When I first found out I was pregnant, I looked in my closet and seriously thought I could make it through the next nine months by just editing my wardrobe to wear the loose, flowy tops I already owned, along with some stretchy summer dresses - and maybe invest in a pair or two of maternity jeans. I quickly realized that logic was flawed as I found myself at Target loading the cart with maternity maxi skirts, tank tops and dresses. And there were so many other things I didn’t expect and therefore wasn’t prepared for in pregnancy. Here's a secret cheat sheet of the items and activities I found essential during those nine months:
Camelbak Water Bottle
At around six months along, I was having a really hard time reaching the 8-12 bottles of water that is recommended during pregnancy. My doctor suggested picking up a Camelbak water bottle because she said she found it easier to get larger amounts of water down with the uniquely constructed straw. I was skeptical but went out the next day, purchased one in a purple and teal color combo I loved and I made a pretty foil monogram to attach to it so I'd actually want to carry it around. I quickly found I was easily hitting 8 bottles and then some. This was a huge relief to me and I'm still using it post-pregnancy.
Around the 2-3 month mark, I found myself quickly outgrowing my bra collection, which made me pretty sad as it can be hard to find the perfect bra. The only bras that I had on hand that still fit and were comfy were my sports bras. I started wearing them all the time and really enjoyed how amazingly comfortable they were. Closer to eight months, I did go out and buy some nursing bras so I'd be prepared for the next phase but even now, I'm still wearing sports bras that fit me pre-pregnancy.
Shop Your Home
When it came to designing the nursery, I first shopped our home. There were so many pieces my husband and I never had to purchase for the nursery because we already had things that worked perfectly. The antique bookcase I bought at a flea market in France became W's book nook and storage area for his changing supplies. The antique rocking horse (that I loved having in our living room) was now the perfect standout piece for the nursery and we moved our old storage piece in to hold toys and clothes. Instead of buying a soothing sound machine, we just purchased some CDs for our stereo and put that in the room. If you or your parents are sentimental, you may still have cherished childhood items like stuffed animals or specially made clothing pieces that can become heirlooms. Shopping our home saved us so much time and money so look around and see what you have that can be re-purposed!
Even though I found myself buying way more maternity clothes than I ever expected, I was also able to still wear many of my pre-pregnancy dresses, shirts and sweaters so don't feel like your old wardrobe is off-limits, even if you look and feel a bit different in them now. Mix it up to create a fun, new wardrobe.
Nothing felt better during mid-to-late pregnancy than getting in a pool and feeling weightless. I first thought I'd want to wear a one-piece until I tried it on and felt like I couldn't breathe. Luckily, I have more bikinis than one-pieces and they are so forgiving during pregnancy and so, so, so comfortable. I also found that I loved showing off my bump!
Oh my gosh - chocolate. There was nothing I craved more during my pregnancy than chocolate. Chocolate pudding, chocolate ice cream, chocolate cake with chocolate icing ... you get the picture. I never really cared for the taste before but I just couldn't get enough during pregnancy. While I tried to limit my intake due to the caffeine in chocolate, I let myself indulge in a little every week and it was so satisfying. So whatever your craving is, stock up on it so you’re prepared at any hour of the night and enjoy every bite!
Leisurely evening walks became a routine during pregnancy with my husband and they were such a great way of feeling close and talking while also just enjoying time between the two of us before our little guy arrived. It was also great exercise as I could no longer go on jogs and the fresh air was refreshing and energizing.
I used to do yoga religiously and I re-found that love during pregnancy. I picked up a few DVDs on prenatal yoga and once I had the routines down, I'd go through them without the DVDs in the mornings before my breakfast. It was soothing and I think the exercises really helped with labor and delivery.
For those of you dealing with morning sickness – ginger can be extremely effective for relieving nausea. Also it comes in many forms, so you can stick to whatever works best for you or change it up based on whatever you’re craving. Crystallized ginger candy is delicious for anytime of day or if you’re in the mood for something hot try adding a slice of ginger to hot water or keep it very simple with ginger pills (ground ginger in a capsule) that are easy to get down.
Eye Mask and White Noise Machine
Even if you’ve never slept with an eye mask or white noise machine before, now is the time to try them out. You’ll quickly feel the pregnancy exhaustion kick in and will find that you are much more sensitive to light and sound. Trust me when I say you’ll need all the sleep you can get. If you want to test out white noise before purchasing anything, you can download a free app on your phone to make sure it does the trick for you.
I hope you find these secret essentials helpful during your pregnancy and if you have any tips, please share below – I would love to hear about the things that got you through your 9 months!