Since I am now expecting my second baby, I've started reflecting and planning. I'm a futuristic-plan-ahead type of person so recently I was writing the things down that really helped my comfort level in my last pregnancy. Let's face it - being pregnant is tough! I like to make it as comfortable as possible and I want to share what worked in my last pregnancy and what I've found help in this pregnancy with you too.
Please know that the very obvious things are not listed like: finding a good doctor/midwife, drinking lots of water, eating healthy foods, getting lots of sleep, taking prenatal vitamins, etc. Those are the things the majority of pregnant women hear about over and over again. These 17 Must-Have Items are things that I didn't hear about (or didn't believe would work) until I tried them.
1- Memory Foam Mattress Pad Topper- I went the majority of my first pregnancy without a mattress pad. After I got one I felt like my life had changed (literally - it was like sleeping on clouds). The extra comfort and form fitting support was extremely helpful for my joints, back, and pelvic pain! I'd recommend one for any pregnant women, especially those with pelvic, sciatic, hip, and/or back pain.
2- Sea Bands- My first pregnancy I never used these because I thought they were a hoax and I assumed they wouldn't work. I truly regret not trying them now. My aunt told me that they helped her a lot so I told myself that the next pregnancy (now) I'd try them. I'm happy to say that they have helped IMMENSELY so far. I usually wear them throughout the day but if I go 4-5 hours without them I start getting very nauseous again. So I try to keep them on all day (I don't sleep with them).
3- Preggie Pop Drops- I tried these during my first pregnancy and found them to be very helpful. Although they are expensive, they are a great way to tone down my nausea. They are especially useful when you are going somewhere that may have weird smells (out in public). If I suck on these I smell them (instead of the other unwanted smells) and the ginger prevents me from getting too sick.
4- Poise Microliners- These are great for LBL (light bladder leakage) and discharge. They have a new type of absorption called SAM (super absorbent material) which helps in case you have a full bladder and cough or laugh really hard (i.e. experience a little leakage) and for the yucky discharge that may come with pregnancy.
5- Boppy Pregnancy Pillow- I loved my Boppy pregnancy pillow. It was absolutely amazingly comfortable. I would shape it like an actual Boppy so it would support my belly if I were to switch and lay on opposite sides during the night. Then I would use additional pillows, a few under my head, one between my legs and one under my knees. It was quite the set up, but it was very comfortable.
6- Tums Ultra 1000- I ate Tums all the time once I started suffering (yes suffering) from acid reflux. But the problem with Tums is that they cause air and gas in your belly. After eating Tums it can become very uncomfortable due to the gas they produce...hence the next item...
7- Simethicone (aka Gas X)- This is a very inexpensive anti-bloating anti-gas tablet. I usually buy the peppermint and suck on them or just chew them up (they are similar to Tums) right after I've taken some Tums.
8 & 9- Essential Oils and a Diffuser- This is another thing I never tried while I was pregnant with my first. I really wished I would've known about them! I kind of stumbled upon this by accident. I started getting really bad allergies and I didn't want to take any allergy medicine in my first trimester so I studied up on essential oils.
I learned that Lavender, Peppermint, and Lemon diffused in the air would help a lot with allergies. As soon as I started diffusing these oils by my bed each night and I noticed that I would wake up with considerably less morning sickness. After my allergies went away and I stopped diffusing these oils I started to get much sicker. Now, I keep it running day and night and I'm amazed at how much this combination of oils helps with my nausea around the clock.
10- Belly band- A belly band is very helpful in the later stages of pregnancy. It adds a little lift and takes some pressure off the back.
11- Netflix- Before I got pregnant I rarely watched TV but now that I am, I let the Netflix queue roll (please no judging). It helps me take my mind off of feeling sick. And especially now that I have a toddler to care for, if I feel like I'm going to be sick (throw up) I lay down on the couch and let him watch an episode or two of Daniel Tiger or Baby Genius while I ride out the wave of nausea. TV entertains him and takes the pressure off me to be up and entertaining him. I've found Netflix to be extremely helpful while pregnant.
12- Chiropractic care- I struggled with Pelvic Girdle Pain (often misdiagnosed as Sciatic Pain). If you are struggling with either of those two ailments please read this post! Chiropractic care was the only thing that made it possible for me to walk the last four months of my pregnancy. I highly recommend going to a chiropractor who is really good with adjusting pregnant women!
13-Alkaline Food Chart- Acid reflux is a common symptom that plagues many women while pregnant. I learned that by eating alkaline based foods (instead of acidic) I significantly reduced the amount of acid I was battling. An alkaline chart is very helpful during pregnancy!
14- Maternity Clothes and Underwear- My first pregnancy I went until about 4 months in until I had to start wearing maternity clothes. This second time around it only took about 6 weeks until I felt more comfortable in my maternity clothes than my regular clothes. Every woman is different but many say that after the first (on subsequent pregnancies) your body takes the pregnancy shape and the stomach 'pops out' much faster. Don't force yourself to stay in your skinny jeans; embrace the comfortable maternity clothing.
15- Time off- I worked full time at an office while pregnant with my first. There were days when I didn't think I would make it through the day. I was unbearably sick and had to take time off and come home. Being sick at work is the worst! I recommend saving up time off if you are planning on getting pregnant. If you are never too ill to work then use up that time off in the week(s) before labor (trust me they get pretty uncomfortable).
16- Someone to watch over younger kids- Another thing that is helpful if you have younger children at home is to find someone who can take them on especially bad days or somewhere you can send them for a few hours when you can't get through another day.
17- A membership to a pool- Swimming and water aerobics is one of the best exercises to do while pregnant (especially later on) because the water takes the weight off of your joints. I really loved to swim and go to water aerobics until I got PGP (after that any exercise rendered me bedridden). But if you are having a normal pregnancy and can exercise, getting a pool membership is a great way to stay healthy.
Well those are my 17 Must Have items that will make any pregnancy much more comfortable. Do you have any I missed? If so please comment below.