Going into this pregnancy, I hold my hands up and admit I really didn't have a clue what I was doing. I still don't. Remember that episode of Friends where Rachel has her baby shower? That's me - constantly! It's safe to say that when it comes to preparing for motherhood, I'm feeling my way in the dark somewhat.
Thankfully there are a lot of incredible women around me who have been helping me out and offering me advice. Plus I have a fabulous midwife. However, as much as you can take advice, when it comes to some things, what is going to help you is entirely individual. The universal truths are the same;
- 'Don't eat X Y and Z'
- 'Drink lots of water'
- 'Stay active'
- 'Take a pre-natal vitamin'
All of these are there to give us a hand no matter who we are. However, these are the additional things that I have found really useful throughout my pregnancy so far.
1. A Pillow
As a front and back sleeper, I knew that sleep during pregnancy was going to be one hell of a bitch! And it took me a while to figure out (after a lot of self-training) just how to get comfortable. This also meant testing out a few different pregnancy pillow types. Not settling on one, I actually have three. But the one I find more useful is the full body style (like this one). Slightly more on the pricier side, this pillow has been an absolute saviour in terms of my sleeping. It's like getting a constant hug, and holds me in place, supporting both belly and bump in equal measure and ensuring I get a decent night's kip (excluding the 3-4 times I need to get up to pee).
2. An App
I downloaded the 'What To Expect When You're Expecting' app pretty much as soon as we found out we were expecting. Not being able to really tell anybody made the prospect of the first twelve weeks quite scary, and I needed to feel like there was something I could turn to for extra info and help. I really like the way this app gives you a weekly overview of your current stage of pregnancy, has daily articles to read, and community boards to join. It doesn't go into loads of detail, but there's something really exciting about watching a new video at the start of each week to let you know what's going on for baby, and for you.
3. A Book
If you haven't heard of The Unmumsy Mum, you really need to give her blog a look-see. She doesn't hold back, tells you like it is, and is incredibly funny. With the shitty first trimester experience I had, when it came to looking for reading material I did not want to be preached to. I wasn't enjoying being pregnant, and the thought of some faceless author telling me about "the glow", and what I should and shouldn't be doing made me want to throw up!
The Unmumsy Mum's book is just fantastic. Finding it one bleak Sunday whilst browsing the bookshelves of Waterstones in Southport, it was a book that I couldn't put down. It just instantly made me feel better, lighter, and full of hope that I wasn't the only expectant mother on the planet who was feeling the way I was. I had to force myself to read it slowly because it was just so engaging.
If there's one book you invest in during your pregnancy, I can't recommend this one enough!
4. A Tablet
One of those things that comes recommended right from the start, my pregnancy vitamin of choice has been the Vitabiotics Pregnacare Original. Now I'm not an expert, so I can't tell you what the difference between any of these kinds of things are, but what I can tell you is that not only do these work hand-in-hand with your pregnancy to support baby, but that since taking them, I have noticed a visible difference in my hair, skin and nails. It's bloody brilliant! I have gone from washing my hair twice a week to once, my hair has grown a tonne, and my nails are definitely stronger and grow faster. My skin works better getting rid of those annoying hormonal breakouts, and I just feel like I look a bit better for taking them. Highly superficial I know, but when you have restless nights and exhausting days, knowing you don't have to wash your hair for at least another night does tend to lift your spirits a bit.
5. A Stretch Mark Cream
I've heard a number of things about stretch marks - they are hereditary, you can't prevent them, it's completely pot luck if they appear..... you get the picture. Basically I don't have a clue how they work, but thought that investing in some sort of cream would at east be erring on the side of caution. Not wanting to spend a fortune on something that might prove entirely useless, I have been using the Palmers Cocoa Butter Formula Massage Lotion for Stretch Marks. One bottle lasts quite a long time, and it's definitely a worthy budget-friendly option to test out.
6. A Shoe
If you caught up with me in my Life Lately post, you'll know about the fall I had on New Year's Day. Yep, that common 'losing your balance' thing you can experience in pregnancy has hit me (not that I had great balance to begin with anyway). So in light of this, flats have become my BFF. Not embarrassed to admit that I just about live in my slippers or "Ugg" style boots, when I want to look a little bit smarter, my shoe of choice are these Chelsea boots from H&M. Cosy, classic, and with really good grip, these have seen me through the winter and will carry me right to the end of my pregnancy. Plus they aren't too expensive - BONUS!
7. A Piece Of Clothing
I won't spend long talking about maternity clothing - you can read this post to find out why - but the one fashion item that I spend nearly all my time in are my maternity leggings. Never a huge fan of jeans at the best of times, I have had so much difficulty finding a pair of maternity jeans that actually fit me comfortably, accommodating my bump, and my other constantly expanding wobbly bits. Leggings can be literally worn with anything, are super-stretchy, and perfect for postpartum wear too!
If you are a yummy mummy-to-be with any other pregnancy essential recommendations, let me know in the comments!