Before we get started: I know a lot of people struggle with fertility, so I consider myself fortunate to even be pregnant in the first place (though we did have some obstacles). That said, I'm happy to be having this baby, but "happy" doesn't make pregnancy any easier.
It's been a weird time for me, bouncing between anxiety and excitement; feeling simultaneously loved and isolated; dealing with rapid body changes; not to mention the mood swings, cravings, unexpected tears, aches and pains.
Fortunately, we live in the time of Amazon Prime.
That, along with Target, my dog and my amazing husband (<<< last but certainly not least! I'm so lucky to have him!) has made the last 27 weeks so much better. I'm no pregnancy expert, but I am an expert in unearthing really great stuff that makes my life easier. Here's what's made pregnancy more manageable.
* * *
Gear & Goods:
I got news for you sister: pregnancy might be temporary, but it's long enough that you're going to want some special creature comforts. You're growing a human from scratch, so throw yourself a bone.
Get a Snoogle
Once I started showing, I pined for the days of yore when I could sleep without feeling like an old arthritic lady. The Snoogle supports your head, back, belly and legs while you sleep, and comes with info on a dozen more ways to use it. It's my #1 pregnancy pick for sure (thanks to my MIL for getting it for me)!
Pre-natal Vitamins That Don't Make You Barfy
Apparently all women in their child-bearing years are supposed to be taking these (they make your hair and nails amazing, so even if you don't want kids, it's worth considering!). However, once baby Katt was on her way, those prenatal horse pills made me feel more nauseated than regular ol' morning sickness.
My doctor recommended Rainbow Lights's mini-tablets. They're tiny, and you either take them all at once OR take three throughout the day. Wow, what a difference that made. No more tummy aches.
I also have to give a shoutout to Olly brand's gummy vitamins. My doctor said these aren't as good as the hippy-dippy aforementioned ones, but I'm 1000 percent more likely to take these versus their boring co-op counterpart. They taste like candy (they probably just are candy), and I say any prenatal vitamin is better than no prenatal vitamin.
Coconut Oil: Not Just for Oil Pulling
Forget oil pulling and paleo cookin' and bring the coconut oil into the shower. I know a lot of expecting moms worry about stretch marks, myself included. I've been slathering this stuff directly on my wet skin post shower. I don't know if it's "working," but I see no stretch marks, so I'm never stopping.
Fancy Skin Products
Shortly after I saw two blue lines, I splurged on skin care. I figured I'd be saving loads of money not drinking wine or beer. Why not allocate a little extra to my skin? I'm much more likely to take care of my skin when I have nice products. Precisely why I turned to Elizabeth Dehn's line with One Love Organics. They're natural, smell like a luxurious spa, and look great in my bathroom. Plus, it's made my dry Minnesota skin dewey and hydrated. Weeeeee!
Stay Hydrated with Nice Water Bottles
Somehow it's so much more difficult to stay hydrated when you're preggers. That's why you'll never see me without one of these Contigo water bottles in my hand. I bought a three-pack at Costco, but you can also get them on Amazon or at Target. They're easy to clean and I love that they come with a straw. I'm always more apt to chug when a straw is involved.
Calgon, take me away! I've been soaking a lot these days, and a bit of epsom salt or bath oil makes all the difference. My friend Kimberly brought me Weleda's Arnika Massageol all the way from Europe, swearing it made her less puffy during pregnancy. I love how it smells and makes my skin feel. I'm not quite to that puffy stage yet, but since this stuff comes from Switzerland, I am CONVINCED it will work!
I didn't buy a ton of clothes, but the stuff I do have is super functional, versatile, and might even work post-pregnancy. Heck, a lot of this stuff is from my pre-pregnancy life.
Gilligan O'Malley Pajama Pants
God bless Gilligan O'Malley. When my normal pajamskis stopped fitting comfortably, I started wearing their non-maternity pants. They sit comfortably under my belly, and are soft, cute and comfy. I loved them so much, I doubled down, buying the floral and pretty grey option. Plus, I can probably wear them post-baby.
These DKNY doodahs are the best underwear I have ever owned. I replaced almost all of my old stuff with these before I was pregnant. They still fit now, feel like you're wearing nothing, and don't show-- even with leggings. Which is 90 percent of what I wear. Often available at Nordstrom Rack.
lululemon leggings = Spanx for the soul
I bought a pair specifically for my pregnancy and I have zero regrets! I opted for lululemon's luxetreme fabric because they don't pick up lint or pet hair (really). They're comfy, supportive, and can be magically turned into an appropriate outfit for wearing in public with the right boots (more on that later!).
Please note that in order to keep these guys in fighting form, you have to wash them with other NON-COTTON gear, and it's best to let them air dry. Worth the pain in the ass. Also, this tank is my favorite for working out-- it doesn't ride up, which has been a problem with every other workout shirt I own.
Pregnant or Not, Get These Athleta Joggers
I've had these (not maternity) Athleta joggers for two years. They still work great with my baby bump and are cute as can be when paired with a tee, sneakers and some sort of jacket. Banking on them for post-baby, too.
Fall in Love with Old Navy All Over again.
If you gave up on Old Navy (or as I like to call it, Old Gravy. Just for fun.) back in high school, you best be heading back there if and when you get pregnant. Their maternity selection is great (workout gear, dresses, tees, jeans), and I've found a lot of clothes in the non-maternity section that are great as well... this denim vest being my favorite layering item of late.
GAP Jeans For the Win!
I treated myself to an expensive pair of Sevens maternity jeans, thinking I'd wear them all the time. Truth be told, they look great but keep falling down, kind of itch and aren't wearing that well. My maternity GAP jeans are another story. Inexpensive, flattering and comfortable. I bought the same size I normally wear at GAP and they fit perfectly. Also a good stop for tees and basics.
Tying Your Shoes is For Suckers
6 months in, and I am done tying my shoes. Love Vans-- cute, comfy and don't make me sound like a grumpy old man when I put them on. Tons of fun prints and colors if you're into that kind of thing!
Ingrid & Isabel Dresses/Tees
I splurged on this number and have already worn it lots. It's more structured then similar ones I've tried on at Target, super flattering and can be dressed up or down. A lawyer friend of mine says she swears by these for work; I've worn mine to the beach. Plus, I think it'll look great on my lumpy post-pregnancy body. Great maternity tees, too.
Lounge-y Bras Without the Boob Loaf
Technically, this bralette is designed to convert from a regular bra into a racerback.... but since the straps easily detach in the front, it could work as a nursing bra, too. What I like about it is that it's comfy, not too fussy and dips in the center a bit. A lot of lounge-y nursing bras make your boobs look like a loaf of bread. Not attractive! I sleep in something like this every night.
UGGs For Your Entire Body
My hubby bought me the long version of this UGG robe for Christmas and it's like slipping on a cloud after a bath or shower. Sometimes I find myself thinking, "Hey, didn't you take a shower three hours ago? Maybe we should start thinking about putting some real clothes on." Whoops! It happens.
ASOS, a Maternity Treasure Trove
My sister-in-law turned me on to ASOS for maternity clothes. The clothes are fairly inexpensive, they offer free shipping and returns, plus a lot of their stuff is legitimately stylish. I bought a pair of pregnancy overalls here and couldn't be happier.
To the only dude who is actually still reading this post: Hi. Things just got sexy.
I love dresses, but there's nothing I hate more than my thighs rubbin' on each other (and let's face it, that just happens to a greater degree when you're pregnant). I bought these shorts last year, and at 27 weeks pregnant, they still fit. Spandex, you are a miracle worker! Eventually, I upgraded to maternity shorts... I accidentally ordered two pairs and am THANKFUL that I did! By the end of your pregnancy, you'll want to trade in your pants for skirts and dresses and going without these (especially if it's hot) is a thigh-rubbin' no-no. They're the key to easy, breezy, comfy (and non-chafing) summer style.
Magical Sam Edelman Riding Boots
Although winter hath passed, I'd still like to give a shout-out to the boots that magically morphed my athletic leggings into an outfit from December through March. I got the athleisure feel while looking totally put together. If you're pregnancy in the fall or winter, these are clutch!
I stumbled upon this Amazon original series and am hooked. The gist: Handsome, single American man (Rob Delaney) goes to London for work. Has week-long fling with irresistibly adorable teacher (played by Sharon Horgan, the Connie Britton of Ireland). She gets pregnant, he moves to London, shit gets real.
The writing is hilarious (my husband even LOL'd, which is saying a lot), and I loved the first season so much I watched it twice. Best (worst?) part: there are only two seasons, each consisting of six half-hour episodes. So really, what do you have to lose?
Pregnancy websites bore (and scare) the ever-living-crap about of me. Precisely why I love Pregnant Chicken. It's funny, straight-talk about pregnancy that talks to you like a real person, not a delicate flower. The best part is the content is actually incredibly helpful, not fluffy.
I still try to go to the gym at least three times a week. I'm not lighting the world on fire, but I am getting off my lazy butt and moving my body. Since I go to a CrossFit gym, I do conspire with the coaches on how to tweak the workouts. It's been totally manageable, gives me a needed boost of endorphins, and is hopefully getting me ready for that super-tough marathon people call childbirth.
Not only that, but being pregnant can be incredibly isolating, and it's nice to get out of the house and see fresh, encouraging faces who tell you things like "you look great!" and "I'm so impressed!" and "I wish I'd done this when I was pregnant." I am NOT above flattery and praise, thank you very much!
Whether it's a gentle yoga class, boot camp or teaming up with a walking group, exercise has been a godsend for my body and mind. * Obviously you should consult with your doctor before starting any exercise program, especially when pregnant. Duh. *
Operating Instructions by Anne Lamott
Anne Lamott is one of my favorite writers, and this memoir of her first year as a mom made me feel understood-- I'm not alone and we're all just winging it. She's so funny, brutally honest and will make you cry in every way imaginable (Except for chopping onion tears. This book won't give you that).
Expecting Better by Emily Oster
I've been flabbergasted by how few facts, data, and actual science I can find regarding pregnancy and childbirth. I mean, Google anything you might be stressing about (How much coffee can I drink while pregnant? Should I get an epidural? What's the deal with genetic testing?), and you'll get tons of conflicting answers, often from sketchy sources.
Economist Emily Oster's book Expecting Better provided me with all the info I craved-- the real scientific data behind all those decisions you're expected to make while expecting. I found it to be super insightful. My only advice is to read the actual book versus listening to the audio version-- depending on your situation, you'll probably find some sections are more useful than others. A physical copy makes it easier to jump around.
Bringing Up Bebe by
American mom writes about French babies and parenting. I found this book highly entertaining (I opted for the audio book), and while I don't know if the French methods will work with our kid, I am willing to give them a shot.
Hey, Remember Carbs?
I didn't eat a whole lot of carbs before getting pregnant because they often made me tired and sluggish. And fat. But now, I crave them like crazy! So to all the pizza, muffins, cookies, pancakes, sandwiches, overnight oats, toast, Ritz crackers (washed down with Coke or root beer), cereal and bagels: thanks for being there.
Clausthaler Amber, The Champagne of NA Beers
Sometimes, a pregnant lady wants a beer. Clausthaler Amber is BY FAR the best I've tasted. It's even a little bit hoppy, which is a nice and notable touch!
Yep, I'm Still Drinking Coffee
Just a lot less, so I've been quite a bit more discerning. I am all about treating myself to a delicious and well-crafted cup of joe with cream. Big thanks to Urban Bean for keeping this pregnant lady happy.
My Four-legged Doula
I do not understand how people get through life without a dog. Patsy has been the best bud throughout this pregnancy. Always down for a nap, encourages me to walk, and protects me from other doggies at the dog park. If I could have her in the delivery room, I would, but I don't think they make scrubs for dogs.
If you're thinking of ever having a baby, maybe get a dog (or cat) first. And not because they "prepare you for having babies," but because a good one makes pregnancy and life so much better.
* * *
What are the essential things that got you through your pregnancy? Share in the comments!
PS Like this post? Save it on Pinterest!
SIGN UP FOR ACCESS TO THE #HEYELEANORCHALLENGE!
(plus a FREE copy of 107 Ways to Expand Your Comfort Zone)