10 Pregnancy Must Haves

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1. Extra pillows - You will often see a maternity pillow (also known as a snoogle) as a must have on many pregnancy lists. However, I decided to go with the inexpensive, regular body pillow, and am glad I didn't invest in the snoogle as it would have been a waste of money.

At the beginning of my pregnancy, I found I preferred a regular pillow (often tossing my body pillow on the floor), which was way easier to move around when I decided to sleep on a different side. When I entered the 3rd trimester, the regular pillow no longer worked as it had before and I began to love my body pillow, couldn't sleep without it!

I would suggest starting with just using regular pillows or a body pillow and see how that goes before deciding if a snoogle is worth the price tag for you.
2. Maternity Swim Suit - This only applies if you enjoy swimming, but it was a must for me! I used to run before pregnancy but found it too exhausting after getting pregnant. Swimming was a nice way to get in some exercise and will come in handy if you decide to labor in a tub or do a water birth and want some more coverage on top. 

Now you may be able to get by with just your regular suit in early pregnancy, but when 12 weeks came around, my breasts would no longer fit in my swim tops. I didn't want to waste money on just getting a suit a size up when I knew I would continue to get bigger, so I bought a maternity top. It was a little loose in the beginning, but by week 16, I was glad I chose to go straight to a maternity top! I got this swim top at Destination Maternity.

Some pregnant women still rock their bikinis (if you go the bikini route, you might have to get a bigger size top to fit your growing breasts), but I prefer two pieces that cover more. 

3. Lotion - And lots of it. Your breasts and your belly will itch like crazy as they continue to grow. You will probably hear from women who swear by cocoa butter or some other cream they found that works miracles, but plain old regular lotion works just fine for soothing the skin. Find what works for you and stick to it! Also, always put lotion on after a shower or bath, that is the best time for it to soak into your skin. I highly recommend using a lotion with Aloe Vera, such as this one.

Remember, no matter what you do, you can't prevent stretch marks. If you get them, you get them, but you can help soothe them and help them fade faster by using lotion.

4. Nursing Tanks & Bras - Your breasts will grow and I found nursing tanks and bras to be the most comfortable, even if you don't plan on breastfeeding. They provide the support your breasts need while you sleep. You can find cheap nursing tanks at Old Navy and Target.

My favorite nursing tank is the Rosie Pope brand. I found it on a whim at a discount store, but they only had one left. They are quite pricey (ranging from $34-$40 depending on retailer), but if you lucky, Amazon sometimes has them on sale for half the price! I snagged a couple when they were only $17! Otherwise, you can find them online at their website, or at Nordstrom or Von Maur. They are super soft, wash well, and I so totally plan on wearing them after nursing or even if I don't breastfeed! If you plan on wearing them during your pregnancy, go a size up to cover the belly.

My favorite nursing bra is the Bravado Basic Nursing Sleep Bra, which I found at Target, but have recently noticed that it is no longer online or being carried in stores in my area. The Medela Nursing Sleep Bra would be the closest thing to it, but it is not as comfortable as the Bravado Basic in my opinion. However, it is the next best thing if you are unable to find the Bravado Basic in your area.

Also, if you are like me and do prefer to wear a padded bra in public, you will either want to splurge on a few maternity bras, or be prepared to possibly buy bras in several different sizes as your breasts grow (this is when the clearance section at Target and Kohls comes in handy).

5. Squatty Potty - During pregnancy, many women experience constipation and other bathroom problems. A Squatty Potty may seem silly, but it is definitely worth having, pregnant or not pregnant, as it forces you to squat while on the toilet, which is the proper way our bodies were made to relieve themselves. This makes bowel movements a lot easier and will also help prevent hernias and internal tears.

You can also use a stool or stack of magazines/books to lift your legs to get the same effect, but the nice thing about the Squatty Potty is that it wraps around your toilet so it takes up less space, and is easier to store and take out when needed versus having to stack magazines every time.

6. Maternity Coat - If you are going to be pregnant during the winter, a coat is a must. Someone told me to hold off because I might not need one since she found she was always hot and could get by with sweatshirts. Well, the temperature began to get chilly in October and I found myself freezing in my jackets, so I broke down and bought one, so if you find that you don't get frequent hot flashes. you will want a coat.

Just be prepared that this will be the most expensive thing you have to buy, so if possible look for a good sale or find a used one! Thank goodness I work in retail so I could get half off! A lot of stores have 60-90 day return policies too, so you can always buy ahead of time if you find a good deal and if you end up not wearing the coat, then return it after the winter season. Just be sure to keep your receipt!

7. Maternity Jeans/Leggings  Skip the belly bands and go straight to a nice comfy pair of maternity jeans or leggings, or both! I got a couple of bands and did not like them at all, they were just too uncomfortable for me. Luckily I worked in retail so could get half off on the majority of my maternity items, but for those who don't and need a good deal, Old Navy has great maternity leggings and always look in the clearance, you can find a great deal on maternity jeans there.

If not Old Navy, go to Motherhood or Destination Maternity and look in their clearance. I managed to score a pair of jeans for $14 there and a couple of leggings for $7 each! Go when there is an additional half off on clearance! The leggings are my favorite thing to wear, so if you can't find a cheap pair of jeans, at least get leggings, they are so comfy! Tip: Fleece lined leggings are the best for winter.

8. Epsom Salt - Pregnancy comes with many aches and pains, unfortunately, and the best cure is a warm Epsom salt bath! I found this to work better than Tylenol. Plus it's relaxing!

If you don't have a bathtub, you can easily get a dish tub or bucket of warm water and mix in some Epsom salt to soak your feet, but unfortunately, it would be tricky to soak anything higher up like your thighs without a bathtub.

9. Sugar Scrub - When my breasts started growing, the old, dry, dead skin would begin to flake off and cause them to itch. I found using a sugar scrub once a week to exfoliate my breasts helped remove that dead skin faster and make my breasts softer, and less itchy. You will want to put lotion on after doing a sugar scrub and limit it to once a week to prevent rubbing them raw! My favorite sugar scrub is Mayfair - Sea Lily Jasmine scent, which can be found at Target.

10. Liners - During pregnancy, you will notice an increase in discharge (cervical mucus). It is the same as when you ovulate. The further along in pregnancy, the more discharge. I found the third trimester to be the worst for me. You will discover that you will want to wear liners or find yourself changing your underwear a few times a day.

The only time you have to worry about your discharge is if it is any color other than clear or white, or has a foul/fishy smell. This can be a sign of a yeast infection, which should get checked as soon as possible.

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