I have so many pregnant friends right now, and I love being able to help them all out with their pregnancy questions. There is so much weird (and awkward) stuff that happens with your body during pregnancy, it’s hard to keep up sometimes. Between the extra sweat, awful heartburn, swollen feet and crazy mood swings, there is a lot going on. It can all get very overwhelming quickly, especially for the hormonal basket case we all become during those months.
So I thought it would be nice and beneficial to put together a list of things that I couldn’t have survived pregnancy without. Going through each trimester is a whole new list of problems and uncomfortable symptoms, but being prepared can make it much easier and enjoyable.
A few of my favorite books I read during my pregnancy were What To Except When You’re Excepting (obviously), Motherhood Smotherhood, and The Sh!t Nobody Tells You. (I’m currently reading the sequel, The Sh!t Nobody Tells You: Toddler, and it’s equally as hilarious and helpful.) All were great resources and very helpful and informational.
It’s important to not overwhelm yourself when preparing for baby, so take your time reading these, and even have a non-baby book to read in between to give your brain a little break. If you really need to take a break and have a laugh, The Big Fat Activity Book for Pregnant People is amazing. I only recently found out about this book but I have never wished I had something so badly. This book is hilarious and a great distraction when you need something a little more lighthearted. I will definitely be getting it for my next pregnancy.
I absolutely loved the Ovia Pregnancy App [Apple|Android] when I was pregnant. It ‘s free and was so helpful during the entire pregnancy. It has so many features that I really relied on every day. First of all, there is a day to day update on what’s happening with your body and your baby and it’s usually very accurate. I usually noticed similar symptoms literally days before/after reading it on the app. They are so spot on! And it’s just so much fun keeping up with everything because so much happens, literally every day.
My favorite feature was the food look up section. You can look up almost any type of food/beverage and it will tell you if it’s okay to have while pregnant or not. Of course some things are obvious, like raw fish and deli meats. (The first thing I made my husband bring me after having Lucy was a deli turkey sandwich and it was glorious!) But I had no idea that Aloe drinks and certain types of teas could induce contractions in some cases and I had to be reminded that most homemade dressings have raw egg in them. (But of course all I craved was a delicious Caesar salad my entire pregnancy but every place only had homemade goodness that I couldn’t touch.) It was just a nice little guide to look back at when I ever questioned what was okay to eat or not while pregnant. Peace of mind is a beautiful thing. Especially for those of us with surging hormones.
Also, for all my cookie dough loving mama’s out there, ALL of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream is safe for pregnant woman to consume. All of the milk, cream, and eggs used in their products are pasteurized during the production process and pasteurized eggs are also used in all of their add-ins, such as raw cookie dough or brownie batter. So you can eat that entire container of cookie dough ice cream and not worry about it! You’re welcome!
The week by week summary was so awesome, as it really made me feel prepared with what to expect in the upcoming weeks of my pregnancy. Knowing what kind of difficult symptoms to expect was helpful so I could prepare properly and knowing what was happening with my baby’s development was so fascinating and fun.
The symptom look up feature was so helpful to me during those scary moments of uncertainty. It was really reassuring to have a reliable source to look at when it came to concerning symptoms or situations. They’re good about sharing all sort of minor and major symptoms, everything from cravings & aversions to cervical dilation and effacement. If you’re anything like me, I get terrified when I google things, so having an app to look things up on was really the best thing for me.
The medication look up feature was also really helpful. It’s hard to know exactly what’s okay to take when you’re pregnant, so having a place to look it all up with a professionals opinion is priceless.
The best part of about Ovia, it even stays with you for the first couple years of your baby’s life. Although you don’t really need most of the features at that point, the main feed with a day to day update on what to expect is helpful and fun. I don’t know much about kids (being a model for almost a decade I didn’t have many friends with kids), so getting updates on when to expect certain milestones is really great for me.
If your pregnancy is anything like mine, you’ll spend most of the 9 months over the toilet or various garbage cans around the city. I spent so many countless hours trying not to vomit everywhere I went. It got so bad, I eventually started carrying around airplane puke bags in my purse. Needless to say, my morning sickness was awful. Why they call it MORNING sickness is beyond me, it’s just cruel. I had it the entire 9 months, every day/all day, up until I gave birth to Lucy. It got so bad in the beginning, I actually lost weight. It got s bad, they considered putting me on IV’s several times after not being able to keep any food or water down for multiple days. I even threw up numerous times during labor, which apparently is a good thing, as it helps push the baby down. (Who knew!) I tried so many different tricks and products trying to deal with my morning sickness but nothing really seemed to help too much. Sure, I found things that helped for a while or a little bit, but I still suffered from nausea the entire pregnancy.
There are a few things I clung onto my entire pregnancy, but with each trimester coming and going, new problems and symptoms occurred, which meant new needs and comforts. If my poor husband could have had this list from the beginning, it probably would have made his job a lot easier. (Sorry babe!)
As soon as you find out your pregnant, or even when you’re actively trying to get pregnant, find a good prenatal vitamin. I like The Honest Company’s or Nature Made ones. Your doctor or midwife should also have some they recommend.
The Belly Book is a fun way to document and keep track of your pregnancy. If you’re a keepsake person like me, you’ll love this cute little trimester by trimester tracker with places to put belly pics, writing prompts that will help you organize a collection of fun tidbits from your pregnancy, and reflections of the month by month progression of your pregnancy. I also really enjoyed writing letters to Lucy in our Letters to Your Baby book.
Preggo pops helped me a lot. I don’t really know why, there’s nothing really special in them, but I loved them. I popped them non stop, all day, every day. They’re yummy and actually do help with the nausea. I hear ginger candies also work well, but I’m not the biggest fan of ginger, so they weren’t my favorite thing.
Sea bands were my life savors. I ended up wearing them almost the entire 9 months. It really did help and I couldn’t go anywhere without them. As soon as I heard about them, I ordered them right way.I was so greatful they were so cheap and came so quickly.
Get a good water bottle and make sure to stay hydrated. I found that a water bottle with a straw helps me drink a lot more water. Just make sure it’s spill proof, otherwise you’ll end up with a soaking wet purse and tears smeared across your face in the middle of the street.
Belly butter is a must to help prevent and heal those inevitable stretchmarks. My two favorites were the Burt’s Bees Belly Butter or The Honest Company Belly Balm. Lather it on every morning and night before and after pregnancy.
Bio oil is also really good for preventing and healing stretchmarks. I usually just drop a couple drops of this in my moisturizer or even my face cream. It’s good stuff.
My body pillow was my best friend during my pregnancy. I had terrible back pain and problems sleeping early on and it really helped me get comfortable with my belly at all stages. The couple nights we traveled and I didn’t have it were absolutely miserable. I loved my Snoogle, but they’re sold a lot of different places. (Fun fact: my husband ended up naming my body pillow Bruce because he began to feel like a person taking over the bed. We would joke about Bruce was getting more action than he was and how he always got the prime rel estate in the bed. At least he could see the humor in it. I miss Bruce.)
Compression socks are helpful when traveling or if you work long days on your feet. My favorite ones were the Tootsie brand. I liked the knee high ones personally, but the tights were also nice too.
Comfortable shoes are a must when your pregnant. I had a hard time with this one. I was the kind of girl who wore heals almost all the time until I got pregnant. I tried my hardest to wear heals as long as I could during my pregnancy, but it just became to painful and actually quite dangerous, so I had to trade in my stilettos for some Tom’s. Once I did, my whole life was brighter. I was so much more comfortable, my back hurt a little bit less and I ended up really liking my flat, comfortable shoes.
There comes a point where you have to break down and buy maternity clothes. Since most my pants and jeans were high-waisted, I ended up having to buy maternity jeans pretty early on. Find a few good staple pieces that you can use throughout your entire pregnancy and remember, leggings are your friend! And keep an eye out for my post on maternity clothing coming soon!
The Belly Button Band was amazing! I started using it pretty early on for comfort and to help reduce stretchmarks. It was so comfortable and lightweight to wear, and fit seamlessly under all my clothes. It really helped give my big belly the support it needed and made every day tasks much easier and comfortable. I also liked the Belly Bandit if you want to try out a couple different ones.
Heartburn tea was my best friend in the last trimester. I had such bad heartburn almost everyday towards the end. People always ask if I had bad heartburn since Lucy has SO much hair. Yes. Yes, I did. Maybe the myth is true?! My favorite was the Earth Mama Angel Baby brand. Doesn’t taste the best, but it really does work. I also popped Tums like they were candy.
Nipple cream was totally necessary for me. My nipples itched SO bad, it was terrible. My favorites were The Honest Company and the Earth Mama Angel Baby brands. It also came in handy while breastfeeding, when my nipples got dry and sensitive.
Nursing pads were also very necessary during the home stretch. I was leaking like crazy! I swear I woke up every night in puddles of my own milk. It wasn’t fun. My favorite brand is the Bamboobies because they’re well made and they make a variety of styles. They offer reusable and disposable pads and they’re 100% organic.
Pregnancy is filled with awkward symptoms, one of them being vaginal discharge. Especially in the third trimester. To avoid having wet panties mid-day, I used a lot of panty liners. I have super sensitive skin, so I liked the organic cotton Honest Company ones here, but any brand will do.
Belly Buds are a fun way to start bonding and sharing with your baby early on. It can feel a bit silly but they say that around 24 weeks your baby can hear sounds and voices. It may not make them a genius, but it’s a good way to share a favorite song or band before they’re even here. Lucy always calms down when she hears some of our favorite songs. It’s a beautiful thing.
I also just found out about the Bump Boxes, which I’m totally going to start getting all my pregnant friends. It’s a great little box they send each trimester with all the essentials and all of my favorite things. I wish I would have known about this when I was pregnant! Next time!
SAFE BEAUTY PRODUCTS:
We’re always worrying about eating healthy and what we put in our body, but a lot of us forget to think about what were putting ON our body. Being a model, I was always more conscious of the type of makeup and products I was using on my face, but I really started to look more closely when I found out I was pregnant. I looked to mineral based make up and sunscreens and got more natural and fragrant free lotions and soaps. Of course we can’t stop using everything, so just try to be for conscious and aware going forward.
Michelle Horton of Babble has a great guide to safe beauty products here.
It’s also important to remember when cleaning and preparing for your baby, you do it safely. Nesting is a powerful thing but you want to make sure you aren’t harming your baby while doing it. When I found out I was pregnant, I went on a cleaning rampage and literally went through our entire house and threw out all of our harsh chemicals and cleaners. I then went to the store and stocked up The Honest Company everything. I just really like the fact that they’re all plant based and non-toxic and it’s a brand I can always reach for and not have to read the label or double think it. Knowing that all our cleaners were safer and non-toxic really gave me a peace of mind and made nesting and preparing easier.
Michelle Horton of Babble also has a great guide to safe cleaning here. (She’s great!)
In the end, do what’s best for you and find what works for you and your family. It’s important to take care of yourself and your baby during these 9 months. Always make sure you get plenty of sleep and rest your body often! Keep hydrated and eat healthy. Pamper yourself and be easy on yourself. Let yourself sleep in an extra couple hours. (Lord knows you’re not going to be able to do that in a long time, so do it now!) Take a super long bath, get a prenatal massage or even just a pedicure, if you can. (Just be sure to have proper ventilation wherever you’re getting it done.)
Go on extra date nights with your lover, spend some quality time with your friends and family, or maybe even go on a babymoon! (But more about that later!) My point is, spend some extra time on YOU before your baby comes along, because once they do, things are going to be hectic and wild. It may be a while before you can have a girls night out or a date night. Take advantage now, while you can. But most of all, enjoy this beautiful time. It goes by so quickly and it’s just so magical.