Consider this your Pregnancy Survival Handbook. I sure wish I had one the first time around – and no, baby books do not help explain what a new and soon-to-be mother really needs. Every pregnancy is different, every woman is different, and any little bit of advice that can make you feel comfortable in your skin definitely helps!
1. Maternity Tops
Maternity tops are essential, especially further along in your pregnancy, or if you start showing early and your shirts no longer fit. You may find that your breasts have expanded at an alarming rate, but that’s certainly no reason to start wearing peasant tops all the time. Flowy shirts and baby dolls have never been quite my thing, although they do look good on some women, they never really flattered me all that well. This pregnancy I stuck to tops from Isabella Oliver and Seraphine, fitted tops paired with non-maternity cardigans are actually quite flattering.
2. A Good – NO! – a Great Bra
My breasts became huge, very quickly, and it gets hard to shop for a bra when Victoria’s Secret doesn’t carry your size. I highly recommend going into a bra shop and get fitted by a knowledgeable sales girl, try on a few so you really have an idea of what is comfortable and still works for your wardrobe. I love the lingerie store Change because they carry a vast range of sizes, the girls are always so helpful and the bras are usually in the $50 range, which is what I’d expect to pay for a good quality bra that will last me a year or two. And don’t forget to pick up some cute cotton panties in larger sizes – unless your hips stay the same size, unlike my own.
3. Comfortable Shoes
With my first pregnancy, I refused to wear anything but heels up until I was 7.5 months pregnant. I literally didn’t own a pair of flats in my whole closet up until that point. This time around was quite a bit different – I was exhausted in the first trimester and the third trimester, I wore heels only when going out during the second trimester. And let’s face it, where I live, if you don’t have to wear heels, why bother? I lived in either my red Hunter Wellies or my black patent Tory Burch Reva’s most of the time. If you do need to wear heels, try Cole Haan Heels with Nike Air Technology.
4. Reading Material vs. iPhone Apps
My first pregnancy I read What to Expect When You’re Expecting, I kept it by my bedside and used it as a reference to each and every query I had and all the pains and bumps I felt. This time, even flipping through a book like that made me feel anxious and worried. So I stopped and instead downloaded the BabyBump App which led me along the journey of how big baby was each week, compared to fruits and vegetables (Week 36 = Crenshaw Melon), and I would occasionally Google symptoms I had to find out which medications I could take.
(ps. This is an excellent resource for Medications Considered Safe During Pregnancy, along with this I would discuss any medications with my doctor and/or the pharmacist – the pharmacist also has a huge textbook of all different drugs and can discuss the side effects and studies that each drug has shown.) Another difference between my two pregnancies – my first pregnancy I drank no caffeine and took no OTC drugs, not even Tylenol. This pregnancy, I’ve been sick in the last half of it (allergies, sinus, flu, coughing, nasal issues, etc, etc) and became so miserable that J insisted that I do something about it. It’s true that these medications are mainly Over-The-Counter, not strong at all and don’t last very long, but it gave some well-needed relief at times and I don’t regret a thing.
5. Sleeping Aids
In this pregnancy I found it difficult to sleep from around 4 months pregnant, I tried different pillows and set-ups and eventually settled on a regular body pillow. It was heaven, and still is. Some nights I’ll be wrapped around this pillow like a panda bear on bamboo, while other nights I fold it up and prop myself up into a ‘sitting’ position to sleep (it helps, I don’t know why, but sometimes I can only sleep like this!). Herbal tea, sleeping masks, a humidifier have all also helped with sleep – just try anything to see if it works and helps with sleep.
6. Beauty Products
With hormones raging through your body, prenatal vitamins that can sometimes mess with your body, and even the weather can change how your skin and hair reacts to your normal beauty products. My hair never really changes during pregnancy (whereas many women find their hair gets thicker and gorgeous or even thinning) but my skin became super dry, not only was it winter and the heat was turned up every where I went, but I’d find it hard to moisturize my skin enough, and any makeup I’d apply became flaky and gross. I had to change up my whole skin routine and added a humidifier to my room which also helped with the moisture in the air, and in turn, my skin. And when all else failed, Vaseline became my (somewhat greasy) best friend. I also lived on The Body Shop’s Cocoa Butter Body Butter, I’m very much prone to stretch marks and it’s something I’ve gotten used to. Some women swear that this product (and all the other belly butters/oils/lotions out there) prevent stretch marks from happening – I have a belly full of stretch marks. But this product does relieve the itchy and uncomfortable feeling of a growing belly!
7. Prenatal Yoga
Being active while pregnant is one of the best things you can do for yourself – for your body and your mind. Of course, there are those days where you don’t feel like doing anything – you are exhausted and knackered and really don’t want to. (Sometimes there’s a pouty face involved.) Whatever your mood, just know that doing some yoga is like heaven for a pregnant lady. You come out of it feeling refreshed, relaxed and ready to face the world! Feeling empowered is great.
ps. Anything you’d like to add?