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5 Must Have Products During Pregnancy

 

I thought I’d read every bit of pregnancy advice and was prepared for every symptom and side effect under the sun...wishful thinking! Here are 5 products that I really leaned on (some literally) to get me through my pregnancy.

1. Bra Extenders

One thing no one told me was that my ribs would expand to make room for the baby during the second and third trimesters. In addition to it being painful, I also woke up one morning to discover that none of my bras fit (thank goodness I work from home and hardly ever wear one).

Since a good bra can be hard to find (and usually doesn’t come cheap), I didn’t want to throw a ton of money at a bunch of new ones I’d only wear for a few months. Since I didn’t need to go up a cup size, just move to a wider band, this was the perfect solution:

Best Bra Extender, Soft and Comfortable Bra Band Extension

At just a couple of bucks a pop, they’re a great way to literally extend the use of your pre-pregnancy bras until (if you decide to breastfeed) you move to nursing bras closer to the birth/after the baby’s born.

Pictured above are extenders from Coco's Closet, and there are lots of other options on Amazon. I’ve also seen these for sale at maternity boutiques and even some craft stores. If you’re the thrifty/crafty type, you can make your own using fasteners cut off old bras. (Here’s a YouTube tutorial from Doulaville.)

2. Long Camisoles

Whether you’re trying to save money or just looking to make the most of your temporary maternity wardrobe, one thing you should definitely have in your closet is a camisole or two (or a dozen). It doesn’t matter if they have thin spaghetti straps or thicker tank straps as long as the torso is super stretchy and looooong – long enough to cover a full-term pregnant belly and the elastic waistband of your maternity pants (unless you like showing that off to the world, you weirdo).

Heirloom Layering Cami Soft Yet Durable Extra Length

Camis are great because they mean I can wear some of my regular tops without worrying I’m flashing my stomach at innocent bystanders. They also provide added support and containment for all the lumpiness and bulging-in-weird-places that comes with this bizarre pregnancy body. I buy them in neutral colors (black, white, beige) so I can layer them with everything in my closet, but a brighter color can add a fun pop to an outfit, and during the summer I plan to wear them alone over jeans, shorts, and skirts.

These Heirloom Camisole's come in white, black, cream and navy and are under $15!

3. An Exercise Ball

We had an old exercise ball in the closet that hardly got any use for actual exercising until a friend mentioned she used hers to gently bounce her baby to sleep at night. It was a sanity-saver for us when my first son was an infant, and now that I’m pregnant again, it’s great to have around for easing some prenatal pains. Once the baby’s here, I have high hopes for using the ball to get back into shape again.

Trideer Exercise Ball (45-85cm) Extra Thick Yoga Ball Chair, Anti-Burst Heavy Duty Stability Ball

Many hospitals and birth centers have exercise balls (also called birth balls) available as labor aids, but if you have one at home, you can use it even before that to help stretch sore hips and back muscles as well as to prepare your body for delivery. I like to sit on the ball with my feet in front of me, shoulder-width apart, and then I gently and slowly rotate my hips in a circle in one direction a few times, then another. To stretch my back, I tilt my pelvis forward and backward. Even just sitting still on the ball feels nice after I’ve spent all day in an office chair.

Here is one that we love from Trideer, it has a high durability and support weight.

A few tips:

  • Make sure you have the right size ball. Babyzone recommends women shorter than 5'3" use a 55 cm ball, and anyone taller than that should have a 65 cm ball. (Here are a few exercises for strengthening muscles you use during labor and delivery.)
  • Check with your doctor about the safety of using an exercise ball during your pregnancy. Some moves might not be right for you, especially if you’re at risk for preterm labor.
  • Go easy. Make gentle movements; don’t bounce up and down like you’re trying to set a new Olympic record.
  • Use common sense. Don’t lay on the ball face-down or try to do push ups with your feet on the ball. Always make sure you’re well balanced and not in danger of falling off the ball onto the floor. (Sitting near or against a wall is a good idea.)

4. Pregnancy Pillow

What a humble name for such a glorious, life-affirming product: the body pillow. Experts recommend pregnant women sleep on their sides (and the left side is better than the right for maximum oxygen and blood flow to your baby), but with a giant belly, aching joints and general mommy-to-be insomnia, it’s sometimes hard to find a sleeping position that’s comfortable - or at least not excruciatingly uncomfortable.

Enter the body pillow. Starting in the second trimester, I go to bed every night with an old, simple body pillow I’ve had for ages and ages. It’s basically just a regular pillow that’s as long as two put together, and I love it so much I’d give it a name if that wouldn’t make my husband jealous.

A plain, straight body pillow, or even several normal-sized pillows might be enough for you, but if you’re looking for something with more support, check out these options, all designed especially for pregnant women.

A few of my friends swear by their Snoogles.

Leachco Snoogle Original Maternity/Pregnancy Total Body Pillow Ivory

 

Boppy (most famous for their nursing pillows) has a body pillow too.

This one from Queen Rose is kind of insane. Honey, we’re gonna need a bigger bed!

QUEEN ROSE Pregnancy Pillow U Shaped

 

If you’re looking for a pillow with a lower profile (and a lower price!), search for something called a “sleep wedge” side sleeper.

hiccapop Pregnancy Pillow Wedge for Maternity

As for me, I’m fine with my regular old straight body pillow. As long as I have something to tuck in between my knees (to ease pressure on my hips) and stuff under my belly (to keep myself from rolling over and smooshing the baby), I’m good to go.

5. Bella Band

Allow me to introduce you to one of my favorite, favorite, favorite pregnancy finds: the Bellaband from maternity designer Ingrid and Isabel. It’s basically a tube of stretchy fabric you wear over your midsection, and if you're wondering why in the world you'd want to do that, let me tell you how awesome it is.

Ingrid & Isabel Women's Maternity Everyday Bellaband

I originally got one to wear over unbuttoned jeans during my first trimester; my tummy was too big for my normal pants but I wasn't far enough along in the pregnancy that I felt okay investing in maternity jeans. The Bellaband was the perfect solution. I unbuttoned my pants, pulled the stretchy fabric over the open fly, and I was good to go for weeks and weeks.

In the second trimester, I wear it with maternity pants and non-maternity shirts. Some regular tops still fit around my middle but they're too short to cover the stretchy panel on my maternity pants. The Bellaband disguises the gap and makes it look like I'm just wearing a long cami underneath my shirt.

In the third trimester, when my stomach gets really big and heavy, I wear two Bellabands at once for extra back and belly support when I need it.

After the baby is born, I wear Bella Bands so I can lift up my shirt to breastfeed without baring my floppy postpartum stomach to the world. Genius.

Several different companies make similar products—and a handful of independent sellers hand-make their own—but for me the Bellaband was the best in fit, fabric, and function.

 

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