Pregnancy Must Haves
The final countdown is on!! With less than 3 weeks until my due date I thought now would be a good time to share all of the things that have helped me get through this pregnancy. It really feels like I have been pregnant for 3 years so trying to rack my brain on all of the products I have used and that actually worked was tough – but I got tons of them on this list! Now let me say, every pregnancy and person is SO different. I got suggestions for so many things that people swore saved them and they didn’t work at all for me. So I am hoping this list can help point you in the right direction in your journey but know that doing your own research is key too. I googled anything and everything about every step of the way and armed myself with tons of knowledge to make my decisions. I am breaking down these things by category and if something was particularly useful in a certain trimester I will highlight that as well.
Prenatal Vitamins! These are so important all throughout pregnancy and finding the right one can be oddly difficult. I started out my pregnancy taking a really intense pack of pills (6 a day) that by week 6 when nausea hit – I could not stomach. So then I took some gummy vitamins because I could tolerate them but once I wasn’t sick anymore, all of that extra sugar made my stomach hurt in a different way! So I am so happy Rainbow Light came out with a new line of prenatal vitamins specific to each trimester of the pregnancy. I took the 2nd trimester ones for a couple of weeks then moved onto the 3rd trimester that I take now, and soon I will be taking their postnatal vitamins!
DHA is also an important addition to your prenatal vitamin lineup and is not in most prenatals. I got this one from Whole Foods and it has been great!
As for nutrition and what I am eating day to day, to be honest it changes constantly!! I’ll try to break it up by trimester for you:
1st trimester: SURVIVAL. Honestly I was so sick for most of it that whatever I could keep down and didn’t repulse me, I ate. We got take out, I ate lots of toast and saltine crackers and I couldn’t look at a vegetable. So please please if you are in the same boat and not eating well, don’t beat yourself up! That is why a good prenatal is there for you – baby is getting all the nutrients he or she needs.
2nd trimester: Feeling better and starting to eat veggies again – yay!! This is when I started to try to learn more about what nutrients baby and I needed and Brittany Anderson and I created our Healthy Happy Mama eBook!! In that book we go over the 6 key nutrients for pregnancy and how to incorporate them into your daily routine, with recipes made by me. Once I knew the basics of what I should be trying to eat, I also fully indulged when I felt the need. 2nd trimester was all about figuring out how to handle my acid reflux that started, so my meals were a lot smaller too.
3rd trimester: Food has been much easier to navigate this third trimester as my acid reflux is under control (more on that below), but meal times are still smaller than usual! At 37 weeks this baby girl is still chillin in my rib cage and with so much pressure up on my stomach, it just can’t hold too much. I find that breakfast is when I have to be most concerned about the size of the meal and lunch and dinner can be a bit bigger. No idea why but really every day is different! I haven’t gained too much weight, which I am super happy about (13 pounds at 35 weeks), and I chalk it up to my smaller portions, mostly healthy eating choices and doing pilates 3 times a week since I was 18 weeks prego! But once again every body is so different and no one should stress too much about weight gain when you are growing a human life!
Workout/ hang around the house/ live your life in them PANTS! I basically live in these!! I have the Maternity Crossover Panel Active Capri in black and in Gray and in a longer version of both colors. Highly recommend!
Dresses!!! I am loving dresses so much and am so so lucky I got a ton of hand me downs from both my sister and a friend so I haven’t had to buy much. I did buy this Black Tank Dress which I love and it is perfect to dress up and down if needed! Most all of the hand me downs were from a target maternity line that isn’t there anymore but any of these soft and stretchy dresses are heaven on the belly.
Bras: Let’s talk bras. I didn’t think I would have to be buying new bras until later in my pregnancy but oh no, the first trimester hits you HARD with breast soreness and swelling and all of a sudden your bras both don’t fit and are crazy uncomfortable. So I first just started wearing mostly sports bras (that i was still kind of busting out of) and then got these Bravado Nursing Bras. They are THE BEST!! So much coverage and its great to know I am already set with the nursing part for postpartum. I got these in Gray, Ivory and Nude and wear them all the time. For reference I was a DD before I got pregnant and think I have probably been a DDD/ E while pregnant. I got XLs based on the sizing chart and they are perfect!
JEANS! I also got a couple of hand me down jeans but by far my favorites are ones that I bought – Old Navy Full Panel Jeans. I got them in that dark jean color and also white! I haven’t been wearing them much lately because it is hot so dresses are my go to now, but wore them tons in the second trimester when I had to get crazy and not wear leggings for a night.
Nursing Tanks: My friend Lindsay and I were pregnant at the same time, and now her baby is over a month old! She told me about these nursing tanks because they are stretchy and great during pregnancy and she is also still loving them postpartum.
Belly Butta! Keeping that belly hydrated is so important to help prevent stretch marks and one thing I have used the whole time is this super simple tub of Shea Butter. I still have enough left to last me through the whole thing and not a stretch mark to be seen! I started using it once I felt a bump starting but before it was actually pronounced, around 15 weeks. I do know stretch marks can show up later and also have heard they are SUPER genetic and can be impossible to avoid for some people. Who knows!!
Water Cup! I use a water cup all the time that has a straw and is insulated and amazing, but we got it from Target over 3 years ago to bring on our honeymoon (hello all inclusive resort)! But I found it on amazon for ya! I have a pink 24 oz one that isn’t on here but other colors and a bigger size is HERE. Drinking water is super important during pregnancy and let me tell you it has been a challenge for me! For some reason, although I always used to drink my water room temperature so I could drink a lot at a time, I can only drink ice water during pregnancy. And ladies let me give you a tip, your hubby probably wants to help you out so give him a job of filling up your water for you! Especially as it gets harder to stand up and bend over (to get the ice from our freezer) Matt has been so awesome getting my water for me and it helps me to drink more!
Coffee! So in the first trimester I had an aversion to coffee and couldn’t stomach it even if I wanted too. It was a sad time but luckily I got over that and around 16 weeks I had my first cup that didn’t repulse me! People question caffeine during pregnancy but everything I have read and heard from my doctor is that you can have 200mg a day of caffeine which is about 2 cups. I have always only been a one cup kinda gal anyways so this wasn’t hard for me to stick to! But once I started loving my coffee again I was greeted with that lovely acid reflux. This was rough because of course, acidic coffee makes acid reflux worse. So while I was trying to sort out how to make that better I found this Mommee coffee on amazon! It is low acid coffee and you can get it in different percentages of caffeine too if needed.
Pillow Wedge! Another thing that totally helped my acid reflux was this pillow wedge! Laying completely flat is rough on the digestive system when everything is getting pushed up towards your throat already! To have this little incline really helps to keep acid reflux at bay. Even though my acid is a lot better now, it still comes up a bit at night so this wedge is clutch!
Tea: In particular, Smooth Moves Tea. A super fun part of pregnancy is the slow moving digestive system, and you guessed it, constipation! It happens, let’s all just talk about it. And in the first trimester with your hormones slowing everything down + the fact you can only eat bread… things basically stop! Then I found this tea and was shocked that something that natural could get things going so quickly. I highly recommend this tea if you are having issues in that area!!
Exercise Ball! We picked up this Fitness Gear Exercise Ball from Dick’s Sporting Goods once I heard it would be good during labor but had no idea how great it would be so great during pregnancy too! Sitting on it relieves back pain, helps stretch my hips and helps get your baby in the optimal position if you sit on it as much as you can.
Apps! I used 2 apps for tracking the babies progress during the pregnancy, the What to Expect app and the Bump app!
Remedies That Worked!
Morning sickness: First of all, why do they call it that? Let’s call it First Trimester Nausea shall we? It’s all day, it’s brutal, and it’s different for everyone. For me, it hit right at 6 weeks and I felt TERRIBLE. I only actually threw up a handful of times, but felt like I was about to throw up constantly (like clutching a bowl all day with no relief). Just intense nausea that would not go away no matter what I ate or did. I kept crackers on my nightstand and would eat a few before getting out of bed, I tried every dang natural remedy – all the ginger, peppermint, sour candies, sea sickness bands and nothing worked for me. I could on and on down the list of things I tried but for 2 weeks I didn’t leave the couch and cried pretty much every day. So I decided my sanity and health was much more important than trying to be super natural the whole pregnancy. I had heard about people taking B6 + unisom at night to help with nausea and after researching it sounded like a great option as the unisom is totally safe for baby and I could only take half a pill once a day!
Here is the important part: You have to get the Unisom with Doxylamine. There are tons of options at the store and this orange one is the only one that works for morning sickness. Then any B6 vitamin works – i used 100mg tablets and split them in half to have 50 mg a day. So in total I would have 1/2 a 25mg unisom tablet + 1/2 a 100mg B6 tablet right before I went to bed at night. That’s it! Unisom is a sleep aid so it also helped have better sleep which was an added bonus.
After starting this combo I didn’t go straight to feeling 100% but I definitely went from feeling 10% to maybe 60%?! It was a dramatic increase in energy and the nausea was lightened up so much that I could get work done on my computer and leave the house! That change was so incredibly huge because this was in the end of November and I was planning a Christmas party and writing my 2nd eBook which I wanted to get done before January! Once I hit 15 weeks and was feel almost like myself again I stopped taking the combo and was fine – YAY!!
Acid Reflux: Here is another thing I had heard about from my sister when she had it really bad during pregnancy and I had experienced it before in my life, but it really took a toll on me when it hit. This wasn’t an occasional burn but an all day, after everything I ate kind of BURNNNNN. Like even if I ate something super basic in a small portion, it would come roaring up my throat with the fire of a thousand suns right after. For someone who likes food, this was a time that again involved lots of crying sessions to Matt. It is so defeating to feel terrible all the time. So once again I tried allll the natural things. Apple cider vinegar – both in water and pill form, avoiding certain foods, Betaine HCL (which made me feel super nauseous), baking soda in water, and about a million other suggestions I got from instagram DMs. I felt like my entire day revolved around what food to eat and then what remedy to use right after or before eating – it was exhausting and nothing was a home run.
So once again I thought, why I am so scared to take Zantac again?? It is fine for the baby and it literally makes acid reflux GO AWAY. So I bought some and took it and my life was infinitely better. I can’t tell you enough how happy I was to be able to go about my day without the fear of the burn coming at me every second. I know am taking Ranitidine tablets which are just the generic version of Zantac and you can get them for cheaper at any drugstore or target! I have one in the morning right when I wake up then another one about 30 minutes before I eat dinner. Even with those 2 pills a day I a teeny bit on occasion (if I eat too much), so I can’t imagine what would happen if I wasn’t using them. YAY FOR SANITY!
EDIT: Zantac has now been taken off the market because it was no longer safe. Live and ya learn!
Cramps & Sleep: Leg cramps are a real thing during pregnancy! And so is insomnia. So something that I feel like is helping a lot with both is Magnesium! I try to have some Natural Calm at night before going to bed and it really helps. They have a few flavors and also have an unflavored one that I like to add to tea if I am in the mood for tea!
Things that didn’t work for me:
- Pregnancy Pillow – Now this is one of those things that everyone swears by. My sister let me use her snoogle because she loved it but I tried it and never had that great of a nights sleep. This is for 2 reasons, 1 – I was also using the wedge for my acid reflux and they might not have worked together, and 2 – I use a temperpedic pillow normally and the snoogle acts as your head pillow too, which was way more uncomfortable than my temperpedic. But I do have a regular body pillow from costco that I put between my legs/ up and under my belly to support my uterus, put another small square pillow kind of under my hip/ butt behind me, and hug one more smaller square pillow. All while resting my head on my wedge/ temperpedic pillow. IT IS A SITUATION.
- Back support band – I didn’t have back pain until I got bronchitis and was laid out in bed/ a couch for a few days. That combined with being sick and not going to pilates for 2 weeks, took a toll on my back! Once it started hurting I used a back support band that was okay for a few days but then was just mostly annoying because in order to hold up the belly to support your back it has to press up on baby/ bladder. I actually preferred a little back pain to the pressure it put on my belly so I stopped using it! Instead, getting back to pilates, the chiropractor and acupuncture has worked wonders on my back and it doesn’t hurt much at all anymore.
Smooth Move Tea is definitely a no-go, it acts as a laxative which can prompt early labor. Please talk to your doctor about stool softeners, etc., and even about Smooth Move before using anything.
My doctor said it was fine for me! Good to know though!
This is so awesome kels! I was Pre go before all friends and family so if I had had this list and you I would have felt So comforted!! Way to go! You are killing it and so wise! Praying for the day you gold her outside your body! Magical! Xo
Ah thanks Linds!! Hoping its helpful to people! Cannot wait to meet this girl!! 🙂
This is super helpful and its been great hearing all your honest feedback! I’m 30 weeks pregnant
So glad!! 🙂
This is super helpful for all pregnant women. I am also pregnant with my first baby. I am so glade that i found it with helpful. I will must apply this on me. If you had more insight i will greatly appreciate it. Thanks for the sharing such a helpful article with lots of information.
Hi Kelsey, I started following you after completing a Whole 30 and you were writing this post. Yesterday I found out I was pregnant and today guess where I am? ALL OVER this post. Its so helpful to have some ideas on what may work for me in the days ahead. Thank you for the time you put into this and for all your honesty everyday!
Baby Ruth is just precious and I wish you and your entire little family all the best!
Awww that’s amazing, CONGRATS!!! So glad it can help!
11 weeks pregnant and this is sooo helpful!! Thank you
I’m so so glad!
Genuinely no matter if someone doesn’t be aware of afterward its up to other users that they will assist,
so here it happens.
thanks for the must-have things not sure would get all these kinds of stuff but definitely, the article is very much helpful and informative keep it up and congratulations.
Hey, the information is really very informative thanks for the great share.
Hi! Just read this and wanted to let you know that you need to edit the ranitidine supplement aspect. As you know, it has now been recalled and is no longer safe to take.
You are right! Just made the edit!
Hello! Thanks for this post- it’s very helpful for the recommendations on tanks and such! I have one question, you mentioned starting Pilates at 18 weeks- were you doing Pilates before that or was it prompted by being pregnant and wanting to maintain muscle tone? I’m currently 21 weeks along and have continued my cycling classes (Peloton) but was thinking of doing pilates/or barre. What was your experience with Pilates and being pregnant- using your core? I’d love to hear your insight, I haven’t seen a post or stories other than the ones you’d post here and there on your Instagram. Your thoughts are always valued- Thanks so much!!
I started when pregnant for the first time! I had always wanted to try it and loved how low impact it was/ love laying on my back while doing squats! My instructors where knowledgable in pregnancy movement and I modified as needed!
I clicked on the link for the DHA supplement you took from Whole Foods but it blocked the page. Can you take a screen shot of which DHA you took, please?