As you all know if you have followed me for even one day, pregnancy and motherhood are two things that I am incredibly passionate about. For a long time before becoming a mother I searched and searched for what exactly my “role” on this earth was meant to be– I bounced back and forth from wanting to be a full time career woman who utilized her degrees, to wanting to move to a third world country and change the world with my own two hands, to everything else under the sun that you can imagine. Being a “stay at home mom” was never something that I saw in my future (seriously), I planned to be the “bread-winner” while my “husband” stayed home and “raised our children”…yah, go ahead and laugh. God is funny in that way… truth be told, His plans are even better than anything that I could’ve conjured up for myself and there is no corner office or foreign country that could do what my current “role” has done for my soul and for my life– there is no place that i’d rather be.
As much as I love pregnancy and motherhood, both have their own set of challenges. Truth be told, this is why each of them are so incredibly rewarding. Pregnancy is difficult, it forces us to stretch (literally) in ways that we aren’t necessarily prepared for– physically, mentally, emotionally, etc. I have been around this pregnancy block just about two times now, and the things that I used the first time around are the same that I am currently using as we await meeting our second arrival this October. I have broken this post into three categories; 1) For Your Home 2) For Your Body 3) For Your Closet. Below each of the three sections I have directly linked the mentioned products for your convenience!
Pregnancy Essentials For Your Home
- Diffuser and Essential Oils: Sleep is a tricky thing when pregnant– it seems for me that the minute that my body literally cannot go for another second is the same second that insomnia sets in.. so weird, anybody else out there experience this, or just me? We have an oil diffuser on our first floor and in our bedroom. It is such a great way to transform your home environment into whatever you’re needing that day. For example, on days when I know that I have my work cut out for me and my focus needs to be on point, I diffuse Ylang Ylang or Frankinsense. When I have a hard time sleeping, I will diffuse lavender in our bedroom and the results are seriously amazing. Even if I lay away for a few minutes before drifting off to sleep, the smell of lavender is so calming on my body.
- Pregnancy Pillow: As mentioned above, sleep can be tricky– especially as your body begins to really change in shape. If you didn’t know, sleeping on your left side is the recommended position for pregnancy because it increases blood flow to the fetus. I find that I toss and turn a lot when I am pregnant, so I appreciate having this pillow to hold me accountable to staying on my left hand side!
- Corksicle Water Bottle: Drinking enough water during pregnancy is absolutely essential. My first pregnancy I would wake up in the middle of the night so incredibly thirsty but if my water wasn’t absolutely freezing I would become nauseous.. needless to say, it was awful. The second time around I discovered the brand Corksicle and it seriously changed the game for me. Corksicle keeps your cold beverages cold for up to 25 hours…which means that you can fill this bad boy up before bed with ice and water, set it on your bedside table and not have to worry if that middle of the night drink will cause nausea. Also, if anyone plans to breastfeed once baby arrives, be warned that your thirst level will be insane due to producing milk for your baby. This is the perfect, stylish, water canteen that can transition from pregnancy to birth. I started out with one that I picked up in a surf shop in southern CA when we were living out there this past off season (first trimester of my pregnancy) and now I have four. I don’t go anywhere without one!
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Pregnancy Essentials For Your Body
- Sea Bands: If you are like me, first trimester of pregnancy is literally the worst and as I have mentioned in other posts, it is about survival. There are a lot of products on the market that claim to help with nausea. I will be the first to say that I have probably bought them all– only to find that time and sea bands are the two things that make any slight difference for me. I am going to be very careful to say that Seabands took away my nausea, because they didn’t, but they did HELP my nausea and anyone who has experienced that 24 hour a day feeling like you may throw up at any given second (and sometimes you actually do), you’ll gladly do anything that can remotely offer some relief.
- Tiger Balm: As your body begins to stretch and as baby gains weight it is normal for your center of gravity to shift, which throws things out of alignment, which causes aches and pains. My husband uses Tiger Balm in the locker room before games if he has any nagging pain, and he brought it home one time while I was pregnant with Luca and it has been a staple during pregnancy for me ever since. It is made with all natural oils so it is safe for you and baby. It has very similar effects to Icy Hot, but is a much healthier and natural alternative (plus the can is super cool)!
- Dr. Teals Epsom Salt: Few things are quite as nice as a bath during pregnancy, especially the second time around when you are on your feet all day chasing around a 17 month old that never seems to run out of energy. It has become my favorite way to unwind and end the day (since wine isn’t an option). Epsom salt is absorbed through the skin and helps to relieve muscle aches, pain and inflammation. Make sure that you read the correct amount based upon brand and body weight. My absolute favorite is Dr. Teals Lavender. If you don’t feel like waiting for delivery, you can find this brand at your local Target!
- Almond Oil, Coconut Oil and Jojoba Oil: Stretch marks, stretch marks, stretch marks– every woman’s dreaded fear with pregnancy. If you have ever spent time looking at all of the products on the market that swear to “help prevent and reduce stretch marks” you will realize that this is one heck of a business and a thriving one, needless to say. My first pregnancy I did the research for myself and realized that a lot of the core ingredients in the super expensive products were the same– almond, coconut and jojoba oils. I also realized that I could buy all three of these oils for a fraction of what one small pot of this “miracle solution” would cost. I am happy to say that I had zero stretch marks with Luca (gained 27lbs total) and so far this time around, I have yet to develop any (gained 20lbs so far). It is important to note that genetics play a role in this, as well as diet and exercise and total weight gained– but, keeping the skin moisturized is a PROVEN element in reducing stretch marks. I put a few drops of these oils in the bath every time I soak, and I also cover my body from neck to toes daily, sometimes even multiple times a day focusing on my belly area, breasts, and hips/thighs/butt. **If you are a man, stop reading here because I am going to share a tip with the women that may freak you out**
- One of my dear friends and mother of multiples shared a tip with me during my first pregnancy that I am not going to lie struck me as “kind of odd”, but when I realized the alternatives to not listening, I chose to listen. We are getting reallyyyyy personal here, but as I promised this is a space where I will communicate unfiltered, as if we were two besties sitting and having coffee– so, having said that– here we go. Starting around 27 weeks I was told to use the coconut oil to prevent tearing during labor. When in labor many women will rip or tear in some way shape or form due to the baby’s passing– having 12-13 weeks of “preparing” this area for birth and increasing moisture has been shown to help with prevention of that. So, yes, just as it sounds– use coconut oil and moisturize the area that your child will be born through, you’re welcome.
- Belly Balm: I love Jessica Alba, and I love her company, which is really why I am even mentioning this here. Is this Belly Balm necessary if you use the above three listed oils? not really. Having said that, around 33-34 weeks my belly starts to get incredibly itchy due to the stretching and I have found that layering this on top of my normal routine has helped to calm it down a bit and it prevents me from scratching my skin off. It’s super thick and oily, so be sure you put it on and let it settle before putting clothes on top. I usually do this just before bed.
- Coconut and Hibiscus Soap: My sweet husband actually discovered this soap bar for me when I found out that I was expecting again back in February. It smells like vacation, and it leaves your skin so insanely soft and moisturized. I usually use this all over my body, focusing on the “major stretch zones” just before getting out the shower before rinsing my conditioner. It is kind of the first step to my moisturizing process. I will use it pregnant or not for the rest of my life.
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Pregnancy Essentials For Your Closet
- Sleep Shirts: Not going to lie, when I am home, you will 99.9% of the time find me in some kind of button up sleep shirt or one of Rico’s oversized football t’s. The button up shirts are ideal for not only pregnancy because there is no waist band (obviously), but for breastfeeding after birth as well. Two for one, save money, you know I am all about that. The perfect transition from pregnancy to breastfeeding and motherhood. I always pack a few of these in my hospital bag as well because I literally despise those heinous hospital gowns that you have to wear. The quality of the material is really what you are paying for, so as much as you can find these somewhere cheap, I do like to splurge on my sleepwear because it has become pretty much a motherhood and pregnancy daily uniform.
- Maternity Jeans: As I have mentioned in other posts, I try to avoid “maternity” clothing the best that I can, but one thing that I can only squeeze into for so long are my pre-pregnancy jeans. Eventually once my belly pops, I have to bite the bullet and invest. My first pregnancy with Luca I bought two pairs of expensive maternity jeans, one dark denim and one black and I literally lived in them because I was pregnant from July-March. This time around I have been pregnant through the spring and summer and will only be pregnant a few weeks into fall (thank you GA for these never ending summers, not) so I haven’t gotten as much use out of them. It seems that even in the two years that have passed since purchasing my nice maternity jeans that they have gotten even cuter and trendier (praise Jesus), so naturally I picked up a pair of white denim to get me through the end of summer and a pair of distressed (that I can hopefully wear starting September with cute sweaters!!).
- Slip on Shoes: Truth be told, lacing your shoes will become harder and harder as time goes on. I have found that after 30 weeks I resort to slip on shoes only. It saves time, energy and frustration. Also, shoes are the one thing that you can wear post pregnancy as well– spend the money and splurge a bit, you deserve it. I find that my desire to grow my shoe and handbag collection really hits an all time high during pregnancy– especially the end weeks. oops.
- Joggers: Just like I said that 99.9% of the time I will be caught in a sleep shirt, the same holds true for joggers. Again, you are paying for the quality of the material. I have picked up a few pairs from Target and truth be told I really like them, and I have also invested in a few nicer pairs. The good news is that wearing joggers out of the home has become a fashion statement, so if that settles your mind on spending the $$, so be it.
- Flowy Dresses & Jumpsuits: As mentioned above, this pregnancy has been through different seasons than it was with Luca and I have found myself throwing on either a flowy dress or a jumpsuit 9/10 times when we leave the house. Anything without a waistband is my bff during pregnancy and both of these have been game changers.
- Essentials: Truth be told you will need some essential, everyday items that can transition as your body grows through pregnancy. As you near the end you will find that you literally are living off of the same 10-12 things– so a way that I deal with that is to be intentional about the colors that I purchase in maternity clothing to be sure that I can rewear and layer throughout all 40 weeks. Ex: choose black or grey instead of leopard print (ew).
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and even though I just said that “slip on shoes are life”– here are the adidas that I will be living in pregnant, and not. make sure to size down at least half, if not, one full shoe size, because they run large! I usually wear an 8.5 in women’s shoes and I ordered these in a 7.5 and they’re perfect and still have a bit of room.
pregnancy is a beautiful, life-giving miracle– and these are some of the things that help me to feel just that, beautiful. xo, Grace