I’m in the home stretch, with less than 10 weeks to go until we welcome Bean into our family. I’m sure that 30 weeks pregnant is nothing compared to what 31, 32, 33, etc. have in store for me, but there have nonetheless been many friends who have helped me through the aches, pains, trials, and tribulations of pregnancy. So I thought I’d put together a little list for you of the 13 things that have most helped me keep my sanity throughout the past seven-and-a-half months.
1. Bed Bath & Beyond Bodymate Body Pillow ($9.99). I’ve heard a lot about the Snoogle and other bedtime contraptions, but for me, a basic $10 body pillow from Bed Bath & Beyond, in conjunction with other pillows from throughout our house, have done the best for helping me sleep as comfortably as possible. Let’s face it, trying to sleep while pregnant is never going to be amazing, but this pillow between my knees helps ease the tension on my back and hip, folded up behind me while lying down gives great back support, and folded up behind me while sitting up helps me stay as comfortable as possible while watching TV, reading, or surfing the Internet. It’s cheap and flexible enough to do what I want it to do. Win.
2. Earth Mama Angel Baby Mama Bottom Balm ($14.95). I have an unwelcome partner along for this third trimester, and his name is Lloyd. Lloyd the Hemorrhoid. He likes to come out and party when I’m trying to sleep, when I’m walking, when I’m sitting for long periods of time at work, and when I have difficulty in the, um, powder room. I tried Tucks and Preparation H for one long week before finally buying this balm, and let me tell you, it is amazing. Lloyd immediately piped down, and has grown smaller over just a day or two. It’s filled with good organic stuff like olive oil, St. Johns wort, yarrow, witch hazel, calendula, and lavender, and a little goes a long, long way. I’ll be holding onto this for postpartum, as well.
3. Clinique Exfoliating Scrub ($19.50). I’ve had serious cystic acne since I was 13 years old, and the only thing that ever kept it at bay was serious prescription topical medication. Like, the kind that you’re not supposed to use while you’re pregnant because it can soak into your bloodstream and cause serious baby birth defects. I had awful, awful skin for the first trimester until I discovered this stuff. It’s got salicylic acid in it, which some pregnant ladies want to shy away from, but it’s in such minimal amounts that it’s not even listed as a percentage on the label. I use a little bit of this with tons of water morning and night, and it’s gentle enough that my sensitive skin can handle it. It’s kept the breakouts and oil at bay, and let me have a bit of that pregnancy glow.
4. Motherhood Maternity Seamless Clip Down Nursing Bra ($22.98). I lived in a black sports bra for the first 18 weeks, and when I was wearing something light, would resort to my nude underwire bra I’d worn pre-pregnancy. Once it got ridiculously small, I ran into Motherhood Maternity insisting on a bra that would fit me with no cup, because I had no idea how much bigger I’d get throughout pregnancy and after birth. This totally fit the bill, is about as comfortable as any piece of clothing can be at this point, and will transition well into a nursing bra. I’ll be picking up way more of these soon. Plus, it’s super cheap compared to other options out there!
5. Old Navy New Classic Flip-Flops ($3.94). My feet have gotten huge so far. I don’t even know what size I am. All I know is I can’t fit into my favorite flats, my great cheap Target boots, or any heels. These cheap and comfortable flip-flops have been a total lifesaver and have helped keep the swelling to a minimum. I thank my stars every single day for working in an office where jeans and flip-flops are acceptable everyday attire, because I have no clue what I would do otherwise.
6. The Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy ($9.99 Kindle edition). The first book I bought once we got our positive pregnancy test was a pretty famous one that had a movie based on it, starring Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez, and Elizabeth Banks. I won’t mention the book by name, because like other mamas-to-be, I found it to be cloying, annoying, and full of alarmist BS. I once heard it nicknamed, “What to Expect in the Highly Unlikely Event that Something Awful Goes Wrong,” and I think that’s apropos. So then I bought this book, and just loved it. It’s full of useful advice and its milestone chapters for each week of pregnancy are informative and interesting. There’s even a good bit about postpartum stuff, labor and delivery, pregnancy conditions, and more. This was an indispensable reference for me.
7. Luna Protein Bars for Women (prices vary but I get mine for $.99 each at the local supermarket). I lived off regular Luna bars for the first 29 weeks as a tasty snack that wasn’t terrible for me. Once I got my gestational diabetes diagnosis, I moved onto these. They still have carbs — about one serving — but up the protein factor so I’m more full for longer, which is nice now that I have my snacktimes severely limited to 3 times per day. My favorite is the chocolate peanut butter flavor, but the cookie dough and mint chocolate chip varieties are also yummy (I haven’t had the other two).
8. Atkins Advantage Ready-to-Drink Shakes ($19.99/pack of 8). No, I’m not going on a no-carb diet. I needed something chocolatey that would help curb my sweet cravings without disrupting my blood sugars, and these protein shakes are mighty tasty. They have 2g of net carbs (6g carbs, 4g fiber) and have been great as an additional between-meal snack or something to drink before indulging myself (like right before Thanksgiving dinner or before a piece of pie) to absorb any excessive carbs I might have. I wish these weren’t so pricey, but they’re worth it as a splurge.
9. Old Navy Maternity Scoop Rib-Knit Tank ($10.00). My major gripe with so-called maternity shirts is the length — particularly the ones from Target. They’re just too short to wear past the second trimester, in my opinion. These tank tops are amazing, though — plenty long enough, very comfortable, and great to wear under a more gauzy shirt, with a cardigan, or alone. Total fashion lifesaver.
10. Old Navy Maternity Smooth-Panel Skinny Jeans ($34.50). I’ve heard a lot of hate for Old Navy’s maternity jeans, but they’re the only ones that look great on me for the right price. I’m just not willing to spend $100+ on a pair of jeans, no matter how amazing they make my new Oompa-Loompa figure look. These are actually the first skinny jeans I have bought in my life, and they do a lot for my figure. The panel is starting to get a little snug, but I can tuck it under my belly and with a long enough shirt, totally get away with it.
11. Tums ($5.49). I shouldn’t have to explain this one, but I’ve had massive heartburn and acid reflux for my entire pregnancy, which sucks for somebody craving Mexican food 24/7. I didn’t think these worked for me until I realized that if I chewed a couple after my meal but before the heartburn kicked it, they totally kept it at bay. I buy the generic kind because I’m cheap. I also kinda like how they taste, because I’m weird.
12. The Birth Partner by Peggy Simkin ($11.55). I just got my used copy of this book, and it’s pretty awesome. While written for doulas, dads, and other birth partners, it’s totally applicable and informative for the mom, as well. It’s a little doula-centric, but it covers all sorts of birthing positions, prelabor signs, stuff to pack for the hospital (or have on hand for a home birth), pain medications, complications, and more. Another really indispensable resource.
13. Earth Mama Angel Baby Organic Peaceful Mama Tea ($5.97). I love tea, but have been scared to have my favorites because I’m not sure what’s safe for the baby and what’s not. I found this in a sampler at a local maternity boutique, and it’s perfect now that things are chilling up a little bit here. It’s got lemon balm, oat straw, chamomile, red raspberry leaf, and orange peel so it’s mighty tasty and formulated for the pregnant lady. They make a variety of teas, including a heartburn tea and a third trimester tea for labor preparation, so I’m hoping to check them all out.
So there you have it! What were some of your favorite pregnant lifesavers?