Ever since I learned I was expecting my first child, I have fallen into a pattern I swore I would avoid—I always put my needs last.
It isn’t really uncommon behavior for a mom, of course. It starts when we are first pregnant. We’re staring at the price tag of countless baby necessities—from the crib to the hundreds and hundreds of diapers we will use in their first year, and suddenly we start deciding our needs can be put aside.
Here’s what I’ve learned about putting your needs last—it doesn’t actually benefit your children in any way. You may feel like you are doing them a favor, but you know that tired cliché about putting on your oxygen mask first when the plane is going down? Well, it is completely true.
Trust me, I’ve put my needs last countless times only to discover it depletes my ability to care for my kids well.
So we’re challenging you to do things differently this time around. Quit ignoring your needs and wants and instead decide to take care of yourself during your pregnancy. Pregnancy is difficult enough as it is; moms don’t need to sacrifice unnecessarily and make things harder than they need to be.
Here are a few things pregnant moms can actually use, straight from expectant and new moms just like you.
A Morning Habit That Will Keep You and Baby Healthy
Taking a daily prenatal vitamin isn’t optional advice from your doctor, this little habit is important for keeping both you and your baby healthy. You’re growing a person!
So it makes sense that you might need a little extra help to keep your energy high and make sure both your and your baby’s needs are being met.
There are a lot of
The Women’s One a Day is a great basic prenatal, and Garden of Life has a highly rated prenatal if you prefer a supplement with whole food ingredients in it. Of course, if swallowing a tablet or capsule is an issue for you these days due to your sensitive gag reflex, there is nothing wrong with selecting a gummy vitamin if that is what works best for you.
If you have exceptional dietary needs or you’re just plain confused about what vitamins are best for you, don’t be afraid to check in with your OB-GYN. Some doctors can offer recommendations, pass on coupons, or even prescribe a supplement so it will be covered by your insurance.
A Bedtime Necessity That Will Help You Stay Rested
For a lot of women, pregnancy insomnia starts early on. Getting as much rest as you can during pregnancy is crucial, especially as the third trimester draws near. Unfortunately, discomfort from pregnancy makes getting sleep a difficult task.
For some, a special pregnancy pillow can help, especially for those who sleep on their stomachs. Check out the Cozy Bump below:
As it turns out, for most moms the solution to tossing and turning while pregnant is a lot simpler than an expensive pregnancy pillow. Emma Shay, who is expecting her first, told HealthyWay she bought a pregnancy pillow but hated it. In the end, she settled on a good body pillow.
The perk of a good body pillow is that it can adjust to your needs. During your third trimester, you may need to prop yourself up in a nest of pillows so you can sleep upright to combat heartburn, or you might need a pillow behind your back to support the strain caused by your growing belly.
The Snuggle-Pedic Memory Foam Body Pillow is a popular choice for expectant moms, thanks to its “kool-flow” cover that fights overheating during the night.
These Supplements Could End Your Nausea.
Morning sickness during the first trimester may be common, but that doesn’t make it any easier for expectant moms. Whether you are dealing with occasional nausea or having trouble keeping down anything you eat, the first trimester just might be the hardest part of your pregnancy.
Betsy Larson, who is expecting her second child, swore by a combination of supplements recommended to her by her doctor.
“I took B12 and Unisom at night during my first trimester,” Larson said. “It really helps with nausea!”
Of course, before you start taking anything new during your pregnancy, you should check with your doctor. Once you have the all clear, you can buy both B12 and Unisom over the counter at your local pharmacy.
Say Goodbye to Your Cankles.
It’s true that many women experience swelling in the hands, legs, and feet during pregnancy, but ignoring swelling isn’t a great approach. For starters, swollen feet can be really uncomfortable, and any extreme swelling that seems to come out of nowhere could be a sign something else is going on.
Once you have checked in with your doctor and determined that what you are experiencing is just your run-of-the-mill pregnancy swelling, you’ll be more comfortable if you find a way to address your cankles and swollen toes.
“Compression stockings were a lifesaver,” mom of three Jayne Heinrich told me. “Especially when I was at work and on my feet all day.”
You can find pretty basic pregnancy compression stockings on Amazon, and if your swelling is really giving you trouble, your doctor may be able to recommend medical-grade stockings to make life more bearable while you wait for Baby’s arrival.
Fight off Stretch Marks One
Massage at a Time.
As your baby grows, so will your belly, stretching your skin unlike it has ever been stretched before. Rapid growth can create stretch marks in many women. In some
With the number of products on the market bragging about their ability to keep stretch marks at bay, it’s hard to know which creams are worth the money.
The secret to avoiding stretch marks is all about vitamin E, which helps the skin stay elastic so it can adapt to all of that growth. And even if you are genetically prone to stretch marks, a good lotion or cream will also help you keep your skin from getting itchy around those marks.
“Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula With Vitamin E,” Larson suggested. “I used it every night before bed during pregnancy; I was never itchy and...no stretch marks!”
Accommodate Your Growing Belly Without Breaking the Bank.
One little-known secret of pregnancy is just how expensive maternity clothes can be. It seems like the clothes made for expectant moms
Buying a whole new wardrobe during pregnancy simply isn’t affordable for a lot of moms, and that’s why this product really rocks. The Bellaband by Ingrid & Isabel is a thick elastic band you can slide over your unbuttoned jeans.
With the help of this band, you might be able to wear your pre-pregnancy jeans throughout your pregnancy, so all you need to purchase are some cute maternity tops and a comfy pair of sweatpants.
A Little Extra Love for Your Aching Feet
As the end of your pregnancy draws near, you’re going to notice just how sore your feet are and how hard it is to bend over and lace up your shoes. Make getting dressed in the morning a little easier with a couple of pairs of comfortable slip-on shoes.
During the colder months, a lot of moms love these ballet flats made specifically for pregnancy. They slip right on and have an aloe-infused insole for extra comfort. There are also summer options, like this cute wedge sandal. Of course, when the last weeks of your pregnancy roll around, you just might have to break out bigger shoes depending on how much swelling you experience.
“I had to straight up buy a pair of men's flip flops by the end of my summer pregnancy,” mom Jessica Hoffman confessed.
Here’s hoping this list of pregnancy essentials will inspire you to take care of your changing body. It's your baby’s home for more than nine months, and when your new little one arrives, it will provide the nutrition and comfort they need to thrive.
Do yourself and your baby a favor and make getting rest and staying healthy your number one priority.