I’ve been meaning to do this post forever, but now that the baby is here, I can say conclusively: these are my very favorite, must-have pregnancy products, from Week 1 to Week 40!
So if you get pregnant tomorrow (yay!), here’s what I think you need to buy:
At my first appointment, my doctor asked me what books I was reading, and I had to kind of blush.
“Um… a few of them…” I murmured noncommittally, and she directed me to some very informative, completely dry reading.
What I didn’t want to tell her: I’d already learned everything I needed to know about pregnancy from Expecting Better, otherwise known as The Book By An Economist About How Doctors Are Wrong.
I joke, but I’m actually sort of a fanatic about this book — I’m a data-driven person, and I like the premise: the author, Emily Oster, gives you the actual information about the pregnancy studies that lead to the “Can I or Can’t I” ultimatums that doctors give you. That way, you can evaluate the risks and make informed decisions yourself.
The book has gotten some negative attention for the claim that small amounts of alcohol are ok during pregnancy, which is also a position that many doctors take in private. Without opening up that bag of worms (although I admit that I had a few sips of wine or beer on very special occasions, after the first trimester was over), the book is packed with useful information about everything from evaluating your risk of miscarriage, genetic testing, whether to get an epidural, and lots more. Armed with that knowledge, you can be better informed to make your own decisions about what’s right for you and your baby, which I think is great.
Then, for fun, my other favorite pregnancy book, which just came out: Ramshackle Glam, by Jordan Reid. Jordan is a friend, so I was predisposed to like her book, but I didn’t just like it. I absolutely loved it. I devoured it in a single weekend — like her blog, it’s a funny, sweet, touching, accessible account of her life as a new mom, and I really can’t recommend it enough.
I’ve been pretty vocal about the fact that I hated maternity clothes, and it’s true: the styles are limited, the cuts are terrible, and generally it feels like most maternity pieces are a waste of money and better off borrowed or adapted from your non-maternity closet. But my big exception? Maternity jeans. You don’t have to go for a designer name, but spend some time picking out an amazing pair that fits your body perfectly. You’ll be living in these when all your other clothes stop fitting, so it’s ok to splurge a little!
My favorite pair were Joe’s Jeans Provocateur in Petite, but I also had pairs that I loved from ASOS and LOFT, both of which were under $50.
Stretch Mark Oil
A must-have item that isn’t particularly glamorous to talk about, but still essential. I bought a bottle of Earth Mama Angel Baby Stretch Mark Oil at about six weeks pregnant for $12, and used it until the very last day. (I was starting to run out at the end, when I’d use it once a day!) And I didn’t get stretch marks. Maybe I wouldn’t have gotten them either way, but my skin tends to be dry, so for $12, that’s easily worth it either way!
I’m a platform heels girl, but it took one near-spill at four months pregnant for Chad to put his foot down (no pun intended) and ban my too-high pairs. Platforms were off limits for the next five months, and even modest heels were saved for special occasions.
One of my weirdest pregnancy symptoms was insane thirst, especially in the first half of my pregnancy. I’m usually a great water drinker, but being pregnant made me insatiable. Since I was drinking easily 10-12 glasses a day, buying aluminum cans or plastic bottles of seltzer seemed wasteful, and I love, love, love carbonated water. My Soda Stream machine was a lifesaver — I have six of the 32-ounce bottles, and I’d make new ones every other day. Healthy for me and the baby! (This is the model I have, although I never used the mixes they sell with it. And I definitely recommend stocking up on extra bottles!)
Last, but definitely not least. I sort of hate the term “Push Present” — the idea that your husband buys you a gift for pushing out his baby. It seems sort of weirdly sexist and grotesque, and I’m a girl who will put up with a lot of questionable insinuations for a good present. (I had no moral objection to my engagement ring, even though Chad loves to joke that he bought me with it.)
On the other hand… I love the idea of something that commemorates the birth of our child, even if it’s just something small. My solution? Two necklaces, one with the initial “B” for our son’s name, and one with a “4” for his birth month! I loved wearing these during the whole pregnancy, and not just waiting for them after he was born! Mine were from Dogeared and Maya Brenner, but you could go with any that fit your style!