Ah, pregnancy, a magical time. And by magical, I mean magically filled with a million symptoms you never thought were possible. While it's a joyous time filled with moments like fluttery kicks and incredible ultrasound and heartbeats, it's also filled with painful, exhausting, anxious and hard moments- it's not easy making a life! Here are a few items I've found that have helped me through my pregnancy. I didn't include anything to help with morning sickness, because I never found anything that worked for me! If you find the cure, please let me know! Keep in mind, I am totally not a doctor, take my advice with a grain of salt and always consult your doctor first.
The most important item, however, won't be found on this list, which is a friend who's been through it all before. Jamie has given me tons of advice and tips, told me to stop panicking about every little growing pain and was someone to lean on when it all felt like too much (aka when I got kidney stones in the first trimester). Hopefully, we can be your friend through this wonderful and crazy time with some tips - please leave your own tips so we can get through it together!
1. Sh*t I'm Forgetting Book - Pregnancy brain is real. Whether it's caused by hormones, lack of good sleep or just because you have so much on your mind - it's super hard to remember everything. Keep this book in your pocketbook and write those lists and ideas down before you forget them. (To be honest, I think I've had "pregnancy brain" my whole life!)
2. Growing Garden Belly Stickers - stick these adorable fruit or vegetable stickers on your belly each week to show the size milestone of your growing baby. Take a photo and share with your friends and family. Wish I found these earlier in my pregnancy!
3. Lipstick - Sometimes pregnancy can get you down, make you look tired and just not feel like yourself. Find a favorite, bright pop of color lipstick and add it to your daily routine. It's a perfect pick me up for days you feel a little less glamorous. (There will be many of those!)
4. Water - Drink lots and lots of water! Hydration is good for you, good for baby, good for morning sickness, good for your skin and prevents U.T.I.'s and constipation. Infuse some flavor like lime or cucumber if you get bored with plain water.
5. Lush Therapy Massage Bar - Made with organic cocoa butter and organic shea butter, this bar is great for keeping stretch marks and itchiness at bay, plus it just feels really good to rub it all over your belly and body. I use it right after the shower and before bedtime. You can hand it over to your husband and ask for a back rub as well! It has pregnancy-safe essential oils like neroli oil and lavender oil so it smells heavenly too.
6. Bringing Up Bebe - Or any book that speaks to you! In the beginning, lots of of books I started reading just scared me. I felt like I was reading "What could possibly go wrong when you're expecting" instead of "What to Expect When You're Expecting." This one made me feel calm, made me laugh, and read more like a novel than a medical book, which I loved. It wasn't my cup of tea, but some people swear by Great With Child too. If you are a worrier, like me, find a book that works for you!
7. Simply Saline - Pregnancy congestion is the worst. Not only can you not breath, but every time you call your mom she will ask you why you are crying because you can't go 5 seconds without sniffling. Mine started at the end of the 2nd trimester, but Jamie's started way earlier. Luckily, she had tricks up her sleeve for relieving it, like saline nose spray. The Arm and Hammer simply saline Baby Nasal Relief is only made out of salt water and baking soda and is safe for you and baby. It moisturizes your nose and helps flush out any irritants. I spray it before bedtime, blow my nose, and then I'm finally able to clear out my congestion before I sleep.
8. ASOS maternity leggings - I got a lot of fancy shmancy hand me down leggings and none of them compared to these leggings from ASOS. They are so soft and comfy, yet fashionable at the same time. They are also super reasonable at $41.69 for a pack of two with free shipping and returns. Plus, unlike the super stretchy ones they are easy to take on and off. Besides their leggings, ASOS is my go to store for maternity shopping!
9. Elderflower and Rose Lemonade - This is my favorite mocktail. I put it in a coup glass and it makes me feel like I'm sipping on a cocktail along with my friends, plus it's bubbly, refreshing and delicious. It even fooled people, passing as a sparkling rose when I had a party and wasn't telling anyone yet!
10. Feel good outfit - 90 percent of my pregnancy wardrobe consists of hand-me downs and Old Navy and ASOS sale items, but I bought one or two outfits that made me feel fabulous no matter how crappy I felt. I treated myself to sequin pants from Calypso (with a drawstring so they grew with my belly) and it was my go-to 'I want to feel special' outfit. You don't have to go crazy and get anything from those super expensive chic maternity stores. I found some other sweaters and pants from ASOS that had that same effect and were totally worth the little extra money for a fashionable mental pick me up! (See feel good pants in photo below!)
11. Ovia Pregnancy App - This is my favorite of all the pregnancy apps. It is informative with weekly and daily updates on the changes happening in your body and with your baby, and full of daily fun-facts like, your "baby now has eyebrows!" It also has a cute little illustration of what size fruit or vegetable your baby currently is and how big your baby's hand is each week compared to its 40 week hand print. The early teeny tiny hands prints made my heart melt. It also has a food safety look-up (comes in handy for those random fish on the menu whose mercury-levels you are unsure of) and medication safety look-up. It has tons of other tracking features, and the best part is it doesn't have a forum full of people scaring you with pregnancy horror stories!
12. Bio Oil - Stretch marks are probably genetic and there is probably nothing you can do to prevent them, but that doesn't mean I won't try. This oil is great for not only preventing stretch marks, but it also lightens and lessens the stretch marks you do get. The only downside is that it stains your clothes, so I've had to only wear crappy t-shirts and tanks to bed!
13. Exercise/Birthing Ball - Get one of these balls towards the beginning of the third trimester when it's really uncomfortable to sit in your office chair. Sit with your feet flat on the ground and in a wide stance - think of your feet and ball as a tripod. This helps the baby have more room to lower into the right position, and opens up your pelvic area (or something like that!) Plus you can use it during early labor at home! If you're up to 5ft 8in, get a 65cm ball, if you're 5ft 9in or taller, get a 75cm ball.
14. Gummy Prenatal Vitamins - When I first became pregnant I immediately went out and filled a prescription for prenatals, and then I immediately felt terrible and sick. I kept taking them every day, even though I was battling morning sickness and they made everything worse, until my sister told me to go back to the gummy prenatals I was taking before I got pregnant. I asked the doctor and she told me to stop torturing myself and that they were fine for me to take instead of the prescription brand. They lack iron, so if you have an iron deficiency or want to supplement with extra iron I found these chewable ones to be great and less harsh on your tummy. Sometimes you need to learn you don't have to torture yourself to do what's best for the baby. Sometimes what's best for momma matters too!
15. Your treat - Find an indulgence for yourself and treat yo' self daily! Jamie's was an almond croissant, mine changes weekly. Sometimes it's ice cream, sometimes it's a decaf caramel macchiato, and sometimes it's a pedicure. I just find something that makes me happy and celebrate all that I accomplished that day (getting out of bed and getting dressed counts!)
Also, this pregnancy calendar made me laugh each week.
Hope some of these items help you get through the tough days and celebrate the great days!