Many women are surprised at how their impending motherhood has put them squarely in the crosshairs of advertisers of everything from prenatal vitamins to digital keepsakes. It's not surprising that you feel confused about all this stuff—you want to have a healthy and happy pregnancy that gives your baby the very best start in life. All you really need is a good diet, vitamins, and the basics of a maternity wardrobe.
The 10 Essential Things Every Pregnant Woman Needs
Pregnancies last a long time—40 weeks really comes out to nine full months, plus or minus a few days. But since they're neatly divided into trimesters, it's easy to differentiate each stage of your pregnancy. The first trimester is probably the most exciting, especially for first-time moms. You're going to have a baby! This means a seismic shift in your family life, a probable reassessment of your career, and the rather shocking fact that there is a tiny human that relies on you for its development and health. No pressure.
As exciting as the first trimester is, this is the time to really focus on your own health. Truth is, your body is changing so fast that it's hard not to think about it and your baby all the time. For one thing, your hormones burst into overdrive—leaving you moody, exhausted, bloated, and queasy. These 13 weeks are the most critical for your baby's development; it goes from being a loose collection of cells in the first couple of weeks to a fully formed fetus with all its organs, circulatory system, and fingers and—even though it's about the size of a pear.
Unlike your daily multivitamin, prenatal vitamins are loaded with all the things a growing fetus needs—folate, iron, iodine, vitamins D and B, and calcium—along with other trace nutrients. Your doctor or midwife can prescribe the vitamins (and your insurance may cover the cost), or you can buy them over the counter. If you choose the OTC route, make sure your provider has given you a list of what to look for in the vitamins.
Managing Morning Sickness
Volatile hormones are responsible for the morning sickness, changes in tastes, and cravings that are so common in the first trimester. Fortunately, there are several ways to deal with the nausea that really isn't always confined to the mornings.
Most commercial herbal teas are safe for pregnancy, but check with your provider about any herbal teas you're considering. Red raspberry leaf seems to be the herbal winner for pregnancy teas, but peppermint, lemon balm, and possibly ginger root are also good for combating morning sickness. Ginger drops or candy may also help with nausea.
Ginger and peppermint lollipops or hard candy helps some women with nausea. Some also have vitamin B6—another queasiness combatant. While there's no scientific evidence that hard candy helps, some women say that it certainly doesn't hurt.
Acupressure wrist bands work like car sickness bands, and may be the next option if the thought of a ginger gummy or peppermint tea makes you feel ill.
By now, you're seeing a baby bump, even if no one else notices! This is also when you start to feel the weight and pressure in your abdomen, along with back pain and possible leg and abdominal cramps. Your expanding uterus is weighing on the surrounding muscles and ligaments, which causes aching and cramps—along with the random stabbing pains, which can be scary but are perfectly normal. During this time of belly growth, it is normal that your breasts and belly may feel drier than normal. A good moisturizer can help alleviate any discomfort!
Who wouldn't want a big comfy cushion to snuggle up with—especially when it also supports your growing belly, hips, and legs? Pregnancy pillows help you sleep more comfortably and get better rest since they provide the support that helps tossing and turning. They also help keep your spine aligned as you sleep—so you have less pain. After the baby comes, they're still handy as a breastfeeding support.
You may have noticed your center of gravity has dropped with the baby weight. A belly band is a stretchy compression garment that goes around your belly and provides some additional support. It can help with your balance and posture as your belly grows, decrease leg swelling, and stabilize your pelvis.
Buying maternity clothes can be so much fun, but if it is something you’re not looking forward to, here’s a secret: It's really not necessary to invest a lot in a maternity wardrobe. Try these hacks for extending your clothes through your second trimester:
- Wear bigger sports bras instead of maternity bras. Or, buy a bra extender, at least until the girls outgrow your regular bras. Wait and buy good quality nursing bras.
- Yoga pants and leggings work great throughout your pregnancy and for a few months after.
- Maxi dresses hide a growing bump and will fit for many months, while a bodycon dress doesn't hide a thing but lets you rock your new curves.
Willow Daily Pumping Bra
Willow Daily Pumping Bra
You’ll never want to take off the aptly-named Daily Pumping Bra. Custom-made for Willow by The Dairy Fairy, it’s comfy, supportive, and no-fuss—what every breast pump bra should be.
The time will come when a fuzzy slipper seems like heaven, so it's worth it to invest in a comfortable slip-on with good arch support. About the time those slippers seem so great, you won't be able to bend over to tie your shoes, or even see your feet. If you like a fashion sneaker, there are several options with and without laces that are slip-ons.
By now, your baby is developed, but still growing. It's still moving around, but probably a bit less as it gets ready to drop down into position in the birth canal. This is when you should be preparing for labor and delivery, and readying your home for an infant.
A birthing ball is larger than an exercise ball, and has an anti-slip finish so you can securely sit on the ball. Women who use these balls say that they help reduce pain and stress during the final stages of a pregnancy, and in delivery. Sitting upright on the ball can also ease the opening of your pelvic muscles, which is necessary for the baby to descend into the birth canal.
During labor, using a birthing ball as a support may take pressure off your pelvis and lower back, and make it easier to push from a hands and knees position.
Mama Care Bundle
Mama Care Bundle
For a body that's done so much. The Willow Mama Care bundles includes our clean, ultra-moisturizing nipple balm to heal and sooth cracked nipples and luxurious, quick-drying breast and belly oil.
Yes, there is a fourth trimester—the first few weeks after the baby comes. With all your pregnancy preparation, don't forget what you'll need after you come home with your newborn.
Button Up Pajamas & Robe
Button-up pjs and robes provide easy access for pumping and nursing. Especially once your baby starts cluster feeding, easy boob access is the goal! To top it off, they also make that heavenly skin-to-skin contact a breeze. If you had a c-section, buttons make it easier to tend to the incision as it heals.
The adjustment to nursing and/or pumping can be taxing on your nipples. It is important to choose a nipple cream that will soothe and heal sore and even cracked nipples, while still being safe for your baby. Nipple creams can also help add lubrication to pump sessions, making the initial phases of pumping more comfortable.
You want to give your baby the very best start—but that doesn't mean spending a ton on trendy must-haves of the week. Taking good care of yourself during your pregnancy, and going into motherhood with a relaxed and low-stress attitude, will do more for your family than anything you see on the multitudes of baby websites. When the time comes to choose the pump that is going to be best for you and baby, Willow Pump is here and ready for you!