5 things you will need during pregnancy
(5 pregnancy essentials which don’t cost the Earth but will make a massive difference to your well-being!)
What do you really need to get you through your pregnancy? Obviously, every individual and every pregnancy is different and you first need to take advice from your doctor or midwife about any specific changes you might need to make to your lifestyle, etc.
However, there were definitely a few things that made my pregnancy better and they’re all relatively inexpensive so I figured that it was worth haring just in case it helps out any other mothers-to-be out there.
First, a little background. Despite some initial problems and a tough first 5 months of morning sickness, my pregnancy was eventually downgraded to ‘low risk’. Whatever risk level you have been assessed with, please always use your medical professional’s advice as your first port of call.
Here are 5 things that I consider essential in getting me through the ups and downs of pregnancy:
Also known as a birthing ball, this can also be useful during labour, when feeding after birth or for doing exercises at home. I bought mine from Argos for around £8, which also included a pump. Pumping them up can take a bit of effort – a bit like blowing up a balloon for the first time. It works well to pump it up a bit, leave it in a warm room, then pump it up again when it will stretch more easily.
I used my gym ball all the time, for stretching out my back and hips, for sitting on when I couldn’t get comfortable elsewhere, for leaning on while watching TV to take baby’s weight off me. During early labour and even earlier ‘false’ contractions, this ball helped to keep me moving and I have heard it said that it can encourage baby to get into a ‘head-down’ position ready for birth. This can be used instead of a desk chair to encourage you to use your core muscles while sitting at a desk. Just be careful when using it, especially as you become more unwieldy in late pregnancy – it can help to put it against a wall to stop it rolling away or causing you to fall.
I had a couple of these already as they are so useful for small aches and pains or period cramps. The one I’ve used most recently was purchased for about £2 from Wilkos and is worth every penny. Stick it in the microwave for 2 minutes and you’ve got something that will really help with tight muscles or aches and pains. I used this a lot during the time when baby was moving down into my pelvis (engaging) as it really ached a lot in my hips and lower back.
I bought these fairly early on in the pregnancy (around 14 weeks) and actually doubted at first if I would ever use them because my bump took a long time to show. Every bump is different, but I found that I was able to fit into my pre-maternity clothes quite well, especially things like wrap dresses and long tunics which already had room for growth. I bought two pairs of maternity trousers (one smart for work, one casual) which had built in belly bands – in later pregnancy these were also really useful.
I began to use the belly bands later in pregnancy as a way to form an extra layer over my tender bellybutton (if you previously had an ‘innie’ it will be a bit soft and easily hurt if it becomes an ‘outie’) and also to make sure that there wouldn’t be any gaps between my trousers and tops. As a teacher, a job which often involves trenching up, I already had quite a few longer tops with room to stretch without showing your stomach, but the belly bands gave me a way to extend my pre-pregnancy clothes even further.
Even better, you can use them during labour as a way to get a bit of coverage – if you have to remove the clothing on your bottom half for whatever reason (e.g. monitoring, etc), you can use the belly bands pulled down over your hips to give you some dignity…although most people don’t care by that stage!
I bought two simple belly bands for £9 on Amazon. There are thicker, more supportive ones out there if you need them, but I loved these just as an extra layer and a way to make sure that I wouldn’t have any gaps.
I had bio-oil recommended to me, but had never used it before so was a bit cautious about spending so much on something without knowing whether or not I would like it. Luckily, Superdrug has their own brand version of it, which I was lucky enough to get on special offer so I decided to give it a go. It’s called Restore Skin Oil and is £12.99 for 200ml. When I bought it, it was included in the ‘Buy one, get one half-price’ offer so I bought two bottles which was just about perfect for using during my pregnancy and afterwards to help reduce stretch marks.
My bump felt itchy and tight long before I developed any stretch marks and I actually made it almost to the end of my pregnancy without getting any…then they all appeared at once! I can’t say if the oil made any difference to the appearance of the stretch marks, although I will continue using it and let you know, but it does smell heavenly and makes your skin feel hydrated and comfortable. It doesn’t leave an oily residue, soaking in straightaway. I loved putting it on after having a shower at night as the faint lavender scent helped me to sleep. This is the most expensive thing on this list but still won’t break the bank, so I would definitely recommend giving this a go! If not, get a hold of another moisturizer that you like and slather it onto your baby bump twice a day – it really helps with the discomfort and itchiness.
Rich tea biscuits and pretzels
Or insert another snack here that settles your stomach and doesn’t have too strong of a flavour. I suffered awfully with nausea and morning sickness up until around Week 22 of my pregnancy…then it made a reappearance at Weeks 27 and 28…and again at Weeks 34 +. If you’re lucky, you may not suffer from much morning sickness and if you’re very unlucky, you will feel or be sick almost the entire way through. It all depends on how your body reacts to the hormones being produced in response to the baby, although for most people it tends to settle own after the placenta is fully-formed at the end of the first trimester (around 12-13 weeks).
One thing you can do to help reduce nausea, is snack little and often. I ended up keeping pretzels next to the bed and nibbling on a few before I got up, then having a couple of rich tea biscuits mid-morning and mid-afternoon in work, then a few biscuits or pretzels before bed. When your stomach is completely empty nausea can often feel worse so just before lunch and dinner would be trigger points for me…then resulting in me being unable to actually eat a full meal. Spreading your meals out into 6 smaller meals can help too – just try to see what works for you and try to eat something, even if you’re feeling unwell.
So, there you have it – what I consider to be my Top 5 essentials for pregnancy, all without breaking the bank!
Are there any that you agree or disagree with?
What would you list as your Top 5 pregnancy essentials?
Was there anything that you wish that you had had during your pregancy?
Would you do anything differently if you were to get pregnant again?
What gift would you buy a pregnant friend?
Please let me know if this list was at all useful to you in planning out essentials to get you through pregnancy or if there is anything that you think I should add.
While you’re here, why not check out my posts about 6 things I didn’t know about pregnancy, 5 books about pregnancy to get you started, skincare tips I wish I had known earlier or 6 ways to practice self-care which don’t involve a face mask?
Thanks for reading!