Sunday, August 3, 2014

Maternity Essentials

So... it's August!! The last few days where it's just the two of us. We've been enjoying a pretty lazy weekend of some errands and going to the movies (Guardians of the Galaxy was super fun). Most of the things on our to-do list are done, so I don't feel guilty about lying around a bit. Sure, I could be cleaning more, but the house is in decent shape, and bending over is super hard work right now. Every time I drop something, I have to make the decision whether I'm going to squat down or ask J to come help me. I try to get one thing clean when I get home from work, and that has been working out pretty well. J also helps out a lot around the house, which helps. He jokes with me about the laundry because it usually goes like this: Me, "Hey, would you mind throwing the clothes in the wash. I'll take care of them after that." Him, "Sure." Me, later, "Would you mind throwing the wash in the dryer?" Him, "Sure." Me, even later, "Hey, would you mind bringing the clothes up from the dryer? I'll help you put them away." (I do help him put them away). Me, later on, "I'm so glad I got the laundry done!" He gives me a look. Okay, maybe I didn't do the laundry. :)

Anyway, since I am finally at the end of pregnancy, I thought I would do a post to share what has been helpful for me in getting through it. I realize that almost everyone is different, so if you ask a different pregnant woman her pregnancy essentials, I could almost guarantee she might have a completely different list. I'm going to try to organize it by trimester (meaning when I started needing the items).

First Trimester

1. Prenatal vitamins - All of them pretty much have the same things in them, so it doesn't really matter which one you pick, but there are a few differences. I couldn't do any of the ones with DHA in them (DHA is fish oil). It's supposed to be super good for the baby, but I couldn't keep them down. After trying a few brands, I ended up really liking the Rainbow Light prenatal vitamin. If you can't swallow large pills, be forewarned. The pills are enormous. However, the formula didn't irritate my stomach like most other prenatals, so it worked for me. (I also tried One-a-Day, Nature Made, and the Vita-fusion brands). The Vita-fusion one contains DHA but no iron, so be aware (even in gummy form, I couldn't stomach the DHA). The Nature Made one didn't have DHA, but the iron irritated my stomach. The one-a-day one was okay.

2. Grocery bags - I was always carrying around plastic grocery bags in case I needed to vomit. Yes, I used them.

3. Bra extender and new bras- One of the first changes I had was that my bras were suddenly way too small. I'm pretty sure this is super common in pregnancy. I ended up having to use both a bra extender and buy some new (stretchy) bras from Target. I mostly went for nursing bras, which were already a bit wider than normal ones, and in the hopes that I might be able to use them post-partum as well.

4. Bella band - There is this awkward time where your pants don't really fit, but you aren't ready to buy maternity jeans yet. The bella band helps solve this issue. Some people fit fine in their clothes into the second trimester. I started having issues around week 7-8 (mostly bloating). I didn't wear the bella band for all that long (I haven't used it since I bought maternity jeans), but I hear it's good for the deflation stage too, so maybe I will be using it again.

5. Juice - I couldn't drink water in the first trimester. It made me super sick. Diluted juice literally saved me from dehydration, although I was on the edge of dehydration the entire first trimester. My main goal was to avoid having to get IV fluids. Gatorade also helped. I think I started being able to stomach plain water around weeks 14-16 and it was so glorious.

6. Unisom - Unisom + B6 has been used for years in the battle against morning sickness and probably the only medication that actually did anything for me (it's now sold as the prescription drug Diclegis, but the OTC version is way cheaper). The B6 never really helped me all that much, but the Unisom did. The only problem is that it's also a sleep aid, so taking it during the day was not really an option. I (still) take one of the sleeptabs every night to help with nausea the next day. It doesn't even act as a sleep aid for me anymore since I have taken it so long. I will randomly try not taking it, and the nausea and vomiting return with a vengeance, so it really has been helping.

7. Exercise! So, I am more than slightly anal when it comes to exercise. I do something physical every day, and didn't stop when I got pregnant. My exercises changed over time, but I found that some physical activity made me feel like a person. I even exercised while super sick, pausing to go vomit. I also am really paranoid about blood clots and high blood pressure. Exercising keeps both in check. I am also hoping it will help me bounce back post-baby. The exercises I have done:

Elliptical - first and second trimesters
Summer Sanders Prenatal workout - second trimester (I found the third trimester one too boring)
What to Expect workout - third trimester (I would have used this in the second if I had found it sooner)
Walking - second and third trimesters (as soon as it was warm enough)
Swimming - third trimester

I also tried a few prenatal yoga videos, but I couldn't really find one I liked. They were either way too slow (and put me to sleep) or I was too far along and just couldn't bend the way the person with the tiny bump was bending.

Second Trimester

8. Maternity jeans! - Once you make the switch, you won't want to wear anything else. I suggest the ones with the full panel because the underbelly ones can get really uncomfortable as you get bigger. I personally bought mine from Motherhood Maternity and Target. The ones from Target were actually my favorite pair. As you grow, jeans can get more uncomfortable, so you may have to buy the size up. Being pregnant in the summer has a definite advantage - I don't need to wear jeans, so I don't. :)

9. Maternity tops - Eventually, your pre-pregnancy clothes will just be too tight or uncomfortable. My pregnancy started in November, so I really focused on spring and summer clothing for maternity wear. I was able to get by with just maternity jeans for a long time, but definitely was needing maternity tops by April. I have gotten a lot of use out of my maternity tops by layering (maternity tank top + pre-pregnancy cardigan). However, I am starting to get super tired of maternity clothes by this point, and there is no way I am buying any more at this stage. Another suggestion is getting stretchy maternity t-shirts. They have lasted me the entire time, and don't break the bank. Target and Gap have nice long ones. Anything that isn't tight fitting at the bottom becomes a problem in the late third trimester (caution: underbump showing).

10. Maternity yoga pants - They are so, so comfy and worth every penny. Also, you will want them post-partum (I am told).

Third Trimester

11. The snoogle - This is the most awesome body pillow in the world. J got it for me for Mother's Day, and it's been awesome. I credit this pillow for my lack of back and hip pain. It keeps your body aligned while sleeping, which makes sleeping way easier.

12. Tums - for heartburn. I don't really feel like I need to explain this.

13. Snacks - Even without the gestational diabetes, you get hungry way more frequently as baby is putting on weight. And your stomach is getting squished, making big meals difficult. Lots of healthy snacks makes this problem a little easier. If I didn't have GD, I would probably eat fruit all day long.

14. Comfortable shoes - I can't stress enough how important this one has been for me. My feet ache all the time right now. It must be something about putting on 30+ pounds in nine months, but it's super hard to do stuff when your feet feel terrible. My mom ended up buying me a pair of flip flops from Clarks, which have saved my life this summer. Arch support is awesome.

I hope you enjoyed! What are some of your maternity essentials? Anything I missed?

Bonus story (completely unrelated): Last night, I decided I was going to make Jalapeno Popper Mac and Cheese. Well, I didn't think that the peppers would hurt my hands while I was cutting them. Wrong. So wrong. My hands were on fire for about 3 hours after cutting the peppers. I tried everything to make it better - vinegar, oil, lemon juice, sour cream, rubbing alcohol, aloe, and milk. The milk worked over time. It took about 3 30 minute soaks to get it under control and my fingertips were still hurting. I mixed baking soda and milk into a paste for my fingers, which actually did work pretty well. Next time - gloves! (For the record, the mac and cheese wasn't even spicy).

This will probably be my last post until baby is on the outside. Prayers for an easy labor are welcome - I've been eating dates and sipping on red raspberry leaf tea! (Plus, lots of walking)


  1. Sending prayers and good juju your way, Cathy!!! I was thinking of doing a post like this too. My essentials were much of the above. I also want to add that I rented a doppler which I would highly recommend if someone has a lot of anxiety like I do. Also Belli Oil (or something like it), prenatal massages (again to help with anxiety) annnd I used Denise Austin's pregnancy DVD and I really liked it. I'm probably never going to wear normal jeans again ;) and WOW about the jalapenos. Hang in there, he'll be here soon!

    1. A Doppler is a good one! I could have really used that before I felt consistent movement. I only got one prenatal massage, but it was awesome! Sending you prayers as well. I got my induction date this morning, and I am really hoping and praying he decides to come before then. I don't care if it's the day before. I am scared of being induced! I hope you are doing well, final countdown!