After posting my recently created New Mom Must-Have List, I started thinking about a similar list for Pregnant Girls. I’m 25 weeks into Pregnancy #2 and I’ve learned a few things about how my body reacts to pregnancy, and things I absolutely must have to get through the day (and night). To round it out, I asked my girl pals for their feedback too. Without further ado, here it is: The Pregnant Girl Survival Guide.
1. The Snoogle, aka The Amazing Pillow of Awesomeness
My sister was on her third pregnancy before she got a Snoogle, and she sang its praises (I believe her exact words were, “Oh my god it changed my life”). So I decided to give it a shot. She’s right — it’s amazing. I haven’t had a single Charley Horse since I started using it, and I sleep amazingly well now, because the pillow helps me stay on my side and keep from rolling so quickly to my back. I love how the ends of the C do double-duty, particularly the bottom end (I sleep facing the open part of the C). That end not only keeps my knees and hips aligned, but it also supports my belly too. This pillow is a little pricey, but holy shit, it’s worth it.
2. Maternity Tanks/Camisoles
A friend of mine, pregnant with her first, was lamenting on Facebook last week about deep V-neck maternity shirts: “How the hell am I supposed to wear these stupid shirts to work without showing my boobs?!” I understood her frustration. My pregnancy boobs are on full display in maternity V-necks. I wear them anyway — but only over my well-worn maternity camisoles. I bought two tanks (one black, one white) at Motherhood Maternity, though I had to visit 4 stores to locate the white one (it was sold out). They are cheap, long, comfy, and a must to keep from getting fired for Excessive Cleavage. Unless you’re a waitress or bartender (or another occupation done better with cleavage), you’ll probably find them helpful. You could be forward-thinking and just buy nursing tanks; they’ll get the job done and pull double-duty after baby comes.
3. Roll-waist Pants and Capris
The reason these are a must-have, in my book, is that they work at all stages of pregnancy, including post-partum and when you’re back to your normal size. I don’t have a problem buying clothes for work and whatnot, but it feels downright wasteful to buy “bumming around the house” or “walking the dog” clothes for maternity. Maybe I’m just a cheapskate? I bought some roll-waist pants from Old Navy that are super cheap, come in short-medium-tall (tall chicks unite!), come in loose fit and bootcut, and capris or full-length (I practically live in capris all summer). Best of all: I can wear them forever and ever, pregnant or not. Boo yah.
4. Maternity Clothes You’ll Actually Wear (for a Long Time)
One friend said: “I bought a bunch of clothes for my first pregnancy that were too large and ill-fitting, just because they were cheap. I barely wore any of those clothes with the other two pregnancies. By then, I just bought good stuff from Gap that actually fit well.” I have to agree. My best maternity clothing purchases have been 3 pairs of Gap maternity dress pants. They fit perfectly, look great, and have held up super well. Cheap? Negative. But I waited until I had coupons and got a bit of a discount. Bonus: their pants come in talls and petites! As far as tops, I have liked the OhBaby! brand from Kohl’s. JCPenney’s and Old Navy’s tops are cheaper, but they wear out in a New York minute, and don’t hold their shape as well.
5. One-Size-Bigger-Than-Normal Pants
There’s a charming phase of pregnancy that I lovingly call “The Beer-Gut Stage.” It happens around 6 and 18 weeks for most women, when you’re not quite ready for maternity pants (and would have trouble keeping them up) but can’t fit in your old stuff. It’s helpful to have jeans and a couple pairs of work pants that are one size bigger than your normal size. Resist the urge to toss your one-size-too-big pants if you don’t wear them anymore! You may need them for pregnancy.
(Actually, same goes for your one-size-too-small pants… but not during pregnancy. For me, after 14 months of breastfeeding, I was a size 4 for the first time in years, but I’d given away all my size 4s. I wanted them back, but made do with what I had, despite getting made fun of at work for rolling down the waist of my pants.)
6. Comfy Bras
Not everyone experiences the wonder of Pregnancy Boobs, but a lot of women do. Our ‘girls’ are gearing up to do some major work and they have to expand capacity to do it. Which means expanding their square footage. I went from a modest little A to cup-runneth-over Cs both times, and finding comfortable bras was hard. I refuse to drop $50 on bras from Victoria’s Secret, especially knowing that I can’t wear them after giving birth (I wore nursing bras for a year after Peanut was born; hopefully I’ll do the same with Squeak). I finally had some luck at JCPenney, of all places. Wherever you buy, the moral of the story is that you’ll need to keep growth in mind as well as cost. It’s probably not worth dropping a ton of dough on since they’re only temporary.
Give yourself room to grow in both measurements — around your torso and in the cups. Late in your second trimester or early in your third, when your uterus is coming nearer to your ribcage, baby will start kicking it and if you’re like me, you’ll be sore as hell. A bra that’s too tight around the torso will be excruciating. So go big or go home.
This suggestion came from my gallery of girlfriends. I personally didn’t have a good experience with it, but some women love it for that same Beer-Gut Stage I mentioned earlier. Wear the BellaBand over your normal pants, but with the button undone, before you upgrade to maternity pants, or wear it with slightly-too-big maternity pants to keep them in place or to support your ginormo-belly toward the end.
I didn’t love it — the band rolled up and down on its own and went rogue a lot. Part of the problem might have been that I bought the BeBand, which is a cheaper version of the BellaBand made by the same company (BeBand = $15, BellaBand = $28). Maybe I should have splurged for the good one? Either way, it’s a relatively small investment, so you can give it a try and see if it works for you without feeling guilty if it doesn’t!
8. Shoes for Expand-y Feet
I have always been at my pregnant-est in the summer (yay for August due dates!), so I feel for all you cold-weather pregnant girls. When the going gets tough, I just wear less clothing (especially at night). When my feet get swollen and spread out, I ditch the tennies and loafers and wear flip-flops. It’s lovely. But if it’s winter, and you don’t have the luxury of flip-flops, you may want to keep a few “just a bit too big” shoes on hand. For many women, feet permanently change size during pregnancy, so just as I advised you to hang onto those ill-fitting pants, you may want to do the same for shoes. They may not fit now, but hang onto them. They might someday post-baby.
9. Prenatal Massages
The back and rib pain I had with my Peanut pregnancy wasn’t cured by anything I did, but regular massages made it feel a lot better (and relaxed me, too). I had one massage lying on my side, which was enough for me to realize that side-line massages suck. I set about finding a massage therapist who did prenatal massage and had the special pregnant girl table. She wasn’t cheap, but it was completely worth it to be able to lay on my tummy (with my belly supported!) for a soothing massage. There shouldn’t be any deep muscle work during pregnancy; prenatal massage is all about relaxation, and what girl doesn’t need more of that? Most pregnancy cushions/tables have cutouts for the giant pregnancy boobs too. Jackpot.
10. A Toddler
I am totally kidding. This is actually the opposite of helpful. Particularly when she demands to be carried for a week straight because she’s battling a double ear infection and feels like crap. Parenting for the win! *rolls eyes*
Seriously though, being pregnant while chasing a toddler is hard. But like everything else moms do, we get through it. Sometimes we cry and cut corners and let them watch way more TV than we would normally, but hey, you gotta get by somehow. (Nobody ever died from too much Elmo. Though I do think my toddler needs a support group. Elmo was her second word and she talks about Elmo from sunrise to sunset. Obsessed is the word on the street. And I officially know the names of all the new puppets since I was a kid: Murray. Ovejita. Rosita. Telly. Abby. I can keep going, but I’m tired.)
Moms, what pregnancy necessities did I forget? Leave it in the comments!
This post contains affiliate links.