (not in a bad way, lol) by asking them about their experience and if they felt the symptoms you're experiencing. They'll most likely be able to reassure you that everything is just fine since they've been through it, too! In addition, I always kept a list of questions I thought of throughout the month in my phone that I had ready to ask my OB at the next appointment. Once you learn to stop using Google and rely on your friends and doctor for information, you will feel so much better and all that anxiety you felt in the beginning will disappear! So definitely utilize your friends, family, and doctor! Avoid Google as much as possible.
10. COMFORTABLE CLOTHING.
This is a big one for me! Comfortable clothing is all you need during pregnancy - well at least at 3 months and beyond. You'll start to realize that as weeks pass by, you're becoming more uncomfortable and your clothes are fitting a little too snug. It can get really uncomfortable pretty fast! And of course, comfort is one of our top priorities (since being pregnant isn't best known for comfort)! So, when possible and as much as possible, wear comfortable clothing. If you have to dress up for work, invest in clothing that is comfortable for you. Otherwise, it'll be a long 9 months! Try not to wear pants or leggings that are tight at the waist - you will learn to hate them. You never want to feel pressure against your belly! It's not very comfortable and can feel restricting. I never invested in maternity clothing (at least not yet), but I did invest in maternity leggings (click to view the ones I wear)! I knew that the best thing for me to wear was some comfortable leggings and big t-shirts, so I had to buy them. Comfort will be everything you need during this long (yet quick) journey, so I really suggest you investing it it! Nowadays, at 34 weeks, all I wear in the house are the two most comfortable loungewear sets (click to view) and all of my husband’s sweats, shorts, and t-shirts!
ONE MORE ESSENTIAL: BIRTHING BALL!
I wrote this blog before I invested in a birthing ball for only $20 (click here to view), so I have to add it! Around 30 weeks pregnant, my body became dramatically more achey. I’m talking about legs, back, ass, pelvis, groin, neck, everything! It is dreadful. Especially my pelvic pressure and pain from the baby weighing down! She dropped (lowered into my pelvis) a couple weeks ago (I’m 34 weeks now) and ever since then, my pelvic bone and ass bone 😂 have been SOOO sore and in pain! Especially waking up — I feel like a 90 year old woman with two hip and knee replacements!! My back has also been in pain from my belly weighing me down. Ever since I bought this birthing ball, it’s been helping me so much. It automatically relieves the pressure I feel in my pelvis and in my hips & butt. It helps my posture and relieves pain in my back! I absolutely love it and I’m so happy I bought it. I like to use it in the morning (when I feel my worst and when I’m most achey) and sometimes at night if I had a long day on my feet! I would totally invest in this, especially if you’re feeling that pelvic pressure, discomfort, aches, and pains!!!!
WHAT ARE YOUR ESSENTIALS FOR PREGNANCY?
Feel free to share your essentials for pregnancy in the comments below! I'd love to hear all different kinds of ideas and I'm sure other women would appreciate all the extra tips they can get!