Ten Pregnancy Essentials
August will be my last full month of pregnancy. As I type this, I can feel and see my baby’s nudges, undulating movements on opposite sides of my belly. Now on the last pages of my pregnancy journal, printing out my weekly belly bump photos and sorting my notes and checklists in preparation for our baby’s arrival… I’m remembering the special memories the past months have brought us. The first time we heard his heartbeat with an at-home fetal doppler… and each time afterwards always as exciting and reassuring as the first. The first time we saw him at the 12 week scan, kicking and twisting about… waiting 7 months seemed an eternity at that point. Discovering we were expecting a boy. Browsing several shops before settling on his first outfit. Deciding on a name. Waiting for those first movements strong enough for my husband to feel too. And feeling those kicks, punches, hiccups and moving about more and more frequently each day. Counting down the days to meet him. Preparing our home for his arrival. Pregnancy has been an incredible journey leading us to this new and exciting chapter in our lives.
Along with the many ups, this journey has also had its fair share of less pleasant experiences. Now that my pregnancy is winding down, I thought I’d share ten items that have become my essentials (aside from maternity clothes) making pregnancy a more comfortable experience as I battled common side effects such as heartburn, restless legs syndrome and sleep discomfort…
(1) Pregnancy Multivitamins
When I found out I was pregnant, I switched to a pregnancy multivitamin. I don’t eat fish, so I’ve always taken Omega-3 supplements, and the Pregnacare Plus Omega 3 multivitamin works for me because the extra capsule contains the levels of DHA and EPA recommended for pregnant women. Pregnacare has a whole range of multivitamins made for conception, pregnancy and breastfeeding and plenty of details on their website to help you choose the one that works for you. And if you’re looking for a separate Omega-3 supplement to take before, during or after pregnancy alongside your multivitatmin, there is also Efalex Mother & Baby Brain & Eye Formula. Always check with your midwife or GP first about which vitamins or supplements to take as you also need to be careful not to overdose on anything!
(2) Regular Exercise
I do try to make an effort to work out at least three to four times a week. From the first trimester, I just listened to my body and started to tone down cardio and strength training workouts accordingly. Starting midway into the second trimester, my workouts have consisted of mostly prenatal yoga – attending a class or following this DVD by Desi Bartlett at home – or a good long walk. Prenatal yoga has worked best for me – it’s low impact, gives you a good stretch, helps with circulation and prepares you for labor. Working out in pregnancy is different for everyone, so just pay attention to how you’re feeling, speak to your midwife or GP, never compare yourself to anyone else and remember your top priority is taking care of your baby and looking after yourself.
(3) Pregnancy Pillow
I bought the DreamGenii Pregnancy Pillow pillow in May, when I was 20+ weeks along, and I am so happy I did. At that point, I was spending long, restless nights tossing and turning, trying to arrange pillows around me to get into a comfortable position then waking up over and over again to rearrange them – it seemed impossible for me to get a good night’s sleep. The pregnancy pillow is one of the best buys I made. The bump support cushion is especially helpful now to rest my large bump on and the back support keeps me from rolling flat onto my back which is just as uncomfortable as they say it is! Read more about the DreamGenii Pregnancy Pillow here.
(4) Stretch Mark Cream & Oil
While stretch marks cannot always be 100% avoided, your body deserves some pampering and nourishment in the form of belly butters and/or body oils for all the stretching and changes it endures during pregnancy. I’ve been using Burt’s Bees Mama Bee range as part of my daily moisturizing regimen, which involves applying no less than five types of moisturizers after showering. I also slather on more belly butter, which also helps alleviate itching, again in the evening before bed. Over a month to go and no sign of any stretch marks just yet (*knock on wood*)! Read more recommendations for Stretch Mark Creams here.
(5) Maternity Nightdress
Purchasing maternity nightwear has also led to a more comfortable sleep. They’re made with cosy fabrics that are not constricting at all and drape well over your growing bump. Plus they’re pretty and flattering to wear and come time for nighttime feeds, as there are no hooks or buttons, all you have to do is pull down the front part to nurse. I have a DreamGenii nightdress and a Melba maternity nightdress and robe set, which I bought from the NCT shop for my hospital bag.
(6) Leg and Vein Cream (for restless legs)
Restless legs syndrome has plagued me since the second trimester. I get this extremely annoying pins and needles sensation, particularly in my right leg, whenever I sit or lie down. In bed, I end up tossing and turning when that leg goes numb or ‘antsy’. I simply can’t sit still and fidget and change position constantly. Dr. Organic’s Leg & Vein cream has made a noticeable difference by alleviating the annoying effects of restless legs and my legs have actually become more radiant as it helps to move circulation along. Do I still fidget now and then? Yes, the restlessness hasn’t completely gone away, but it has decreased significantly thanks to using this leg and vein cream on a regular basis.
(7) Leg and Foot Creme (for sore and aching muscles)
I also regularly use Burt’s Bees Mama Bee Leg & Foot Creme to soothe swollen and achy feet, ankles and calves. The first time I bought it was when I started to struggle with restlessness and overall discomfort. I came home and rubbed this all over my legs and immediately felt the relief. Whether you’ve been on your feet all day or just dealing with swollen ankles in the second and third trimester, this leg and foot creme feels amazing. You can also use it daily as I do with the leg and vein cream to encourage healthy circulation. Or keep it in the fridge for a wonderfully refreshing foot massage before going to bed – which feels especially nice on these hot summer days!
(8) Heartburn Relief
Before pregnancy, I had never experienced heartburn in my life and these days, I feel like I’m making up for lost time. Heartburn was sporadic during the second trimester for me, but in the third trimester, it’s become a regular occurrence, especially when I’m lying down, ready to go to sleep. It’s at the point where I’m taking Gaviscon on a daily basis, which my midwife said is fine as long as I don’t go over the maximum daily dosage. (More about the Gaviscon products suitable for pregnancy here) I’m, however, not too pleased with popping Gaviscon like candy these days, so I’m looking into another solution. I’ve read online suggestions to mix a glass of water with two tablespoons of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar (such as Raw Health Organic Cider Vinegar with Mother) to keep heartburn at bay. The live enzymes and bacteria in raw apple cider vinegar are what help to balance the pH of the stomach and aid the digestive process. I will be running this by my GP or midwife and suggest you do the same if you’d like to try apple cider vinegar as an alternative – and again, it’s the raw, unfiltered stuff that’s recommended.
(9) Bra Extenders
With your breasts growing and rib change expanding (up to 4″!), your bra size shifts numerous times throughout pregnancy. While I have purchased a couple of maternity bras (that can also be worn while nursing), I also found it very useful to have these bra extenders from JoJo Maman Bébé to still use a few of my pre-pregnancy bras. I also got a sports bra with adjustable shoulder straps and back hooks that I could adjust to the right size with the bra extenders. Only £4 and very helpful, I’ve used these often since the first trimester.
(10) Pregnancy Books
You’re bound to have hundreds of questions the moment you find out you’re pregnant, and sometimes trawling the Internet for answers can be daunting – or unhelpful when you only end up with contradictory information. I found the BabyCentre Pregnancy Q&A book a great resource to start off with those initial questions you have about what to expect from your midwife appointments and ultrasound scans, what’s safe to do or eat, what to avoid, what symptoms to expect, etc. It’s an easy read with plenty of useful information, diagrams and charts. I also look forward to reading a more thorough book on what’s happening with you and your baby on a weekly basis (I have Your Pregnancy Week by Week) and checking the daily updates with iPhone apps: BabyCentre’s My Pregnancy Today and the BabyBump, which I also upload weekly baby bump photos to – that’s been fun flicking through the slideshow to see how my belly has grown dramatically since January! Read more about Pregnancy & Baby Books and Magazines here.
I hope that list helps! If you’re also expecting, what have become your pregnancy essentials?
Posted on August 1, 2013, in Baby, Pregnancy Essentials and tagged BabyCentre, Burt's Bees, Dr Organic, dreamgenii, Gaviscon, Jojo Maman Bebe, Maternity, Melba, Pregnacare, Pregnancy, Pregnancy Essentials. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.