Below is a list of items that I have found helpful during my pregnancy. I will probably continue to use some of these items long after pregnancy (such as Mother’s Friend–it is a great moisturizer)! Also, maternity clothes are kind of the bomb, especially when you can find the right deal. So pregnant or not, I hope you can find something that is helpful to you!
Mother’s Friend came highly recommended from my mother-in-law, who boasted that after 4 children, she never developed any stretch marks while using the cream. She credits her smooth skin (and boy, is her skin smooth!!) to the cream and suggested that I use it too. While there is no such thing as a magic anti-stretch mark cream (genetics are the most important determinant of stretch mark development), it is very important to keep skin hydrated and moisturized during this period of rapid weight gain. From early in my first trimester, before any weight gain, I used this light and fluffy, pink cream with a delicate scent. It absorbs quickly into my skin and I apply globs of it daily. There have been a handful of times when I began to feel itchy on my stomach, but when I rub in the cream, it instantly takes away the itchy sensation & soothes my skin. So far (7 months in), I have no stretch marks and ironically, my stomach is the smoothest and and softest part of my body. You can also apply the cream to other prime targets for stretch marks, such as the buttocks, breasts, and thighs.
Leachco Back ‘N Belly Contoured Body Pillow
Images from Amazon.com
During my second trimester, I found it difficult to get a good night’s rest. I hogged all of the pillows on my bed (much to my husband’s dismay), in order to squeeze them in between my legs and to wedge my back in order to sleep on my side as opposed to on my back (pregnant women are discouraged from sleeping on their backs, as that may decrease blood flow to the baby). In addition to a growing belly and back & hip pain, I was pretty miserable at night and had a difficult time getting any rest, even with my six pillows. After some research, I found that there existed massive pregnancy pillows that cradle your entire body. I purchased one on Amazon and from the first night I used it, I fell in love. It looks like a huge “U.” I can slip one side of the “U” under my legs, which helps with joint and back pain, as well as offering support to my tummy. And I can rest without rolling over on my back because the other side of the “U” cradles my back and encourages side sleeping. If I flip the pillow or stack extra pillows under my head, the body pillow puts my body on an incline, becoming a magic cure for acid reflux!
The main negative is that it is nearly impossible to cuddle with my husband. We both end up cuddling one side of the pillow in order to cuddle each other, or we have to awkwardly lift one side of the pillow in order to cuddle. On nights where we really want to snuggle, we have to just ditch the pillow all together. But all in all, this pillow is a must have. Note: the pillow also has a postpartum nursing purpose!
If you are interested in “looking good” while pregnant, I highly recommend investing in a few key pieces of maternity clothing. My favorite brand is Motherhood–reasonably priced and hip, I really like their clothing! You can find them at Macy’s or Destination Maternity. Note: If you shop at Macy’s, you usually can’t use any Macy’s coupons on Motherhood clothes. If you shop at Destination Maternity though, you usually receive a gift bag with your purchase and drinks while shopping!
In total, I’ve bought the following in maternity clothing:
2 long work pants
1 pair of capris work pants
2 casual cotton shirts
4 dressy shirts
1 tunic top
1 dressy skirt
1 casual maxi skirt
1 dressy dress
1 pair of leggings
I’ve found that these pieces mix very well with my pre-pregnancy maxi dresses, stretchy cotton tops (from Target), work jackets, cardigans, belts, loose dressy tops, and long stretch tank tops.
Outside of the Motherhood Maternity brand, I did invest in a pair of expensive jeans from Pea in a Pod, which I think was worth the purchase because it hugs all of my new “motherly” curves in a contemporary wash and fit. Also, I have a handful of other maternity pieces, from Target and Asos. Additionally, I bought two bellybands, which did a great job in holding up my pre-pregnancy jeans when I wasn’t that big. To be honest, I haven’t tried the bands recently since I’ve grown significantly.
image from motherhood.com
As I mentioned, I suffer from a lot of lower back pain from the stretching and strain of my expanding bones, muscles, & tendons. Initially, I bought a package of Spanx from Destination Maternity, thinking that it might add some lower back support–WRONG! The fabric was essentially stocking-like material and highly uncomfortable. I went back to Destination Maternity and they suggested that I try “The Ultimate Maternity Support Belt.” The belt is literally like a magic cure for hip/lower back pain. It puts pressure on the region, offering support, and encouraging proper posture.
Major negative: as a teacher, I am constantly walking and sitting. When I sit, the belt cuts into my stomach, which, needless to say, is grossly uncomfortable. And while the pressure on my lower back is divine, the belt also applies pressure to my bladder…which is something that my bladder does not need (as evident by my super frequent bathroom breaks)!
I’d love to hear what you have found helpful during pregnancy! Do share!