Okay all you women out there, let’s get real for a quick minute. Pregnancy ain’t no walk in the park. It might be for some of you lucky ladies out there (I’m glad you can’t feel my resentment as I type… 😉), but for the majority of the female species, it’s nine months of heartburn, mood swings, back pain, and the appetite of fifteen morbidly obese men.
I definitely haven’t had a bad pregnancy, but it wasn’t all roses and sprinkles and rainbows either, man. Now that I am a few weeks into my third trimester, I have developed a list of absolute must haves that I will be gripping to like a lifeline throughout all nine months of my next pregnancy. Most of these I didn’t discover until at least half way through, and I wish I had every single one of them from the second I peed on that positive pregnancy test.
Now, before I start, some of you might totally disagree with these for personal reasons or health reasons (especially because a few of them are pills), which is FINE. You do you. But just as an extra little tidbit, the few medications I mention here were recommended to me by my OB, and I was assured they were safe for preggo ladies. But if you feel more comfortable not taking any meds, then don’t do it! Anyway, moving on.
SO: my list, ladies and gentlemen. But probably mostly ladies…these are ordered kind of by trimester. The ones I posted earliest in my list are things that I utilized right from the start. The things I listed later are things I use like crazy now.
#1: Heating Pad
When: first trimester for uterus pain, late second and third trimester for lower back pain.
Oh, my dearest heating pad. What ever would I do without you? Okay for reals, I don’t know how I would have survived certain days in the last several months without my best friend, Mr. Heating Pad. According to doctors, you need to only use a low to medium setting and use the heating pad for about twenty minute intervals if it’s on your belly.
I’m less careful about that if it’s on my lower back, but if you want to be extra safe, just give your body a break every twenty minutes so that baby doesn’t get too hot in your tummy.
In the first trimester of my pregnancy, I had a decent amount of cramping in my lower stomach just from my uterus stretching and doing things it had never done before. It felt a lot like mild period cramps, and the heating pad came in handy big time then. In the middle-ish of my second trimester, I developed some back pain. Some days it wasn’t bad at all, but on some particularly active days, my back would KILL ME.
Specifically after a little nesting episode I had the other night that involved me bending over my bathtub/shower and scrubbing for forty-five minutes. That was probably not the best idea. The heating pad and I had a nice bonding experience later that night. So for first trimester, stomach pain. For second and third trimester, it is a life saver for back pain.
And totally safe as long as you use it correctly (low-medium heat, 20 minute intervals).
#2: Unisom and B6
When: first trimester for morning sickness, third trimester if having trouble sleeping.
Oh…my…GOOOSSSHHH this literally made my life amazing in my first trimester. People with morning sickness: HEAR ME – this wiped out any trace of sickness I had, period. Period. Like…100%. Granted, I didn’t have the worst morning sickness ever, but I was extremely nauseous when I woke up and would stay slightly nauseous pretty much all day.
On top of that, I had serious food aversions – specifically to meat. This didn’t totally knock out the aversions, but literally, I’m telling you – the second I started taking Unisom and B6, any trace of nausea completely vanished. It made my life SO MUCH EASIER.
This is a doctor recommended treatment for morning sickness. What you do is take the Unisom and B6 together before bed, go to sleep, and wake up feeling awesome. That’s it. The second I find out I am pregnant again in the future, this will be a permanent companion on my bedside table from day one on.
And now that I’m later in my pregnancy and I don’t get nauseous anymore, I still take Unisom often to help me fall asleep. That pregnancy insomnia is no joke, yo.
When: all the way through! Especially when you are feeling overwhelmed and unprepared.
I’m one of those people that feels way more assured about everything if I feel educated and prepared for it. Some of my favorite books to read are marriage books because my marriage is super important to me, and I love reading and learning about ways to keep it as strong and tight as possible.
Same thing with babies. Who knows – these books may turn out to be totally worthless, BUT it makes me feel like I know more about babies and what to do with them. It makes me feel way more prepared. The two that I posted pictures of above are the two that I’ve read/am currently reading. The one on the right, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth is preeetttyyy dang hippy, and it’s all about women who have natural childbirths…
However, I am totes telling them to shoot me up with that epidural the second I lay down in the hospital bed. But I still really enjoyed the book. One big theme behind it is “birth without fear.” Basically, because of the way that people talk about childbirth and the ways that movies and TV portray it, women are freaking terrified as they near their 40 week mark because they know how awful labor can be.
This book preaches against that fear and towards the awesomeness of it all. It also talks about how women have been doing this for FOREVER and have been just fine, so there’s no reason to freak yourself out about it. It’s also really educational about childbirth, so that was cool. But, be prepared for some hardcore hippy-ness if you crack that baby open. The second one, The Happiest Baby on the Block, is AWESOME, and I love it so far. It basically talks about these 5 S’s that trigger a relaxation reflex in your newborn and really help soothe them during the first three months.
Again, both, especially The Happiest Baby on the Block just make me feel way more at peace and prepared. There is power in education! As a teacher, I had to say that last cheesy quote…but for reals, education is muy bueno.
#4: A Good Water Bottle
When: all the way through!
You have to drink a ton of water when you’re pregnant. Like…a ton. They recommend that you drink AT LEAST 100 ounces of water each day, which is really hard for me to get to. The standard 64? Easy peasy. But for some reason, those extra 40 ounces rarely happen by the end of the day.
What makes it a BILLION times easier is a good water bottle. I am a bit of a water bottle addict…I may or may not have an entire kitchen cabinet devoted to them…and my husband may or may not have to forcibly steer me away from the water bottle aisle each time we take a trip to Target. I just really like water bottles! And, if I’m not using one throughout the day, I drink almost no water.
So, since I am a self-proclaimed water bottle connoisseur, I feel that my advice on which one(s) are awesome should be valued 😉.
My three favorites:
- The Yeti Rambler. This water bottle has a few pros and cons. Pro: It’s HUGE. You drink three of these and you’re over your 100 ounce requirement. I love that I don’t have to fill it up a billion and one times every day. Pro: It keeps your water cold for…like…days. No joke. If you want cold water in a bottle that doesn’t sweat, this one is a good choice. Con: It’s HUGE. Yes, super nice for the few refills, but super annoying if you’re carrying it around everywhere. Con: The lid takes a bit to screw off and on, so it’s not nearly as easy as other water bottles to grab and take a swig.
- The Hydroflask. This was my go-to for several months. Pro: It’s way smaller and more convenient than the Yeti. Pro: It keeps your water super cold as well. It’s not quite as good as the yeti, but I’ve never had water get un-cold (word?) by the time I finish the bottle, and sometimes that’s like all day. Con: I wish it was a tiny bit bigger. Five refills each day is kind of a lot, and I basically never get there. Con: The little mouth piece thing is kind of hard to pull out. I just keep mine pulled out most of the day unless I’m throwing it in my purse or bag to go somewhere.
- The metal, autoseal Contigo water bottle. I’ve had and used all three of these water bottles (and many others) extensively, and this one is BY FAR my favorite. I have no cons, only pros. First of all, it’s way cheaper than the others, but it’s just as good if not better. Second, it’s a great size. Basically with four refills, I’m at my 100 ounces. The mouth piece thing is SUPER easy to drink out of. It keeps my drinks cold all day, even better than the Hydroflask. I couldn’t find the exact one I have on amazon, but I got it from Target, and it’s a light blue steel, and I love it. The best water bottle I’ve ever had by far.
You might be thinking, this crazy lady is way to obsessed with water bottles. Aaaaadn you’re probs right. BUT – in my defense…staying hydrated is super important, especially when you’re preggo. And carrying a water bottle around with you all day really, really, really helps. And I would definitely recommend number 3!
#5: A Pregnancy Pillow (C-Pillow)
When: about half way through your second trimester up to the end.
This is LEGIT the best thing ever. I don’t know how anyone gets through their pregnancies without it! I don’t use it like the lady in the picture above, though. I have it going the other way with the long pillow part going down my front so that my stomach can be supported. It seriously makes for the comfiest sleep in the world.
Sleeping while pregnant can be hard sometimes, but this pillow makes it just as comfy (if not more so) than my non pregnant sleep. It’s a life saver. This is the exact one I bought off Amazon, and I love it. And you can just throw it in the washer and dryer like normal – I just washed and dried mine last night.
When: second trimester all the way to the end.
I. Was. Literally. Miserable. All day every single day until my OB told me to start taking Prilosec. I would literally eat a protein bar, a handful of nuts, a piece bread, ANYTHING, and get raging, raging heartburn. And oh my goodness, God forbid I ate something unhealthy like pizza – my night was totally ruined because I felt so awful.
I’m sure a lot of women’s heartburn isn’t that severe, but I see pregnant women popping tums all the time, so I’m pretty sure it’s a super common issue. And mine was suuuuuper intense. A few days after I started taking Prilosec? I haven’t had a speck of heartburn since, and that was over a month ago. No matter what I eat or drink – nothing. Not even a little bit. If I could narrow down this list to three things or less, Prilosec would make the cut for sure.
If you are having super awful heartburn, there’s no reason for you to suffer through it – talk to your OB and go buy some Prilosec! It’s over the counter; I just get mine at Walgreens. Seriously – best thing ever. My pregnancy experience got SO much better once I started taking this!
#7: Healthy Snacks
When: all the way through, but specifically second and third trimesters.
Sooo remember earlier when is mentioned having the appetite of fifteen morbidly obese men? That was only a slight exaggeration…because I am basically hungry every hour and can eat way more food than would appear to be humanly possible. I’m like a bottomless pit when it comes to anything edible.
SO – healthy snacks seriously save me and make it so that I’m not scarfing down anything I can find in sight and gaining eighty pounds a week. My two go-to snacks (I eat both of these every single day) are the two that are pictured above. Belvita “Breakfast Biscuits” and Zone Protein Bars (specifically the chocolate mint flavor). Both are nice and filling, both taste good, and both are healthy!
My usual routine is to drink a smoothie for breakfast, eat a pack of Belvitas sometime between breakfast and lunch, have lunch, eat a protein bar sometime between lunch and dinner, and then have dinner. This keeps me comfortably full all day and resisting the urge to polish off nine sandwiches for lunch…
Whether you choose to try out these particular snacks or not, a good, healthy, high-protein snack is an absolute MUST HAVE. And it keeps hangry Annie away, and no one wants to see hangry Annie. Especially a pregnant one. It’s a scary sight.
#8: Comfy Pants
When: about half way through the second trimester all the way to the end – ESPECIALLY at the end!
About half way through my second trimester, I realized that I literally could not get comfortable in anything I owned. My maternity pants for work were great, but when I was just lounging around at home, everything was uncomfortable and tight around my stomach. And never being comfortable is the WORST!
So I went on the hunt for comfy maternity pants. The best ones – my absolute favorite – I got from Target. They are leggings that look like the ones in the picture above. They are super, super soft and extremely stretchy. The belly band comes up to the top of my stomach, but it’s not binding or tight. The material is woven by little angel babies and then sent as a gift to pregnant women everywhere.
Whether you buy these or something else, comfy pants are ESSENTIAL. I have like…at least five different pairs now because being comfy becomes more and more important as you progress through the second and third trimesters. The ones that I really don’t love are the maternity workout pants. Those seem to have really tight, snug belly bands that make me feel like I can’t breath or relax fully.
The other pair of pants that I love are a pair of my husbands t-shirt fabric PJ pants – also from Target, I believe…maybe Walmart. I have officially confiscated them. They are too big for me to wear non-pregnant, but they sit right below my belly bump now, they don’t feel constricting or binding at all, and they are super comfy. So: ultra stretchy, soft leggings and super soft and big PJ pants that can go under your bump = pregnancy salvation.
#9: An Awesome Bra
When: second trimester all the way to the end.
A common known little tidbit about pregnancy is that…certain areas of your body…grow significantly throughout the nine months. It’s your body preparing to feed that sweet little bundle of love once you have him/her! It makes finding a good bra a struggle though, and I searched and searched and searched before I found a bra that was SUPER comfy while still being supportive. This is the one I got that I LOVE.
Bonus: it’s a nursing bra, so you can transition with it straight into post-pregnancy use.
I could seriously sleep in this thing, you guys. It’s amazing. It’s preeetttyyy expensive, so I only have a few, but in my opinion, it’s worth ever penny for those of us out there who really need a good, comfy, and supportive bra to get you through. For some people, they don’t need this much support, so a fancier nursing bra like this is totally unnecessary. But if you’re struggling with this issue like I was, this bra seriously improved my quality of life SO MUCH.
And that’s the end of my list! My 9 things that I couldn’t live without throughout my pregnancy. Now I’m going to go eat an entire pizza and five donuts. Have a lovely evening 😉!