When I was pregnant with my first baby, I thought my doctor would give me the 411 on all I needed to do to prepare…well that, and a good old What to Expect When You’re Expecting book to get through each trimester.
But I learned the hard way that your doctors don’t tell you everything you need to do to take care of yourself and prepare for baby. And while reading up on the changes your body is going through is key to getting ready, I’d also recommend getting a hold of a few pregnancy essentials that will keep you healthy and as comfortable as you can get with a growing baby from that first trimester to the last.
First-Trimester Pregnancy Must-Haves
Morning Sickness Relief
During the first trimester of each of my pregnancies, the one thing that consumed me the most was morning sickness. I was experiencing it all — nausea, body aches, elevated body temperature, fatigue and so on — constantly struggling to find relief. I found different things worked with each pregnancy (including oils that we’ve all heard about) but if I could go back in time, I’d tell myself to remember that this phase will not last forever and always have a stash of crackers, lemon-water and organic hard-candies like these ready in my purse — I don’t know how but they always gave me a quick relief when I was at my worst!!
This one is a no-brainer. If you haven’t been taking a prenatal vitamin regularly (don’t worry, most of us only start once we find out we’re pregnant!) now’s the time to start! Your OB/GYN will most likely recommend an over the counter option — if you are unsure of which is the best look for one that has DHA (an Omega-3 fatty acid and essential nutrient for expectant moms who require a minimum of 200mg.). It’s best to get DHA from foods, but because there’s a long list of foods to avoid during pregnancy, most women may need a supplement. I took this nature-made brand because it provided what I needed and didn’t cost an arm and a leg!
Another thing that I would be a huge advocate of during early pregnancy is drinking plenty of water. I’m sure you’ve heard this plenty before, but it is seriously important (throughout each trimester in fact). You don’t want to be waiting until you feel thirsty — because thirst is a sign of dehydration. You want to be proactive with your pregnancy care and drink up throughout the day. I’ve heard so many horror stories from other pregnant moms on being hospitalized for dehydration issues even when they thought they were drinking water throughout the day. Grab a water bottle that includes a visual tracker to remind you how much you should be drinking every hour — this one even has an infuser to add fruit and fight nausea!! If you already have one be sure it’s BPA-free too (chemicals from plastic bottles can pose serious risks for a growing baby!).
Pregnancy Safe Products
And one thing you will need to get used to during pregnancy is swapping out some of the everyday products you’ve used in the past, for some more organic or pregnancy-friendly items. This should be the case when it comes to your pregnancy beauty routine and cleaning products. The reason, of course, is for the safety of your baby because many of the products we rely on for skincare routine have chemicals that can be very dangerous to your growing child, especially during the first trimester. If you are looking for some great alternatives, check out our pregnancy-safe beauty products which includes non-toxic suggestions!
Second Trimester Pregnancy Must-Haves
As your morning sickness starts to dissipate and you begin to beam with that pregnancy glow, you’ll notice your energy grow along with your positive mood. But with this second trimester of pregnancy, you’ll also experience some notable changes in your body. Your belly will show or “pop” if it hasn’t already. This is the time most women will need to invest in a few maternity items to accommodate that growing body.
Comfy Maternity Clothes
Depending on the clothes that you are used to wearing, you may have to purchase a few pieces of maternity clothing to feel more comfortable in. If you’re trying to wait until the last possible moment ever to buy, word to the wise: just make a few good investments now! Because I was the same way: trying not to buy anything new unless it was absolutely necessary (we all know maternity clothing can get quite expensive!). Take it from me, and know it will be well-worth. The three pieces of maternity items that are an absolute MUST for me were maternity leggings, undies (yes, you better believe you’ll need these!) and stretchy shirts.
NOTE: When choosing maternity leggings just make sure you find what for your purpose — some are more translucent and made to be worn under a dress while others can be worn as pants. I purchased mine from Maternity Motherhood, but found these to be comparable and more affordable.
Remember your belly is expanding and having loose, comfortable clothing to not constrict blood flow is key. And if you are pregnancy in the hot summer months, a few loose-fitting sun dresses are very much necessary!!
Definitely plan on purchasing a few new items especially if you plan on having more than one child in the future!
This one may not have crossed your mind before, but bra extenders make it possible for you to continue wearing your favorite bra even during pregnancy at a fraction of the cost of investing in a maternity bra. See how they work here!
Stretch Mark Lotion
Genetics may play a big role in how many stretch marks you will see, but that doesn’t mean you can’t prevent them! As your belly grows (and even before so actually!) add a stretch-mark prevention lotion to your daily routine. After showering, lather up – on your belly, inner and outer thighs, legs, bottom, and breast — because stretch marks can appear in other places besides the belly!!!
Dry Skin Treatments
Along with the stretch-mark lotion, you’ll also need to stock up on a few ways to treat the inevitable dryness issue that occurs around the 2nd and 3rd trimesters of pregnancy. Dry skin, chapped lips and even bloody noses (from the dry air) can strike without warning. To prevent and treat these issues be sure to moisturize daily — from your face to your toes you’ll want to cover all your bases. This brand was and continues to be my go-to lip repair before and after pregnancy – it’s versatile and keeps dry, chapped lips super hydrated! I used it to spot treat dry knees, elbows and hands too! To combat the dry air while I slept at night I used a cool-mist humidifier that made nosy bleeds less frequent – phew!
Third-Trimester Pregnancy Must-Haves
Ah the third trimester of pregnancy. The homestretch. Similar to the first-trimester, your last trimester of pregnancy can prove to be the most challenging physically. This is when moving around and getting comfortable become very tough.
If you’ve already invested in some maternity essentials (get those maternity leggings!) during your second trimester, than you should be better prepared to move into the final one.
Here are a few more pregnancy essentials to help make getting comfortable a little more possible.
Comfy Shoes – Just like the rest of your body, your feet are expanding. Many women retain water during pregnancy and can look a bit swollen — I know my feet were definitely one area that did just that. Finding soft, comfortable shoes was always on my to-do list. You’ll want to choose something that is breathable, with durable soles — usually, flats like these or cushioned flip-flops are a great option as heels can do some more harm.
Antacids – Heartburn is another nuisance that tends to come up more often during the last trimester of pregnancy. I often experience it at night right as I was getting ready to get some much need sleep. Be sure to stock up on some Tums — keeping them handing in your purse, medicine cabinet and night table for easy access!
Loose-fitting pjs – Sleep will be one of your biggest struggles during your third trimester for a number of reasons. You have a bigger belly and will need to make room. Finding comfy pajamas that don’t constrict your blood flow is key — a nightgown is a good choice as well, especially since it’s normal to feel extra hot at night. This one doubles as a nursing gown too!
Your baby may also be pretty active then, kicking up a storm. I know my boys were night owls during pregnancy and would want to play when mama needed to rest. The Snoogle pillow was my go-to pillow that I loved because of the many ways I could use it to get comfortable at night — I even wrote a quick post about it years ago. If you want a smaller option, a nice wedge works well under the knees or between legs for side-sleepers!
Finally, as your due date approaches it’s normal to feel a little nervous or anxious about giving birth. You may fear the actual pain involved in giving birth, or worried that your hospital may not accommodate your wishes or birth plan. You can choose to take a birth prep course (like this one I highly recommend for allaying your fears) or just practice some good old relaxation and breathing techniques to prepare you mentally. Because while we can’t predict exactly how our big day will go, we can learn how to do the best we can for baby.
If you want to alleviate your fears throughout any of your trimesters, be sure to download our pregnancy prep planner below. It includes 5 FREE printables to take some of that worry away and know what you need to do to prepare for baby!
Ana, a mom to three rambunctious little boys, has supported thousands of women throughout their pregnancy and motherhood journey since 2012 as a prenatal and postpartum educator at MommysBundle.com.