My pregnancy hacks!

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

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
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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!

Motherhood Maternity Clothes

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My first maternity clothing shopping haul from Motherhood!

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

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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.

The Ultimate Maternity Support Belt

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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!

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Vote: Which dress should I wear?

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Vote for which dress you like better!

My baby shower is right around the corner and I have no idea what to wear. I’m stuck between two dresses that I love, both from Destination Maternity. The purple one on the left is by Seraphine. It has a more “motherly” feel to it. The red one on the right is by Isabella Oliver (similar dress here). I feel more like a spicy tamale in it!

*note, I did get the red dress one size up from what is photographed for a little more room

I hope to pair the winning dress with my favorite Rockstud Valentino shoes and similarly colored jewelry.

I’ll then post the winning dress and how I styled it 😀

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Faux leather maternity leggings

Being pregnant can really suck the energy out of me, even in the 2nd trimester (which is supposed to be better than the 1st trimester, but that’s pure lies!). Even getting out of bed or doing basic chores can feel like insurmountable tasks on some days. It goes without saying that my typical evening calendar has been quite light, consisting of doggy & hubby cuddle time on the couch, while watching episodes of Family Feud. 

But every so often, an event will inspire me to get off my tush and to find energy from the deepest reserves in my soul–to party like a pre-pregnant woman. One such event was the Beyoncé & Jay-Z “On the Run” concert.

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Image from Beyonce.com

Now, you can’t just wear any old thing to a Beyoncé & Jay-Z concert.  Oh no, you need to find something that you can run upstage and be a backup dancer in (you know, just in case Beyoncé calls you up…).  A Bellaband wasn’t going to cut it this time. My friend and I debated outfits for weeks prior to the concert.  So this is what this pregnant mama (me) settled on for the concert.  

After a thorough search of my favorite maternity websites (favorite…a loose term), I settled on two items from Asos. A black top and faux leather leggings (both in maternity cuts).  

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Images from US Asos website

The leggings were perfect.  The additional soft fabric that rose over my tummy (see pics below) allowed for extra breathing room and space for my bump.  The shirt, however, was a different story.  The top wasn’t flattering at all.  I didn’t return it though. I think that it will be a great shirt for the last months of pregnancy when my stomach is larger. 

Instead of wearing the top that I ordered, I settled for an old, pre-pregnancy flowy top that I got from Target (of all places).  It has two layers, one of which billows gently around my tummy. Add some heels & makeup, and I mentally transformed myself into Bey!  “I’m ready for you girl!”

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Needless to say, the concert was fantastic.  I danced and sang along with my friends and husband.  But I must say that one of the most rewarding parts of the show was feeling my little baby girl kicking and moving around to the different songs (which in my mind, I interpret as in utero dancing).  That’s my little girl! 🙂

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A belt and a band

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I really love clothes. And when I found out that I was pregnant, I have to be honest, I was super excited about buying a new wardrobe to show off my impending bump!

But my plan encountered a few hiccups…

First, I didn’t get a bump for a loooooooooooong time. Some semblance of a bump didn’t start to emerge until I reached five months (like two seconds ago). And even still, it just looks like I have awful gas or over ate (both of which might be true at any given moment). Even now, my bump still doesn’t really justify a new wardrobe.

Second, I don’t really like maternity clothes. They either look too matronly or are extremely costly.

Third, a lot of the cute stuff goes quickly! I really like Asos, but all the sassy stuff goes fast. When I look for clothes, I look for a certain amount of sexiness & style. But I’m hard-pressed to find those qualities in maternity clothing.

So what is a girl to do? Work with what I’ve got.

I started to look online for suggestions on repurposing pre-pregnancy clothing:

“When the tummy starts to pop and tops just don’t cut it, layer on a Bellaband to split the difference. The seamless knit band also hides unbuttoned pants or holds up those maternity jeans that are still a bit big.”

lilsugar.com

“As your waistline has at least temporarily migrated north your waistband should follow suit. Belt your dresses and skirts at the narrow empire valley. Dresses in stretch ready knits can follow the fluctuations of your form to birth and beyond.”

Cardiganempire.com

So before a night out with hubby, I grabbed a silky top & black jeans (from The Limited), a skinny belt, and a Bellaband. The last two were crucial. Without them, I looked like a tent with ill-fitting jeans. When I belted my shirt, I magically had a waist and added shape to my figure. With the Bellaband, I was able to still wear my favorite jeans that fit everywhere but the waist. The band helps keep jeans up when they don’t button (where were they when I wasn’t pregnant?).

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A Bellaband, available at Ingridandisabel.com

The end result allowed me to wear my cute pre-pregnancy clothes, to maintain my sass, and to keep some money in my purse!