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What do you really NEED to survive the your pregnancy?
Which products are actually going to be worth the money and which are better left on the shelf?
To help you make the right decisions, Tamara our Mom of 7 reveals the pregnancy products she’s used over and over again.
My first bit of advice is to be cautious about what you decide to buy during the first trimester.
The mom and baby products industry is fueled by the fact that moms-to-be often buy the most expensive or the most advertised products and many of these products are completely unnecessary.
To help you avoid overspending and unnecessarily cluttering up your home with things you don’t need, and will never use, here’s my go to shopping list of products that I found the most helpful during the first trimester of my pregnancies.
Many items will see you through the next two trimesters of pregnancy and into baby’s fourth trimester too.
I’ve separated my pregnancy shopping list into two sections.
- Essentials – those things you really can’t do without
- Extras – some lovely additional products that I like to use during pregnancy
1. Waistband Extender or Belly Band
Some moms start showing very early on. Chances are, unless you wear stretchy dresses all the time you’ll need a pair of maternity pants or two to get you through your pregnancy. But for the first trimester you don’t need to spend money on buying maternity clothes straight away.
Invest in a little smart trick: a waistband extender. What I love about this invention is the fact that it’s actually unisex and multipurpose – you can use it even if you’re going out for a large meal. This is the budget option for those who want to wear their favorite pants a few months longer.
You can also opt for a Bella band which is the pricier option but provides extra benefits, especially comfort-wise. The Bella Band can be worn with your pants completely unzipped and can be used throughout the whole of your pregnancy. It covers the zipper and creates extra support for your growing belly.
Either way, both of these products will help you enjoy your regular pants for a while longer, if not the whole pregnancy.
2. Bra Extender
One of the first symptoms of pregnancy are swollen breasts. They might be very painful in the early days and will only grow bigger as you progress through your pregnancy and then go on to breastfeeding. A bra extender is a great invention for making your regular bras as comfortable as possible. This one from Brah! is the one I’ve used.
The Brah! set of bra extenders comes in three basic colors (white, beige and black), which ensures they’ll match your favorite lingerie. Perfect if you don’t want to switch to maternity bras just yet.
3. Stretch Mark Oil
Some people say that it’s pointless using a stretch mark cream or oil because the stretchiness of your skin is determined by your DNA rather than what you put on it. Personally, I started using a stretch mark oil the moment I found out I was pregnant and having had seven pregnancies I have tried a few!
This Vitamin E Body Oil by Burt’s Bees is the one that I feel has worked the best for me. It’s completely natural and while not specifically marketed as such, works at preventing and treating existing stretch marks. In pregnancy your skin stretches so fast, so on top of potential stretch marks you can also get an extremely itchy tummy and have very uncomfortable skin. You only need a tiny amount but the Body Oil soothes all that away while at the same time helping to prevent stretch marks.
4. Maternity Panties
Another product you will want to change for a maternity option is panties. No matter how slim you are naturally and how little weight you gain in your pregnancy, you will need comfortable pieces of underwear that will offer support to your bump. Otherwise, you simply won’t be able to fit into your regular ones or they’ll keep rolling down.
You essentially have two options: panties that go under the belly like these ones from Intimate Portal or ones that go over. It’s really down to personal preference which you find the most comfortable. I have some of each depending on what I want to wear. You can read more about the maternity panties I recommend here.
5. Maternity Bras
It’s SO important to have comfortable boobs, so at some point in your pregnancy you’ll want to make the switch to maternity bras. They’re more comfortable to wear and are practical for the whole of your pregnancy and breastfeeding period.
On top of breasts getting bigger, some moms begin to lactate during early pregnancy, so you will find you need something softer to wear to prevent your nipples from getting sore. You can wear breast pads in these easily, and they won’t show or move around.
This set of three maternity bras from Desirelove are very affordable and come in three basic colors: black, nude beige and nude pink. I’ve worn them during my last two pregnancies and found them super comfy and easy to wash.
6. Prenatal Vitamins
You’ll already know that prenatal vitamins are crucial for making sure you and your baby are getting enough of what you both need to stay healthy. Mama Bird vitamins are the ones I’ve used most recently and I can’t recommend them enough. They contain a combination of all the important vitamins and minerals you and baby need and they’re all derived from natural sources. They are also completely vegan.
There is some controversy about some potential side effects of folic acid at the moment so here it is replaced with folate – a natural option that is absorbed and utilized by the body more easily. A pack is enough for a month: there are 60 pills in the package and you are required to take two pills a day how you see fit, and it’s recommended that you continue taking them as you move on to breastfeeding as well.
7. Omega 3 Supplement
Omega 3 is a vital nutrient that most of us are deficient in. So along with your vitamins and minerals it’s important to make sure you get enough Omega 3. It’s important for your baby’s brain, spinal cord and eye development. If you eat plenty of oily fish, linseed or chia seeds then you may not need to supplement but if you’re having trouble eating due to first trimester nausea and vomiting it’s something to seriously consider supplementing.
Best Nest Wellness produces super high quality, natural Omega 3 supplement that is mercury, soy and gluten-free (but, just to note, not vegetarian or vegan). This pack will be enough to get you through a month if you take two pills a day as recommended. Something else I liked about these was that the lemon flavor means you never get that fishy burp breath! Just like your prenatal vitamins, you’ll benefit if you continue taking them as you breastfeed.
8. Morning Sickness Acupressure Band
Unfortunately, there is no real cure for morning sickness, and if there ever is one everyone will be raving about it. Morning sickness may bypass a few lucky pregnant moms, but chances are high you’ll experience it as one of the very first symptoms of pregnancy. It may last a few days or several months, but for most moms, it passes along with the first trimester of pregnancy.
You’ll no doubt have heard about drinking ginger tea or eating ginger cookies to ease it, and recommendations to eat regularly as nausea and sickness can get worse on an empty stomach. These remedies may help you, they may not.
If you’ve tried to relieve your nausea and nothing’s helping then many Moms find they benefit from anti-nausea wristbands. They are to be worn on both wrists at the same time and work by acupressure which is similar to acupuncture. The plastic stud presses on a specific acupressure point (P6) and is said to reduce nausea and sickness.
9. BPA Free Bottle
Drinking plenty of water is important at all times, even more so during pregnancy. Make sure to drink at least 10 cups of water, on top of any other fluids you take. Instead of going for bottled water, invest in a BPA free one. Plastic bottles tend to release plastic and other chemicals into the water you drink (Bisphenol A has been linked to a number of nasty diseases), plus they are neither economical nor ecological.
The Sundried bottle I’m recommending is the one I’ve been using over the last year. It’s very affordable, comes in a nice design and most importantly, is leak-proof.
10. Unscented Panty Liners
Pregnancy is a beautiful time but definitely has some less than beautiful sides too. You might notice that you produce a bit more discharge than you used to. Also, some pregnant women pee themselves more due to the pressure your bump is putting on your bladder.
That’s why you’ll need to be using quality panty-liners. I chose these ones by Oi because they are unscented and made of organic cotton. They are super gentle against your skin and very breathable, so no sweaty lady parts and no increased risk of yeast infection. Yay!
11. Breast Pads
It’s funny how even though I’ve spent a massive chunk of my adult life pregnant, I never knew about washable breast pads until fairly recently. (Pregnancy 3 or 4 I think). During one of those pregnancies my nipples were extremely sensitive and I couldn’t bare the touch of any fabric on them (it literally hurt). So after trying the normal disposable breast pads and changing to a different bra with no relief, I discovered these organic bamboo breast pads. They really saved me!
These organic bamboo breast pads are super soft and comfortable. They come in a pack of 14, which means you don’t have to be putting the washing machine on constantly. As you can imagine, washable breast pads save a lot of money because they are reusable. As an added bonus they’re ecological. Also, if you’re one of those women that tend to leak milk early on in pregnancy, you can’t go wrong with washable breast pads.
Headaches are very common during the first trimester of pregnancy and they can be very painful. You’ll be limited to the types of pain relief you can use in pregnancy but Tylenol (paracetamol in the UK) is acceptable. While I’m normally a bit of a crunchy Mom when it comes to what I put in and on my body, especially during pregnancy, sometimes you just need a bit of extra help! Definitely have some on hand just in case.
13. Crackers – For Nausea and Sickness
If you’re in the first trimester of pregnancy and you make the mistake of leaving the house without food in your bag, you certainly won’t make it twice. I struggled with nausea and sickness throughout ALL my pregnancies and I found I felt more nauseous if I had an empty stomach.
That’s where to crackers come in. I began carrying around a box to nibble on every half an hour or so and they helped a lot. Snacking frequently may help you keep the nausea under control and allow you to actually leave the house without worrying about throwing up in public.
First Trimester Extras
The following products are not essentials but are lovely to have in your first trimester. Choose well and they’ll take you through the following two trimesters as well.
14. Maternity Pajamas
Maternity pajamas are a luxurious extra but they are a really good investment if you’re living in a colder area, or are having a baby during the winter time. There will come a time when you stop fitting into your regular nightwear and at some point you will begin living in your pajamas (don’t worry most of us do) so you want to make sure they’re comfortable.
This set of maternity pajamas by Kindred Bravely are simply gorgeous. They stretch beautifully over your pregnant tummy and provide easy access later on if you breastfeed.They come in a variety of sizes and sumptuous colors. And honestly, you could wear them to your maternity yoga class too.
15. Body Pillow/Extra Pillows
Should you go for a pregnancy pillow or just buy a set of extra pillows? It’s a tricky one to weigh up but personally, I’ve found a pregnancy pillow to be the better option in terms of comfort. Very early on in your pregnancy you’ll begin to have trouble getting comfortable in bed, especially if you normally sleep on your tummy.
And as your bump grows bigger, every time you move from one sleeping position to another, you’ll be woken up. Grappling with lots of pillows just makes it worse.
A full body pillow like this one by Queen Rose avoids this problem. No need to keep moving separate pillows around to support each part of your body, just use one big gorgeous comfy one that supports all of you at once.
It may seem a like an extravagance to have a pillow just for pregnancy but trust me it’s worth every penny. This pillow will offer you the support you need and ensure you get a restful night’s sleep. It’s hypoallergenic and has a convenient washable cover.
16. A Good Toothbrush
Gingivitis and peritonitis (AKA gum disease) are very common during pregnancy which makes your oral hygiene very important too. A good toothbrush is crucial in keeping your teeth and gums healthy and preventing bigger problems down the road.
I’d always used a standard toothbrush but when I went to the dentist with sore, bleeding gums she recommended an electric toothbrush. I didn’t want to go for one of the super expensive ones so I have this Oral B model which is very affordable especially since it comes with two brush heads. It cleans my teeth perfectly and it gets in all the hard to reach places.
17. Natural Hair Dye
Some women continue to dye their hair throughout pregnancy just as they did before they fell pregnant, but I prefer wherever possible to keep anything involving harmful chemicals to a minimum. Although there’s no evidence that occasional visits to the hairdresser for bleaching or coloring can cause any damage I like to err on the side of caution.
That’s why I recommend trying a natural hair dye as a pregnancy shopping list extra if you’re in need of regular touch-ups. There are a few different brands on the market such as Herbatint and Naturtint. Personally, I prefer Naturtint as the color is deeper and it leaves my hair super shiny.
18. Natural Cosmetics
Here I am recommending the natural stuff again. Our skin is our largest organ and it absorbs nearly everything we put on it, including some nasty chemicals such as parabens. That’s why I advise researching natural cosmetic brands and switching to those wherever possible. It’s one thing to put chemicals into our own bodies, but when we’re carrying a baby those same chemicals could end up in theirs too. We’re all different, but for me, that’s just a risk I just don’t want to take.
My favorite brand of organic, chemical free make up is Baeblu. They make everything you might need: powder, blush, concealer, mascara etc. I love them all but I especially like their liquid foundations. These lovely products are affordable, organic, all-natural, plus vegan and cruelty-free. The foundation mentioned is also an anti-aging formula which is always a plus. I know it’s hard to change make up brands but why not give them a go?
19. Natural Toiletries
Just as you might want to be cautious with the types of hair dye and make up you use during pregnancy, you might want to look at changing your toiletries as well. This natural body wash by The Seaweed Bath Co is my ultimate favorite and on top of being made from totally natural ingredients, it has such a lovely refreshing smell.
I literally can’t rave about Seaweed Bath Co products enough. For one they’re great for people with sensitive skin. My skin always feels awesome when using it and I know that it contains no nasties such a sulfates and parabens either.
20. A Pregnancy Journal
I know journals aren’t everyone’s cup of tea but I love them! I really enjoyed this lovely guided pregnancy journal during my last pregnancy because it helped me keep track of all the little details I didn’t want to forget in the future, plus there are special spaces for your sonogram/ultrasound images.
This is one of those items that makes a great early gift to your beautiful pregnant self. You think you’ll remember everything but as the weeks and months fly by so many important details are forgotten and then lost forever.
21. A Pregnancy Book
There must be a zillion pregnancy books on the market and I feel like I’ve read most of them over the years 🙂 One of the ones I’ve enjoyed the most is Pregnancy Day by Day by Dr Maggie Blott. It’s all based on research and is very informative.
So if you got this far I congratulate you! Creating this pregnancy shopping list for the first trimester and beyond was a mammoth task and I’m sure it was for you to read it too.
My aim in writing it was to help guide you through your own pregnancy must buy list and cut out any confusion you might feel. Even if you go on a crazy shopping spree and bypass this whole list no one will judge you. Just try to enjoy the fact that you are growing a little life inside of you and make sure you treat yourself wherever possible.
Are there any pregnancy products you’ve found super helpful that I missed out?